A great deal of specialized training is needed before an individual can become a land surveyor. These professionals require a well-rounded knowledge of mapping, geography, real estate laws and drafting in order to successfully complete their job duties.

Core High School Classes

While in high school, students who wish to become land surveyors should take a geography class, as this will help them learn about different terrain features. Courses in mechanical drawing, drafting and computer technology could also be helpful, as these skills are often used by surveyors. Math subjects including trigonometry, geometry and algebra are recommended for prospective surveyors as well.

Associate Degree in Surveying Technology

Land surveyor education typically begins with an Associate of Applied Science in land surveying, surveying technology or mapping. One of these degrees is usually offered at a community college, and can take around two years to complete. While studying for this degree, some of the courses that could be required include plan surveying, computer aided drafting, and project management. Some time could be spent in the field while taking some of these classes. The cost of earning this Associate’s degree is around $25,000, which includes the cost of tuition, books and related fees.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

While studying for a Bachelor’s degree, students will rely a great deal on advanced technology, and will learn how to use global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to determine land boundaries. Some courses that could be taken include construction location mapping, introduction to geomatics and urban development. Many colleges also require students to complete an internship program with a local surveyor prior to graduation. Annual tuition can run between $6,500 and $20,800. Books can add an additional $1,000 to $1,400 to that number, and yearly fees could run as much as $400.

Master’s Degree

After completing a Bachelor’s degree, it can take between two and three years to finish a Master’s degree in land surveying. In order to graduate, some classes that might be needed are legal aspects of surveying, surveying instruments and angle measurement. The cost of tuition can be around $16,400 annually. Books and supplies can run approximately $1,100, room and board $10,880, and miscellaneous expenses around $1,000.

Licensing Requirements

All states require land surveyors to be licensed in order to practice. The state board of engineers is normally responsible for validating land surveying licenses. In order to be eligible for licensing, applicants must show proof of education or on-the-job land surveyor training. After doing so, they will be able to take an exam that covers real estate law and surveying procedures among other things. The cost of taking the exam can be between $40 and $100, and those who wish to work in more than one state must get a license from each jurisdiction.
Even though land surveyors use technology on a regular basis, much of their training may involve the use of older deeds or maps. Surveyors could continue to use these historical documents in the future, which means the ideal training program will involve both old and new surveying techniques.