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Qualifications for Land Surveyors

Land surveying is a very rewarding and exciting career path - with no two days exactly the same. Land surveyors get the best of both worlds sharing their working day between the outdoors and the office. In this article and guide we shall look at land surveying qualifications and how you can get them. 

Land Surveying Qualifications at College

Land surveyors require several qualifications before they can practice as land surveyors in the USA. The land surveying qualifications required vary between states - however are essentially the same.

The first step to gaining land surveying qualifications is to go to college. Most land surveyors do a four-year college degree in land surveying or related subject such as geomatics or spatial science. Students who take other related majors such as engineering or mathematics may also be eligible to apply for land surveying qualifications.

Land Surveying Work Experience

Qualifications to become a Land SurveyorBefore becoming a licensed land surveyor you must first undertake several years of work experience on top of your college land surveying qualifications.

The actual number of years of work experience varies from state to state, however most states require at least four years land surveying work experience prior to being able to sit the examinations.

There are a wide range of industries where you can gain land surveying work experience including government agencies, real estate and engineering companies.

The next step to gaining land surveying qualifications is sitting the licensing exams - which we shall look at in more detail below.

Land Surveying Examinations

It is not easy to become a licensed land surveyor, and before being allowed to work independently as a licensed land surveyor you must first sit several examinations. To gain your land surveying qualifications you must sit both state and national examinations - the requirements vary depending on the state you live in.

The first examination you must sit is the Fundamentals of Survey exam. This is a national test for land surveyors and must be sat after completion of a college degree and before starting work experience. The test is held every April and October and once you have passed it you will progress to the land surveying qualification of 'surveying intern' (LSI).

Once you have completed your work experience you are able to take the next examination - the Principles and Practice of Surveying. By passing this exam you are eligible to sit state licensing examinations to become a licensed land surveyor. This exam is also held every April and October each year.

The final step in gaining your land surveying qualifications is sitting the state licensing exam. There are different requirements for each state, however the majority require you to sit and pass a written exam. In many states the final exam is the same and is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

Once you have passed this examination you have achieved all of your land surveying qualifications and can work as a professional land surveyor.

In many states you are required to keep your land surveying qualifications up to date by sitting refresher exams every several years.

Also See Focus on Land Surveying Continuing Education

Where to Study for Land Surveying Qualifications

There are dozens of colleges across the country that offers land surveying courses. Not everyone chooses to do a four-year college degree prior to becoming a land surveyor, and in many cases people may work within the land surveying industry without ever becoming a professional land surveyor.

There are many career paths within land surveying that may be of interest to you including land surveying technicians. Land surveying technicians do not require such as rigorous amount of study and most people are able to start working after a two-year college degree.

If you are interested in studying a course in land surveying you will need to have a strong academic background, specifically in the areas of mathematics and physics. A large amount of land surveying qualifications are based around mathematics so for your best chance of entry into the college of your choice you should be able to demonstrate a solid knowledge of the subject.

The easiest way to find land surveying courses in the USA is by searching on the internet. All major colleges have their own website that can provide you with all of the information you need including course content and entry requirements.


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