Surveying and Mapping Technicians


Employment Prospects


Approximately 53,030 surveying and mapping technicians are employed in the United States. About 60 percent of technicians find work with engineering or architectural service firms. The federal government also employs technicians to work for the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Forest Service. State and local governments also hire surveying and mapping technicians to work for highway departments and urban planning agencies. Construction firms and oil, gas, and mining companies also hire technicians.

Starting Out

Those entering surveying straight from high school may first work as an apprentice. Through on-the-job training and some classroom work, apprentices build up their skills and knowledge of the trade to eventually become surveying and mapping technicians.

If you plan to attend a technical institute or four-year college, check out your school's career services office for help in arranging examinations or interviews. Employers of surveying technicians often send recruiters to schools before graduation and arrange to employ promising graduates. Some community or technical colleges have work-study programs that provide cooperative part-time or summer work for pay. Employers involved with these programs often hire students full time after graduation.

Many cities have employment agencies that specialize in placing technical workers in positions in surveying, mapping, construction, mining, and related fields. Find these services through an online search as well as through local newspaper postings.

Advancement Prospects

Possibilities for advancement are linked to levels of formal education and experience. As technicians gain experience and technical knowledge, they can advance to positions of greater responsibility and eventually work as chief surveyor. To advance into this position, technicians will most likely need a two- or four-year degree in surveying and many years of experience. Licensing requirements for surveyors vary by state, requiring varying amounts of experience, schooling, and examinations.

Regardless of the level of advancement, all surveying and mapping technicians must continue studying to keep up with the technological developments in their field. Technological advances in computers, lasers, and microcomputers will continue to change job requirements. Studying to keep up with changes combined with progressive experience gained on the job will increase the technician's opportunity for advancement.

Tips for Entry

Learn more about what surveyors do by reading interviews with surveyors and finding other helpful resources at https://beasurveyor.com.

Join professional associations such as the National Society of Professional Surveyors to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office.