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Amber in Westminster, Colorado

78 months ago

I have surveyed for 8 months. I started as a rodmen within 3 days I was on an instrument (lieca T406) After a month I was sent out to do my own job. I was very nervous cause I hadnt been doing it long. As a instrument person I learned a lot. I was taught how to draw, do measure downs, take notes, work a GPS station, use level rods and what not. After about 6 months of being with this company the party cheif was fired leaving me as party chief. I know how to do a job from begining to end but sometimes I run into things that I havent done before and I may need a little wisdom. I know how to use the new technology to survey but I have no idea how to do it old fashioned. Am I still of good use to a company. And what kind of salary do I deserve?

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Jeremy in Lexington, Kentucky

73 months ago

Wow, I never thought I would see someone else in the same boat as me...lol
I have helped survey with my father inlaw off and on for a year in '04, then joined the army,two years later in '07 I started working full time for him and have ever since then. so a little over a year now. i have done the trimble gps 5800 station and rod, total station, crew cheif and rodman, also tons of courthouse research and deedwork. I have also poked and proded at auto cadd. i have no clue what i should be making, but right now i only make $10 an hour. my boss told me if i worked anywhere else i should start with at least $15 an hour based on the knowledge I have of the survey/construcion industry. if you know of any good jobs let me know... im willing to relocate!!!!!

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Brian in Orlando, Florida

71 months ago

To be as polite as possible,I would say that short amount of time running the rod is not nearly long enough to run the gun.A fair estimate for an average person to "rise up the ladder" would be 6 months to a year on the rod ,depending on the type of work that you might be doing.There are so many different tasks for a rodman to do & so many ways to acomplish those tasks , it is next to impossible to learn AND perfect them in less than 6 months.Then 1-2 years on the gun. then MAYBE up to a chief. But then again becoming a chief usually means you are right back running the rod...lol
If you like surveying I would encourage you not to rush through the learning process,it will pay off in the end.

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Don in New City, New York

71 months ago

I sounded like you guys!!! I started doing drafting this year (January '08) and have been doing it for 6 months then I was called to do Land Surveying. My employer needed someone to do survey on that week and have picked me to do surveying in Bronx, NY. I started as a Rod Man for 2 days and have to learn the gun & set-up the gps as well. DOT jobs pays well and I had a lot of fun doing this! I might consider switching career from drafting to surveying. DO you guys know where I can go to school for this? good luck on you guys!

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Brian in Orlando, Florida

71 months ago

Google search "surveying classes" in your state and see what is offered. I would start with the beginner class. Be aware that no matter how many classes you take you will not fully understand ALL aspects of surveying.The classes will help but FIELD EXPERIENCE is the only way you really learn how to survey.Ideally, working at a company that does all types of surveys(mortgage,topo,boundary,construction....ect...) with an experienced person training you,,is how you will learn the most.It will take time and paitence, and you will have to go in the swamp, cut miles of line in the woods,and do a lot of walking....ect...
Surveying is a long term commitment and should only be looked at as a lifetime career, not as a "job". If you are not willing to invest years of your life to the trade,stop now.
A few tips:- A good rodman ALWAYS has a tape measure on his person.
-Do what you are told without complaint..especially getting in water.
-Keep your mouth shut.A trainee never questions the boss.
-Don't be a stinky guy, shower a minimum of 2X a day,,1 in the morning & 1 after work.....lol Good Luck.

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Joe Willman in Sunnyvale, Texas

69 months ago

Brian in Orlando, Florida said: Google search "surveying classes" in your state and see what is offered. I would start with the beginner class. Be aware that no matter how many classes you take you will not fully understand ALL aspects of surveying.The classes will help but FIELD EXPERIENCE is the only way you really learn how to survey.Ideally, working at a company that does all types of surveys(mortgage,topo,boundary,construction....ect...) with an experienced person training you,,is how you will learn the most.It will take time and paitence, and you will have to go in the swamp, cut miles of line in the woods,and do a lot of walking....ect...
Surveying is a long term commitment and should only be looked at as a lifetime career, not as a "job". If you are not willing to invest years of your life to the trade,stop now.
A few tips:- A good rodman ALWAYS has a tape measure on his person.
-Do what you are told without complaint..especially getting in water.
-Keep your mouth shut.A trainee never questions the boss.
-Don't be a stinky guy, shower a minimum of 2X a day,,1 in the morning & 1 after work.....lol Good Luck.

