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Top 10 Survey Technician Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for survey technicians, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for survey technicians in the job market as they demonstrate a level of competency, knowledge, and skill in the field. Employers are more likely to hire certified survey technicians as they can be confident that the technician is qualified and knowledgeable enough to do the job. Certifications also show potential employers that the technician has taken the initiative to pursue additional education or training in order to hone their skills and stay up-to-date on industry standards. In addition, certifications often come with continuing education requirements which help keep survey technicians up-to-date on new developments and trends in surveying technology. Finally, certifications may provide survey technicians with access to additional job opportunities or promotions.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Survey Technicians and explain how they can help advance a survey technician's career.

What are Survey Technician Certifications?

Survey technician certification is a professional designation given to individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the skills and knowledge necessary for survey technician work. To obtain certification, applicants must pass an examination administered by a recognized certifying body such as the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The exam covers topics such as surveying technology, mapping, legal considerations related to surveys, and GIS applications.

Survey technician certification can help individuals demonstrate their professional qualifications to employers or clients. Certification provides assurance that the individual has a certain level of expertise in surveying and related areas. It also shows potential employers that the individual is dedicated to staying current with changes in the field and keeping up with best practices. Survey technician certification can also lead to higher salaries and further career opportunities.

Pro Tip: When considering survey technician certification, make sure you research the requirements of the certifying organization to ensure that you meet their qualifications and understand what is expected of you as a certified survey technician.

Related: What does a Survey Technician do?

Top 10 Survey Technician Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Survey Technicians today.

1. Certified Survey Technician (CST)

Certified Survey Technician (CST) is a certification program offered by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). The CST certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in surveying and mapping techniques. It is an important credential for surveyors and mappers seeking to advance their careers.

The CST program consists of three levels: Level I, II, and III. To become certified at each level, applicants must pass an examination that covers topics such as boundary law, topography, mapping, GPS technology, and other related surveying topics. Level I requires knowledge of basic surveying principles; Level II requires knowledge of advanced surveying principles; and Level III requires knowledge of advanced surveying principles plus additional specialized skills.

The time it takes to get a CST certification depends on the applicant's experience and education level. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete all three levels of the program.

To get a CST certification, one must first meet the eligibility requirements set forth by NSPS. These include having a high school diploma or GED equivalent; completing a minimum amount of college-level coursework in surveying or related fields; completing an approved survey technician training program; passing the applicable exams for each level; and submitting proof of professional experience in the field.

The cost for obtaining a Certified Survey Technician certification varies depending on which level you are pursuing and where you are taking your exam(s). Generally speaking, it can range from $100-$500 per exam depending on location.

2. Certified Professional Land Surveyor (CPLS)

Certified Professional Land Surveyor (CPLS) is a professional certification for land surveyors. It is a voluntary certification that demonstrates high standards of knowledge and experience in the field of land surveying.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain requirements, including passing an exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The exam consists of two parts: a morning session on principles and practice of land surveying, and an afternoon session on law and ethics. The exam takes approximately 8 hours to complete.

In addition to passing the NCEES exam, applicants must also have at least four years of work experience in land surveying or related fields, as well as a degree from an accredited college or university in engineering, surveying, or related fields. Applicants must also submit references from employers or colleagues who can attest to their qualifications and experience.

The cost to take the CPLS exam varies by state but typically ranges from $400-$600 USD. After passing the exam, there may be additional fees associated with becoming certified in some states.

3. GIS/Geospatial Professional Certification (GISP)

GISP (Geographic Information Systems Professional) is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of GIS. The certification is administered by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), an independent, non-profit organization that sets standards and provides recognition for GIS professionals worldwide.

In order to become certified, applicants must meet certain criteria related to their education, professional experience, and contributions to the GIS community. Once these criteria are met, applicants can submit their application for review by the GISCI Board of Governors.

The process typically takes between two and six months from the time of submission until a decision is made. The cost of applying for certification is $50 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees. Once approved, applicants must pay an additional fee of $100 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees in order to receive their official certificate and designation as a GISP.

