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Occupation Profile

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Surveyors
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Description: what do they do?
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.
Also known as:
Mine Surveyor, Survey Manager, Survey Project Manager, Land Surveyor, Registered Land Surveyor, Survey Party Chief, County Surveyor, Surveyor, City Surveyor, Survey Superintendent

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Whether the project is measuring the depth needed for a skyscraper’s foundation or mapping backyard boundaries, a surveyor steps in to get the lay of the land. Surveyors use sophisticated technology to take precise measurements of the Earth’s surface for maps and construction projects. They prevent—or help to resolve— boundary disputes for both home and business owners by documenting legal property lines, and helping determine the exact locations of real estate and building projects. During construction, surveyors determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for building foundations. They conduct research on land records and titles to show changes to a property line, and report on restrictions, such as the type and size of structures that may be built on a property. Most surveyors work for surveying or engineering companies; some work in construction or for government offices. Although surveyors spend time in offices, fieldwork is essential, and often involves standing for extended periods and walking long distances, sometimes hauling heavy equipment, in all kinds of weather. Most work full time. Surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree in surveying, or a related field. A license is needed to certify legal documents and provide surveying services to the public. In addition to passing the licensure exams, surveyors generally need several years’ experience working under a licensed surveyor to obtain a license.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Indiana
1,000
2016 Employment
1,130
2026 Employment
13%
Percent change
90
Annual projected job openings
United States
44,800
2016 Employment
49,800
2026 Employment
11%
Percent change
3,800
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Surveyors in Indiana
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationIndianaUnited States
10%$31,490$34,470
25%$40,920$45,720
Median$53,930$61,140
75%$72,970$80,480
90%$90,940$100,420


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • Internship/residency

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Verify mathematical calculations.
  • Direct surveying activities.
  • Document technical design details.
  • Create maps.
  • Gather physical survey data.
  • Coordinate activities with suppliers, contractors, clients, or other departments.
  • Calculate geographic positions from survey data.
  • Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
  • Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Analyze physical, survey, or geographic data.
  • Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
  • Determine operational criteria or specifications.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Number Facility - Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Verify the accuracy of survey data, including measurements and calculations conducted at survey sites.
  • Direct or conduct surveys to establish legal boundaries for properties, based on legal deeds and titles.
  • Prepare or supervise preparation of all data, charts, plots, maps, records, and documents related to surveys.
  • Prepare and maintain sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.
  • Write descriptions of property boundary surveys for use in deeds, leases, or other legal documents.
  • Search legal records, survey records, and land titles to obtain information about property boundaries in areas to be surveyed.
  • Coordinate findings with the work of engineering and architectural personnel, clients, and others concerned with projects.
  • Establish fixed points for use in making maps, using geodetic and engineering instruments.
  • Calculate heights, depths, relative positions, property lines, and other characteristics of terrain.
  • Adjust surveying instruments to maintain their accuracy.
  • Record the results of surveys including the shape, contour, location, elevation, and dimensions of land or land features.
  • Train assistants and helpers, and direct their work in such activities as performing surveys or drafting maps.
  • Compute geodetic measurements and interpret survey data to determine positions, shapes, and elevations of geomorphic and topographic features.
  • Determine longitudes and latitudes of important features and boundaries in survey areas, using theodolites, transits, levels, and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Analyze survey objectives and specifications to prepare survey proposals or to direct others in survey proposal preparation.
  • Testify as an expert witness in court cases on land survey issues, such as property boundaries.
  • Develop criteria for survey methods and procedures.
  • Plan and conduct ground surveys designed to establish baselines, elevations, and other geodetic measurements.
  • Survey bodies of water to determine navigable channels and to secure data for construction of breakwaters, piers, and other marine structures.
  • Direct aerial surveys of specified geographical areas.
  • Determine specifications for photographic equipment to be used for aerial photography, as well as altitudes from which to photograph terrain.
  • Develop criteria for the design and modification of survey instruments.
  • Locate and mark sites selected for geophysical prospecting activities such as efforts to locate petroleum or other mineral products.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.