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How to Become a Land Surveyor in Michigan

How to Become a Land Surveyor in Michigan

If you have a knack for mathematics, an eye for detail, and a love for the outdoors, a career as a land surveyor in Michigan may be the perfect fit for you. Land surveyors play a crucial role in determining property boundaries, creating topographic maps, and providing valuable data for construction projects. In this article, we will explore the steps required to become a land surveyor in Michigan and provide answers to some frequently asked questions about this rewarding profession.

Education and Training Requirements

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: While a high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to become a land surveyor, most professionals in this field hold a bachelor’s degree in surveying or a related field. Accredited programs in surveying and geomatics engineering are offered by several universities and colleges in Michigan, providing a comprehensive education in the principles and practices of land surveying.

2. Gain Practical Experience: Hands-on experience is crucial to becoming a successful land surveyor. Many aspiring surveyors acquire practical training through internships or entry-level positions at surveying firms. This allows them to develop their skills under the guidance of experienced professionals and learn about the latest surveying equipment and technologies.

3. Complete the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) Exam: After completing a bachelor’s degree and gaining practical experience, aspiring land surveyors must pass the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam. This exam, administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), tests the applicant’s knowledge in mathematics, surveying principles, and other fundamental areas of the profession.

4. Accumulate Work Experience: Once the FS exam is passed, aspiring land surveyors must work under the supervision of a licensed surveyor for a specific period, typically around four years. During this time, they gain practical experience in various aspects of land surveying, honing their skills and expanding their knowledge base.

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5. Pass the Professional Surveyor Exam: After completing the required work experience, aspiring land surveyors must pass the Professional Surveyor exam. This exam, also administered by the NCEES, evaluates the applicant’s competency in advanced surveying topics, such as land law, boundary determination, and geodesy.

Licensure and Certification

To practice as a professional land surveyor in Michigan, individuals must obtain a license from the Michigan State Board of Professional Surveyors. The licensure requirements include a combination of education, experience, and successful completion of the FS and Professional Surveyor exams.

Additionally, becoming certified by the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) can enhance your professional credentials and provide networking opportunities within the industry. The MSPS offers several certifications, including Certified Survey Technician (CST) and Certified Professional Surveyor (CPS).


Q: How long does it take to become a licensed land surveyor in Michigan?
A: The process of becoming a licensed land surveyor in Michigan typically takes around eight to ten years. This includes completing a bachelor’s degree, gaining work experience, and passing the required exams.

Q: Are there any continuing education requirements for licensed land surveyors in Michigan?
A: Yes, licensed land surveyors in Michigan are required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours to maintain their licenses. The exact requirements may vary, but it is generally around 30 hours every two years.

Q: What is the average salary of a land surveyor in Michigan?
A: The average salary of a land surveyor in Michigan varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and level of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for land surveyors in Michigan was $65,140 as of May 2020.

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Q: What skills are essential for a successful land surveyor?
A: Apart from a strong understanding of mathematics and surveying principles, successful land surveyors possess excellent problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work both independently and in a team. Good communication skills and proficiency in using surveying equipment and software are also essential.

Q: Can I start my own land surveying business in Michigan?
A: Yes, licensed land surveyors in Michigan have the option to start their own surveying business. However, it is important to familiarize yourself with the legal and business requirements, including obtaining the necessary permits and insurance, before venturing into entrepreneurship.

In conclusion, becoming a land surveyor in Michigan requires a combination of education, practical experience, and successful completion of licensing exams. By following the outlined steps and acquiring the necessary skills, aspiring surveyors can embark on a fulfilling career in this dynamic field.

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