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Education for a career in surveying

A survey technician usually works in the field or office under the supervision of a Licensed Surveyor, but might also work for Professional Engineer or for a construction firm. A survey technician typically needs to complete a two-year vocational program. The demand for survey technicians varies with economic conditions and construction activity.

To become a Licensed Surveyor in Minnesota, you need to complete a four-year college degree with at least 22 semester credits in surveying, work under supervision for another three to five years (depending on the type of college degree you have), and pass two examinations – the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) and the Professional Surveying exam (PS). The FS exam consists of two Federal parts, whereas the PS exam is one part Federal and the other State.

Minnesota State law requires that a Licensed Surveyor must supervise all surveys of property lines. There are slightly more than 500 Licensed Surveyors in Minnesota at present, compared to about 1500 in Wisconsin. About 60% of the Licensed Surveyors in Minnesota are 50 years old or older. As this older generation of surveyors retires, there is likely to be an increased demand for Licensed Surveyors in Minnesota.

MLS Foundation Scholarships

The Minnesota Land Surveyors (MLS) Foundation gives scholarships annually to students pursuing careers in surveying. For further information and application forms, check the Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyor’s (MSPS) website:

Surveying Degree Programs in Minnesota

St. Cloud State University
BS in Land Surveying/Mapping Science
Department of Geography, Stewart Hall SH345
Eric Fuller
St. Cloud State University
720 Fourth Ave S
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 308-3202

Note: Students seeking a four-year surveying degree must attend a community or technical college (see below), and then complete the remainder of the Bachelor of Science degree at St. Cloud State University. The student will transfer approximately 3 semesters of work and spend another 5 semesters at St. Cloud State University to receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land Surveying and Mapping Sciences. 

First two years of school

The following community or technical colleges are accredited by the north central association and have a surveying program that currently is articulated with St. Cloud State University.


St. Cloud Technical & Community College
Land Surveying/Civil Engineering Technology
1540 Northway Drive, St. Cloud, MN 56303-1240
(320) 308-5012, fax (320) 308-5905
John Dahl, L.S., P.E., Civil Engineering Instructor
Jody Mies, Instructor

Lake Superior College
Civil Engineering Technology
2101 Trinity Road, Duluth, MN 55811
(218) 733-7627
Cliff Koski, Civil Engineering Instructor

Dunwoody College of Technology
Land Design and Civil Engineering Technology
Land Surveying Technician Certificate
818 Dunwoody Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55403-9982
Kelly Ness, Continuing Education, (612) 381-3384

Note: Under the current articulation agreement, St. Cloud State will accept 27 quarter credits of surveying classwork taken at Dunwoody (equal to 21 semester credits at St. Cloud).  Dunwoody students will need to take additional Arts and Sciences coursework at St. Cloud State.  Contact Mr. Micheletti or St. Cloud State for further information.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Civil Engineering Technology
900 Hwy. 34E
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Bruce Wilken

South Central College
A.A.S. in Civil Engineering Technology
North Mankato Campus
1920 Lee Boulevard, North Mankato, MN 56003
507-389-7200; 800-722-9359
Jay Stencel - Instructor

Other States

Nicolet Area Technical College
Associate Degree - Land Surveying Technician
PO Box 518
5364 College Drive
Rhinelander, WI 54501
(715) 365-4410; (800) 544-3039
Tom Raykovich

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Technology
P.O. Box 19042, Green Bay, WI 54307-9042
(920) 498-5674
Rick Van Golthem

Southeast Technical Institute
A.A.S. Degree in Civil Engineering Technology
2301 Career Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57107
(605) 367-7624
Rod Breitling, Instructor

North Dakota State College of Science
Civil Engineering and Land Surveying
800 6th Street North
Wahpeton, North Dakota, 58076-0002
(701) 671-2268, fax (701) 671-2529
Jeff Jelinek, Civil Engineering and Surveying Instructor

Note: Minnesota residency is a requirement for MLS Foundation scholarship applicants.  However, students from neighboring states who attend the Minnesota Technical Colleges listed here or SCSU are considered to be residents of Minnesota during their school years. For example, a non-resident student who has completed the second year of a technical college program in another state, received a Diploma or an Associate Degree, and has enrolled in the SCSU Land Surveying and Mapping Sciences Degree program may apply for a scholarship.

Degree programs in other states

The following are some of the regional universities that offer full four year degree programs in land surveying (and/or related fields), or accept "two plus two" articulation agreements.

Ferris State University
BS in Surveying Engineering, College of Technology
915 Campus Drive, Swan 314, Big Rapids, MI 49307
(231) 591-2633

Michigan Technological University
BS in Surveying Engineering, College of Technology
EERC Room 426, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
James C. Loman, (906) 487-2259

Purdue University
BS and MS in Land Surveying and Geomatics Engineering, School of Civil Engineering
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Steve Johnson 765-494-0786

Other major universities offering degrees in Civil Engineering, such as the University of Minnesota, main campus, South Dakota State University, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison Campus, also offer courses in land surveying as part of their engineering curriculum.

The Education Committee of MSPS annually evaluates scholarship applications, and recommends those full-time students who meet the stated eligibility requirements and are most likely to continue to make Land Surveying their chosen profession to the MLS Foundation.

Prepared by Dennis D. Pederson, L.S.
Chairperson, MSPS Education Committee, with the assistance of Ken Wong from SCSU.
September 3, 2008

NOTE: The foregoing information is believed to be accurate, but all programs are subject to change. Please contact the above institutions to get current information.

For more info, call MSPS at 952-224-9999 or 1-800-890-LAND, or contact the particular schools in which you are interested.

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