March 12, 2013 at 3:47 am #155422
I’m hoping that someone here may have taken the Caltrans LA exam, specifically the Landscape Associate version. It’s an on-line test but they don’t give you any indication of how long it will be or what to expect.
Once you take it you can’t take it again for a year, so I’d like to have some idea of what it might look like before diving in.
Has anyone out there taken it? I’d appreciate any information you might have.
Thanks!!March 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm #155433Alan Ray, RLAParticipant
I give up,,,, what is a Caltrans???March 15, 2013 at 2:32 am #155432
The California Department of Transportation. THey hire a lot of landscape architects.March 15, 2013 at 7:01 am #155431CoordinatesParticipant
I wasn’t aware about this exam before, and after reading this forum thread, I came to know about this exam conducted by California Department of Transportation to appoint only good, and knowledgeable landscape architects.March 15, 2013 at 10:52 am #155430Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
What happened to Trace One? She is a Caltrans landscape architect who probably has direct knowledge and experience with this. If she is still a member, maybe you can private message her.March 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm #155429Trace OneParticipant
I don’t think it is the same as when I took the exam, which was before the hiring freeze, etc. Good luck, is all I have to say, and be prepared to wait for the phone call – maybe even several years…Or not, if you are lucky..March 16, 2013 at 2:16 am #155428BoilerplaterParticipant
I did it in 2006 and I don’t remember there being all that much to it. I got notices about job openings about 8 or 9 months later. By that time I had found a job, which subsequently vanished into the ether of the real estate collapse, so I really wish I had pursued it. That was before California’s fiscal crisis and hiring freeze, so as has been indicated, things are different now. Now I have to slug it out with surly New Yorkers as I oversee tree planting projects.March 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm #155427
Much of the test (if it is still the same one) is about being a team member – leader to grunt – and where you fall within the group.
If you are self-employed (and really really honest) then you tend towards the I do it all because I am the team attitude and answers, and you score low. Don’t answer that way.
Depending upon which district you end up at, Caltrans can be a demoralizing place to work for. Care to guess how I know this?March 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm #155426
Thanks for all of your responses, very enlightening. It sounds like it might be an ok fall back option but not a progressive work environment.
With the economy being what it is I thought about taking the exam to get on the waiting (and waiting, and waiting) list so I would have a opportunity should I ever need it. Is that a good strategy or is it not worth bothering?
Hey Boilerplateer, sorry about the surly environment. I have a friend who is a charming happy-go- lucky Californian LA who recently moved to New York (Manhattan). If you have any leads for him please let me know, he doesn’t have any connections there. He moved for his wife’s job transfer.March 18, 2013 at 11:13 pm #155425
Take the test.
The plus side of working for the state is a steady pay and benefits. You will even get reimbursed (partial for prep classes, full on the tests) for obtaining the LA license.
Just understand that Caltrans is run by a bunch of engineers. And as such, they don’t let go of much of the ADA, grading within LS areas, or stormwater work. Someone somewhere up the line said all of it has to be stamped by an engineer, even though it doesn’t.March 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm #155424
Yeah, I kind of wondered if that was the case. The work I see from Caltrans seems to vary a lot, some nice design but a lot of engineering influence ; )
Do you know which of the Bay Area districts might have a more LA-friendly environment?March 19, 2013 at 12:04 am #155423
Each district is run separately w/ some Sacto oversight for establishing standards. While the work env is not hostile to LAs, there is a definite division of work that leaves […] wanting more. Others I work with are either fine with how it is, or just won’t say anything about it.
If given the choice, put in for the areas you could live in and or commute to with the hopes of later transfering. Go to http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/construc/districtmap.htm to see where each district hq is, and go from there.
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