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Breaking Into Quantity Surveying – The Steps You Need To Take

Are you considering quantity surveying as a career? Here are our tips on how to become a quantity surveyor with chartered status. 

Of all the surveying fields, the quantity surveying specialism is perhaps one of the best known. Quantity surveyors are respected key players in construction and civil engineering projects of every shape and size. 

In the UK, the RICS Construction and Infrastructure Monitor for Q2 of 2021 showed 45% of respondents reporting shortages of competent quantity surveyors. However, since the pandemic started, numbers of people qualifying in surveying has gone up, suggesting a positive trend in response to the high demand for the profession.  

Quantity Surveying is also listed on the Australian Visa Bureau’s Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List, on Singapore’s strategic Skills-in-Demand List and as one of the top 100 in-demand occupations in South Africa (National Scarce Skills). 

 This international demand makes the quantity surveying career path a fantastic one for anyone looking for a rewarding, fast-moving career in the built-environment industry. 

Below, we’ve outlined the key steps and various options to take if you’re looking to become a quantity surveyor. 

 

1) Gain a RICS accredited quantity surveying qualification

No doubt one of your first questions will be ‘what qualifications do I need to become a chartered quantity surveyor?’

To become a chartered surveyor and reach your full earning potential, you’ll need to become a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – the global professional body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of surveying standards.

If you’re new to the sector, you must first complete an RICS accredited qualification, before gaining the professional experience needed to complete your professional assessment and add the letters MRICS after your name.

During an RICS approved qualification, you’ll be introduced to the knowledge and professional competencies deemed necessary by the Institution to become one of their members and to prove to employers that you have the skills they need to succeed with their next project.

 

2) Choose the right RICS accredited course for you

The type of quantity surveying course you choose will depend on a number of factors – from your educational background to the time you have available. It’s important to do your research and pick the education pathway that’s right for you and your aspirations.

Quantity Surveying postgraduate conversion course

If you hold a first degree in an unrelated subject, you could take a postgraduate quantity surveying conversion course, such as our RICS accredited Masters degree in Quantity Surveying.

Achieving a Masters in Surveying is a common entry route for those joining the profession a little later in life, and one that is highly valued by industry and the profession.

A full-time postgraduate course in surveying will usually take one year, while those choosing a part-time or distance learning option are looking at a minimum of two years of study.   

Part-time or distance learning quantity surveying courses are sensible if you’re looking to earn as you learn. These more flexible, less intensive courses are designed to help you balance your degree alongside working full-time, even if your current job is in another sector entirely. 

Most people fund their Masters through postgraduate loans, with the UK government offering up to £10,000 for PG study. 

RICS Surveyor quote

 Degree Apprenticeship

If you haven’t got a degree, you could join an RICS approved Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship. This pathway will see you working as a trainee quantity surveyor while you study a surveying degree on a part time basis, gaining both theoretical and practical knowledge as you go.

A degree apprenticeship usually takes five years to complete. You will need to find an employer that will support you through the programme. However, the qualification should result in gaining MRICS status upon completion. You can also earn a salary as you train (usually between £16,000 and £18,000 a year) and will avoid incurring student debt.

Undergraduate degree in Quantity Surveying

If you don’t have a degree but the idea of going to university appeals, you could enrol on an undergraduate BSc in Quantity Surveying

An undergraduate degree will traditionally take three years when studied full time on campus. Depending on the university you choose, there may be a chance to take a placement year or learn part time which will extend your learning journey.

Going to university will require fees. However, a number of undergraduate loans do exist to help students fund their education.

 

3) Complete your APC and become chartered

The final step towards becoming a chartered surveyor with MRICS status is taking the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

For those taking a Chartered Surveying Degree Apprenticeship, sitting the APC is all part of the programme – you should achieve MRICS status when you complete your course. However, if you have less than five years of practical experience, such as those entering the profession after university, becoming chartered means completing the APC by gaining a minimum of 24 months of postgraduate experience with an appropriate employer. 

In an industry that needs more quantity surveyors, securing employment as a graduate quantity surveyor can be relatively straightforward. Many firms offer career opportunities for people with an RICS accredited degree - an assurance that they have the academic knowledge, competencies and commitment needed to work proficiently in the sector. Starting salaries for a graduate quantity surveyor job tend to be around £18,000-£30,000. 

Once in a suitable role, having an RICS approved qualification means you’ll be free to start your APC straight away, completing the final stages of your training and your journey towards a new life as a chartered quantity surveyor. 

Becoming a chartered quantity surveyor with Northumbria University

Find out more about our other RICS accredited Quantity Surveying courses we offer below:

Alternatively, if you’re interested in Real Estate or Building Surveying, we also offer specialist distance learning courses in these similarly in-demand pathways: 


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