Become a Surveyor

What a Land Surveyor Does

Hiring a Professional Land Surveyor should be done prior to any division or transfer of property and prior to the design and/or installation of property improvements. A surveyor will:

  • Discuss what type of survey you need and how it will be used.
  • Collect all the necessary data for the survey, such as: deeds, maps, easements, highway plans, etc.
  • Find or set boundary corners and measure between them. Measurements are compared to those in the deeds and maps. Buildings, fences and other pertinent structures may also be located.
  • Furnish you with as many copies of the plat as may be required at the time of the survey, all bearing a certificate and seal.
  • Serve as an expert witness, on behalf the survey, if testimony is desired by the court.


Requirements to be a Land Surveyor

In Wisconsin a surveyor must be licensed to perform property surveys. The skills needed include technical competency, knowledge of contemporary and historic legal principals, strong communication skills and the ability to problem solve.

Each state has its own surveying licensure requirements. Most require a combination of education and experience. Wisconsin's requirements are explained in Wis Administrative Code A-E 6.

There are two different education and experience paths to become licensed in Wisconsin:

  1. Completion of an accredited four year land surveying program or an accredited four year Civil Engineering program plus two years of experience.
  2. Associates Degree In Land Surveying, or a related degree which includes at least 12 credits in Surveying, plus four years of experience.

Not just any surveying experience counts toward licensure. Land surveying concerns property boundaries, therefore most of the qualifying experience must be in that area. Specific practice areas are defined in Wis Administrative Code A-E 6.03

All methods of licensure also require succesful completion of two written examination. These are the Fundamentals of Land Surveying and the Principals and Practice of Surveying, each eight hours long.

Another method to gain Wisconsin licensure is through reciprocity. Reciprocity is the granting of a license based on the same licensure from in another state. For example, a professional surveyor in Michigan could apply for a Wisconsin licensure. The requirements of the originating jurisdiction must be the same as or more strict than Wisconsin's. Often the applicant is required to take at least the state portion of the PPS exam to demonstrate familiarity & knowledge of Wis laws and practice.


Colleges/Programs

These Wisconsin Technical Colleges offer qualifying Associate Degrees.

Program Faculty at these Technical Colleges can explain Wisconsin's licensing requirements and provide guidance on starting your academic journey. They can also arrange a class visit so you can see what Surveying students are learning.

There are no four-year programs in Wisconsin (yet) but qualifying degrees are offered by these schools in neighboring states:

Many of the Technical College Associate Degree programs have articulation agreements with some of these four-year programs.


Is Surveying for me?

A good way to find out is to job shadow. Visit a local Surveyor and ask about what he/she does. You may be able to work with a Surveyor or crew for a day to get an idea of the career variety. If you don't know a Surveyor, contact a local WSLS Chapter or one of the schools - they can help set up a job shadow for you.


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