Becoming a British Columbia Land Surveyor (BCLS) is a culmination of years of study and on the job training. The general path requires 4 years of post secondary education followed by two years of articling under a practicing BCLS. Two field projects and two professional exams to the standards of the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) are also required to be written. Following the articling period and after passing the projects and exams one becomes eligible to sit for the professional assessment interview administered by the ABCLS which is the final step to becoming a professional land surveyor in British Columbia.
The most common route to becoming a BCLS generally begins with schooling at a post secondary institution. Institutions such as BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and UNB (University of New Brunswick) offer 4 year programs which include exceptions from writing all Canadian Board of Examiners for Professional Land Surveyors (CBEPS) exams. The CBEPS exams examine 13 core competencies which are needed by land surveyors across Canada. Due to the difficulty of writing all the exams most land surveyors opt to go the route of a 4 year degree with CBEPS accreditation to bypass having to write these exams directly.
Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) Requirements
Once a candidate has a passing grade from CBEPS or been exempted due to schooling they will begin to specialize in the survey requirements for their specific province or territory. In British Columbia the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) oversees all BC Land Surveyors. To join the ABCLS as a Land Surveyor in Training (LST) the candidate is required to have passed CBEPS and have an articling agreement with a practicing BCLS. The articling agreement is generally for a term of two years during which time the LST works under the BCLS to gain experience in the number of different surveys a BCLS is expected to be able to perform.
After being accepted as a LST the candidate can begin to submit field projects to the ABCLS for review. These field projects should show the candidates competency with two different forms of legal land survey to a level deemed satisfactory by the ABCLS. The project should show the candidates ability to take a job from the public and produce a survey which can be registered under Land Titles.
The LST may not write the professional exams until discharged from articles. This 6 hour exam is held twice a year and comprises two parts covering both practical surveying and statutes/regulations. The Professional Examination will assess the Key Competencies at a level expected of a new land surveyor through Core Syllabus and Supplementary Knowledge Areas. Candidates must write both parts of the Professional Examination at one sitting. Successful completion is when the marks for the two parts averaged together are not less than 70%. If the candidate is not successful, both parts of the Professional Examination must be written again at a future sitting.
Professional Assessment Interview
The oral examination is the last step to becoming a BCLS. Held twice a year the oral examination must be taken no longer than 3 years after sitting for the professional exam. The goal of the PAI is to explore the competence of a candidate who is nearly ready to become a land surveyor. Accordingly, candidates will sit the PAI only after successfully completing the Professional Examination, field projects, their term of articles, and any required professional development. The interview panel will ordinarily be composed of the Surveyor General (or Deputy Surveyor General at the request of the Surveyor General), and two other Examiners. The PAI should explore Key Competencies using Knowledge Areas that are not normally covered on the Professional Examination. Passing this interview results in the candidate becoming a British Columbia Land Surveyor.
The path to becoming a BCLS is challenging but can be quite rewarding to the right individual. Land surveyors are trusted by the public in determining and creating property lines, we are key contributors to the land title system, housing sector, and construction throughout this province. For more information please visit the links below.