Qualifying with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the most common route to becoming a surveying profession in the UK, and their qualifications are both recognised and respected across the globe. In general, there are three routes to becoming a surveyor in the UK.
- Join an established firm as an apprentice from school or sixth form. You’ll need at least a C grade in GCSE maths and English, plus 3 other subjects at grade C. Subjects such as geography or science would be useful. Remember, a residential building surveyor basically exists to calculate and present numbers in written report format for clients, so you should feel confident that you can do this. The main advantage of taking this route is that all of your training should be paid for by your employer, meaning no costly student loan repayments, whilst at the same time you’ll be working, earning a wage to line your pockets with. However, this does mean that in addition to a full-time job, you will need to set aside time during evenings and weekends to fulfil the academic training requirements. Finally, you must be aged 16-24 to qualify for an apprenticeship, and not already hold an undergraduate degree.
- Take a RICS accredited undergraduate degree. The degree lasts three years like any other undergraduate degree in the UK, and at the end, you will be eligible for training positions with established surveying firms. There are a number of universities offering RICS accredited courses in the UK, all with differing entry requirements. To give you an idea, at the time of writing, the University of Salford requires 104 UCAS tariff points (equivalent to grades B C C or B B D at GCE A Level) for entry to its BSc Property and Real Estate course. Reading University is at the time of writing asking for grades B B B at GCE A Level for its BSc Building Surveying Course. Quantity surveying courses will typically have a tougher mathematics requirement than building surveying courses. If you don’t meet these requirements, it might be worth looking at the UCAS clearing process for entry to a course. If this is your first degree, then you can obtain a student loan to help fund your studies.
- Take a RICS accredited postgraduate conversion degree. If you already have a degree in an unrelated field (like yours truly!) you can take a RICS approved conversion course. These courses typically last one year full-time, or three years part-time/by distance learning. Northumbria University does have a part-time course that only lasts two years however. At the time of writing, UWE (Bristol), Heriot Watt (Edinburgh) and Salford offer distance learning courses over a three-year period, accepting a 2:2 degree as a minimum entry requirement for building surveying-type courses. Quantity surveying courses often want a mathematics-related undergraduate degree, but you can always contact universities directly before applying and try your luck. Most other universities other than those mentioned above want to see at least a 2:1 first degree for both full and part-time courses. Expect to pay around £8000 (EU/UK students) or £12,000 (non-EU) for courses of this type. You can fund these courses either with a private loan from a bank (referred to as a Professional Development Loan) or by taking the course part-time/by distance learning and working at the same time to pay the fees.
You can refer to the RICS course finder website to find a course that suits you. In the coming months, Surveyors HQ will be publishing course reviews from present and past students.