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Career and Education Opportunities for Surveyors in Columbia, Maryland

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for surveyors in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 1,310 working surveyors in Maryland; this should grow 23% to about 1,600 working surveyors in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for surveyors, which sees this job pool growing by about 14.9% over the next eight years. In general, surveyors make exact measurements and determine property boundaries.

The income of a surveyor is about $26 hourly or $55,360 per year on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 hourly or $52,980 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Surveying, people working as surveyors in Maryland earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Surveying nationally. People working as surveyors can fill a number of jobs, such as: registered land surveyor, professional land surveyor, and topographical surveyor.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a surveyor, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Surveyors usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a surveyor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Surveyor

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

In general, surveyors make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. They also 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.

Surveyors verify the precision of survey data including measurements and calculations conducted at survey sites. They also design criteria for survey methods and procedures. Equally important, surveyors have to analyze survey objectives and specifications to ready survey proposals or to direct others in survey proposal preparation. They are often called upon to train assistants and helpers, and direct their activities in such activities as performing surveys or drafting maps. They are expected to establish fixed points for use in making maps, using geodetic and engineering instruments. Finally, surveyors adjust surveying instruments to maintain their accuracy.

Every day, surveyors are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they deal with basic arithmetic problems.

It is important for surveyors to survey bodies of water to establish navigable channels and to secure data for building of breakwaters and other marine structures. They are often called upon to conduct research in surveying and mapping methods using knowledge of techniques of photogrammetric map compilation and electronic data processing. They also direct aerial surveys of specified geographical areas. They are sometimes expected to decide on requirements for photographic apparatus to be used for aerial photography, as well as altitudes from which to photograph terrain. Somewhat less frequently, surveyors are also expected to train assistants and helpers, and direct their activities in such activities as performing surveys or drafting maps.

Surveyors sometimes are asked to direct or conduct surveys to determine legal boundaries for properties, on the basis of legal deeds and titles. They also have to be able to decide on longitudes and latitudes of important features and boundaries in survey areas using theodolites and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS) and locate and mark sites selected for geophysical prospecting efforts such as efforts to identify petroleum or other mineral products. And finally, they sometimes have to adjust surveying instruments to maintain their accuracy.

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

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia 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.
  • Landscape Architect. Plan and design land areas for such projects as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.
  • 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.
  • Surveying Technician. Calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Surveyor Training

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

Geographical Information Systems Professional: The GISP certification program was founded on the principle that real-world work experience combined with education and professional association activities could serve as a proxy for a comprehensive exam on the basics of geographic information science and technology (GIS&T).

For more information, see the GIS Certification Institute 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.

LICENSES

PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR

Licensing agency: Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Address: Board of Land Surveyors, 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone: (410) 230-6265
Website: Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Board of Land Surveyors

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.