Depending on the specific job duties, surveying involves both field work and office work. Field work involves working outdoors, standing for long periods, and often walking long distances. Surveyors sometimes climb hills with heavy packs of surveying instruments and other equipment. When working near hazards such as traffic, surveyors generally wear brightly colored vests or reflective material so they may be seen more easily. When working outside, they are exposed to all types of weather.
Traveling is often part of the job, and surveyors may commute long distances or stay at a project location for an extended period of time. Those who work on resource extraction projects may spend long periods away from home, as they must work in remote areas.
Surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree due to greater use of sophisticated technology and mathematics. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs specifically designed to prepare students to become licensed surveyors. Many states require that a bachelor’s degree come from a school accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). A bachelor’s degree in a closely related field, such as civil engineering or forestry, is sometimes acceptable as well.
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Many states require individuals who want to become licensed surveyors to have a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by ABET and about 2 years of work experience under a licensed surveyor. In other states, an associate’s degree in surveying, coupled with several years of work experience under a licensed surveyor may be sufficient. The amount of work experience required varies by state. Most states also have continuing education requirements.