Why are we letting others decide if we are a profession? 

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mgj
Posts: 1

Joined: 12/29/2009
Topic  Why are we letting others decide if we are a profession?       Flag »  Reply »
I just finished reading the article in the Jan issue concerning the move toward mandatory 4 yr degrees.  As usual, the argument made is that others do not see us as professionals.  David points to Florida case law and case law in other states to imply that it is settled law.  It is not.  That a judge in Florida found a 4 yr degree mandatory for considering someone a professional is fact.  But the problem is that David states that the law does not typically mandate what is a professional.  I argue that is not the case.  If your state licenses you as a "Professional Land Surveyor" then the law of your state has mandated that you are a "Professional".  If, by legislation, your state has deemed you a professional- and make no mistake most states spell out in the definitions of the state laws that surveying is a professional service, then no court should be allowed to ignore that law to define "professional" as they see fit.  But they do it and we go along with it because we CONTINUALLY look to the other professions for approval.  We see a 4 yr degree as a panacea for all our troubles: want to get rid of low prices, get a 4 yr degree; want to have others think of you as a professional, get a 4 yr degree; etc.  But it will not do any of that.  We have issues: we do not see ourselves as professionals so we allow others to paint us as something less than professionals.  We blame the public for the low prices, but the truth is they are paying for a percieved value: they do not see why they need a survey and really do not see why it should cost so much.  Our societies have done a horrid job in educating the public in what is really involved in our work, instead just wanting to get that quick fix of "4 yr degree" but those states with it still have the issues of lawyers, engineers, and the general public thinking we are not professionals and looking for low ball prices because "I just don't see why it should cost so much..." and "I am on a fixed income...".  The 4 yr degree will not change that, then we will move on to the "a masters degree will fix it" mentality.  In the end, in the not too distant future, you will need a 4 yr degree to flip burgers at McD's because everyone wants the easy way to "prove" you are smart enough to do the job.  I wonder, why do we even have a licensing test, if a 4 yr degree makes you a professional?
  Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 5:26:58 PM
k-bob
Posts: 15
Location: MI USA

Joined: 2/6/2009
Reply  Re: Why are we letting others decide if we are a profession? Flag »  Reply »
Excellent points.
This struggle we seem to have as a profession is also occurring with engineers too. There are probably only a few (2-3) of the 50 states that don't require a BS degree for becoming a PE. I'm not sure how many there are in regards to surveying, but obviously significantly more. So the engineering profession is going thru this same 'identity crisis', and also in response to slightly less robust credit requirements for obtaining a BSE, they are on the verge of mandating a master's degree to be requisite for becoming a PE. So mgj's points are quite valid. Not surprisingly, their various societies (ASCE, ASME, etc) and PE's in general are divided on the necessity of it.

I agree with mgj that if one's state board has licensed you as a professional surveyor, then no court should be able to subvert the established occupational codes by its 'esteemed' review. However, to do our jobs to the fullest as surveyors in this present day & age, and because of the wealth of technology at our disposal, i do think a BS degree is very much needful, even though it may not be required - I concur that a degree doesnt make you a professional by default, but it will certainly help you become a very capable professional surveyor.
  Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 8:08:09 AM
sideshot
Posts: 6

Joined: 10/20/2009
Reply  Re: Why are we letting others decide if we are a profession? Flag »  Reply »
check out my posts in the ethics section of this forum, as Pogo said "we have met the enemy and he is us"
  Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:26:16 PM
sumnow
Posts: 9

Joined: 5/30/2012
Reply  Re: Why are we letting others decide if we are a profession? Flag »  Reply »
I must say, yes you got points on that. Considered topic for arguments. Probably, educate the public too... 
  Monday, June 18, 2012 at 2:59:14 AM

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