How To Become A Surveyor In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become surveyors in Australia.


Do you want to help societies effectively deal with global climate change and urbanisation? A career as a surveyor can help you accomplish this objective.


A surveyor ensures the buildings are built safely and comply with legislative requirements. They are trained professionals who measure and assess information related to the environment and land to plan, construct and legalise building development in Australia.


To work as a surveyor in Australia, you must obtain qualifications in related areas such as surveying, geographical information systems, spatial science, and geospatial science. Completing a Certificate IV in Surveying or a Diploma of Spatial Information Services will help you qualify for an entry-level role in this sector.


Here is a complete guide to help you become a land surveyor in Australia. You will learn about the job profile, their requisite skills, educational qualifications and training, how much they earn, various jobs, and more.



1. What Is Surveying?


Surveying is both an art and a science. It is the starting step for any civil engineering project.


Surveying is the method of determining the relative placement of different features that lie on, under, or above the Earth's surface via indirect or direct measurements and representing them as a map or plan.



2. Who Is A Surveyor?


Surveyor is an engineer who estimates the dimensions of land to map the borders of districts and zones. This is crucial at the time of planning a new building.


They use specialised measuring equipment and methods such as 3D modelling, 3D-printed buildings, drone flying, bamboo, and data analytics to identify and define the borders of public or private land.


Surveyors gather and provide geospatial data to cartographers, construction firms and building engineers. They ensure that the newly constructed properties adhere to industrial specifications and regulations.


Furthermore, they evaluate damage for insurance/legal purposes and offer professional advice to construction-related businesses on maintaining and repairing current structures.



3. What Are The Different Types Of Surveyors In Australia?


There are eight different types of surveyors:


  • Construction Surveyors determine the topography, accurate location, and potential construction restrictions such as buildings and roads.


  • Land/Cadastral Surveyors: They locate and define the legal boundaries of a building and road to determine the precise position of a construction project.


  • Geodetic Surveyors: A geodetic surveyor uses satellite and aerial equipment to map out extensive areas of the planet's surface.


  • Engineering Surveyor: This kind of surveyor develops detailed survey paths for engineering projects that include multistorey buildings, construction sites, roads, canals, pipelines, railways, tunnels and sewers, and dam sites.


  • Topographic Surveyor: These surveyors provide data to compile maps of external features of the Earth, such as water bodies, mountains, etc., via aerial photographs and field measurements. They work with other professionals over, on, or underneath the land's surface.


  • Remote Sensing Surveyor: Remote sensing surveyors monitor alterations in the Earth's surface with the help of digital data obtained from airborne imagery systems and high-resolution satellites.


  • Mine Surveyors: These professionals identify how much materials can be mined from a surface mine and map the current channels of underground mines.


  • Hydrographic Surveyors: As the name suggests, these surveyors assess water bodies to determine coastlines, floor landscape, and depth of water.



4. Top Reasons To Become A Surveyor In Australia


The world is facing severe challenges related to climate change, urbanisation, migration, and scarcity of resources. There is an indispensable need for surveyors to combat and build advanced technology-based sustainable cities in Australia.


Here is how becoming a surveyor can benefit you in the short and long term:


  • A surveyor can bring a positive transformation in the landscapes and cities, leading to secure, eco-friendly, happy, and healthy communities. The profession helps safeguard the environment and improve the quality of living in the community and the globe.


  • By developing "Active" transport systems, a surveyor encourages people to run, walk and cycle than relying on vehicles for small-distance travel. This, in turn, helps lower pollution and enhance public health.


  • Land surveyors help establish legal rights for families that live on land without legal property rights.


  • Real estate surveyors fight against money laundering to stop illegal purchases of property and the influx of unethical money. 


  • Studying the lifecycle of construction and building projects is a great profession. While you work as a surveyor, you learn about purchasing, planning, supervising the construction, and administering the finished building. 


  • If you are a social person looking for a career that requires interaction with people as a part of the job, then surveying could be a good option. It is an outdoor job where a surveyor meets industry professionals, such as architecture designers, safety experts, building developers, and asset managers. 


  • Surveying is an exciting, collaborative, and varied career that gives you ample work opportunities to work on creative projects using innovative technologies. You get to work on planning and creating skyscrapers, film sets, festival sites, sports stadiums, and more from all parts of the world.


  • Being an essential and high-demand profession in Australia, surveyors enjoy excellent salaries, allowances and benefits, global employment opportunities, and specialisation worldwide.


And last but not least, a career in surveying instils valuable and futureproofed skills that make it a rewarding career in Australia and throughout the world.



5. What Does A Surveyor Do In Australia?


Knowledge of the tasks and duties of a surveyor will help you work successfully in this field.


  • Measure distances, angles, and directions to identify and define boundaries of public and private natural resources and manufactured structures in rural, regional, and urban areas

  • Adjust and use surveying technology instruments such as GPS, Theodolites, terrestrial scanners, and aerial and computer software to create site maps and survey reports for subdivision and transference of land.

