Surveyors
17-1022.00

Make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.

Sample of reported job titles: City Surveyor, County Surveyor, Land Surveyor, Mine Surveyor, Registered Land Surveyor, Surveyor

Also see: Geodetic Surveyors

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Verify the accuracy of survey data, including measurements and calculations conducted at survey sites.
  • Direct or conduct surveys to establish legal boundaries for properties, based on legal deeds and titles.
  • Prepare, or supervise preparation of, all data, charts, plots, maps, records, and documents related to surveys.
  • Prepare and maintain sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.
  • Write descriptions of property boundary surveys for use in deeds, leases, or other legal documents.
  • Search legal records, survey records, and land titles to obtain information about property boundaries in areas to be surveyed.
  • Coordinate findings with the work of engineering and architectural personnel, clients, and others concerned with projects.
  • Establish fixed points for use in making maps, using geodetic and engineering instruments.
  • Calculate heights, depths, relative positions, property lines, and other characteristics of terrain.
  • Adjust surveying instruments to maintain their accuracy.
  • Train assistants and helpers, and direct their work in such activities as performing surveys or drafting maps.
  • Record the results of surveys, including the shape, contour, location, elevation, and dimensions of land or land features.
  • Determine longitudes and latitudes of important features and boundaries in survey areas, using theodolites, transits, levels, and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Compute geodetic measurements and interpret survey data to determine positions, shapes, and elevations of geomorphic and topographic features.
  • Analyze survey objectives and specifications to prepare survey proposals or to direct others in survey proposal preparation.
  • Testify as an expert witness in court cases on land survey issues, such as property boundaries.
  • Plan and conduct ground surveys designed to establish baselines, elevations, and other geodetic measurements.
  • Develop criteria for survey methods and procedures.
  • Survey bodies of water to determine navigable channels and to secure data for construction of breakwaters, piers, and other marine structures.
  • Direct aerial surveys of specified geographical areas.
  • Conduct research in surveying and mapping methods, using knowledge of photogrammetric map compilation and electronic data processing.
  • Determine specifications for equipment to be used for aerial photography, as well as altitudes from which to photograph terrain.
  • Develop criteria for the design and modification of survey instruments.
  • Locate and mark sites selected for geophysical prospecting activities, such as efforts to locate petroleum or other mineral products.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.
In demand
In Demand skills are frequently included in employer job postings for this occupation.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Telephone — 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Very important.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 45% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Contact With Others — 42% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 43% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Important results.”
  • Letters and Memos — 61% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 55% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 62% responded “40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 55% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 42% responded “About half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 45% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 32% responded “Very important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 29% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Consequence of Error — 32% responded “Very serious.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 32% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Level of Competition — 55% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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Knowledge

  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 42%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 32%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required
  • 16%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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Interests

Interest code: RCI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$29.62 hourly, $61,600 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
50,000 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Little or no change
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
3,800
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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