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What is a Surveyor?

Surveyor Example Make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth’s surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.

Surveyor Responsibilities

  • Record the results of surveys including the shape, contour, location, elevation, and dimensions of land or land features.
  • Prepare and maintain sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.
  • Survey bodies of water to determine navigable channels and to secure data for construction of breakwaters, piers, and other marine structures.
  • Prepare or supervise preparation of all data, charts, plots, maps, records, and documents related to surveys.
  • Develop criteria for survey methods and procedures.
  • Testify as an expert witness in court cases on land survey issues, such as property boundaries.

Surveyor Required Skills

These are the skills Surveyors say are the most useful in their careers:

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

  • Survey Crew Chief
  • Survey Project Manager
  • Topographical Surveyor
  • Land Surveyor
  • Land Measurer

What Kind of Surveyor Job Opportunities Are There?

There were about 44,800 jobs for Surveyor in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,000 new jobs for Surveyor by 2026. There will be an estimated 3,800 positions for Surveyor per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Surveyors in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Surveyor are Utah, Florida, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Washington, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Surveyor Average Salary

Surveyors make between $35,160 and $102,220 a year.

Salary Ranges for Surveyors

Surveyors who work in California, Washington, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

How much do Surveyors make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $56,010
Alaska $79,940
Arizona $62,050
Arkansas $48,880
California $91,010
Colorado $66,010
Connecticut $70,810
Delaware $73,110
Florida $57,930
Georgia $59,500
Hawaii $65,880
Idaho $65,550
Illinois $72,540
Indiana $60,890
Iowa $65,250
Kansas $58,420
Kentucky $56,510
Louisiana $62,810
Maine $59,360
Maryland $65,220
Massachusetts $66,000
Michigan $58,850
Minnesota $65,950
Mississippi $46,660
Missouri $59,980
Montana $63,020
Nebraska $54,750
Nevada $80,520
New Hampshire $63,710
New Jersey $70,120
New Mexico $74,470
New York $77,660
North Carolina $70,460
North Dakota $75,360
Ohio $62,520
Oklahoma $54,130
Oregon $68,130
Pennsylvania $62,400
Rhode Island $60,070
South Carolina $49,570
South Dakota $67,970
Tennessee $49,280
Texas $59,980
Utah $69,150
Vermont $51,890
Virginia $70,230
Washington $85,860
West Virginia $65,750
Wisconsin $62,820
Wyoming $66,160

What Tools do Surveyors Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Surveyors:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Bentley MicroStation
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • Internet browser software
  • Computer aided design and drafting software CADD
  • Global positioning system GPS software
  • Geomechanical design analysis GDA software
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • Data logging software
  • Bentley Systems InRoads Suite
  • Bentley GeoPak Bridge
  • Carlson SurvCADD
  • Trimble Terramodel
  • Survey software

How do I Become a Surveyor?

Learn what Surveyor education requirements there are.

Surveyor Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Surveyor?

Surveyor Work Experience

Surveyors Sector

Surveyor Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Surveyors work:

Surveyor Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Surveyor might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Mike1979 Russia via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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