Explore surveying as a career

Michigan State University and 4-H can help you prepare for the surveying career field.

When I was working on my bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University several years ago, my friend Julia majored in civil engineering. I thought about her recently when a local newspaper printed a story about “Surveying the career for outdoor work” and then thought about ways Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development could help young people develop skills if this job or career path is of interest.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates surveying technicians, also called mapping technicians, assist surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists. Those are some new words for you! Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect, analyze and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs and satellite data. They may also research, study and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, political, educational and design purposes. People in these jobs may work with geographic information systems (GIS), design and evaluate algorithms, data structures and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems. Wow – how would that sound on a business card?

Do you like math, using techy devices or geography? Do you enjoy being outdoors? If so, this career field might be for you. The need for surveyors is projected to grow 14 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surveying technicians must have a high school diploma. Additional post-secondary training is beneficial for those who may aspire to other opportunities. At MSU, this career field falls under the College of Engineering in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development offers a variety of educational opportunities that could be of interest to someone interested in exploring and building skills associated with a successful job or career related to surveying. You might check out science and technology, environmental and outdoor education or some of our career preparation resources. Think about the possibilities! Whether you get involved in 4-H projects, workshops or our many pre-college programs, Michigan 4-H can help you prepare for your future.

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