Land Surveying Master's Degree Programs

Specialized training offered through a master's degree program in land surveying can help you advance your career in this field. Read on to find out more about program coursework and the availability of online degrees, as well as licensing requirements, certification options and possible careers. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Learn in a Master's Degree Program in Land Surveying?

Graduate degree programs land surveying, or more specifically, geomatics or geographic information systems, focus on a range of traditional and innovative surveying practices and technologies. You can expect to take courses and labs that include hands-on surveying projects for businesses, government agencies and other organizations. Typical courses cover the following topics:

  • Surveying and mapping
  • Topographic map reading
  • Geographic information systems
  • Global positioning systems
  • Cadastral mapping databases
  • Photogrammetric surveying and remote sensing
  • Geodetic surveying
  • Digital mapping

Common Courses Geographic information systems, digital mapping, geodetic surveying
Online Availability Commonly available online
Licensing/CertificationState licensure required for surveyors; certifications (voluntary) offered by the NSPS and ASPRS
Possible Careers Surveying and mapping technician, cartographer, land use planner, photogrammetrist
Median Salary (2018)* $64,430 (for photogrammetrists and cartographers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*19% (for photogrammetrists and cartographers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

There are some online programs that are designed for surveying professionals who want to continue working while earning a master's degree to advance a career. Online land surveying master's degree programs usually combine synchronous coursework with surveying fieldwork or projects. Generally, the coursework offered online is the same as the instruction provided in a classroom setting.

Do I Need to Be Licensed or Certified?

Every state licenses land surveyors and requires that you pass a series of exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveying (NCEES). Most states also mandate that you pass a separate exam given by the state's surveyor licensing agency. Some states require surveyors to hold degrees from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET). Voluntary certifications are available from the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Land surveyors map the planet's surface, measure land boundaries and analyze geographic data provided by surveys and photos. After earning a land surveying master's degree, you can work as a surveyor, photogrammetrist, cartographer, land use planner or natural resource manager. Surveyors are employed by mapping and architectural firms, engineering companies and utilities. You could also look for employment with local, state and federal government agencies that oversee highways, redevelopment, urban planning and land management.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for surveyors was expected to increase 11% from 2016-2026. However, the growth of online mapping services and the need for maps by government agencies, researchers and businesses bode well for photogrammetrists and cartographers' job prospects. A 19% employment growth was projected for these professionals during the same 10-year period (www.bls.gov).

The BLS reported a median annual salary of $62,580 for surveyors as of May 2018, while photogrammetrists and cartographers took home an average of $64,430 annually.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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