There are approximately 49,200 surveyors employed in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 69 percent of surveyors in the United States are employed in engineering, architectural, and surveying firms. Federal, state, and local government agencies are the next largest employers of surveying workers, and the majority of the remaining surveyors work for construction firms. A small percentage are employed by mine, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction companies, and very few surveyors are self-employed.
Geodetic surveyors who have apprenticeship experience may start as equipment operators or surveying assistants. Those with college education have improved job prospects, however, and are often able to find positions as surveying and mapping technicians. College graduates learn about job openings through their schools' career services offices or through potential employers that may visit their campus. They may also find work through online employment agencies that specialize in seeking out workers for positions in surveying and related fields.
Geodetic surveyors with four or more years of experience assume more leadership roles. They become senior-level surveyors and managers, responsible for handling more complex projects and overseeing the work of the surveying team. They move up the career ladder from entry-level roles as assistants to become senior surveyors, party chiefs, and licensed surveyors. They work closely with other fields and may advance their careers by moving into other areas such as civil engineering or specializations such as drafting.
Tips for Entry
Join professional associations such as the American Association for Geodetic Surveying and the National Society of Professional Surveyors to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Read journals and magazines about the geodetic surveying profession, which can be found through the Surveying Engineering section of Penn State University Libraries' Web site: http://guides.libraries.psu.edu/c.php?g=378978&p=2568678. Look for the "Geodetic" file on the Web page.
Attend conferences and events to meet surveying professionals and learn more about the profession. Find upcoming events on the National Geodetic Survey's Web site, https://www.ngs.noaa.gov/INFO/conferences.shtml.
Visit https://www.aagsmo.org/category/job-postings for job listings.