If you like hands-on work, a career as a land surveyor could be an ideal choice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, land surveyors had median annual earnings of $37,900 per year in 2012. For students on a tight budget or with limited time to attend classes, an online degree can be a good option.
Choosing an Online Degree
Online degrees aren't right for everyone. You'll need to be highly self-motivated and prepared to work without someone standing over you. You'll also need regular access to a computer with a strong Internet connection, and sufficiently strong technology skills to regularly log into and participate in classes. Not all online schools are accredited, so be sure to check the accreditation status of your school before you apply or enroll.
Getting Hands-On Training
Land surveying is a skilled trade that requires plenty of hands-on experience -- something you'll miss with an entirely online degree program. Consequently, it's wise to seek out land surveying internships and independent study programs or to apprentice under a skilled land surveyor. Your school may also offer in-person instruction or require that you complete hands-on projects before you can graduate.
Land Surveyor Curriculum
Your degree will straddle the fields of law, engineering and natural resources. You'll need a basic understanding of land usage law, and may also take courses on public contracts or construction law. You'll also take courses on land surveying, writing land descriptions, drafting and technology in land surveying. You may also take classes on preservation of natural resources or surveying specific areas, such as coastal waterways.
Land Surveying Colleges
Many schools offer some courses online, and a few offer an entire degree program online. For example, St. Cloud State University offers land surveying programs both online and on-campus, and students can choose which option they prefer. Oklahoma State University offers its land surveying degree online, and Westwood College offers an online land surveying associate degree.
- Stark State College: Skills Needed for Online Learning
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Surveying and Mapping Technicians
- Oklahoma State University: Surveying Technology
- University of Wyoming: Land Surveying Courses and Descriptions
- St. Cloud State University: Land Surveying and Mapping Sciences
- Westwood College: Associate Degree -- Surveying
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