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Frequently Asked Questions

What interests bring people to a career in Land Surveying?
People choose this career for the opportunity to work on projects outdoors in a career that is active but not extremely hazardous. Many enter because they are interested in maps and geography, and many enter because they want to make use of education they already have in mathematics or drafting.

Are there jobs in this field?
Yes, we have always had excellent job placement, even during economic slow times. Put simply, everyone who wants a job gets a job.

What kinds of jobs are these?
Most of our graduates go to work in outdoor jobs, which involve two-person crews and total station and GPS equipment. Major tasks involve topographic map-making, property boundary marking, and construction staking. A few persons go directly to computer-aided drafting jobs, which involve map-making, site-plans, and interpretation of property line descriptions.

Do these jobs involve travel and being away from home?
This varies depending on the employer and the types of project that employer takes on. A person should expect an occasional out-of-town job that involves camping or staying in a hotel during the week; however, in some job assignments, every project is local.

How much money do people make?
In 2004 the average wage for graduates is $16 per hour, ranging from $14 to $21.

Who are your employers?
Most of our people go to work for Surveying and Engineering consulting firms within Washington State . A minority go to work for government agencies, typically City and County governments. For employers, look under Surveyors, Land in the Yellow Pages.

How much money do people eventually make?
Typical job advancement moves people from entry level to party chief in two to four years, at which time they earn between $18 and $27 in current dollars. Professionals-in-training typically earn $50,000 per year, and licensed professionals earn between $50k and $100k.

What is the license, and will I have one when I graduate?
The Professional License is administered by the Department of Licensing and is considered a significant professional goal, comparable to becoming a Certified Public Accountant. A person must have eight years of experience (including related education) to be eligible. The Land Surveyor-in-Training exam is available after four years. Many graduates of this program are now licensed.

How good is job placement after one year?
Those who leave after the first year also have favorable placement rates in many of the same entry-level jobs as second-year graduates, at only slightly lower wages.

Why take the second year?
The second year greatly improves job-advancement and provides the understanding to help the graduate on a professional career track. It also opens the door to direct placement in office jobs.

Can I take just the second year?
We very rarely recommend a person be placed directly in the second year of the program. The first year provides a technical foundation that even persons who have worked in the field for some time still need. However, there are exceptions. It should be understood that it is not possible to get the degree without having taken the first year.

What must I do to complete degree?
You must complete both years of the program and take the four General Education courses listed in the catalog. Transfer credit is often accepted for Gen Ed as well as the mathematics courses within the program (161, 2, 3 and 261, 2, 3).

Can I transfer and go on for a Bachelor's Degree?
Several graduates of our program have transferred to Oregon Institute of Technology to complete the Bachelor's degree in this field. Other options used successfully are the transfers to City University or DeVry University . We are willing to explore other schools with persons desiring specific transfers. Transfer of credit is at the discretion of the receiving institution and must be consistent with their program objectives in order to apply toward their degrees.

When can I enter the program?
There is only one entry point for both years, and that is the beginning of fall quarter in mid-September. It is important not to miss that opportunity.

Why can't I enter the program at other times?
The knowledge and skills learned all through this program build on each other, and a person would be lost if entering at a time other than the beginning.

What if I just want to take one course?
In special situations we allow a person to take a single course if they have the background to succeed in that course. The stand-alone evening courses in Land Development Desktop and Autocad (Drafting Program) are enduringly popular.

Can I work while I go to school?
The program is taught as a block, from 8AM to 2:30 PM daily, and it is not practically possible to arrange the class schedule around work. Many persons work after school. In June of the First year, and extending to the start date of the Second year, students are encouraged to work internships in the Surveying profession, and more than half of our students do, usually at an entry-level wage (see above). This internship often paves the way to permanent employment after graduation.

It's been a long time since I last took math, or, I never took it…Can I succeed?
Math is considered by many to be the most difficult part of this program, but it is also a core proficiency. Land Surveying requires the use of a greater variety of math on a regular basis than most other careers. Our 160 and 260-series courses start at the beginning of algebra and tour trigonometry and algebra, ending in introductory Calculus. If a student did well in high school algebra, even quite a few years ago, it will come back. We do not recommend for a person to enter this program, however, without at least a score of 40 on the numerical skills portion of the Compass test. Those who must devote the most study to math during the program are those who never took algebra before.

Is Land Surveying part of Civil Engineering?
No; however, the two fields share some common skill-sets and goals. It is quite common for Civil Engineering and Surveying services to be offered by the same company, as both are needed for the completion of many projects. Surveying and Engineering require separate education and licenses. Engineering is primarily an art and science of design; whereas, surveying is an art and science of measurement, map-making, and information management. In short, Engineers use the maps provided by Surveyors, and Surveyors interpret and mark field locations for the designs made by Engineers.

What is Geomatics ?
This is a term that is commonly used in schools as an alternative name for Land Surveying. It is intended to imply a broader scope of knowledge than previously conceived for the term Land Surveying (which has expanded greatly in recent years). We choose to retain the old name in order to provide the widest recognition in the community.

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