How to Become a Land Surveyor

Do you like solving complex issues and have good IT and math skills? If yes, consider a career as a land surveyor. Land surveyors measure and map the shape of the land through a combination of traditional instruments and digital technology for civil engineering and construction projects.

What Do Land Surveyors Do?

Your duties and skills as a land surveyor may include the following: feasibility studies, geospatial measurement, geomatics, geomechanics, and computer-aided design (CAD). 

The National Career Service lists the following set of skills aspiring land surveyors have to master before they can earn formal qualification and enter the job market:

  • Awareness of surveying technology and computer-aided design programmes 
  • Excellent Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills
  • Strong analytical skills and creative approach to problem solving 
  • Knowledge of health and safety standards and environmental regulations
  • The ability to prioritise and plan effectively
  • The ability to work accurately and team-working skills

Entry Requirements and Qualifications Needed

Land surveyors need a degree to qualify for the job. The degree can be in any of the following specialisations - surveying, civil engineering, geomatics and geographical information science - but it must be accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)Here you can search for RICS-accredited courses by specialism, region, study mode, and course level. 

Those who already have a non-accredited degree can take a postgraduate program in surveying. This program can be taken at either an accredited university or as part of a trainee scheme with an employer. If you already work in engineering or construction, you can take a distance learning postgraduate conversion course with the College of Estate Management (CEM).

Land surveyors must update their skills on a regular basis to stay competent and competitive in the job market. A good way to do this is through working towards chartered status with the RICS or The Chartered Institute of Building's (CIOB) Faculty for Architecture and Surveying. To qualify for chartered status with RICS, you will need to have two years' of relevant postgraduate experience and pass an interview with a panel of assessors.

As a land surveyor you may need a driving license to be able to travel to different construction sites.  

Hours and Income

As a land surveyor, you will be expected to work about 35 to 40 hours a week and may need to start early and finish late to meet deadlines. The job will be a combination of office work and on site travels and you may have to stay away from home overnight during some projects. 

The following are the estimated salary levels for land surveyors, according to the National Career Service:  

Land Surveyor Salaries



New Surveyors



Experienced Surveyors



Employers and Career Development

Land surveyors can be employed by central and local governments, construction, engineering, and property development companies, specialist surveying firms, financial institutions, and Ordnance Survey of Great Britain.

With experience, you will have the choice of becoming an overall project manager, contract manager, specialising in one particular aspect of surveying, or working as an independent consultant. 

For current job vacancies in land surveying, visit one of the following websites: