In order to be a land surveyor, one must have a thorough background in the methods, technology, and reasons for land surveys. The requirements for such programs vary depending on the specific program. This educational coursework provides prospective land surveyors with the knowledge they’ll need to conduct a land survey.
Programs available to land surveyors are usually found as 4-year degrees at public colleges and universities, although there are other formats, too. A bachelor’s degree in Land Surveying is the most common educational path towards becoming licensed as a land surveyor, but there are closely related degrees that may also be suitable, depending on the state. In some states, a degree is required in order to become licensed; in others, a broader range of degree coursework is acceptable, or experience may be substituted for all or part of the educational requirements.
In most cases, in order to apply for a land surveying license, you must send your college transcript to the state licensing board. The most common degree is a Bachelor of Science in Land Surveying. To find such a program, you may contact professional organizations, such as the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Your state licensing board should also have information on such programs available in your state. Contacting those already working as land surveyors in your area can be very useful if you are seeking to learn which programs are seen as the best in order to pursue a path as a land surveyor.
Degrees that will be accepted by the most states for land surveying licenses are those accredited the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). This national institution sets the standards for engineering, land surveying and similar programs. ABET-accredited programs are the top standard for land surveyors in terms of the education covered.
To qualify for the state examination for land surveying (a necessary requirement to become a surveyor in most states), you will need at least some education past high school. Though a bachelor’s degree is best, you may be able to sit for the exam if you have at least a few years of land surveying experience under a properly licensed land surveyor. For example, in Colorado someone with no education past high school can become a licensed land surveyor with at least 6-8 years working for a licensed surveyor. Some states also offer a “land surveyor in training” certificate for those who lack the necessary educational requirements or are still in school; these come with some, but not all, of the privileges of a licensed surveyor.
Once the initial education has been obtained, a licensed land surveyor must receive continuing education related to land surveying. In most states, this continuing education is mandated by law for those who wish to retain their license. Most of these continuing education courses are focused on present issues in land surveying, such as new technology or changing laws that may affect land surveying. Continuing education ensures that land surveyors keep up-to-date with these changes.