Surveyors generally need a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree to break into the field, so attending a school that offers four-year degrees or higher is important. Choosing a college or university that offers a dedicated program for licensed surveyors also makes sense, although a degree in forestry or civil engineering may suffice with some employers. Attending a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is also a plus.
The career path for a surveyor may vary slightly by state, but the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying recommends four steps for students considering careers as surveyors. The first step is to complete the level of education required by the state in which the student wishes to work. This varies by state but usually requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The student must then pass the Fundamentals of Surveying exam and then work under an experienced surveyor for a sufficient period of time. The final step is passing the Principles and Practice of Surveying exam.
Students interested in becoming surveyors should also work on communication, problem-solving, technical and time management skills. Students should also become physically fit, since surveyors often walk long distances for several hours in rugged terrain as part of the job description.