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Kansas has changed the requirements for licensure

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holy cow
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What a coincidence???  Today's mail brought an envelope bearing a return address for the Kansas Board of Technical Professions.  Apparently this same message went out to all Kansas Professional Land Surveyors and their firms.

The first paragraph bemoans the fact that the number of licensed individuals is declining and this trend is continuing.

The second paragraph announces the change made in December 2020 that revised the educational requirements to create a non-degree pathway to a surveying license.  It can be four years of education plus four years of experience or two years of education plus six years of experience or a non-degree education pathway coupled with eight years of experience.

For the latter route there is a requirement for successful completion of at least 12 semester hours of approved surveying coursework consisted of three semester hours in each of the four following subjects:

1) surveying measurements and analysis

2) global positioning system (GPS) surveying techniques

3) real property law

4) boundary control and legal principles

The letter goes on to encourage us to share this licensure pathway with individuals who may be interested in becoming licensed.

I couldn't help but notice how this letter came along nearly two years following the change in the statute.  I would have expected for such a notice to have come out immediately upon adoption.

 
Posted : October 11, 2022 4:53 pm
Jitterboogie, RADAR, Jon Payne and 3 people reacted
Ric Moore
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About time some licensing boards reverse their course and allow for alternate (and practically equivalent) pathways to licensure for land surveyors.

 
Posted : October 12, 2022 12:36 pm
holy cow
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Can't remember the exact year Kansas chose to drop the experience route but it may have been 15 or more years ago.  Time flies.  The addition of mandatory 12 hours of education on those four specific topics is probably the only real change from what was required all those years ago.  So, for the most part, we are back where we started.

I think there was one supplier of those 12 hours that just got set up, so this will be a windfall for them.

 
Posted : October 12, 2022 12:53 pm

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Jon Payne
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Posted by: @holy-cow

The first paragraph bemoans the fact that the number of licensed individuals is declining and this trend is continuing.

In Kentucky, we have actually seen the predicted uptick in licenses after the passage of the education requirement.  I just checked the new licenses issued this year and counting only Kentucky or adjacent counties in neighboring states, we have had about 15 new licensees.  That is getting well into pre-education requirement range.

Posted by: @holy-cow

I couldn't help but notice how this letter came along nearly two years following the change in the statute.  I would have expected for such a notice to have come out immediately upon adoption.

That is not very timely.  Were the Kansas surveyors (en masse) aware there was even an effort to make the most recent change?

 
Posted : October 12, 2022 2:45 pm
holy cow
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@jon-payne 

I honestly don't know.  The first I had heard of it was only about two weeks ago from a fellow who will jump on this opportunity.  I do not remember seeing anything about this in the quarterly bulletins from KSBTP.  That is who should have put out the news widely immediately following the change in position.

I'm guessing that certain "powers that be" were not at all happy about this.

The workload for the few license holders in my corner of the state has been excessive since prior to the change mentioned.

 
Posted : October 12, 2022 3:11 pm
Ric Moore
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@jon-payne All of the 55 boards which license land surveyors have openly discussed the decreasing numbers for a few years now, both during the individual respective board meetings and together during NCEES meetings, where incidentally NSPS representatives were also in attendance.  While I certainly cannot speak for all of those boards and whether Kansas informed the local society, I know in the western states, the topic has been openly discussed by boards and societies.

edit: also its good to hear there appears to be an increase in KY (not including Comity licensees) but when the overall numbers are showing a magnitude much greater than 15, it is a concern.

 
Posted : October 12, 2022 4:13 pm

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Jon Payne
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@ric-moore While everyone continues to discuss the overall trend of declining numbers, that was something also being discussed before many states instituted a degree requirement.  I've never been able to convince myself to hold a view on the degree requirement supporting or objecting.  I do have the degree, but I was in or very near, I'll call it, the "last generation" of Kentucky surveyors who could be licensed by experience.  I learned a GREAT deal from folks who gained their license based on the experience route.  So it is tough for me to dismiss the possibility of an experience route out of hand.

That said, there often seems to be a blame on the degree requirement as one of the reasons for declining numbers; with some states either having already or currently looking to walk back the requirement.  Based upon a complaint by an engineering company in Kentucky to their legislator, there was an attempt to do so this past legislative session.  I'm not sure that solves the core problem of declining numbers.

In looking at licenses issued in Kentucky, there seems to be a pretty consistent ±20 licenses issued each year in Kentucky from the 1980s onward (even through the first few years of a degree requirement) with a few years that spiked to about 30 licenses and a few lower numbered years.  I don't count 2019 onward as average because there was a huge spike in licenses by comity issued.  Because of the ease of portability now, I excluded out of state (unless adjoining county) licenses in stating the 15 number from above because in the past it was more typically a Kentucky resident becoming licensed.  I would expect that by the end of the year, we will be right on par with the average number of licenses issued historically.

I don't know that any of the above means anything.  It is just interesting to me to see that the number of licenses issued hasn't really varied that much over the years and didn't change too much with a degree requirement.

 
Posted : October 13, 2022 12:16 pm
Ric Moore reacted
Sergeant Schultz
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I think NY is instituting a 4 yr requirement.  That's because enrollment in the 4 yr. program at Alfred State has tanked in recent years, methinks.....

