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Career and Education Opportunities for Surveying Technicians in El Paso, Texas

If you want to be a surveying technician, the El Paso, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 9,710 people work as surveying technicians in Texas. This is expected to grow by 22% to about 11,800 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for surveying technicians are expected to grow by about 20.4%. Surveying technicians generally calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

Surveying technicians earn about $14 per hour or $30,170 yearly on average in Texas and about $16 per hour or $35,120 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for surveying technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Surveying in Texas and not quite as good as general Surveying category earnings nationally. People working as surveying technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: draftsman, geodetic computator, and hydrographic surveyor.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the El Paso area, including one within twenty-five miles of El Paso where you can get a degree to start your career as a surveying technician. Given that the most common education level for surveying technicians is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, it will take about two years to learn 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 El Paso 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

New Mexico State University-Main Campus - Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico State University-Main Campus, 2850 Weddell Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001. New Mexico State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,198 students and an admission rate of 61%. New Mexico State University-Main Campus has a bachelor's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated four students 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: El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas photo by Camerafiend

El Paso is situated in El Paso County, Texas. It has a population of over 613,190, which has grown by 8.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in El Paso, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in El Paso are priced at $150,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 2,521 new homes were built in El Paso, down from 2,666 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in El Paso are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 18.3% of El Paso residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in El Paso is 8.7%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of El Paso residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 63.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Holiness Church, El Divino Redentor United Methodist Church and El Paso Catholic Church are some of the churches located in El Paso. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

El Paso is home to the Wyler Aerial Tramway and the Old Fort Bliss as well as Travis White Park and Feather Lake Wildlife Refuge. Shopping centers in the area include Las Palmas Shopping Center, NorthPark Shopping Center and Cielo Vista Shopping Center. Visitors to El Paso can choose from Holiday Inn El Paso, Best Western Airport Inn and Allstate Motel for temporary stays in the area.