4. Certified Hydrographic Survey Technician (CHST)

Certified Hydrographic Survey Technician (CHST) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to perform hydrographic surveys. This certification is designed for individuals who are employed in the field of hydrography, which involves measuring and mapping the seafloor, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.

In order to obtain this certification, applicants must complete an approved training program and pass an exam administered by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). The training program consists of two parts: a theoretical course covering topics such as hydrographic surveying principles, data processing techniques, survey equipment operation and maintenance, and safety; and a practical course providing hands-on experience with survey equipment and software. The length of the training program varies depending on the institution offering it but typically takes between one to two years to complete.

The cost of obtaining CHST certification depends on the institution offering it. Generally speaking, it can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars. Additionally, some institutions may require additional fees for materials or exams.

Once certified, CHSTs are expected to maintain their credentials through continuing education programs offered by IHO or other organizations. This ensures that they stay up-to-date with industry developments and remain competent in their field.

5. Certified Photogrammetric Technician (CPT)

Certified Photogrammetric Technician (CPT) is a certification program offered by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and skill in the field of photogrammetry. The CPT certification requires a minimum of two years of experience in photogrammetry, with at least one year in a professional setting.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as aerial photography, digital image processing, coordinate systems, map projections, GIS/GPS applications, and remote sensing. The exam can be taken online or at an ASPRS-approved testing center. The cost of the exam varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $200 - $400 USD.

In addition to passing the exam, applicants must also complete continuing education credits each year to maintain their certification status. These credits are earned through attending workshops or conferences related to photogrammetry or remote sensing.

The CPT certification does not expire; however, it is important for certified professionals to stay current with new technologies and techniques by completing continuing education courses each year.

6. Certified GPS Survey Technician (CGST)

Certified GPS Survey Technician (CGST) is a certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of individuals in the field of Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying. The CGST program was created to provide a standard for recognizing qualified professionals in the GPS surveying industry.

The CGST certification is awarded by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). In order to become certified, applicants must successfully pass an exam that covers topics such as GPS technology, data collection, mapping, and analysis. Applicants must also have at least two years of professional experience in the field of GPS surveying.

The CGST exam takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $175 USD. Exam dates are offered throughout the year at various locations around the United States. Once an applicant has passed the exam, they will receive their CGST certification which is valid for five years.

In order to maintain their certification, applicants must complete continuing education requirements every five years. This includes attending approved seminars or workshops related to GPS surveying or completing online courses related to GPS technology and surveying methods.

Overall, becoming a Certified GPS Survey Technician requires dedication and commitment but can be very rewarding for those who pursue it.

7. Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Certification (RSPC)

Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Certification (RSPC) is a certification program offered by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). This certification program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities in the fields of remote sensing and photogrammetry. The RSPC is intended to provide a standard of excellence that will be recognized by employers, government agencies, universities, and other organizations.

The RSPC is an online exam-based certification program. It consists of three parts: a written exam, an oral exam, and a practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as remote sensing principles, data acquisition techniques, digital image processing methods, geospatial analysis techniques, and photogrammetric mapping principles. The oral exam focuses on the application of these concepts in real-world situations. Finally, the practical exam requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to use remote sensing software packages to analyze data sets.

The entire RSPC process typically takes between six months and one year to complete depending on the applicant’s level of experience. To get certified applicants must first register with ASPRS and pay the applicable fees ($200 for members/$400 for non-members). After registering applicants must then complete all three parts of the examination process within two years.

Once all three exams have been completed successfully applicants will receive their RSPC certificate which can be used to demonstrate their expertise in remote sensing and photogrammetry.

8. Certified Construction Surveyor (CCS)

Certified Construction Surveyor (CCS) is a professional certification that recognizes the expertise of surveyors in the construction industry. The CCS certification is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

To become a Certified Construction Surveyor, you must meet certain educational and experience requirements. You must have a bachelor’s degree in surveying or related field from an accredited college or university, as well as four years of full-time work experience in construction surveying. You must also pass the NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying exam.

