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Seeking licensure advice

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Horseshoes.handgrenades
(@horseshoes-handgrenades)
10+ posts Member

I'm hoping this community can help me figure out a best course of action for my current situation.  Background info: I'm an LSI (aka SIT) in Colorado with 7+ years of experience. I have a bachelors in geology, which was my previous career for 10 years before becoming a surveyor. I don't have any surveying specific coursework from my degree other than probably calc I and physics I.  

Colorado changed their education requirements effective last year to requiring a 4 year surveying degree, or eng. with surveying coursework. I was aware that changes were effective but I thought they got rid of their "10 year experience and no college" path only.  When I looked a couple weeks ago, the website still makes me believe this.  The state also now requires that a qualified applicant for licensure take the NCEES Principles and Practicals exam BEFORE applying to the state, instead of requiring that all test takers be pre-approved.  When I applied for the FS exam in 2019 and submitted my education and experience via application, I made the assumption that my experience and education were "good to go".  I received approval to take the FS with no detail other than I met the requirements.  Turns out that I ONLY met the 4 years of experience required to take the FS, and none of my college education was considered good enough for credit toward licensure.  

Fast forward to this past year, I sign up, pay, and study for the PS exam thinking my 4 year bachelor's degree is on the books along with my passed FS exam.  I pass the PS exam and beaming with pride.  Pay moneys to the NCEES and the state to have my record looked over, and voila, denied because I don't have a surveying degree.  This is when I find out I don't have any education counting towards licensure.  

I'm heart broken, frustrated, and depressed that my hard work was, in my eyes, for nothing.  I really don't want to go back to college, and I don't really have the time and financial means to do so.  Not only that, but Colorado has one survey program in the whole state located 4 hours from denver with no online teaching.  So if I must go back to college, I'll be paying out of state tuition.  Surveying is my second career and I absolutely love it.  If the NCEES exams are meant to test what an applicant knows, why must I have to go through the rigors of college once again, just because.  The most valuable things I ever learned in my careers, I learned on the job, not in the classroom.  

I'm seeking a more viable path than spending time and money on college, again.

 

Thanks for reading if you made it.

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Topic starter Posted : March 4, 2021 4:43 pm
Brad Ott
(@brad-ott)
5,000+ posts Supporter

Bump TTT

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Posted : March 5, 2021 5:51 am
Peter Lothian
(@peter-lothian)
500+ posts Member

Well, you could leave Colorado. There are still states that have non-surveying degree paths to licensure. Massachusetts is one. The mountains aren't as tall as in Colorado, but we have the ocean and lots of big fish to catch.

Another possibility would be to investigate whether you have the option to "fight it" with your board. Read the enabling legislation that created the licensing system, read the Board's regulations, and see if the Board has exceeded their authority somehow. It's a long shot, but you never know. It always amazes me to find how few professionals have actually read the enabling statutes, and fail to keep up with changes to the regulations that they are licensed under.

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Posted : March 5, 2021 6:14 am

thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
1,000+ posts Member

There are several programs that are completely on-line. Some allow challenge exams or work portfolio credit. In the current environment it's not hard to find an employer thst will help with costs. 

Every obstacle you describe has a solution. Check with Idaho Stste, Great Basin and any others you can find. The path is there. 

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Posted : March 5, 2021 6:57 am
JKinAK liked
JPH
 JPH
(@jph)
1,000+ posts Member

I'm always amazed at this, telling someone they weren't qualified to take an exam that they've already passed.

Passing the test is prima facie evidence that the person is qualified to take said test.

Education requirements created by a mostly uneducated group is absurd.

I still want to see the evidence that shows that surveyors who have a surveying education are better, more professional, and have fewer complaints lodged against them, than those without a surveying education.

It's legislation that isn't based on facts but rather on feelings.

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Posted : March 5, 2021 7:12 am
Daniel Ralph, dmyhill, CHarmon and 4 people liked
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @jph

Passing the test is prima facie evidence that the person is qualified to take said test.

I believe the concept is that the experience and education requirements are primary evidence of qualification, and the test is merely a QC check for minimal competence.

You can run a level loop with a stadia board and hand level and close flat.  That doesn't mean your intermediate points meet First Order Class I accuracy standards.  Same idea.

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Posted : March 5, 2021 7:23 am

JPH
 JPH
(@jph)
1,000+ posts Member

@jim-frame

Oh, I'm not against having experience requirements, and I'm sorry if my post came off that way, it was not intended.

That said, I find it very hard to believe someone with no experience, education, or mentoring would be able to pass the test(s).  If that is happening, then the tests need to be made harder.

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Posted : March 5, 2021 7:27 am
BStrand
(@bstrand)
1,000+ posts Member

I'm surprised NCEES let you take the exams actually.  I remember submitting a transcript prior to the FS/PS but based on your experience it appears they don't bother reading them.  Unless, and this seems a bit shady, they require a transcript and then take your money knowing full well you don't qualify for licensure in the state you have selected.

Also, that NCEES "record" sounds like a great idea on paper but both a coworker and I couldn't make it happen.  NCEES has to verify all of your work experience and references before you will be allowed to submit your record to various states.  The reference verifications expire after a while and if you're previous employers drag their feet in confirming your experience then the entire thing stalls out and is worthless.  This is what happened to both a coworker and I and we both ended up submitting our paperwork to the state manually.  So just a heads up there.

