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From here, go to work as a land surveyor

A future that’s everywhere: Our infrastructure never stops growing. Neither does the demand for land surveyors. Tidewater Community College’s Career Studies Certificate in Land Surveying, which can be completed 100 percent online, also started a pilot apprenticeship program with VDOT that allows students to earn while being employed.

The details: VDOT’s Land Survey Technician Apprenticeship Program prepares individuals for entry-level surveying positions. Apprentices learn basic knowledge of land surveying principles and practices and learn to use equipment that includes GPS, levels and a robotic total station. They are employees of VDOT, which pays for all tuition, fees and necessary exams.

Apprentices work in either Culpeper or Hampton.

Meet a VDOT apprentice: Virginia Beach’s Reece Miller loves working outdoors and the benefits of working for VDOT.

“I think what drew my attention to becoming a surveyor is the amount of activeness that comes with it. What I mean by that is that it is not exactly a desk job. Being a surveyor lets me be outside for a good amount of the day or even week. I get to be enjoying the great outdoors while working at the same time, which is really good for a starting job straight out of college.

“VDOT provides me with so many benefits that my future is filled with endless opportunities.”

Another perk: VDOT apprentices complete a drone class with certification to legally operate a drone for non-hobby activities.

What else: Mentorship is an important component of TCC’s land surveying program. Apprentices working for VDOT are provided a mentor who is a licensed land surveyor. Students who plan to enroll at TCC to be surveyor who are not in the VDOT program can find a mentor with the help of the Virginia Association of Surveyors. The two-semester program is just 27 credits.

Interested? For apprenticeship opportunities in land surveying, contact Karen Miller (TCC Apprenticeship Institute) at For questions about the academic component of the program, email Chris Cartwright, program head for Civil Engineering Technology at TCC, at