What are the Requirements for Australian Professional Land Surveyors?

It might seem hard to believe, but without land surveyors, Australia would still be underdeveloped in its infrastructure. Land surveyors are a critical cog in the development of waterways, roadways, bridges, sewage systems, commercial properties, railroads and the homes we live in.

 A surveyor is a professionally trained engineer who uses advanced technology combined with geological study and techniques pioneered 3,000 years ago in Egypt. They must complete educational and vocational training to become licensed to practice in Australia and in specific providences and/or cities.

Becoming a professional or certified land surveyor in Australia goes much further than simply checking off educational boxes. It’s a highly detailed and competitive industry that requires advanced knowledge with mathematics, geology, science and exceptional problem-solving skills. Nonetheless, the process for becoming a licensed land surveyor in Australia can be completed through due-diligence and hard work.

In the information below, we’ll outline the steps required to become a professional and certified land surveyor in Australia.

What is the Job of a Land Surveyor?

A land surveyor is an individual that begins the development and planning of any major infrastructure or construction project. They provide the baseline information for building roads, bridges, agriculture, businesses, waterways, power plants, and commercial or residential properties. Their primary task is to review the lay of the land, with regards to the elevation of dirt, proximity to water, or anything that may impede the development of any construction project.

Land surveyors complete onsite scans of property or location using surveying equipment, GPS satellite technology, locating equipment and surveying techniques to determine if a site is suitable to build or develop. Once they receive this data, they complete reports and forward the information to developers, engineers, planners, and geologists, who use the information to plan multiple projects.

People best qualified for this type of position are those who are strong with mathematics, enjoy working outdoors, have a solid background with IT and other technology equipment. Successful candidates must possess exceptional time-management skills, show attention to detail and are great problem solvers.

How Does a Land Surveyor Spend their Time?

Land surveyors spend time in offices and outdoors. They record the shape and demographics of marine and land resources on-site, then return to an office to complete reporting that is sent to their clients for review. They also review land and property boundaries, review commercial and residential properties for code compliance and work with government agencies on their projects.

Surveyors create charts, maps, graphs and other reporting tools to explain the detail to their clients. Those who hire land surveyors use this data to begin the planning process. Without their valuable data, buildings would not be built on solid ground, waterways and sewage systems would fail to work correctly and our homes would not be stable. 

Educational Path to Becoming a Land Surveyor

Aspiring land surveyors have two options to become certified in Australia. They can complete vocational training through a specialty educational program focused on technical trades, or with a University bachelor’s degree at the minimum, plus on-the-job training as an intern. 

Of the two options, the vocational training program provides the most efficient roadmap to success. There are multiple reasons for this. First, vocational training also includes practical job experience to become a surveyor technician or a survey assistant. Second, many technical schools work with the larger government or private agencies who hire in-house surveyors to complete projects for them on a full-time basis.

Additionally, attending a technical program provides candidates a more affordable educational track, so they can continue into TAFE or technical and further education, which is required before actual surveying training begins. The drawback to this type of program is that a candidate can’t become a fully licensed or certified land surveyor. They must complete a secondary college education degree in undergraduate or postgraduate studies.

Most college degree programs are focused on surveying, spatial science, geographic information systems, or geospatial science. Once they graduate, they can proceed to the certification and licensing process.

What is the Registration and Licensing Process for Becoming a Land Surveyor?

The process of becoming a licensed land surveyor varies based on the states or territories the candidate applies. Generally, they are licensed by the territory Surveyor’s Board, which includes exams, interviews, and often a technical project completed through an internship program. Once they have received certification or registration, they can be recognized by all states and territories in Australia due to a mutual recognition system. The only requirement to transfer certification to different territories or states is to pay an application and registration fee.

What is are the Employment Opportunities for Land Surveyors?

There will always be a need for land surveyors. Generally, land surveyors can work with residential, commercial or government clients. They are involved in the pre-development process for mining, engineering, construction, infrastructure, and private development projects.

Why Should You Consider a Career in Land Surveying?

Most vocational or technical career candidates consider pay and job security as their primary rationale for choosing a career. Those choosing land surveying as a career will find both criteria to their liking. These careers pay well and offer good job security. It’s best for those who enjoy working outdoors, love learning and has exceptional self-motivation and management skills.

Careers can range from the private sector, working for large corporations, government contractors, or independent contractors owning their own land surveying sub-contracting business. Land surveyors should also consider insurance options. Click here for more information.