How to Become a Surveyor

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you to become a surveyor depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions need a bachelors in surveying along with a state license. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a masters’s degree in construction management can help you stand out in the hiring process. Learn more by clicking our “Education Required” tab up top.

How Much Does a Surveyor Make?
$56,230 (national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+4,400 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Technician, drafter, land surveyor, traffic surveyor, and management

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Manicurist and Pedicurist page) 

Discover the Best Places to Become a Surveyor

As a result of the oil industry’s presence, most of the employment opportunities are found in Texas, with 7,360 positions currently being filled, and a mean annual wage for practitioners of $40,080. Florida has the next highest employment numbers, while California offers the highest average yearly salary at $62,880.

Most surveyors work for private surveying or engineering firms. Some worked for state and local governments:

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services 65%
  • Local government, excluding education and hospitals 6%
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction 4%
  • State government, excluding education and hospitals 4%

Employment and Salary Information by State for Surveyors

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Surveying. All data has been derived from the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment and Information Data for Surveying

Why Become a Surveyor?

Surveying professions can expect to see a 25% increase in jobs from now until 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surveyors cover a lot of territory including establishing land, airspace, and water boundaries around the globe. They also measure the Earth’s surface to collect data used to draw maps, determine the shape and contour of land, and set property lines and boundaries.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Surveyor

  • Introduction to Dendrology
  • Introduction to Surveying
  • Intro to Natural Resources Measurements
  • Forest Ecology
  • Forest Safety
  • Geology
  • Geographic Information Technology
  • Leadership and Forest Technology
  • Survey Law
  • Boundary Surveying
  • Construction & Topographic Surveys

Degree Options for Surveying Careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree and pass test to become licensed. A degree in a closely related field, such as civil engineering or forestry, is often acceptable as well.

Bachelor’s Degree
Most work in surveying requires a bachelor’s degree. These degrees provide students with the techniques and tools better understand how land and boundaries are measured and set, as well as topography studies.

Graduate Degrees
Graduate degrees include a master’s of civil engineering (MCE) and a Ph.D. of civil engineering. Graduate civil engineering programs prepare students to pursue a variety of careers such as architects, engineers and consultants.