Brian is right on the money guys, it takes at least a year to become a competent rodman. I'm talking about one that can set up a job while the gunman sets up his gun and the party chief starts making up his notes. That is just for a little title plat survey. If you haven't waded willingly into a swamp full of cotton mouths, chin deep in duckweed, used a chain saw and a machete for weeks at a time, climbed mountains, gullys and trees to expand a shot, then you've got a ways to go. If you haven't dealt with irrate land owners, been cussed out, threatened or ran off, then you have a ways to go. If you haven't true lined mile after mile of thickets invested with chiggers, mosquitos and ticks then you have a ways to go. If you've never found a pine knot corner set a hundred years ago, get ready for a long trip! I love this work!

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Joel in Houston, Texas

69 months ago

I have to disagree with Brian a little bit. I believe it solely relies on the person. I started surveying as a rodman and within 1 year I was a party chief. I then took drafting classes and moved into the office after about 3 years. Now I have competed a 4 year degree and will be sitting for my RPLS exam in April after 12 years total surveying experience. If someone really applies themselves and tries to learn everything they can about the profession I see no reason why they should be held back by traditional views of required experience time. This is not rocket science here. I'm not saying this is true for everybody. But someone that has some snap, is able to learn quickly, has some knowledge of mathematics, and is willing to apply themselves whole heartedly, should be able to move up through the land surveying ranks pretty quickly. Believe me your employer will let you know if you are screwing up. As for salary, just be glad that you have a job considering the current economic conditions.

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robert in Oakland, California

67 months ago

I have spent tha last twenty years learning the profession and I know there is so much more. After you sit for an LS exam you'll have a much greater appreciation for the profession. Imagine having six months as dental assitant or auto mechanic, would you consider yourself well quified? Land suveying can be extremely complex and challenging, that's why it is so hard to get a license.

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wally in El Paso, Texas

67 months ago

It all depends on your intelligence and willingness to work. Most people due take the traditional amount of experience to be a crew chief, but the right person can, with a little help, successfully carry out the duties of a crew chief with very little experience, especially if your using GPS. On the other hand some people with 30 years of experience as instrument men still do not have what it takes.

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jesse in Ventura, California

62 months ago

Amber in Westminster, Colorado said: I have surveyed for 8 months. I started as a rodmen within 3 days I was on an instrument (lieca T406) After a month I was sent out to do my own job. I was very nervous cause I hadnt been doing it long. As a instrument person I learned a lot. I was taught how to draw, do measure downs, take notes, work a GPS station, use level rods and what not. After about 6 months of being with this company the party cheif was fired leaving me as party chief. I know how to do a job from begining to end but sometimes I run into things that I havent done before and I may need a little wisdom. I know how to use the new technology to survey but I have no idea how to do it old fashioned. Am I still of good use to a company. And what kind of salary do I deserve?

in ca you would be worth about 15 dollars a hour non union. This could be wrong if you know the math behind what you are doing. It is hard to tell without talking to you about your ability to calc and knowing your field skills.
I have been surveying for ten years full time and worked with my dad growing up, but every day i keep learning. Today there was a final for my surveying class and in fall there is one more class to take , so i have a degree from Rancho Santiago college in survey.
Local 3 has a apprenticeship program in your area check it out!

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michelle in Fairbanks, Alaska

60 months ago

I am interested in an apprenticeship program in the fairbanks area. i dont have much expierence but i have done at least 100 hours of off site surveying for my aunt and her company. how do i get more expierence without going to school?? lilalaskanangel_3@hotmail.com please if you have any ideas comments or suggestions email me. thank you!

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Amber in Littleton, Colorado

57 months ago

Hey guys! Since my original post I enrolled at Westwood College. I will be graduatiing with honors this Dec. for my associate's in Land Surveying. There is a lot about surveying that I didnt know before.. and now that I know more I realize how much I still have to learn. I still love surveying and am really good with the calculations.. cant wait to start working! The math and thought that goes into surveying will BLOW your mind! Sometimes I go to class and I am like omg.. as I feel my brain dripping out of my ear. But the older guys are right there are some things you have to learn from experience but dont think having a degree doesnt help you along the way! Good Luck to you all!

