Why Surveying as a Career?

If you are looking for a career that can offer professional licensure, great employment prospects, and competitive pay, look into surveying!


People often think that surveyors only work outside and conduct fieldwork, which is certainly part of a surveyor’s duties. However, surveyors can choose from a variety of specialties and job roles ranging from simple property research in an office through complex boundary resolution, subdivision platting, construction surveying and more. While much of a surveyor’s work is done in the field, there is also an equally important office component to survey work. Once the fieldwork is complete, the data must be analyzed and is often utilized for the creation of maps, plats, legal descriptions and other documents. The need for both field and office efforts provides opportunities for diversity across workloads, schedules, project types, and more.


Today’s surveyors use cutting edge technology to collect and analyze data. High precision GPS equipment, 3D laser scanning systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) and intricate geographic information systems challenge surveyors to apply increasingly complex technology to measure and map our world.


Surveyors occupy a respected position among professionals in Idaho, and compensation for licensed surveyors and land surveying para-professionals has continued to grow enormously. A salary survey conducted by the Idaho Department of Labor in 2017 found an average annual salary of $63,800 for Licensed Land Surveyors in Idaho. Today this is estimated to be closer to $80,000. Licensed surveyors often start their own profitable business or move into upper management positions and partnerships that can exceed salaries of $100,000.


Idaho is currently experiencing a shortage in professional land surveyors partly due to increasing development and anticipated retirements of the aging workforce. Job opportunities will be numerous.

What Surveyors & Surveying Technicians Do?

What Surveyors Do

Surveyors are responsible for a very important part of life as we know it today. In fact, the history of land surveying dates back thousands of years when ancient civilizations utilized surveying to establish individual plots of land. Today, surveyors still utilize many of those same techniques to carry on the important work of precisely measuring and delineating property boundaries, creating new parcels of land, mapping the earth’s surface, and more.

Work Environment

Many surveyors will attest that the best part of their jobs is the ability to work outdoors. For others, an office setting is preferred. One of the great things about land surveying is that both field and office work are important parts of the profession, and many surveyors have the opportunity to choose between the field, the office or a combination of the two.

How to Become a Surveyor

Licensed surveyors typically need a bachelor’s degree, and they must be licensed before they can certify legal documents and provide professional surveying services to the public. Alternately, non-licensed surveying technician roles can vary from entry-level positions with a survey crew to crew management and beyond, all under the supervision of a licensed land surveyor.

What Surveying and Mapping Technicians Do

Alongside licensed surveyors, surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth’s surface. Technicians often have the very important responsibility of conducting initial analysis of field data and preparing preliminary maps for evaluation by a licensed surveyor.

Work Environment

Surveying technicians often spend a majority of their time working outdoors, while mapping technicians often work primarily in an office setting. Most surveying and mapping technicians work for firms that provide engineering, surveying, and mapping services on a contract basis. Local governments also employ these workers in highway and planning departments.

How to Become a Surveying or Mapping Technician

Surveying technicians usually need a high school diploma. However, mapping technicians often need formal education after high school to study technology applications, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


The median annual wage for surveying and mapping technicians nationwide was $46,200 in May 2020.

Local Information

Idaho State University

Information, getting started, what to expect, cost, requirements, registration, and links

Lewis and Clark Community College

Information, getting started, what to expect, cost, requirements, registration, and links

Idaho Department of Labor

National Society of Professional Surveyors

Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors

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