Licensing & Career Information

What is professional surveying?

  • Surveyors measure the size, position and location of things. If someone wants to know where, how high, how big, or how far, they want a surveyor. Professional surveyors take these technical skills and apply them to property ownership and legal boundaries. Professional surveyors work with government and the general public to solve spatial problems that involve legal boundaries. This may be helping a landowner understand where their property lines are, creating topographic maps for building design, or designing subdivisions of raw land.

Who are professional surveyors?

  • In Canada a professional surveyor is licensed in much the same way as a professional engineer, architect, or lawyer. They have first gained a high level of education, a university bachelor’s degree, or equivalent. They then spend 1 to 3 years working with a professional surveyor to gain experience (this is called articling), and then write professional exams set by the surveyor’s association in the province or territory where they want to work.
  • In order to work as a professional surveyor in Canada, you must have a licence and be a member of the professional surveyor’s association in the area where you work. Many professional surveyors have a licence in more than one jurisdiction.

Does a surveying license give permission to practise anywhere in Canada?

  • Professional Licenses are only valid in the province or territory where they are issued. Each province has its own regulatory body tasked with protecting the public interest by assuring the professional conduct and quality of work of their members. These Associations issue exams and licenses to qualified professionals in their jurisdiction. Federal jurisdictions, being the three Canadian territories, federal parks, Indian reserves and federal waters, are regulated by the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors.

Do the Surveying Associations issue different licenses?

  • Yes and no. The licenses are essentially the same, but some regulations for each province differ. Each license is only valid in the province in which it was issued. A professional land surveyor can hold multiple licenses by writing and passing the required exams set by the licensing bodies.

How do I become a professional surveyor in Canada?

  • To become a professional surveyor, you will need to complete post-secondary education. This may be a university degree in geomatics or a college diploma plus some self-study. The Canadian Board of Examiners for Professional Surveyors assesses the academic credentials of individuals who want to become land surveyors. Once the minimum level of education has been met, individuals are eligible to begin articling as a Land Surveyor in Training within one of the provincial or federal jurisdictions.

For more information on career entry, go to Set Your Boundaries.

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