Alabama’s land surveyors frequently perform "retracement" surveys, which help establish previously surveyed property boundaries. To avoid land disputes, land surveyors in Alabama adhere to strict guidelines established by the Alabama State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Applicants for licenses must meet educational, work experience and exam requirements to join the ranks of licensed Alabama land surveyors.
Undergraduate study credits are among the core qualifications for applicants for land surveying licenses in Alabama. The minimum number of land surveying curriculum credits ranges from 15 to 30 semester hours, or 22.5 to 45 quarter hours, during a four-year degree program. Land surveying courses must have the approval of the state board in order to be considered valid. Another educational option is to attain a four-year degree from a scientific field related to land surveying.
Required years of work experience for land surveying license approval is dependent on educational credits. Applicants with 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of land surveying courses need a minimum of four years’ experience in the field and office, performing land surveying work approved by the state. Individuals with 15 semester hours or 22.5 quarter hours must work at least six years in the field and office. For applicants with a science degree related to land surveying, at least eight years of experience are necessary to be considered for a license.
Alabama requires applicants to complete and pass three separate written exams to receive a land surveying license. The first exam is taken prior to obtaining field experience necessary for licensing consideration. With a duration of eight hours, the first exam covers the basics of land surveying. The second and third exams are taken after the state board determines licensure eligibility based on education and experience. The second consists of a six-hour exam covering the standards and procedures of land surveying. After passing the second exam, applicants must complete the third two-hour exam specific to the practice of land surveying in Alabama.
Alabama’s Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors makes exceptions to the experience qualifications based on previous licensing, graduate degrees or teaching credits. Licensed land surveyors from other states qualify for the Alabama specific exam if educational, work experience and exam scores meet the standards necessary for first-time applicants from Alabama. Recipients of master’s degrees in land surveying can be credited one year of work experience for completing the degree program. Ph.D. recipients may be credited up to two years of work experience for their degree. Individuals teaching state-approved land surveying courses may request teaching credits be applied in lieu of field and office experience.