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Breaking into the surveying industry

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 8 Nov 2022


Being a surveyor is a fascinating and rewarding career. There are a variety of areas to work within the industry including the built environment, property, land and construction.

With so many options available it can be confusing to know where to begin if you are thinking of becoming a surveyor. Read on to find the key information about breaking into the surveying industry.

How do I start a career in surveying?

The surveying industry has many areas and specialisms so you will need to consider which aspect of surveying you are interested in. If property is your passion, you may consider residential or commercial property. If you are interested in the impact of climate change, landscapes and rural localities you may prefer to specialise in land or geomatics.

So, what will your next role be? Explore surveying roles and their requirements at RICS Recruit. Here you can get an idea of the sort of roles available and what employers are looking for.

Many people wonder whether surveyors have to be registered to practice. You do not have to be RICS registered to become a surveyor but there may be more public awareness of your credentials if you are.

What qualifications do I need to be a surveyor?

The surveying industry is for everybody. You can become a surveyor with or without a degree and there are a variety of options available.

If you do not have a degree, the apprenticeship-route to becoming an RICS-qualified surveyor may be preferable. You'll work for a minimum of 30 hours a week and need to be 16 years or older to be eligible.

You can also undertake a surveying-related degree course in subjects such as:

  • surveying
  • construction
  • civil engineering
  • building engineering.

Entry qualifications vary, but a typical course in the UK could require the following, by level:

  • undergraduate/bachelor’s degree: two or three A levels, a T level, level 3 apprenticeship or equivalent
  • postgraduate course: a first degree in any subject.

What transferable skills do surveyors have?

Professionals are able to move from one surveying field to another by ensuring they undertake the correct continued professional development for their chosen area. Training to maintain knowledge and skill sets is available through RICS membership but there are also sector-specific courses from other providers.

Surveyor roles may involve interacting with clients, project management, procurement of materials, valuation and quality assurance. These skills apply across many roles and allow people to move between surveying specialisms. For example, if you specialised in land surveying with a focus on project management, you may be able to move into construction project management instead. Communication skills, analytical reasoning and problem-solving are also key to being successful in surveying roles - if you have developed these within one surveying sector, you may be able to move into another surveying sector by transferring these skills.

What will your next role be? Explore surveying roles and their requirements at RICS Recruit.