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Career and Education Opportunities for Surveyors in Bismarck, North Dakota

For those living in the Bismarck, North Dakota area, there are many career and education opportunities for surveyors. There are currently 170 working surveyors in North Dakota; this should grow 23% to about 210 working surveyors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for surveyors are expected to grow by about 14.9%. Surveyors generally make exact measurements and determine property boundaries.

Surveyors earn about $21 hourly or $43,940 yearly on average in North Dakota and about $25 hourly or $52,980 annually on average nationally. Incomes for surveyors are better than in the overall category of Surveying in North Dakota, and better than the overall Surveying category nationally. People working as surveyors can fill a number of jobs, such as: county surveyor, geodesist, and land measurer.

There are six schools of higher education in the Bismarck area, including one within twenty-five miles of Bismarck where you can get a degree to start your career as a surveyor. The most common level of education for surveyors is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a surveyor if you already have a high school diploma.


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 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.
  • 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.


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.


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.


Engineers/Surveyors (Dual Registration)

Phone: (701) 258-0786
Website: ND State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors

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.