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Bo in Houston, Texas

52 months ago

The knowledge of equipment and the survey process may be of some value but your true monetary value comes with experience.I have been a Party Chief for 15 years and while some could learn all the technical aspects of what i do, other aspects cannot be overlooked.The ability to accomplish every job with optimal efficiency and accuracy is what makes you valuble and is not something that just anybody can do.Utilizing the timeframe, your resources, the environment, and your crew's abilities to make every job a perfectly efficient job is something that is mastered over time.I make a comfortable $33/hr. and i was reminded every time i got a raise that it was my leadership ability that was moving me forward.Keep that in mind when you wonder your worth.

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chris in Kingwood, Texas

52 months ago

i have been surveying for five years i started the day after i graduated high school. i ran the rod for year, then the gun for two before i became a chief and i only became a chief after passing the CST II exam and i make 25 an hr so i would encourage you to take your time and soak it all in, watch other chiefs and the decisions they make so you can have an idea what to do in field.

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RW in Baltimore, Maryland

45 months ago

Joe Willman in Sunnyvale, Texas said: Brian is right on the money guys, it takes at least a year to become a competent rodman. I'm talking about one that can set up a job while the gunman sets up his gun and the party chief starts making up his notes. That is just for a little title plat survey. If you haven't waded willingly into a swamp full of cotton mouths, chin deep in duckweed, used a chain saw and a machete for weeks at a time, climbed mountains, gullys and trees to expand a shot, then you've got a ways to go. If you haven't dealt with irrate land owners, been cussed out, threatened or ran off, then you have a ways to go. If you haven't true lined mile after mile of thickets invested with chiggers, mosquitos and ticks then you have a ways to go. If you've never found a pine knot corner set a hundred years ago, get ready for a long trip! I love this work!

AMEN BROTHA.
I started as a Rodman, did it for 1.5 years. Then worked as an I-Man for a year. Got my CAD certification and moved to the office and did photogrammetry work, back out to the field as a party chief, then around the country doing hydrographic and land surveys for a dredging company...I've slogged through swamps in South Louisiana, ran topo on and island we BUILT in the Gulf of Mexico, located property corners on 15000 acre ranches over 100 years ago, climbed a tree to avoid an angry longhorn bull and had a face to face encounter with a coyote...with my pants around my ankles because we were MILES away from civilization and when nature calls...But I LOVE IT. I love thinking on my feet, I love walking miles and miles through brush all the while figuring out in my head where I need to send my rodman...or heck, I even liked being a rodman.
Surveying is a Career you either love or you don't do it. And those that do, remember...SUNSCREEN. You'll need it.

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SB in Corona, California

44 months ago

Amber in Westminster, Colorado said: I have surveyed for 8 months. I started as a rodmen within 3 days I was on an instrument (lieca T406) After a month I was sent out to do my own job. I was very nervous cause I hadnt been doing it long. As a instrument person I learned a lot. I was taught how to draw, do measure downs, take notes, work a GPS station, use level rods and what not. After about 6 months of being with this company the party cheif was fired leaving me as party chief. I know how to do a job from begining to end but sometimes I run into things that I havent done before and I may need a little wisdom. I know how to use the new technology to survey but I have no idea how to do it old fashioned. Am I still of good use to a company. And what kind of salary do I deserve?

No offense intended...But you scare me. Does your company do the same types of jobs or is there variety? I know someone that went through the ranks pretty darn fast but he had a lot of background in construction already. When a person doesn't get enough experience it can come back to haunt them at a latter date. You are of use to a company but salary varies a great deal in this field by where you are located and whether you are union or not. Best of Luck!

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Amber in Metairie, Louisiana

44 months ago

Well it has been a long time since my last post. Thanx for all the replys and I have come a long way since then. I understand where some of yall are comming from, but really I was good at that job. I was what you call a button pusher. I now have a associates in surveying and have learned so much more. I now work for the gov. as a surveyor making really good money. I am now confident in my surveying techniques as I now have the the knowledge to understand and make good choices. I still need more experience but that will come with time and I work with another surveyor that has 40 yrs experience and anytime I have questions or come accross something Im not sure about he helps me out. I am very blessed to have the job I do and the chance to get the experience I need and want. Good luck to all of you too!

