Land surveying program prepares grads for careers

Land surveying program prepares grads for careers

Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:19 am

The Messenger 09.01.10
Students interested in completing courses needed to take the National Fundamentals of Land Surveying exam and prepare for a job that is in demand can register for the Land Surveying and Geomatics Certification Program at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Dr. Tim Burcham, UT Martin professor of agricultural engineering, said the program is important because it offers an organized curriculum for students to gain the necessary courses and experiential background to prepare for the exam.
“I believe the ‘hands-on’ experience with some of the latest land surveying equipment available is an asset for this program,” Burcham said. “Teaching faculty from the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources and the Department of Engineering have worked hard to prepare these students for success. Students who successfully pass the FLS exam will be on their way to a professional career in surveying.”
That career, said Dr. Sandy Mehlhorn, UT Martin lecturer of agricultural engineering technology, is one with growth potential.
“There is a need for qualified, licensed surveyors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted an increase of 10-15 percent in the number of jobs for surveyors by 2012,” she said.
Ms. Mehlhorn said one of the benefits of the program is that students who are earning a bachelor of science degree in anything can take these courses and should be able to sit for the licensing exam.
“Also, if a student begins the certificate program by their sophomore year of college, most of the surveying courses can be used as electives,” she said.
Jason Garrett of Bolivar was the first person to complete the UT Martin certification program and successfully pass the FLS exam. Garrett, a 2010 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a minor in business administration, is pursuing a career as a surveyor.
After serving as a surveyor-in-training, students must pass two more exams to become a licensed surveyor.
“The surveying program at UT Martin is still a new program,” said Garrett, who noted it will continue to evolve. “But it’s a good program.”
UT Martin 2007 graduate Tommy Seratt of Martin also completed some of the surveying courses at UT Martin, prior to the full program being offered. Seratt said the classes were very interesting and his adviser, Richard Shadden, professor of agricultural engineering, had always suggested that he give surveying a try.
“When the opportunity presented itself, I took it and never looked back,” he said.
A surveyor-in-training, Seratt said in addition to having a viable career, “I love being outdoors, and surveying is a great profession to get in plenty of outside time. I have conducted surveys all across West Tennessee and in many various forms, such as construction and boundary surveys. These surveys may be in a 300-acre swamp or a nicely mowed half-acre town lot. It’s like a treasure hunt every day.”
For more information about the Land Surveying and Geomatics Certification program, call (731) 881-7260.

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