How to Become a Party Chief

Field surveying is an important practice that involves gathering a vast amount of geographical information. Party chiefs are experienced professionals that lead a variety of surveying tasks.


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What does a party chief do?

Party chiefs are responsible for the supervision of a variety of surveying activities. They oversee a variety of surveyors and surveying technicians and ensure tasks are completed correctly and accurately. They ensure all survey party members are performing efficiently. They also ensure all members are properly trained and safely performing their tasks. Party chiefs use convention methods and Global Positioning System (GPS) techniques to gather field survey data. They often research current record information and they maintain records of field data, indexing systems, and survey project files.

What kind of training does a party chief need?

Party chiefs typically have a bachelor degree in surveying or other related field. Most employers prefer applicants with sufficient experience in field surveying. Prospective party chiefs often complete courses in mechanical drawing, drafting, algebra, trigonometry, and surveying. Many aspiring party chiefs complete internships or obtain part-time jobs as assistants to gain practical experience in the field. Most party chiefs begin their careers in entry-level positions and advance to party chief positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Some employers provide on the job training to enable new party chiefs to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Party chiefs often complete additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a party chief?

Employment of party chiefs is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 19% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for geographic information that is complete and accurate will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable especially for party chiefs with advanced training and extensive experience. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace party chiefs that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do party chiefs make?

As of March 2010, party chiefs with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $37,242 and $60,000. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $38,884 and $55,311 (2).

A career as a party chief is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in leading a variety of surveying tasks. Party chiefs must have a solid understanding of surveying policies and procedures as well as many different surveying techniques. Patience, detail orientation, critical thinking, good problem solving, and good leadership skills are necessary traits. Party chiefs must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to direct a variety of people. They must be able to work effectively as part of a team. Party chiefs must be quick on their feet and be able to make effective decisions.

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