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Career and Education Opportunities for Survey Technicians in Bismarck, North Dakota

If you want to be a survey technician, the Bismarck, North Dakota area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 320 people are currently employed as survey technicians in North Dakota. By 2016, this is expected to grow 16% to about 370 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%. 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.

Income for survey technicians is about $15 per hour or $32,210 yearly on average in North Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $16 hourly or $35,120 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Surveying, people working as survey technicians in North Dakota earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Surveying nationally. Jobs in this field include: stake driver, survey crew chief, and party chief.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Bismarck where you can study to be a survey technician, among six schools of higher education total in the Bismarck area. 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 studying to be 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 Bismarck 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.
  • 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

Bismarck State College - Bismarck, ND

Bismarck State College, 1500 Edwards Ave, Bismarck, ND 58506-5587. Bismarck State College is a small college located in Bismarck, North Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,788 students. Bismarck State College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated two and one students respectively 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: Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota photo by Bobak

Bismarck is situated in Burleigh County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 60,389, which has grown by 8.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bismarck, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bismarck are valued at $168,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred fifty-nine new homes were built in Bismarck, down from two hundred seventy the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Bismarck are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and health care. The average commute to work is about 14 minutes. More than 29.4% of Bismarck residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bismarck is 2.7%, which is less than North Dakota's average of 3.2%. About 8.4% of Bismarck's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Bismarck residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.8%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Bismarck is home to Pioneer Park and Riverside Park. Shopping malls in the area include Kirkwood Plaza Shopping Center, Northbrook Shopping Center and Gateway Mall. Visitors to Bismarck can choose from Americinn Lodge & Suites, Super 8 of Bismarck and Ramada Inn for temporary stays in the area.