How to Become a Survey Technician

How to Become a Survey Technician

Interested in discovering the lay of the land—literally? Then a career as a survey technician could be right for you.

Land surveying is an essential practice that a landowner carries out before building a new property. Survey technicians are responsible for visiting construction sites to take measurements and gather the information needed for future construction or development. They determine the boundaries of the site and set out stakes and marks along the property line to conduct surveys.
Survey technicians typically work for firms that provide engineering, surveying, and mapping services on a contractual basis. Sometimes they work for the highway and planning departments of local governments.

To learn more about how to become a survey technician, read on!

What does a survey technician do on a daily basis?

Some common daily tasks that are part of the survey technician job description include:

  •  Visiting sites to record survey measurements
  • Collecting data by operating surveying instruments, such as electronic distance-measuring equipment 
  •  Setting out stakes and marks to conduct a survey
  • Searching for previous survey points, and more

What skills would a surveying and mapping technician need?

In addition to mastering the hands-on skills listed above, it’s important for prospective survey technicians to possess decision-making skills, listening skills, problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and physical stamina. Survey technicians often work outdoors, so there should also be a comfort level with working in all types of weather.
A related job to a survey technician is a mapping technician. These professionals create maps using the data provided by survey technicians, and typically work in an office setting.

What is a survey technician salary?

When researching how to become a survey technician, one of the most important considerations is salary. The median annual wage for surveying and mapping technicians was $47,180 in May 2022. Highly experienced workers can earn as much as $77,310 with advanced survey technician training and/or mapping technician training.

Job outlook for survey technician jobs

The job outlook for surveying and mapping technicians is a positive one.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032. And with 7,800 openings for surveying and mapping technicians projected each year, it’s no wonder more and more workers are interested in how to become a survey technician. 

Surveying technician education requirements

What degree do you need to survey? That depends on the employer and job requirements for the specific position. 
Surveyors need a minimum of a high school diploma. As a next step, many go on to earn a Surveying Technician Credential and then advance through on-the-job land survey technician training.
Some choose to earn a land surveyor degree, such as a Construction and Environmental Technology degree

Survey technician training at TC3

If you’re interested in how to become a survey technician or how to become a land surveyor, Tompkins Cortland Community College has the program for you!

Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, TC3 offers a Surveying Technician Credential program that allows students to become a surveying technician in as little as two semesters! TC3’s microcredential was created in partnership with the City of Ithaca Public Works, City of Cortland, FYT Fuels, and Tompkins Workforce New York.

TC3’s program prepares students for entry-level survey technician jobs in such industries as public works, construction, and more. Courses in the program are designed to provide students with an understanding of fundamental surveying theory, the use of traditional and modern surveying equipment, and beyond. This credential can also be applied towards TC3’s Construction and Environmental Technology degree

Learn more about TC3’s Surveying Technician Credential and our other community college programs today!