Hello guys, I have finished my education in my native country (Romania). I have a B.A. and M.A. in geography and I can say that about 30-40% of what I have learned is somewhat related to surveying. Unfortunately the school system is also not very good in Romania (school can be quite expensive and the quality is not as good as it used to be), so I have decided to move here in the U.K.

My only problem is that a degree here is about 20.000 pounds (that is how much I have to pay for a level 7 postgraduate diploma in land surveying). I am honestly interested in becoming a trainee surveyor and I will take any sort of job that is suitable for a beginner. A land surveying assistant job will be more than enough for me.

I am kind of frustrated about the cost of education in the U.K. however I have the option of taking a level 3 ProQual certificate in engineering surveying for a total cost of about 5000 pounds. If I will go for the ProQual certificate I can actually spend more resources on IT courses and CAD courses so what is the best option for me? spending 20.000 pounds on a degree or just going for a level 3 certificate and educating myself in IT and CAD? I am honestly interested in learning what is the best option for becoming an assistant surveyor. Most ads need graduates with some AutoCad and Office knowledge.

Right now I am studying level 1 CAD and Level 2 IT and I am also taking online lessons in CAD. I am basically learning as much as I can at a reduced cost. It is kind of a frustrating battle to think about and I know that a lot of people have been going through the same agonizing thought process (because of the large sums of money involved in higher education). What is your opinion on this subject? To be honest I really believe that higher education is really a scam because in the old days becoming a surveyor was not something that required high end degrees, at least not in my native country. People used to learn this job in the army or local high schools back in the day.

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Fundamentally it all boils down to where precisely you want your career to take you.

In simple terms it is not necessary to spend so much time in higher education, chasing degrees in order to work as a land surveyor. I spent four years, studying 1 day per week to gain technical qualifications whilst learning the job in depth and from first principals in the field alongside a small group of highly skilled former mine surveyors, none of whom had a degree.

Now whilst this "vocational" route has worked well enough for me, having been fully employed in the UK and Ireland for almost 30 years, it can present a number of challenges if you want to climb the managerial ladder. The fact remains that in the UK most if not all employers and particularly the top civil engineering contractors continue to focus their efforts in respect of recruitment and development on university graduates.

In short, if you want to be a good surveyor then the best place to learn is in the field alongside a good surveyor and your existing qualifications may well be adequate to get your foot in the door. If you want to be a successful mamager (I don't say "good" as management doesn't actually work like that) then it's reasonable to suppose that the cost and time involved in a university education is a good investment.

I know which route I prefer.

I agree... the idea is to get into the job and work for a year or two. After 1.5 years of work I can at least cover 50% of the cost for a university degree but spending 3 years in the warehouse just to get a degree (considering that I already have a degree in Geography) seems a bit too much, however if I have to do 3 years in an unrelated field just to get a degree I will do it. Thanks again to all for all the information.  

Octavian,

I am not sure how to equate the education you already have to the system I am familiar with here. The biggest hurtle for us is a BS degree. Once you have that, the only thing that limits how far you can go is your ability. It does not have to be specifically a land surveying degree but registration boards often require specific course content, which you can get later. It appears that you are already pretty well educated. Big thing is get your foot in the door & start the process. Talk to the officials that regulate the registration board. The professors at the University I went to had a saying, "Be kind to your "C" students, you might wind up working for one of them". The graduate engineering students said (somewhat tongue in cheek), "the definition of a college professor is one that is educated well beyond their I.Q.". I actually had some great professors but couldn't resist a bit of humor.

In Romania I can use my degree to become a surveying technician. It is mostly about getting into the job. The problem is that here in the U.K. the educational system is also stiff but not as stiff as in my native country. If I can get my foot in the door and work for one or two years I can invest in a higher degree and it would be much easier for me. I have respect for higher education institutions and I know that the U.K. has the best Universities in the entire world however I also like to learn alone and I am confident that I have enough resources to pull it off alone. In any case the situation is not really as bad as it was when I was in my home country... I can at least achieve my goals here.

As mentioned above, it would definitely be worth having a talk with RICS as, even if you went to the expense and trouble of obtaining another degree the RICS qualification - i.e. Chartered Land Surveyor - is the highest you can aspire to (at least in the UK), so why not start now?

Well, yes & no. You could go on to get a PHD in something like geodetic science. You could also get a dual degree. There are a number of surveyors out there that are a member of the Bar & practice law.

Buna Dimineata!

Education is always a positive. A smart person can figure out many things, but an educated person will have been exposed to them before, and will know how to find the answer.

My suggestion to you is this:  Continue your education in a small incremental manner. Take classes as you work in the profession.  Do not go into debt.  As you work and learn, your goals will grow and change.  This is good, the ultimate goal is to find the career that will be best for you.

Mult noroc!

-James Stafa

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