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Hi, from Northern C...
 
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Hi, from Northern CA  

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MMayfield
(@mmayfield)
FNG Member

So I've been thinking about getting into surveying as a career path.   I'm a 37 year old female that isn't a stranger to hard demanding work, either physically or mentally.  Currently working as a correctional deputy in CA working twelve hour days.  I would like to move to northern Idaho.  I grew up on farms and made a living training horses most of my life in the southeast. 

I'm trying to figure out the best path to accomplish this.  While I do have almost two years worth of college, it's nothing that adds up to a degree.  It is just currently myself to depend on, and while I minimized my bills to the smallest possible, I still have some.  So I can't just up and go to school full time as much as I wish. 

I feel like I have two paths I can try... continue working at current job and get as much school done as possible via online classes then try to find a job in surveying or find an apprenticeship, work in surveying and do schooling while I apprenticeship.  How does one generally make while in an apprentice program?  Or is there another option I haven't considered available. 

thank you for any help.

  I did order elementary surveying book to read through.  And I have always been good with math as well.   

 

 

 

 

Quote
Posted : November 26, 2018 3:15 pm
Wendell
(@wendell)
2,500+ posts Admin

Back when I first started Land Surveying, I lived in Southern California. I joined the IUOE Local 12 union, which has an amazing apprenticeship program. It looks like it hasn't changed much since then.

What is a Surveyor?

The cost was $0, as long as you stayed in the industry (and a union member) for 2 years after you completed the apprenticeship program. My memory could be a little hazy, so take that for what it's worth. It was a great program, with in-class instruction twice per week for a couple hours in the evenings (at the Plumbers Hall in Colton, CA), and the first year or so also included bi-weekly outdoor trainings using real equipment.

The great thing is that I got to work before I even started the apprenticeship, with great wages for the time. I had left my job at JCPenney making $3.35 per hour and immediately started somewhere around $6/hour as a fledgling surveyor. As I completed specific tiers of the apprenticeship, I would achieve automatic wage increases. It didn't take long (about 3 months) before I was at $8/hour. My employer could elect to pay me above my pay grade if he wanted to promote me before I reached the apprenticeship tiers. In 1992, I was pulling in $22 per hour, which was amazing for those days.

It took about 5 years from day one before I completed the apprenticeship, mostly due to my timing entering the field. I had to wait several months to start the program in the first place. Then halfway through, they switched formats which created a gap in the middle, delaying completion a little more. I was in the first class that officially obtained college credit for the program, but since it started in the middle, I only got 2 years of credit for it (it wasn't retroactive).

Anyway, if you can tolerate living in SoCal for several years, I would highly recommend this program. It is amazing. You would leave with some great experience, training, and college credit -- when I moved to Oregon, my interviews consisted of a bunch of "oooohs" and "aaaaahs" from the interviewers. I think it's the primary reason I was hired and continued to be a driving force throughout my surveying career.

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Posted : November 26, 2018 3:58 pm
Rahadian_Fauzi, Angel, Jerry Hastings and 1 people liked
Dave Lindell
(@dave-lindell)
500+ posts Member

And the pay now is $73.73 per hour for journeyman.

ReplyQuote
Posted : November 26, 2018 4:04 pm
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member

Local 3, which covers NorCal, has a similar (if not identical) program.  It's the way I started, though I never finished the program (the recession of 1981 cut the bottom out of demand for surveying services).  Sacramento and the Bay Area are the concentrated markets for Local 3, so you wouldn't have to deal with SoCal.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
framesurveying.com

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Posted : November 26, 2018 5:09 pm
Wendell liked
Harry Callahan
(@harry-callahan)
5+ posts Member
Posted by: Dave Lindell

And the pay now is $73.73 per hour for journeyman.

Best I can tell, the pay was $48.86 for Chief of Party before the October 1, 2018 increase of around $2.30. Where do you see $73.73? 

Sources:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/OPRL/2018-2/PWD/index.htm

http://www.scsurveyjac.org/files/125424885.pdf

ReplyQuote
Posted : December 1, 2018 12:12 pm
Harry Callahan
(@harry-callahan)
5+ posts Member

I wanted to give an opinion based on my experience as an apprentice in northern California for the past two years.

