Surveyor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Surveyor, or Property Surveyor, is responsible for measuring property lines and surveying properties. Their duties include overseeing a survey team, using specialized equipment to measure land boundaries and creating maps or charts for employers to review.

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Surveyor Duties and Responsibilities

Surveyors use evaluation and problem-solving skills to complete the required job tasks. Surveyors have the following responsibilities:

  • Use measurements of surveying equipment to determine property lines and boundaries
  • Research additional information about a property through titles, survey records and land records
  • Present land information and details to new property owners or investors
  • Settle legal disputes regarding property ownership
  • Record accurate property lines and plots with the local land use authorities
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What Does a Surveyor Do?

Surveyors typically work for construction companies, government agencies and engineering companies to survey plots of land and draft land blueprints. They work closely with field staff to inspect land for commercial or residential properties and with Civil Engineers to help them visualize the dimensions for a plot of land. Their job is to come up with criteria for surveying plots of land. They may also be responsible for referencing existing property records to settle disputes between Landowners.

Surveyor Skills and Qualifications

Surveyors need certain skills to succeed in their role, including:

  • Communication: Surveyors must have excellent written and verbal skills to communicate with city employees, clients and legal council.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to solve problems is crucial in Surveyors, as they constantly deal with problems in such tasks as planning a real estate project or identifying who owns what portion of a property.
  • Mathematics: Mathematical skills are necessary for Surveyors to complete fast and accurate calculations.
  • Project management: Detailed organization and time management skills help Surveyors work on multiple projects simultaneously.

Surveyor Salary Expectations

The average yearly salary for a Surveyor is $16.79 per hour. Surveyor salaries may range between $7.25 and $47.25 per hour, depending on the type of employment, geographical location and the experience of the Surveyor. Here are some examples of other salary factors:

  • A Surveyor may choose to work on a part-time or contractual basis rather than full-time. 
  • A Surveyor with a lot of experience working for a real estate lawyer can expect to earn a higher wage than an entry-level surveyor who works for the local government. 
  • Some Surveyors will spend the majority of their workweek in an office, whereas others will work primarily in the field.

Surveyor Education and Training Requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is often required to work as a Surveyor. Some aspiring Surveyors will complete a surveying program that teaches them how to operate surveying equipment and make data calculations. Other students might complete a degree in a related industry like civil engineering. 

All states require that a Surveyor be licensed before working. To become licensed, aspiring Surveyors must complete their education and then work under the supervision of a licensed Surveyor. Then, they must successfully complete the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying test. Licensed Surveyors must attend continuing education to keep their license.

Surveyor Experience Requirements

Surveyors gain experience while working under a licensed Surveyor. The required amount of time will vary, depending on the state. Some states require them to work under a licensed Surveyor for a minimum of 10 years before becoming licensed. Hiring managers may prefer to hire a licensed Surveyor and train additional Surveyors at the same time.

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Frequently asked questions about Surveyors


What is the difference between a Land Surveyor and a Quantity Surveyor?

Both Land Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors work for construction companies or Contractors, but they differ in their job focus areas. Land Surveyors measure land plots using specialized equipment to determine the size of the plot of land and any variations in ground gradients. Using the information they collect, they speak with their clients about their findings and provide them with blueprints of the land so they can start the construction process.

Quantity Surveyors review land blueprints and determine the amount of time, labor and resources needed to complete a construction project within a client’s budget. Quantity Surveyors consult with Land Surveyors to determine the scale of a building project in relation to the size of a plot of land and gradient.


What are the daily duties of a Surveyor?

On a typical day, a Surveyor starts by reviewing their schedule. They meet with their field team to relay their goals for the day and help their team load work trucks with surveyor equipment. Throughout the day, they travel to one or more plots of land with their team, set up their equipment, delegate specific tasks among their team members and make sure everyone stays focused so they can finish their job within a set timeframe. 


What qualities make a good Surveyor?

A good Surveyor is someone who has a great deal of physical stamina. This allows them to walk long distances to undeveloped plots of land and allows them to carry field equipment to desired locations. They have excellent mathematical capabilities and always look for ways to enhance their skills by taking certification courses or participating in training programs. Further, a good Surveyor knows how to use computer software to finalize blueprints and draft reports about land plots. 

A good Surveyor also knows how to use various field equipment to conduct their job responsibilities in an accurate manner.


Who does a Surveyor report to?

Surveyors report to different roles depending on their job environments. For example, Surveyors working as freelance professionals on a contractual basis likely report directly to their clients. In contrast, Surveyors working for government agencies, or construction companies may report to the Director of Land Surveying.

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