  • Maintain survey tools and vehicles 

  • Perform manual labour, which includes cutting branches and transporting equipment to the construction site.

  • Review preliminary sketches, specifications, and drawings.

  • Collect, compile, and analyse data gathered from fieldwork and store them electronically to generate reports.

  • Understand regulations and codes to offer expert advice regarding land titles and boundaries.

  • Evaluate, approve, and review building works on current and new buildings.

  • Conduct onsite examinations during the construction to ensure that the structure is robust, compliant with industry standards, accessible, and energy efficient.

  • Conduct pre-purchase examinations and audits of buildings, and report any violation of standards and modification in plans.

  • Develop site maps, reports, plans, and charts to plan construction for land ownership and conveyance purposes.

  • Advise architects, developers, scientists, environmental professionals, and civil engineers about the technical requisites to conduct surveys, create plans, and monitor construction projects

  • Conduct research and development work of surveying, land information systems, cadastral systems, and photogrammetric systems.

  • Build reference systems for land and geographic information.



6. What Skills Does A Surveyor Need In Australia?


Employers in Australia look for the following personal requirements in a surveyor:


  • Good people skills

  • Interested in technology

  • Good at mathematics

  • Strong oral communication skills

  • Able to work independently or as a team 

  • Project management,

  • Good organisational skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Able to work with utmost precision 

  • Normal vision

  • Flexibility 

  • Willingness to travel to different locations to conduct surveys



7. Educational Qualifications To Become A Surveyor In Australia


Surveyors require an in-depth knowledge of the National Construction Code and associated Australian Standards and statutory requirements of the state/territory where they work. This requires them to have the essential qualification to understand and perform the job efficiently.


  • Obtain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in English, physics, and mathematics

  • Complete a nationally accredited university-level surveying degree in spatial science, geospatial science, surveying, or geographical information systems.



8. Steps To Become A Surveyor In Australia


In Australia, it is mandatory to own a license to conduct property and land boundary surveys legally Australia. Thus, you need to aim to get a permit before starting to work as a surveyor.



Step 1: Earn A Bachelor's Surveying Degree


The first step to becoming a qualified surveyor is to complete a four-year degree in surveying, spatial science, geographical information systems, or geospatial science. Many nationally accredited universities and reputable training institutes offer these degrees such as:


  • Bachelor of Surveying

  • Bachelor of Surveying and Spatial Science



Step 2: Complete Training in Surveying


Once you graduate with a surveying degree, the next step is to undergo practical training under the administration of a registered surveyor. The training equips you with the office and field-based skills to render surveying services to people.


While offering support to the surveying team as a trainee, you will learn how to use electronic equipment to record and deliver surveys in digital formats.



Step 3: Get Relevant Work Experience


Once you complete a degree with an internship, you can start applying for survey technician jobs within your preferred location.


After a few years of industrial experience, you can register with the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors to become a licensed surveyor. As licensing requirements differ from state to state, you must check how much work experience is needed to get a license in your job location.



Step 4: Expand Your Professional Network


Once licensed, become a member of a relevant surveyor association in Australia, such as the Institution of Surveyors and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, to expand your network of surveyors and professionals in this field.


It will help enhance your chances of getting a job and boost your professional standing. In addition to the membership, you must attend job-related seminars, workshops, yearly conferences, and professional training to progress on the career ladder.



9. Surveying Related Degrees, Certifications, And Courses In Australia


The Bachelor of Surveying Courses and certification, including apprentice programs, help you gain an in-depth understanding in:


  • Creating surveys

  • Operating industry-standard tools and technologies that include drones, unpiloted aerial vehicles, global navigation satellite systems, terrestrial laser scanners, and total robotic stations

  • Gaining practical skills and hands-on experience to work in modern facilities


Completing the qualification helps a student to become a licensed surveyor and provide surveying services throughout the construction industry.


Online surveyor courses are a flexible and cost-effective way to get qualified in surveying. 


The online sessions are conducted via Zoom and other similar applications to help students learn at their convenience. Victoria University and CQ University are the two highly reputable universities in Australia that offer a Bachelor of surveying online.



New South Wales (NSW)


TAFE NSW offers diverse qualifications to help build a career in various sectors and industries ranging from mining and roads to residential and defence.


You can choose the top surveying TAFE qualifications based on your interest in working in technical, scientific, and professional surveying areas.




Queensland (QLD)


Here is the list of the most popular and relevant campus-based and online surveying courses in Queensland:






Victoria (VIC)





Western Australia (WA)





South Australia (SA)





Australian Capital Territory (ACT)





10. Working Conditions For A Surveyor In Australia


Surveying is an exciting, hands-on, and practical career comprising a combination of onsite and office work and frequently involves travel.