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Posted : March 5, 2021 7:35 am
Horseshoes.handgrenades
(@horseshoes-handgrenades)
10+ posts Member

@bstrand Because Colorado requires you take the exam before applying to the state for licensure, I fell through a loop hole thinking I was educationally qualified when I apparently was not. NCEES records are good for a year before you’re required to recomplete them. The whole NCEES system is less than ideal but it takes the burden off states to cover some of the vetting process. Prior to taking my FS exam a couple years ago, I wasn’t allowed to schedule the exam without NCEES receiving approval from my state.

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Topic starter Posted : March 5, 2021 7:40 am

Horseshoes.handgrenades
(@horseshoes-handgrenades)
10+ posts Member

@peter-lothian Spite is strong within me right now so the idea of leaving for some place else is present. Attempting to go to our board and state my case to be allowed to take the state exam is also on my radar of next steps.

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Topic starter Posted : March 5, 2021 7:42 am
Rover83
(@rover83)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @jph

I'm always amazed at this, telling someone they weren't qualified to take an exam that they've already passed.

No one is asserting that the OP wasn't qualified to sit for an exam, which was not the CO exam, but the national exam.

Posted by: @jph

Education requirements created by a mostly uneducated group is absurd.

Uh, no. That's some high-level circular logic right there.

"We shouldn't raise standards because if we raised standards we wouldn't meet standards."

Posted by: @jph

I still want to see the evidence that shows that surveyors who have a surveying education are better, more professional, and have fewer complaints lodged against them, than those without a surveying education.

Only one of those things is actually measurable, and simply having a complaint lodged against someone hardly has any bearing on whether they are a quality surveyor. Disciplinary action, on the other hand, might.

Standards for a profession requiring high levels of technical proficiency, legal knowledge, and careful judgment, which is also entrusted with protection of the public, needs to be compared to similar professions. 

Guess what? All of them require a four-year degree in their area of practice. Because there's a fundamental level of knowledge that underpins the entire practice of those professions.

Saying we're too good to get an education, but demanding the same level of respect as other professions, is ludicrous.

We're not special.

Posted by: @jph

It's legislation that isn't based on facts but rather on feelings.

Education is facts. Facts that you need to know if you are to practice at a high level of competence.

The only feelings in here are overblown outrage and hand-wringing about a problem that isn't even a problem.

 

I'm sympathetic to the OP, but let's not forget that CO gave ten years' notice of this change. A decade. A full decade for prospective licensees to get their affairs in order and chart their path.

This post was modified 8 months ago by Rover83
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Posted : March 5, 2021 7:48 am
Andy J, JKinAK and aliquot liked
Horseshoes.handgrenades
(@horseshoes-handgrenades)
10+ posts Member

That said, I find it very hard to believe someone with no experience, education, or mentoring would be able to pass the test(s).  If that is happening, then the tests need to be made harder.


@jph I definitely don’t think the exams are easy enough for those without experience, education, mentoring, etc. I had a coworker attempt the FS a couple of years prior to me and he failed. He has been surveying several years longer than me but our career experiences and education differ. 

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Topic starter Posted : March 5, 2021 7:53 am

JPH
 JPH
(@jph)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @rover83

"We shouldn't raise standards because if we raised standards we wouldn't meet standards."

That actually is logic.  A group who doesn't meet their own new standards should then be barred from being part of that same group, since they don't meet the standards.  You're after shutting the door to others after you've made it in, then.

 

 

Posted by: @rover83

All of them require a four-year degree in their area of practice. Because there's a fundamental level of knowledge that underpins the entire practice of those professions.

Saying we're too good to get an education, but demanding the same level of respect as other professions, is ludicrous.

Requiring a degree just to be called, professional, is ludicrous

Posted by: @rover83

Only one of those things is actually measurable,

Then if there's no evidence that better surveyors are the result of education, then there's really nothing that's saying a formal education is necessary.

 

We don't agree, that's fine.  I'm of the opinion that a degree requirement is unnecessary.  You apparently think otherwise.  Neither one of us will be convinced by the other

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Posted : March 5, 2021 8:02 am
CHarmon and Husker796 liked
Horseshoes.handgrenades
(@horseshoes-handgrenades)
10+ posts Member

@rover83 I didn’t get into surveying till Dec 2013. I didn’t even think about licensure till 5 years after that. I understand that blame is 100% on me for not doing enough due diligence and not having enough foresight (pun intended). I just wish the board could understand not all paths are the same, and that education does not equal intelligence. Perhaps the do see it that way and I simply need to make me case in front of them.

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Topic starter Posted : March 5, 2021 8:03 am
thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
1,000+ posts Member

Many States have decoupled applications from the national exams. This isn't a trick to take your money. It's designed to allow applicants to take the exams when it works for them.

The national exams test minimum competency in basic subjects. They do not touch on the laws, rules or atandard of care in a particular State. That's kind of why they are commonly referred to as "national exams"

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Posted : March 5, 2021 8:11 am

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