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Career and Education Opportunities for Surveyors in Houston, Texas

If you want to be a surveyor, the Houston, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 4,920 jobs for surveyors in Texas and this is projected to grow by 25% to about 6,130 jobs 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.

A person working as a surveyor can expect to earn about $25 hourly or $53,270 yearly on average in Texas and about $25 per hour or $52,980 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for surveyors are better than in the overall category of Surveying in Texas, and better than the overall Surveying category nationally. People working as surveyors can fill a number of jobs, such as: professional land surveyor, professional surveyor, and registered surveyor.

There are eighty-one schools of higher education in the Houston area, including two within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree to start your career as a surveyor. 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 Houston 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

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has a less than one year program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated seven students in 2008.

University of Houston - Houston, TX

University of Houston, 212 E. Cullen Building, Houston, TX 77204-2018. University of Houston is a large university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 36,080 students and an admission rate of 79%. University of Houston has a bachelor's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated three 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

LAND SURVEYOR

Licensing agency: Texas Board of Land Surveying
Address: 7701 N. Lamar, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78752

Phone: (512) 452-9427
Website: Texas Board of Land Surveying

LOCATION INFORMATION: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.