There are approximately 45,220 surveyors employed in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 70 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, oil and gas extraction companies, and public utilities. Only a small number of surveyors are self-employed.
Apprentices with a high school education can enter the field as equipment operators or surveying assistants. Those who have postsecondary education can enter the field more easily, beginning as surveying and mapping technicians.
College graduates can learn about job openings through their schools' career services offices or through potential employers that may visit their campus. Many cities have employment agencies that specialize in seeking out workers for positions in surveying and related fields.
Experienced workers advance through the leadership ranks within a surveying team. Workers begin as assistants and then can move into positions such as senior technician, party chief, and, finally, licensed surveyor. Because surveying work is closely related to other fields, surveyors can move into civil engineering or specialize in drafting.
Tips for Entry
Read journals and magazines about the surveying profession, which can be found through the Surveying Engineering section of Penn State University Libraries' Web site: https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/c.php?g=378978&p=2568678.
Join professional associations such as the National Society of Professional Surveyors to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Search for job listings on professional associations' Web sites, on social media sites such as LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/professional-land-surveyor-jobs), and through online employment sites such as Indeed.com and Monster.com.