Their daily work involves working in a team and interacting with civil engineersurban planners, government departments, and countryside architects


They operate accuracy measuring surveying equipment and use interpretive and technical skills to identify and define land boundaries.





Surveyors have to work both in offices and on construction sites.


Primarily they work outdoors, walking and standing for a prolonged duration. They use GPS, land and aerial scanners, and theodolites to measure, map out an area, and perform computations.


Their office work involves analysing geospatial data, preparing plans, maps, and reports, and documenting aerial and land survey information.


As a surveyor, you can work in private or public settings, including local government, private institutions, and enterprises, or as an independent surveyor.



Uniform and Accessories


Surveyors are moving with heavy bags of surveying tools from one destination to another. They generally wear reflective vests so that others may recognise them easily.





A surveyor may need to travel to a distant construction site and remain there for weeks to months. Mining surveyors often work remotely and stay several months outside the comfort of their homes.



11. Employment Opportunities For A Surveyor In Australia


Job opportunities for a surveyor depend on specialisation and activity in different sectors.


Surveyors work for mining corporations, construction companies, private practices, engineering companies, government departments, and private firms. After gaining years of experience, a surveyor can specialise and move into engineering or management roles, particularly in capital cities.


A qualified and licensed surveyor works in the following positions in the private and public sectors:


  • Contractors

  • Building proprietors

  • Government bodies

  • Developers

  • Consultancy practices


Cadastral or land surveyors usually work in large-scale survey firms. Mining surveyors work in mining industries based in regional centres.



12. Job Outlook For Surveyors In Australia


Surveying is a profession that is in constant demand throughout Australia and worldwide.


The demand for qualified and licensed surveyors to define boundaries during the sale, purchase, or subdivision of land will remain strong.


It is estimated that the number of surveyor vacancies will rise by 2,749 between 2019 and 2023.



13. How Much Does A Surveyor Earn In Australia?


The average surveyor salary in Australia is $101,929 per annum. The yearly income depends on qualifications, job experience, area of specialisation, and work location.


Based on the past 2-3 years' earnings data, the state-wise earnings of a surveyor in Australia are as follows:



  • New South Wales: between $70k and $100k 

  • Victoria: between $80k and $100k 

  • Western Australia: between $90k and $130k 

  • Queensland: between $80k and $130k 

  • Tasmania: between $70k and $100k 

  • South Australia: between $90k and $120k



14. FAQs On Surveying Career In Australia



What Are The Professional Industry Bodies That Administer Surveying in Australia?




How To Become A Surveyor Without A Degree?


You must register as a licensed surveyor under the Surveying Act 2004 to work legally as a surveyor in Australia. For this, a university-level degree in surveying, geospatial science, geographical information systems, or spatial science is necessary. 


Even for entry-level roles such as a survey assistant or a survey technician, you would at least need to complete a diploma in surveying and related fields.



How Long Does It Take To Become A Surveyor?


It usually takes 7 to 10 years in Australia to become a licensed surveyor.


  • University degrees in surveying (4 years) 

  • Traineeships under the direction of a licensed surveyor (3 to 5 years)



How To Become A Surveyor In NSW?


You need a recognised qualification or a Certificate of Competency to become a registered surveyor with the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information of NSW.


To obtain this certificate, you must undergo two years of practical surveying experience and produce five supervised surveying projects. Alternatively, sign a Professional Training Agreement with your employer.


Once registered, you can legally perform surveying and senior functions like sign-off of property title documents.



How To Become A Building Surveyor In Victoria?


According to the Surveying Act 2004, you must register as a Licensed Surveyor to practice surveying in Victoria

To become licensed, you must:


  • Complete a university-level degree in geomatics, surveying, or an equivalent Board approved qualification.

  • Get practical training in surveying under the administration of a Licensed Surveyor

  • Pass surveying examination as set by the Board.


The Surveyors Registration Board of Victoria has approved the below courses to qualify for registration:



University Of Melbourne


  • 2-year Master of Engineering (Spatial) degree with the Bachelor of Environments (Spatial Systems)

  • The Bachelor of Design (Spatial Systems)

  • The Bachelor of Science (Spatial Systems)

  • 3-year Master of Engineering (Spatial) degree.



 RMIT University


  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) (Honors)



How To Become A Surveyor In Queensland?



Follow these steps to become a surveyor in Queensland:


  • Study a surveying bachelor's degree majoring in geospatial science, spatial science, and geographical information systems.   

  • Next, you need to complete practical training hours as mentioned by your state.

  • Successfully pass the industry-specific examinations by the Queensland surveyor board.

  • Register to secure a license in surveying


Following are the four registration levels recognised by the Surveyors Board of Queensland based on the qualifications, knowledge, experience, and skills of an applicant:


  • Surveying Associate

  • Surveying Graduate

  • Surveyor

  • Surveyor with endorsement


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