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Career and Education Opportunities for Surveying Technicians in Tempe, Arizona

If you want to be a surveying technician, the Tempe, Arizona area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 700 working surveying technicians in Arizona; this should grow 17% to 820 working surveying technicians in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for surveying technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 20.4% over the next eight years. In general, surveying technicians calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

Income for surveying technicians is about $21 hourly or $44,370 per year on average in Arizona. Nationally, their income is about $16 per hour or $35,120 annually. Incomes for surveying technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Surveying in Arizona, and not quite as good as the overall Surveying category nationally. People working as surveying technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: photogrammetric technician, aerial photograph interpreter, and global position system technician .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Tempe where you can study to be a surveying technician, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Tempe area. Given that the most common education level for surveying technicians is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a surveying technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Surveying Technician

In general, surveying technicians calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

Surveying technicians trace contours and topographic details to generate maps that denote specific land and property locations and geographic attributes. They also produce and update overlay maps to show data boundaries and topographic features on various base maps and at different scales. Finally, surveying technicians compare topographical features and contour lines with images from aerial photographs and other reference materials to confirm the precision of their identification.

Every day, surveying technicians are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to prioritize information for further consideration.

It is important for surveying technicians to monitor mapping work and the updating of maps to insure accuracy, the inclusion of new or changed data, and adherence to rules and regulations. They are often called upon to identify and compile database data to generate maps in response to requests. They also check all layers of maps to insure accuracy, identifying and marking errors and making corrections. They are sometimes expected to decide on scales and colors to be used for hard copies of computerized maps, using plotters. Somewhat less frequently, surveying technicians are also expected to redraw and correct maps.

They also have to be able to form three-dimensional images of aerial photographs taken from different locations, using mathematical techniques and plotting instruments and identify and resolve anomalies in legal land descriptions, referring issues to title and survey experts as appropriate. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of staff working on plotting data or producing blueprints, photostats, and photographs.

Like many other jobs, surveying technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Tempe include:

  • Cartographer. Collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data. Research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, and design purposes. May work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). May design and evaluate algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems.
  • Civil Draftsman. Prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.
  • Survey Technician. Adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.
  • Surveyor. Make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, and other purposes.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Surveying Technician Training

Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix College, 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Phoenix College is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,917 students. Phoenix College has 2 areas of study related to Surveying Technician. They are:

  • Surveying Technology/Surveying, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Cartography, less than one year which graduated 11 students in 2008.


ACSM Hydrographer Certification: ACSM - THSOA Hydrographer Certification is well-recognized and considered by many Federal, State and local agencies as well as private firms, seeking subcontractors when evaluating technical proposals for marine engineering, surveying, and construction.

For more information, see the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping - National Society of Professional Surveyors website.

Certified Survey Technician: This four-level certification program for surveying technicians throughout the United States indicates official recognition by NSPS-ACSM that a person has demonstrated that he or she is minimally competent to perform surveying tasks at a specified technical level.

For more information, see the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping - National Society of Professional Surveyors website.

Certified Photogrammetric Techonologist: This certification is designed for technicians who perform or supervises technical photogrammetric tasks to extract spatial data from photographic or digital imagery and other remotely-sensed data.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Certified GIS/LIS Technologist: This is certification is for technicians who integrate a variety of spatial data sets into a GIS format designed for graphic output or analysis.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Highway Surveys: This certification program is for engineering technicians involved in field and/or office aspects of highway surveying.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.


Tempe, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona photo by File Upload Bot

Tempe is situated in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 175,523, which has grown by 10.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tempe, 95, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Tempe cost $163,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-three new homes were constructed in Tempe, down from one hundred seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tempe are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is accommodation and food services, educational services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 39.6% of Tempe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tempe is 7.5%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Tempe residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tempe is home to the Casa Fiesta Travel Trailer Resort and the Fair Lanes Village Center as well as Birchett Park and Hudson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arizona Mall of Tempe, Arizona Mills Mall and Baseline Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Tempe can choose from Motel 6, Executive Suites Extended Stay and Best Western Nova Plus Test Property for temporary stays in the area.