Graphic - Clark College News and Events

Clark College News and Events

March 16, 2007
For Immediate Release
For additional information:
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


The college’s Field Survey Technician program, the only one of its kind in the metropolitan area, is now accepting students for spring quarter 2007

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Field Survey Technicians measure and plot the location of land and water boundaries for the construction of roads, sewers, bridges and buildings and other similar projects.  They are in high demand in Southwest Washington and Clark College is offering a new class to help meet that need.   The Field Survey Technician program is enrolling now for spring quarter.   

The program is open for enrollment to high school graduates and others who are 18 or older and who hold a high school equivalency certificate (GED) or an adult high school diploma.  Enrollment is limited so interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive a certificate of proficiency and be ready to qualify for starting jobs as a surveying technician. The program is a pathway to more advanced studies in civil engineering and professional surveying.

After Spring Quarter, the next enrollment period for the program will be fall quarter 2007.

Students must complete all major courses with a “C” grade or above to successfully complete the program and earn the certificate of proficiency award. Students in need of remedial courses in math and English need to plan more time to complete the program.

Additional information is available on the Clark College Web site at



The program

The Field Survey Technician program offered at Clark College is a one-year certificate of proficiency that provides training in survey techniques and methods. The curriculum consists of courses carefully selected in consultation with local industry to prepare a student to work in an entry level surveying position.   The Clark College program is currently the only one of its kind offered in southwest Washington and the Portland metropolitan area.

Experience with equipment applicable to real world problems are presented by licensed professional surveyors. It is the beginning of the education process for a student to advance further in study and practice in preparation to become a licensed professional surveyor.

Field survey technician courses and labs will be offered during evenings and on Saturdays to accommodate working students.

Field Survey Technicians

Field Survey Technicians are involved in a variety of land surveying activities for the construction of roads, sewers, bridges and buildings and other kinds of similar projects. They write descriptions of land for deeds, leases, and other legal documents; define air space for airports; and measure construction and mineral sites. Surveyors also provide data relevant to the shape, contour, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features.

Surveying technicians assist Professional Land Surveyors by operating survey instruments and collecting information in the field, and by performing computations and computer-aided drafting in offices.

Employment opportunities

Field Survey Technicians are in high demand by a variety of potential employers. Employment opportunities in land surveying are available with private surveying, engineering and construction firms. Organizations in the public sector such as state and local highway departments are also actively hiring Field Survey Technicians.

Generally speaking, a Field Survey Technician must have the following skills in order to gain successful employment:

  • Manual drafting skills
  • Computer-Assisted Drafting skills
  • Field use of surveying equipment
  • Ability to read and interpret drawings and maps
  • Ability to prepare maps and plots
  • Ability to write simple property descriptions
  • Ability to perform complex surveying computations

Potential Earnings

The median salary for a Field Survey Technician is $22 per hour in the Portland/Vancouver area, which is currently experiencing a shortage of trained technicians.

After four years on the job, technicians are eligible to apply to become a Land Surveyor In-Training (LSIT). The average salary for a LSIT is over $50,000 per year.

Survey technicians can take additional coursework to earn baccalaureate degrees in geomatics or civil engineering.

Job placement assistance is available from Clark College upon successful completion of the program.

Qualities/Professional Skills

Surveying is an exciting and rewarding profession. Specific qualities that help to be successful in this field are as follows:

  • Accuracy is absolutely critical. The public and the government require that surveys be accurate and precise.
  • Highly proficient math skills are also vital to success in this profession. Most surveys involve computations using algebra and trigonometry.
  • Team work is a large part of working in a firm. Often several technicians work together on a given project.
  • Enjoyment of the outdoors is a plus. Computations and reports are done indoors. But the majority of data collection, measurements, layouts and maps using a collection of field equipment and instruments are done outdoors throughout the year in all kinds of terrain and weather.

Students can expect to gain skills and knowledge for successful entry-level employment as follows:

  • Demonstrate proper use of modern technology, industry standard software, and tools to collect, analyze and interpret data for surveying solutions.
  • Successfully perform of problem solving activities as a member of a professional team in a field crew.
  • Communicate effectively in written form, verbally, and graphically with surveyors and engineers.
  • Solve applied mathematical problems related to those of Field Survey technicians.
  • Prepare complete field records.
  • Practice a code of ethics that meets those prescribed by professional organizations and state codes.

Clark College’s Field Survey Technician program utilizes current land surveying equipment and techniques to prepare students to work in the exciting and rewarding areas of land surveying. Program outcomes are the following:

  • Students receive comprehensive instruction consisting of both classroom theory and “real world” lab and field work experiences applicable to today’s land surveying work environment.
  • Learning emphasizes safety, proper work habits, human relations skills and technical abilities necessary for entry-level employment.
  • Graduates will be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge and skills through demonstrated evaluations that meet required state competencies.
  • Upon successful program completion, graduates will receive a Certificate of Proficiency and be ready to qualify for starting jobs as a surveying technician, highway surveyor, cartographer or GPS technician or similar positions.
  • The program is also a pathway to more advanced study in civil engineering and professional surveying.
Pixel Shim
Pixel Shim