For many professions, new technology or updated laws can make old methods or training obsolete. This is particularly true for land surveyors, who must keep up-to-date with current practices for land surveying. With the advent of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other new technology to make mapping and surveying easier, this is even more important. As the technology changes quickly, surveyors must stay on top of these changes, incorporating the new methods into their work.
The requirements for continuing education for professional land surveyors vary from state to state. It is very unusual that no continuing education would be required. Most states have a set number of hours that must be completed every year or every two years.
To find out the continuing education requirements that apply in your state, contact the board in charge of licensing land surveyors in your state. Generally, for practicing as a land surveyor one must hold a bachelor’s degree in land surveying or a related field and pass a professional examination. Some on-the-job training under a licensed land surveyor may also be required. After initial registration, the requirements do not stop. In most states, the re-registration period is very two years.
While the bachelor’s degree in Land Surveying provides the general knowledge necessary to become a land surveyor, as well as an overview of the accepted methods at the time the coursework is presented, this information is constantly changing. The purpose of continuing education is to keep land surveyors abreast of these changes.
The number of hours of such training required varies greatly, anywhere from just a couple to twenty or more. Some states give broad latitude as far as the subject of the course, as long as it relates at least somewhat to land surveying; others outline exactly what types of courses may be taken to meet this requirement. Failure to meet these continuing education requirements will result in no longer being licensed as a land surveyor. If you move to a different state, you may need to complete additional continuing education, or submit proof of programs already completed.
Continuing education opportunities are available through professional organizations, such as the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Although membership in a professional land surveying organization is not a requirement for licensing, it can be a very valuable source for meeting continuing education requirements, as many programs are only open to members of the organization. They may also be offered directly through your state licensing board, or as non-credit courses through colleges and universities offering a program in land surveying or a related field. Some may even be offered online, making it much easier for professional land surveyors to fit such classes into their schedule. When selecting applicable courses, land surveyors may want to seek their employer’s approval; some employers may even pay for such courses themselves.
The updated knowledge land surveyors receive through such programs allows clients and customers to feel confident that they are dealing with someone who knows how to conduct land surveying in today’s society. Outdated information and old technology, on the other hand, is usually not as accurate as today’s methods, and may not meet minimum surveying requirements as set out by the state in which a land surveyor is practicing.