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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Land Surveying

Majors Overview December 10, 2013

Those interested in a career involving land surveying and mapping may be interested in an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program that prepare students through coursework in field surveys, construction, and data. A state license is required for a career in surveying.

A.A. Programs in Land Surveying

Schools commonly offer associate degree programs under the nomenclature of an Associate of Applied Science in Land Surveying. Students enrolled in the program are required to work outdoors engaging in the collection of data, conducting field surveys, studying construction plans and participating in other survey assignments. Students are taught about modes of producing practical sketches in communicating project outcomes. Those who enroll in the program may use the courses in preparation for the licensure exam conducted by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).


Coursework is devised to provide scholars with the ability to become familiar with and adept at using AutoCAD, and in technical writing, drafting and land surveying. Additional coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Performing in field surveys
•Drainage and geology
•Topographic surveying
•Border laws and surveying
•Computer processing and electronic mapping

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2008, there were about 77,000 surveying and mapping technicians and about 57,600 surveyors employed in the U.S; (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Between 2008 and 2018, a job growth of 15,700 positions has been predicted for surveying and mapping technicians with a corresponding increase of 8,600 positions projected for surveyors (BLS). In May 2009, surveying and mapping technicians earned an average annual wage of $37,190, while surveyors earned an average annual income $54,180 during the same time span.

Continuing Education Choices

Professional land surveyors in every state of the country are required to obtain licensure before being allowed to practice their profession. Applications for licensure typically require completion of required education, passage of the fundamentals of surveying (FS) exam, completion of about four years of supervised work experience on the watch of a licensed surveyor and passage of the principals and practice of surveying (PS) exam. Passage of state examinations may also be mandatory. While education requirements may vary according to the state, surveyors aspiring for licensure are advised to find out the specific education requirements from their local state board.

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