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Survey Assistant

No Formal Qualifications Year 10 Preferred Year 12 Preferred On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites

Also known as Chainperson, Survey Hand and Surveyor's Field Assistant.

Survey assistants help surveyors measure and analyse the position, shape and elevation of the Earth's natural features (such as hills, valleys and waterways) and to determine land boundaries for housing estates, building sites, reservoirs, roads and drainage systems.

Survey assistants work in a range of surveying areas, such as land (cadastral), hydrographic (surveys of waterways), engineering and mining.

They are required to work outdoors on survey sites, and may work in remote areas for prolonged periods.

If employed in mine surveying, they may be required to work underground.


    Survey assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • clear vegetation and debris so that measurements may be taken
  • transport, assemble, dismantle and maintain surveying equipment
  • peg out boundaries under supervision and set out construction works
  • assist surveyors or survey technicians in measuring angles, distances and elevations using tape, steel bands, or more sophisticated equipment that use radio and light waves
  • record measurements manually or in an electronic field-data recorder


  • good observation skills
  • able to work accurately and carefully
  • interested in the environment and working outdoors
  • able to work as part of a team

Interest Area

Outdoor Clerical/Administrative Scientific


No Formal Qualifications Year 10 Preferred Year 12 Preferred On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites

You can work as a survey assistant without formal qualifications. Employers usually require Year 10 and some prefer Year 12. You will probably get some informal training on the job.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications.

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in surveying and spatial information services or surveying. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education.

You can also become a survey assistant through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Surveying and Spatial Information Services, Spatial Information Services or Surveying.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Property Services Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Survey assistants may work for government departments and authorities such as those responsible for roads, land administration and minerals and energy, or for private enterprises such as mining companies, land developers or surveying and cartographic firms.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Survey Assistant Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW Inc. What is Surveying? Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute

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