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Ernesto in Plant City, Florida

42 months ago

it did happen the same to me. Went up quick in the field chain and i can tell you after 7 years that no one was wrong. I was / i am able to do my job with no problems. Most important i don't do drugs, i don't drink , i do have a perfect background, i do not skip job..... so knowing other surveyors very well, i can assured you that being clean puts you ahead of 85 % of surveyors....... its been hard to find the right rodman, the right iman ..... anyway my range salary as a party chief, 50 to 60 k , depending on overtime. this is @ a private company. I know now is hard so good luck everybody ...

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King Surveyor in Spartanburg, South Carolina

40 months ago

YOur spelling really stinks Ernesto!

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dean in Franklin Park, Illinois

32 months ago

King Surveyor in Spartanburg, South Carolina said: YOur spelling really stinks Ernesto!

looser i make $60/hr and am happy with my Software tester field.
Ha ha. Get a job were you do not have to fight the elements.

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Bo in Houston, Texas

32 months ago

hey dean, only a pu**y has to "fight" the elements.Go be happy at your candy-a** job, assuming you even have one, and leave this forum for the real men.And Ernesto, don't flatter yourself that you are in the top 15% because you are "clean".It takes a real outdoors-man to be a good, long-term surveyor.Most outdoors-man tend to do things like hunt, fish, and drink beer.Don't be a goody-goody candy-a** and judge other men for how they live their lives and provide for their families.Take credit for what you do personally and leave others out of it.

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landsurveyorsunited in Homosassa, Florida

32 months ago

The best way to know whether or not you know enough is to network with other surveyors around the way and ask them direct questions. Now i know this is harder than it seems because a LOT of surveying websites are filled with surveyors with big heads, who might mock you when you ask a question. However I do know of one site which this will never happen because all of the surveyors in the network are there to help others and provide support for their fellow surveyors. And that is Land Surveyors United. You might consider joining the network and get involved in some groups focused on the type of surveying you are doing and make some friends..never hurts to try.. landsurveyorsunited.com

Amber in Westminster, Colorado said: I have surveyed for 8 months. I started as a rodmen within 3 days I was on an instrument (lieca T406) After a month I was sent out to do my own job. I was very nervous cause I hadnt been doing it long. As a instrument person I learned a lot. I was taught how to draw, do measure downs, take notes, work a GPS station, use level rods and what not. After about 6 months of being with this company the party cheif was fired leaving me as party chief. I know how to do a job from begining to end but sometimes I run into things that I havent done before and I may need a little wisdom. I know how to use the new technology to survey but I have no idea how to do it old fashioned. Am I still of good use to a company. And what kind of salary do I deserve?

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carlos gutierrez in Albuquerque, New Mexico

29 months ago

I have been in the surveying field for a total of 16 years. In a span of over 22 years, when I first started surveying, I was making $8 an hour. When I was let go, I was making $14 an hour. The company I was working for, mainly did Highways, airport runways,and bridges. With in that time I was a rodman,I-man,and I ran a crew. I never was put as a Party Chief, or received the pay pay for it.
I love doing the work and saying. "HEY, I HELPED BUILD THAT". I was the only Hispanic person in the company that employed 5 other employees. My question is, what should I really be getting paid when looking for employment?, meaning hourly?
I believe My experience is worth $15-17 an hour. The only flaw is, I don't know how to prepare the calculations (office part of it). I Was never given the opportunity to learn that part of surveying only the "field" aspect of it. That part I can do very well! cgcowboys72@yahoo.com

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landsurveyorsunited in Brooklyn, New York

29 months ago

the best and only way to know if you know enough is to do a little bit of networking with other professional surveyors, share what you know..discuss what you don't yet and be the best you can be through discussions. My advise to you is to get a profile started at landsurveyorsunited.com and meet other surveyors in your area...you'll be glad you did Carlos!

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foggyidea in Brewster, Massachusetts

29 months ago

Try scoping out beerleg.com and learning a little more about surveyors and our opinionated bull headed mentality...
I've only been in the profession for 30 years and I'm still learning. oh yeah, 25 of those as a PLS...

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carlos in Albuquerque, New Mexico

28 months ago

I understand their is always room for more learning. Sorry don't know what PLS is.

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landsurveyorsunited in Brooklyn, New York

28 months ago

PLS stands for Professional Land Surveyor

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