Survey Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Survey technicians assist surveyors and other mapmakers in obtaining and computing data relevant to measuring the Earth's features. They may work for a construction company, municipality or state government. Their job typically requires a bachelor's degree in surveying as well as licensure from the state in which they want to work.
Survey Technician Job Description
Survey technicians help measure and map the Earth's land and other natural features. They collect field data to report back to surveyors and other mapmaking professionals. Most of their data collection is captured through global positioning or geographical information systems. Whether they're working indoors or outdoors, survey technicians gather vital data used for the creation of topographical maps.
Survey Technician Job Duties
Survey technicians set up, adjust and operate the equipment used at surveying job sites. They measure, record and calculate data based on readings from those instruments. They lie out and recover markings, stakes and other such signifiers at work locations. They help create drawings and computer images of the locations they're assigned to. They may also assist in directing other members of surveying teams.
Requirements of a Survey Technician
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that many employers require survey technicians to have earned a bachelor's degree in the field (www.bls.gov). A number of universities offer surveying programs, which teach the principles of the field, as well as the technology behind it. Students learn how to collect data, create maps and manage survey projects.
According to the BLS, technician jobs are typically entry-level positions for surveyors with formal education. As they learn skills on the job, they may be able to advance to a senior technician. Further advancement awaits those with significant work experience or certification in the profession. Voluntary certification as a Certified Survey Technician is available through the National Society of Professional Surveyors.
Every state requires survey technicians to be licensed, although licensing specifics may differ slightly. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) outlines a 4-step national licensing process that prospective survey technicians generally follow. They must first complete the appropriate level of education, which can range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree. Passing a Fundamentals of Surveying exam is next, followed by gaining the necessary amount of work experience, which is usually four years. With field experience, technicians must then pass the NCEES' Principles and Practices of Surveying exam.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS projected jobs for survey technicians to grow 16% from 2010-2020, which was close to the average for all other careers. Advances in mapping technology will be the primary reason for job growth. As of May 2012, surveying and mapping technicians earned an average wage of $42,680 annually, according to the BLS.
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