How to Become a Surveying Technician (Surveyor Assistant)
A surveying technician assists an engineer or professional surveyor. It takes a good deal of training to get this job, but the salary is decent for those who qualify for this occupation. Additionally, the training naturally leads to a surveyor career.
There are several 2-year college degree programs for surveying technicians. These survey technology courses are enough to get some entry-level jobs as a surveyor's assistant.
Before starting your college education in surveying, you should check with the state surveying board to see about license requirements. While states typically require a surveyor license, they may or may not require a license or registration for technicians and assistants. For example, Connecticut and Georgia have land surveyor-in-training license requirements. This will partially determine your educational path to a career in surveying.
One common approach is to earn at least an associate's degree in surveying technology and work as a surveyor assistant while completing education to become a licensed surveyor. The MatchCollege website has a list of colleges and universities that offer degrees at all levels in surveying technology.
When picking a degree program, you should take care to ensure that you are entering a quality program that includes Graphic Information Systems (GIS) training. GIS skills are increasingly important to the ability to get jobs in the surveying and mapping industries. Do not enter a program of study unless it includes classes on this technology, as you will likely have problems getting a job as a surveying technician if you do not have these crucial skills.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics combines both mapping and surveying technicians into one group for statistical purposes. In May of 2010, there were 53,870 of these jobs. The average salary of the entire group was a median of $37,900.
Surveyors' assistants get jobs working for engineering firms, local governments, and electric companies. Other major employers are the federal and state governments.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Jobs and Salary for Surveying and Mapping Technicians
MatchCollege: Surveying Technology Degree Programs