The Life Is Good Company has a tag line that says: "Do what you like. Like what you do". And you may have heard other quotes to the same effect—things like “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (or Jill a dull girl).” But what if you could turn your play into your work?
We don’t know too many folks who can make a living as geocachers; but some of the reasons you continue to pursue geocaching as a hobby are the same indicators for success as a land surveyor: you like being outside, you like working with other people and you enjoy processing technical information. (Do you get excited when you hear any of these words: geodesy, cadastral system, photogrammetry, topography, GPS, GIS?). Whether you are a student considering post-high school options, a businessman ready for a career change or a homemaker ready to re-enter the workforce, you may be able to leverage your geocaching skills into a surveying career.
According to the University of Maine: “The Bureau of Land Management is expected to have several hundred openings in the next few years. Engineering and surveying consulting firms also have a large need for graduates. Within four to ten years, graduates are usually employed in management positions as licensed surveyors, certified photogrammetrists, or licensed engineers. Many alumni have their own consulting firm.” In a field where the average age is mid-fifties, the surveying field is ripe for new blood. Your experience and expertise as a geocacher may just be an opportunity for a whole new career.
If you ask someone what a surveyor does, chances are you’d get an answer something like “Aren’t they those guys with the orange vests and the tripods on road construction sites?” And while that answer isn’t wrong, it’s only part of the picture. Here’s a description from the website www.landsurveyor.us: “Surveyors mark the boundaries of land, create maps and legal descriptions, and plan and organize the development of property.”
There are as many career paths for surveyors as there are surveyors! Surveyors can choose to work as: construction surveyor, boundary surveyor, hydrographic surveyor, geodesist, GIS analyst, photogrammetrist or forensic surveyor to name just a few.
When considering a land surveyor program at an educational institution be certain that any program you choose—either a two or four year program, is accredited by ABET, Inc., the accreditation board governing college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology in the United States.
Currently, there are more than three dozen surveying education programs across the country. Surveying programs can be found within engineering departments or also listed as geomatics programs. Degree options include everything from two year Associate Degrees to four year Bachelor of Science Degrees. Expect curriculum concentrations in engineering, science and math (especially geometry, physics and trigonometry) with a smattering of history, AutoCAD, and communication classes.
Here is a list of several helpful websites to get you started on your new career search:
Originally published September, 2009