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What Does it Take to Be a Surveyor?

Surveyor Definition 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.

List of Surveyor Job Duties

  • Establish fixed points for use in making maps, using geodetic and engineering instruments.
  • Determine specifications for photographic equipment to be used for aerial photography, as well as altitudes from which to photograph terrain.
  • Develop criteria for survey methods and procedures.
  • Calculate heights, depths, relative positions, property lines, and other characteristics of terrain.
  • Analyze survey objectives and specifications to prepare survey proposals or to direct others in survey proposal preparation.
  • Conduct research in surveying and mapping methods using knowledge of techniques of photogrammetric map compilation and electronic data processing.

Skills Needed to be a Surveyor

Below is a list of the skills most Surveyors say are important on the job.

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.

Other Surveyor Job Titles

  • Home Surveyor
  • Licensed Surveyor
  • Survey Manager
  • Land Examiner
  • Mineral Surveyor

Is There Going to be Demand for Surveyors?

In the United States, there were 44,800 jobs for Surveyor in 2016. 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,800 job openings in this field each year.


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.

Do Surveyors Make A Lot Of Money?

The typical yearly salary for Surveyors is somewhere between $35,160 and $102,220.


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

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Surveyors 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

Tools & Technologies Used by Surveyors

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?

What education is needed to be a Surveyor?


What work experience do I need to become a Surveyor?


Where Surveyors Work


Surveyors work in the following industries:


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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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