Surveyors: Salary Overview
Surveyors determine a property’s boundaries by making precise measurements.
They can also provide data about the shape and contour of the Earth’s surface- data that is used in engineering, mapmaking, and construction projects.
A surveyor’s job description includes traveling to a location, measuring distances and angles between different points on, above, and below the Earth’s surface, researching land records, recording the results, preparing plots and maps, and presenting their findings to clients.
There are several types of surveyors depending on their field of expertise.
Engineering and construction surveyors perform measurements in order to determine the exact location of a building or a road and proper debts for the building’s foundations.
Boundry and land surveyors help determine the exact location of a real estate or construction project and the legal property boundaries.
Forensic surveyors travel to accident scenes where they survey the land for potential landscape effects.
Geodetic surveyors measure large areas of the Earth’s surface with the use of high-accuracy technology.
Mine surveyors map and survey underground and surface mines.
Marine or hydrographic surveyors determine shorelines, water debt, and other features.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for surveyors was $63,420 a year as of May 2019.
This means that half the workers in this profession were below this level and half were above.
The 25th percentile is $47,750, which means that 75% of workers in this profession earned a salary that was above this level.
Factors that can determine how much a surveyor earns are: experience, education, additional certifications, skills, but also the local economy and industry of employment.
The lowest 10 percent made less than $36,110 per year while the highest 10 percent made more than $104,850 a year.
As an entry-level surveyor, you will most likely earn a salary that is close to the minimum for this profession but your salary will increase as you perfect your skills and gain a few years of experience.
Surveyor Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveyors held about 49,200 jobs in 2018, most of them working for companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services.
Architectural and engineering companies offered a median annual wage of $66,540 for surveyors.
Local governments hired approximately 2,500 surveyors as of May 2019 and paid them, on average, with $69,940 a year.
Approximately 1,600 surveyors worked for state governments and earned, on average, $82,450 a year.
Surveyors who worked in the field of the highway, street, and bridge construction earned, on average, $67,790 per year.
The field of management, scientific, and technical consulting services hired approximately 620 surveyors and paid them, on average, with $67,730 per year.
The highest annual salary was reported by surveyors who worked in the field of natural gas distribution, an industry that paid them, on average, with $93,810 per year.
However, there are only a few surveyors employed in this field, and finding employment at a natural gas distribution company can be hard.
Salaries for surveyors can also vary depending on the time of the year.
During warm months, when construction activity is high, surveyors may work more hours and earn higher wages.
Job Prospects for Surveyors
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of surveyors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Surveyor services will continue to be needed to certify boundary lines, and review sites for construction.
However, their job prospects can vary season by season and region by region, depending on local economic conditions.
When construction activity is slow, surveyors can face strong competition for jobs.
Surveyors who are specialized in multiple surveying fields and have a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) should have the best job prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Surveyors. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.