Understanding the Demographics of Surveying Students in Pennsylvania and Making Plans to Increase the Awareness of the Surveying Profession

Dimitrios Bolkas, Dennis Gouak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Technological advancements of the past decades have considerably changed the surveying profession and education required to become a surveyor. Many states require a combination of education (sometimes at least 4-year) and experience. There is an ongoing concern about the future of the profession, because the number of accredited schools is limited and enrollment often can be low. This is frequently connected with the low public awareness of the surveying profession. Therefore, it is important that surveying schools make efforts to increase the public profile of surveying. An important step towards this goal is to understand why and how students select surveying and their demographics. In addition, it is important to understand the opportunities and challenges of the local community. This study focused on the alumni and current students of Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre campus. A sample of 79 participants (45 alumni and 34 current students) was used. Occupation data and projections for surveyors in workforce development areas in Pennsylvania (and at the state level in neighboring states) highlight the areas that are and will be in need of surveyors in the future. Furthermore, this study considers high school enrollment, math scores from the scholastic assessment test (SAT), and population by race at the school district level. The survey results show that students are mostly white-male (81%). They enter the surveying field because they like to be outdoors, and they are interested in new technologies. They learn about surveying mostly from professionals (50%). However, only 50% stated that they knew about surveying in high school, which shows a concerning low awareness of the profession. The analysis with spatial data indicates low potential for recruiting in the vicinity of the Wilkes-Barre campus, and that recruitment and outreach efforts should focus in the southeastern, eastern, and western parts of the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number05020002
JournalJournal of Surveying Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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