If you’re young and the idea of working a typical 9 – 5 makes you want to run for the hills, then land surveying just might be the career path you’re looking for. Stick around for a few minutes while we go over the fundamentals of the job and see if land surveying is that job field you’ve been searching for.
What Exactly Is A Land Surveyor?
A land surveyor is, in simple terms, someone that is responsible for creating detailed, accurate, and legally recognized documentation of a particular plot of land or property. Land surveying is a field that intersects with many other fields in civil engineering, construction, public transportation, etc… so it’s an incredibly valuable trade. Essentially, if property is being bought, sold, or expanded, then land surveyors will be needed.
But What Does a Land Surveyor Actually Do?
That’s a fair question, but the answer to it is a little bit more complex than you might immediately assume.
For example, at Joseph M. Petito Land Surveying & Civil Engineering, we offer title surveys, boundary surveys, location mapping, construction, and more depending on the job. Not all of these are jobs that require strictly land surveyors, but you can see just how much land surveying intersects with other fields and departments.
What A Land Surveyor Does Completely Depends On The Needs of The Client
The job really never is boring, there are always new challenges and interesting problems to overcome. But there are some fundamental parts of the job that a land surveyor can almost always expect to deal with:
- Using various high-end tools such as GPS equipment to determine accurate information on a properties boundaries as it relates to surrounding properties
- Working in a team-environment with other surveyors
- Working on-site much of the time
- Creating well-drawn maps and other documents to convey accurate data in a comprehensible manner
- Doing extensive research on a properties history and on the property’s potentially problematic details
- Engineering creative solutions to complex problems on a regular basis
This is all somewhat vague, but it all makes sense quickly after some formal education. Land surveying is hard to nail down because it’s so important that everyone, from normal home-owners to multi-billion dollar corporations, hire land surveyors all over the country all of the time!
How Much Money Do Land Surveyors Make?
Experience and skill can net you $100,000+ annually as a land surveyor if you play your cards right, as is the case with the top-earning 10% of land surveyors in the US. As of May 2021, the annual median pay for your average land surveyor sat at a respectable $61,600, but this will potentially be considerably more or considerably less depending on where you are in the country, what skills you specialize in, and the general demand for construction-based work in your area.
What Does The Job Outlook Look Like In The Near Future?
The demand for land surveyors has been consistent for a very long time, which means that it’s a safe career choice in the present and will likely continue to be in the future. The need for mapping land and defining property boundaries is an essential aspect of a well-run society, so land surveyors are always going to be needed.
The data shows that we can expect to see only a 1% increase in employment from 2021 – 2031, with about 3800 job openings projected country-wide each year. But just because land surveying isn’t a booming industry doesn’t mean that it’s a dying one by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just relatively stagnant in terms of growth, which is actually pretty good news because that means it’s a dependable and predictable industry to be a part of, which is exactly what you want to see when you consider job security (something that’s becoming more and more of a concern these days).
What Do You Need To Do To Become a Land Surveyor?
Land surveying isn’t accessible to just anyone, there are particular skills and qualifications one typically has to meet in order to successfully work in the field. Let’s take a look at some of those now:
Land surveying usually takes at least a bachelor’s degree before you can really get going on your way to becoming a high-earning surveyor. We recommend a bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or some other related field. If you know precisely what industry you’d like to work in as a surveyor, then you can choose a degree that fits that niche, but if you’re undecided that’s perfectly fine too!
Like with carpentry or construction or other trade skills, most states require a few years of experience in working under a licensed surveyor before you can successfully apply for a license yourself. In fact, in some states, you can bypass the bachelor’s degree altogether and get your certifications by working under a licensed pro for an extended period of time! The details vary by state, so it might be helpful to check out this website for more information.
Licenses and Certifications
Though details vary by state, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying generally utilizes a 4-step process to determine whether or not you’ve earned the right to officially and legally delegate property lines and boundaries yourself (a massive component of the job). For more information on this process, check out the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying website here.
Skills You Will Need
Land surveying requires people with a solid baseline of skills in order to do the job most effectively. Those skills are:
- Time Management
- Attention to Detail
- Ability to Visualize
- Problem Solving and Engineering
If these traits sound like you, then check out the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ web page on the matter. You and land surveying just might be a match made in heaven!
Land surveying is a solid, respectable, consistently in-demand career that can pay very well and that has a TON of crossover potential for you to establish a fantastic and fulfilling career for yourself. If land surveying, civil engineering, or any other related field interests you, then you might’ve found exactly what you’re looking for.
Thank you for reading, and if you want to learn more about land surveying and civil engineering, take a look at more of our blog posts here!