How to Become a Surveyor or Appraiser

Become a Surveyor or an Appraiser

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If you are good with numbers and enjoy researching and writing reports, you might want to retrain to become a surveyor or appraiser. Appraisers are responsible for determining property values--usually for real estate taxes or mortgage and estate settlements. Surveyors can do everything from defining airspace for airports to writing descriptions of land for leases, deeds, and other legal documents. To improve your skills for these occupations, you will need a combination of classes and supervised experience. Reeducation through online surveyor and appraiser education courses is a great way to get the necessary class work.

Career Skills for Surveyors and Appraisers

House prices depend on local values, and appraisers play a key role in setting that value. Appraisers use records and research for their analyses. They use maps, digital photographs, and on-site visits to make determinations--this is where surveyor career skills come in handy. Being skilled in data analysis is critical for excelling in this job.

In addition to being good with detail, appraisers and surveyors need to have a strong visual memory, analytical skills, and to be able to write clear reports. Attention to customer service is also important. These careers visit sites all over the surrounding area--whether it's to plot land, assess value, or define boundaries--so interested professionals should get ready to spend time outdoors and in all sorts of weather.

Appraiser and Surveyor Career Advice

Appraisers are required to have licenses in most states. The license is typically granted only after the candidate has completed a four-year degree typically in economics, real estate, or finances. Online appraiser education courses can help you improve your skills by providing the class work you need to enter the field.

While it used to be possible to work your way up the surveyor ladder without a specific education, most surveyors today need a bachelor's degree. Online surveyor education courses are available to help you complete your degree with education programs ranging from one to four years. Additionally, it can be helpful to know what the licensing requirements are in your area are before starting a program. No matter the economy, land still needs to be surveyed and appraised for a wide variety of reasons so these professions should continue to be in demand.

Career Outlook

  • Things surveyors record: Land elevation, surface patterns, water bodies, trees and vegetation, and other characteristics that define the surface of the earth
  • Industries to which surveying is critical: Property deed completion, housing appraisals, construction and landscape design, and public works
  • Education for surveyors: Associate's degrees in surveying technology; bachelor's degrees in engineering, surveying engineering, and geomatics
  • Education for appraisers: Diplomas, certificates, and associate's degrees in appraisal and bachelor's and master's degrees in real estate
  • Qualifications to become a surveyor: Pass the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam plus state-administered exam
  • Qualifications to become an appraiser: Licensure requirements set by each state
  • Surveying jobs related to architecture and engineering: Around 70 percent
  • Appraisers who are self-employed: Around 30 percent
  • Famous professional land surveyors: Daniel Boone and Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Appraisers and Assessors