The process to become certified typically takes about six months from start to finish. To get started, you will need to create an account with NCEES and submit an application for certification. Once your application has been approved, you will be able to register for the Principles and Practice of Surveying exam. After passing the exam, you will receive your CCS certificate from NCEES.

The cost to become a Certified Construction Surveyor varies depending on where you live and how long it takes you to complete the process. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 USD for all associated fees including registration fees for the exam, application fees, and other administrative costs.

9. Professional Land Information Management System Specialist (PLIMSS)

Professional Land Information Management System Specialist (PLIMSS) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage land information management systems. This certification is offered by The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

To obtain this certification, applicants must have a minimum of two years of experience in land information management systems or related fields. Applicants must also pass an exam that covers topics such as data acquisition, data organization, system design, system implementation, data analysis and interpretation, and more.

The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and can be taken online or at an ASPRS-approved testing center. The exam fee is $200 USD. Once the exam has been passed, applicants will receive their PLIMSS certification card within 4-6 weeks.

The cost for the PLIMSS certification program is $300 USD. This includes the exam fee as well as access to study materials and resources that are available online.

10. Autodesk Civil 3D Professional Certification

Autodesk Civil 3D Professional Certification is an industry-recognized credential that validates a user’s expertise in Autodesk Civil 3D software. This certification is designed for professionals who have a working knowledge of the software and need to demonstrate their proficiency in using it.

The certification exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, covering topics such as creating and managing data, drawing production, survey data management, and analysis and design. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete.

To get certified, you must first register with Autodesk and pay the associated fee (currently $200 USD). Once registered, you will be able to access the online training materials and practice exams. After completing the training materials and passing the practice exams with a score of 80% or higher, you can schedule your certification exam at an authorized testing center. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your Autodesk Civil 3D Professional Certification certificate.

The cost of Autodesk Civil 3D Professional Certification is currently $200 USD.

Do You Really Need a Survey Technician Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual's career goals. In general, a survey technician certificate can be beneficial for those looking to gain specialized knowledge and skills in surveying and mapping. It can also provide potential employers with evidence of an individual's dedication to their field and demonstrate their commitment to professional development.

For those who are looking to enter the field of surveying and mapping, a survey technician certificate may be an important step in gaining the necessary experience and training needed for success. It can help individuals learn about different types of surveys, how to properly complete them, as well as other related skills such as data analysis and computer-aided design (CAD). Additionally, having a survey technician certificate can give an individual an edge when applying for jobs because it shows that they have gone above and beyond basic education requirements.

However, earning a survey technician certificate is not always necessary. Depending on the type of job or career path one is pursuing, it may not be required or even beneficial. For example, if someone is interested in becoming a real estate appraiser or land developer then they may not need a survey technician certificate since these positions typically require more specialized knowledge than what would be offered by the certificate program.

Ultimately, whether or not someone needs a survey technician certificate depends on their specific career goals and ambitions. It is important for individuals to carefully consider their options before making any decisions about whether or not to pursue this type of certification.

Related: Survey Technician Resume Examples

FAQs About Survey Technician Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become a Survey Technician?

A: To become a Survey Technician, you will typically need at least a high school diploma or GED, and experience in surveying or related field. You may also need to obtain certification from the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) or other relevant organizations.

2. How much does it cost to get certified as a Survey Technician?

A: The cost of certification can vary depending on the certifying organization and the type of certification that you pursue. However, fees for NSPS certification typically range from $50-$200.

3. What are the benefits of becoming a certified Survey Technician?

A: By becoming certified as a Survey Technician, you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in surveying and related fields to employers, clients, and other professionals. Certified survey technicians often receive higher salaries than those without certification and have more job opportunities available to them.

4. How long does it take to become certified as a Survey Technician?

A: The length of time it takes to become certified as a Survey Technician depends on the certifying organization, but most programs require at least six months of study before taking the final exam. Additionally, some states may require additional training or exams in order to be eligible for licensure as a survey technician.

5. Do I need to renew my certification once I am certified as a Survey Technician?

A: Yes - most certifying organizations require that you renew your certification every two to three years in order to remain active in good standing with the organization and maintain your professional status as a survey technician.