Firstly, if you want to be a surveyor, do not take any classes on it. Simply sign up for the next apprenticeship exam and take the test (info: http://teapprenticeship.org/surveyor/ ). Better yet, go and speak to the survey companies near you and try to get hired directly. They will have you join the union (do not go to any non-union shops as they pay very poorly,) and you most likely will get to start out at a higher pay level than a first period apprentice (currently $18.11 per hour in all of northern California, and set to go up in March by about a dollar.) I've met plenty of new surveyors who knew the boss from church who started out making roughly journeyman wages. They still had to take apprenticeship class but the incentive to finish is really low when you already get the pay, and many never do finish.

Regarding the apprenticeship in northern California: Depending on where you live, class is once per week usually from 5pm to 8pm or 6pm to 9pm. This will depend on your local class. If the company that hires you sends you out of town for a long assignment or night work, the apprenticeship will often arrange for you to take online classes (these are via a group conference-type of online "study hall.") Actually, the classes are not really classes, but rather a timed study hall. You are self-paced and self-taught for the most part. 

One last thing: I've heard that once you leave California, the pay for surveyors is terrible until you hit New York. Idaho seems to fall into this category from what I can find online. I don't know why this is the case. Maybe some Idaho residents can chime in with some insight.

If you have any questions about pay or companies or whatever, feel free to PM me.

Best of luck!

This post was modified 6 months ago 2 times by Harry Callahan
ReplyQuote
Posted : December 1, 2018 12:36 pm

Rahadian_Fauzi
(@rahadian_fauzi)
5+ posts Member

Hope for the best for you ? 

Viva Surveyor ? 

ReplyQuote
Posted : December 2, 2018 6:01 am
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member

Best I can tell, the pay was $48.86 for Chief of Party before the October 1, 2018 increase of around $2.30. Where do you see $73.73?

Dave was probably including health and welfare, pension and vacation/holiday amounts in that total.  Non-union employees working on a prevailing wage project get all of that as pay rather than deductions.  And the amounts can vary by county.  In my home county (Yolo), the total hourly rate for a party chief is currently $73.08.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
framesurveying.com

ReplyQuote
Posted : December 2, 2018 9:08 am
Harry Callahan
(@harry-callahan)
5+ posts Member
Posted by: Jim Frame

Best I can tell, the pay was $48.86 for Chief of Party before the October 1, 2018 increase of around $2.30. Where do you see $73.73?

Dave was probably including health and welfare, pension and vacation/holiday amounts in that total.  Non-union employees working on a prevailing wage project get all of that as pay rather than deductions.  And the amounts can vary by county.  In my home county (Yolo), the total hourly rate for a party chief is currently $73.08.

I'm thinking so too. Otherwise I should plan my move! 

Yeah, Yolo is right near me and has the same pay. I'm guessing non-union companies don't work on prevailing wage projects very often though am I right?

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Posted : December 2, 2018 9:56 am
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member

I'm guessing non-union companies don't work on prevailing wage projects very often though am I right?

That wouldn't be a very good guess.  Most of my work is PW, and I'm not signatory to a union contract.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
framesurveying.com

ReplyQuote
Posted : December 2, 2018 10:23 am
Harry Callahan
(@harry-callahan)
5+ posts Member

Wow, no kidding. That's great. All of the non-union guys I've met (not many) made a lot less than union wages.

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Posted : December 2, 2018 10:36 am
JNR114
(@jnr114)
FNG Member

Hi,

I am currently considering the Northern CA Surveyor Apprenticeship Program as well. I am from out of state, but my dad is from there and have grandparents there. I am considering the move for this program. I was in the Army as a 12T. I also have a Construction Management Bachelor's Degree. I am having some trouble finding work. Everyone is looking for the perfect "experience" that they don't want to give anywhere. It has been a constant tail chase trying to get moving forward on track with a career. From my research, this program seems pretty good and possibly promising with a little dedication.

I have been thinking about getting into surveying for a career for a few years now, but have not made the decision yet. As others noted, pay is poor in other states, and the union thing is not heard of really for survey techs/surveyors. I am curious to hear more about the Apprenticeship program from any insiders, former or present, there in Northern CA. If my goal were to become an LSIT and eventually a PLS, would this really be a good route? Would I get a variety of education and experience, or is most of the work solely Construction Staking? If pigeonholed into construction staking then, would/could there still be a route to possible licensing?

Any info./advice would be great.

Thanks,

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Posted : February 11, 2019 3:49 pm