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Survey/Mapping Sciences

What is a Surveyor?

Surveyors and Mapping Technicians use surveying, engineering, and scientific data to determine and identify fixed points or boundaries; prepare maps for legal and design purposes; and provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, or dimension of land or land features for construction, mining, land evaluation, and other purposes.  Surveyors use GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) in their work.  Work is outdoors using the surveying equipment in the field as well as in offices using computers and filing reports.

Where do Surveyors work?

Survey technicians are employed by engineering, surveying, architectural, mining, and utility companies throughout the United States, as well as by Federal, State, and local government agencies. These companies and agencies, in turn, provide their services primarily to the construction, mining and extraction, real estate sales, defense, and geological and geographical mapping industries.  Surveyors are often employed by consulting services both large and small, or work as freelance professionals.

What do Surveyors earn?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, with California earnings considerably higher, surveyors starting salaries are in the fifteen to nineteen dollars per hour range.  Job openings in both the private (engineering, environmental or consulting firms) and public (cities, counties, utilities or the state) are plentiful and start with good salary levels with increases for LSIT (Land Surveyor in Training) and (LS) Land Surveyor state certification.

How can I become a Surveyor?

The successful graduate of the Santiago Canyon College Survey and Mapping Sciences program will have the technical expertise necessary for an entry level position in the fields of Geographic Information Systems, Land Surveying, and Digital Photogrammetry. The program also assists those students preparing for the State Land Surveyor-In-Training and, after the required work experience, the Land Surveyor Exams. The State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors will grant one year of the required work experience credit for students completing an Associate Degree Survey and Mapping Sciences.

What skills do I need to be a Surveyor?

A math aptitude is helpful, but what you need is taught in the program.  Other skills include liking to work outdoors, a willingness to travel to different locations, working with others as a team in the field, preparing reports using data, an appreciation for exactness when scoping locations -- all of those are helpful.  Everything you need to know on the job is taught in the classroom and practiced with the equipment during field or lab time.  

How do I get started?

Begin by registering for Plane Surveying 118, the first course in the program series offered every fall semester. Students will be assessed for their math levels and be assisted in catching up if they need to do so to make sure they are ready at the very beginning of the program to learn what they need to be a surveyor.