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Career and Education Opportunities for Survey Technicians in San Diego, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for survey technicians in the San Diego, California area. About 4,100 people are currently employed as survey technicians in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 12% to about 4,600 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for survey technicians are expected to grow by about 20.4%. Survey technicians generally adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.

The income of a survey technician is about $26 per hour or $55,900 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $16 hourly or $35,120 yearly on average. Survey technicians earn less than people working in the category of Surveying generally in California and less than people in the Surveying category nationally. Survey technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: stake setter, instrument operator, and staker.

The San Diego area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can get a degree as a survey technician. Given that the most common education level for survey technicians is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a survey technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Survey Technician

Survey Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, survey technicians adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.

Survey technicians adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms and electronic distance-measuring equipment. They also maintain equipment and vehicles used by surveying crews. Equally important, survey technicians have to perform manual labor, such as cutting brush for lines and other heavy items, and stacking rods. They are often called upon to collect data needed to carry out new surveys using source maps, previous survey data and other relevant data. They are expected to place and hold measuring tapes when electronic distance-measuring equipment is not used. Finally, survey technicians operate and oversee land-information computer systems, performing tasks such as storing data and producing plots and reports.

Every day, survey technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for survey technicians to position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that theodolite operators use for sighting to measure angles and elevations. They are often called upon to direct and supervise work of subordinate members of surveying parties. They also conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth's surface and underwater using electronic distance-measuring equipment and other surveying instruments. Somewhat less frequently, survey technicians are also expected to run rods for benches and cross-section elevations.

and perform calculations to establish earth curvature corrections, atmospheric impacts on measurements, traverse closures and adjustments and placement of markers. And finally, they sometimes have to compare survey computations with applicable standards to establish adequacy of data.

Like many other jobs, survey technicians must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Diego 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.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Surveying Technician. Calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.
  • 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: Survey Technician Training

Cuyamaca College - El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pky, El Cajon, CA 92019. Cuyamaca College is a medium sized college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,926 students. Cuyamaca College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated one, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has a one to two year program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.