Land Surveyor Community Forum

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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  • 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

  • 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.

  • Hello Octavian,

    Are you aware that the principal body for land surveying in the UK is the RICS? With a BA and MA in Geography with - as you state - 40% surveying content you should be eligible to register as a candidate for their Assessment of Professional Competence in the Geomatics pathway, eventually to qualify as a Chartered Land Surveyor.

    As you state you are prepared to work as a trainee, you could also consider the Associate route which many applicants take as it enables them to obtain an internationally recognised qualification first (AsocRICS) and then progress to Chartered status.

    Contact them at: (or send me a message if you want some further help).

    Best off luck.

  • Education is always worth the effort, it is unfortunately, expensive these days.  Here, in the US, the thing that mainly separated the profession of surveying from a tradesman such as a party chief or a layout man was knowledge of boundary law & making decisions based on the science of measurements. That is rapidly changing with the advancements in measuring techniques using geodesy & GPS.

     You have decisions to make. First you have to find out what the requirements are for registration. Here, in the State of South Carolina, there are no education or license requirements to work on a survey crew.  A Land Surveyors License requires a BS degree with surveying emphasis, several years of field experience & you must pass two exams. After you pass the surveyor in training exam & get more experience, you take the final PLS or RLS Exam. I have no knowledge of what is required in England. You also have to decide if you want to be a tradesman or a registered professional. I wouldn't worry too much about CAD unless you want to be a draftsman. I have been using CAD since sometime in the 80's. I have never taken a CAD course & never used AUTO CAD. My plats are as good & as pretty as anybodies. It is your decision in the final analysis. Once you gather all the information, you have to decide what you want & if you want to do what it takes to get there. You don't have to do it all at once, you can work while you are learning. Most things that are worth anything are not easy.

     Good luck & hope this helps. 

    • First of all I want to thank all of you for your support. It is really about getting into the job and working in this field for at least a year or two (after one or two years of work in the industry I can invest in a level 7 degree).

      I am the kind of person that likes to learn alone. I am committed to learning but the frustrating thought of working for years in an unrelated field just to get a level 7 degree to get into the job seems a bit crazy and this is what I wanted to clarify with this post. I know that I may sound a bit nerdy but even training opportunities were not really common in my country and here there are so many training opportunities and job opportunities that the only real problem is to prioritize.  

      • Dear Octavian,

                               You can try in your neighbor country where the opportunity has.Please try your best.And you will achieve your goal.

                                                   Best of luck.

                                                                                                                               With regards

                                                                                                                         Tuhin mukherjee


      • Dear Octavian,

                               In my opinion since you complete graduation in Geography so you can do the survey work.But first  you get job in survey company in your home town.Then you get experinnce in survey.Land Survey is good profession.go ahead.

  • Bottom line YES. Whether it is surveying, geomatices, geospatial, GIS, or what ever. I shows you have commitment and you are able to learn without even opening your mouth. There is ALWAYS going to be the exception but by enlarge, GET a degree.


    I have a Bachelors from Fresno in Geomatics Engineering from 22 years back and I can honestly say I have NEVER regretted getting it. I have lots of regrets but that is not even remotely close to being on the list. It has open doors many times through me career. 

    BIG CAVEAT. Do your best to not take out student loans. Apply for scholarships, grants and WORK. Heck take 8 years to get a 4 year degree. Do not go above 5-15K in loans. 

    Become a lawyer specializing is boundary land because that is where surveying is going anyway.

    Go gett'm.


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