Education: The Way Forward

You hear every day in the news about the lack of jobs in America.  However, at the fall 2012 meeting of the board of directors of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) more than a few members of the board spoke passionately about how students who graduate from the few remaining surveying programs in the U.S are not only getting jobs but getting good quality jobs.

These directors profess that if you graduate from one of these programs, you are all but guaranteed employment.  They don’t mean just a “plain ole” job, but rather a good job, with interesting work and good pay.

As an example, survey program graduates at the University of Maine fall in the top 30% of starting salaries when compared with all other graduates. 

As a recent graduate, you will likely receive multiple job offers (although perhaps not in your hometown).  I’m betting that you didn’t hear this in your local newspaper or on the evening news.

At Professional Surveyor Magazine we believe that education is the way forward for the surveying profession.  New technologies have opened pathways to a myriad of career directions and opportunities.  Where does someone go to learn the basics and establish a foundation for this kind of career?  How do you get the knowledge to build on this foundation and engage these technologies?  We have compiled a list of colleges and universities offering educational opportunities in surveying and made it part of this directory.  

We have also solicited articles from educators, adding just a little guidance about this themed issue to our request. Contributors include the Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville (CCBC in Maryland), East Tennessee State University (ETSU), Troy University (in Alabama), the University of Florida (UF), and the University of Maine (U Maine).  At first reading these articles might seem entirely disparate, but you begin to see some of the same educational principles and services offered to students if you read carefully.

For instance, while CCBC, the one community college, states that their enrollment consists almost exclusively of people already working in surveying, ETSU and Troy encourage summer work and internships with survey firms, and the UF Master’s program serves working professionals.  CCBC, ETSU, and UF schedule classes to accommodate working students, and Troy is developing online courses for that purpose. 

Four of the schools have a regional draw for students, and Troy’s future online courses will serve a larger region. ETSU and U Maine each participate in a different six-state regional agreement to provide tuition breaks, UF online tuition is reduced for out-of-state and international students, and CCBC offers an in-state tuition break for out-of-county residents. 
U Maine can transfer most students with a two-year degree into their program while CCBC has an articulation agreement with a major Maryland university to take their graduates in as full third-year students in a geography degree program. 

In this world, where are you going?  How are you going to get there?  Education is the way forward.
~Bob Banzhoff , LS

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