 

 
Posted : October 13, 2022 3:15 pm
Ric Moore
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@jon-payne I don't believe having the surveying education is the problem or associated with declining numbers.  I believe the "degree or nothing" requirement instituted by many licensing boards when "approved" surveying programs are few and far between is a major contributor to the declining numbers of applications coming into the licensing boards in the first place.  And even some who did still allow for an alternate pathway instituted those alternates in such a fashion to be time/cost prohibitive and appear punitive in some ways.

 
Posted : October 17, 2022 8:48 am

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thebionicman
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A few thoughts.

The States with experience only routes are struggling with recruitment the same as those with a degree requirement.

There are multiple on-line programs offering in-state tuition to all students. You can get your degree without setting foot on a campus.

There are several options to transcript knowledge gained through non-traditional means or by experience.

A narrow path without a degree is wareanted, but blaming recruitment on licensure requirements misses the mark...

 
Posted : October 17, 2022 12:14 pm
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Ric Moore
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@thebionicman Cool to hear from you.  Hope all is well.  Giving that this topic is about licensure, I believe it is pretty much on target.  Now, if the discussion was about recruitment to the profession in terms of how to draw more interest, bringing more individuals into the industry, I would tend to agree with you a little more.  There will always be a subset of of the overall industry which will gain licensure while others will not.  There's not an issue with that.  I was responding purely as it relates to licensure and that subset more than the industry as a whole.

 
Posted : October 17, 2022 1:27 pm
Jon Payne
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@ric-moore I'm not sure what the numbers I posted do indicate, but the number of issued licenses doesn't seem to vary much year to year.  I do plan to dig into those numbers in a little more detail when I get a chance as I think it might be worthwhile to see how they break down in a more complete way then a simple yearly count.

I do wonder if the number of issued licenses hasn't changed much year to year (again, just a cursory glance seemed to indicate this, so something I'll look more closely at), but applications have declined, then there would seem to be a very small number of people that were "forced out" of obtaining a license with degree requirements.  If issued licenses were decreasing significantly, then I would be more open to the idea that degree requirement/lengthier experience route requirements were a larger issue in terms of declining numbers.  This kind of ties in with the change in pass/fail rate which went from around ±30% pass to over +70% pass since the degree requirement in Kentucky was passed.  Of the rough 70% who failed, there were many multi-time test takers who just weren't going to pass.  If I were charging for the taking of a test, then I would absolutely want that 30% pass number to be intact as all those who failed would have to pay me again!  If I were a licensing board or professional group, I would want that 70% pass number as there is a slimmer chance of someone like me who is pretty decent at standardized tests sliding in by chance.

I've only got some of the data, so there could easily be something I am overlooking in how the numbers shake out.

 
Posted : October 17, 2022 1:56 pm

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Jon Payne
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Posted by: @ric-moore

I believe the "degree or nothing" requirement instituted by many licensing boards when "approved" surveying programs are few and far betwee

This is one reason I like the way Kentucky worded their degree requirement.  It is a board approved program of study...  Which does not tie it down to any specific accrediting agency.  Also the language leaves open the possibility of a "core curriculum" which can be obtained a a few universities throughout the state.

 
Posted : October 17, 2022 1:59 pm
Ric Moore reacted
StLSurveyor
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This is a good thread, but I honestly think younger folks just have no interest in surveying.  The college classes I teach in MO (online) have not made in two semesters. The cut limit is 6 students. 

 
Posted : October 19, 2022 5:33 pm
Rover83
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Posted by: @stlsurveyor

This is a good thread, but I honestly think younger folks just have no interest in surveying.  The college classes I teach in MO (online) have not made in two semesters. The cut limit is 6 students. 

I'm not sure that it's a lack of interest. I'd say it's more of a lack of awareness, compensation, and direction. We've done a pretty terrible job promoting awareness of surveying. 

I'll probably get some flak for this, but Trig-Star is a terrible program for high school outreach. (I say that as someone who has assisted with it periodically over the years.) Do we really think that the top mathematics minds in high school are going to choose surveying over, say, computer science, engineering, or even something like statistics?

All of those things pay better and treat college graduates better than surveying. We can't decide whether we want to work hard at mentoring these new graduates and pay them a great salary while developing top talent, or toss them out in the field for 4-5 years at low pay because "gotta pay yer dues kid". Then when they come in from the field we get frustrated that they didn't magically pick up all the office skills while pounding hubs, and decide to not dedicate any time to teaching them because, you know, we got an ROS to get out the door. As if that's more important.

 

This is probably not at all a popular view, but we need to stop acting like we're special. Land surveying is a subdiscipline of geomatics, and geomatics is actually a pretty cool field to most high schoolers.

Whenever I did high school outreach, the kids really took to things like GNSS receivers, laser scanning, photogrammetry, robotic total stations, sUAS, even just the cool topo map that automatically draws on the screen. They understand GIS web maps and get excited about being able to manipulate and display data, because they grew up in the era of highly customizable software with a rich interface.

It's a losing proposition to expect kids to care about the "judicial function of surveyors" and "following the footsteps of the first surveyor" in high school. That stuff is abstract and without context at that point in their lives.

But if we get them into geomatics programs at the university level, a good chunk of them will start to understand, care about, and be fascinated by the boundary aspect. We will gain more licensees as a result.

More geomatics outreach/focus = more land surveyors.

Our national (and depending on location, state) leadership doesn't get it and is fighting a losing battle because they can't admit that they are flailing without a solution and don't want to acknowledge that we're not some super-special cool kids' club or elite organization.

 
Posted : October 20, 2022 6:38 am
FL/GA, Williwaw, Jon Payne and 4 people reacted

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