SurveyorSurveyor

Also known as

  • Commissioned Land Surveyor
  • Land Surveyor
  • Legal Surveyor
  • Professional Land Surveyor
  • Property Surveyor

Your duties | Work conditions | Essential Skills | Licensing | Where to study | Salary ranges | Building your career

Do you like working with people? Are you analytical? Do you have strong math skills? Do you have a good memory? Then you could be a Surveyor!

What the work is like

Surveyors direct and conduct legal surveys to determine property boundaries, and prepare and maintain plans and records.

They are employed by federal, provincial and municipal governments, private land surveying companies, real estate developers and construction firms, or they may be self-employed.

Surveyors work in all four construction sectors: New Home Building and Renovation, Heavy Industrial, Institutional and Commercial, and Civil Engineering. To learn more about the construction sectors, check out Inside the industry.

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Your duties

As a Surveyor, your duties may include the following:

  • planning, directing and conducting surveys to establish and mark property boundaries
  • working with computers and electronic equipment to determine precise locations
  • advising on matters related to legal surveys

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Work conditions

The standard work week for surveyors is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.

As a Construction Surveyor, you may work outdoors on construction sites and indoors in an office environment. You may work closely with project managers, supervisors and site foremen.

As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Surveyors are trained to work safely and wear personal protective equipment such as hard hats, gloves and steel-toed boots whenever they are on construction sites.

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Essential Skills

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has identified nine Essential Skills that are necessary to succeed in the workplace. These skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills and apply to most construction careers. Best of all, you can learn and improve on these skills in school, on the job and during your everyday life.

The most important Essential Skills for surveyors are the following:

  • Numeracy – working with numbers to perform calculations
  • Significant Use of Memory – performing tasks that call upon greater memory use than most jobs
  • Working with Others – interacting with co-workers to get the job done

Click here to learn more about Essential Skills.

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Licensing

In most provinces and territories, you need a federal or provincial licence to work as a surveyor. Surveyor licensing is available through the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors.

Before you apply for licensing, you must have a bachelor’s degree in geomatics engineering or survey engineering, or a college diploma in survey science or geomatics. To obtain a licence, you have to complete a series of professional land surveyor exams.

You will need an additional licence to survey areas such as national parks, Aboriginal lands and northern territories.

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Where to study in Canada

To become a Surveyor you can enrol in a geomatics or civil engineering program at most Canadian colleges, universities or technical institutes. You can also enrol in a survey engineering or survey science program at one of the training institutions listed below.

British Columbia
British Columbia Institute of Technology

New Brunswick
University of New Brunswick

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Community College

Ontario
Canadian Institute of Geomatics
University of Waterloo

Quebec
Université Laval

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Salary ranges

Surveyor hourly wages vary depending on the contract, the company, collective agreements, and local and national economic conditions. Typical hourly wage ranges for surveyors (based on national or regional averages) are as follows:

Junior apprentices and or inexperienced workers

Region Typical hourly rate

National average
Atlantic Canada
Ontario and Quebec
Western Canada

$12-$16
$12-$16
$12-$14
$13-$16

Based on national averages, junior apprentices can earn annual salaries ranging from $25,000 to $33,000 per year, not including overtime.

Journeypersons and or experienced workers

Region Typical hourly rate

National average
Atlantic Canada
Ontario and Quebec
Western Canada

$16-$24
$16-$24
$18-$21
$18-$21

Based on national averages, journeypersons can earn annual salaries ranging from $33,000 to $50,000 per year, not including overtime.

Highly experienced journeypersons and or highly experienced workers

Region Typical hourly rate

National average
Atlantic Canada
Ontario and Quebec
Western Canada

$21-$31
$21-$31
$26-$28
$26-$30

Based on national averages, highly experienced journeypersons can earn annual salaries ranging from $44,000 to $64,000 per year, not including overtime.

Construction work can involve overtime, so your total annual salary will vary depending on the number of overtime hours you work.     

In addition to the hourly rate, many construction workers receive statutory holiday and vacation pay. Depending on the contract, you may also receive benefits such as group insurance for health, dental, and vision care, as well as retirement packages and training benefits up to 30% of your hourly rate. If you are self-employed, it is up to you to arrange your own benefits.

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Building your career

Surveyors work at a variety of levels in the construction industry. With experience you can progress to more senior positions such as senior surveyor or chief surveyor. You can also become self-employed and work as a contractor.

As with most careers in the construction industry, your skills are portable. If you want to move, you can take your skills with you.

The Construction Sector Council accepts no responsibility or liability connected with the use or reproduction of the information contained on this website. It is provided “as is” and is intended for informational use only without warranty, express or implied.

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