macdonald and company
macdonald and company

RICS Membership: Career Ladder for Success in Real Estate

Posting date: 10 May 2019
Jamie Williams our consultant managing the role

RICS Membership Guide to AssocRICS, MRICS, & FRICS

RICS membership & qualifications are like rungs on a career ladder in the built environment. Each step up is positive to your success. At each level, through AssocRICS, MRICS, and FRICS, you will be rewarded more highly. RICS qualifications are proof of your skill, knowledge and experience. Employers take notice.

Read this and you’ll learn why escalating RICS qualifications should be top of your career priorities, and how to gain qualifications that ensure success and higher salaries for surveyor jobs.

RICS Membership Makes a Difference

In the 2019 RICS and Macdonald & Company UK Rewards & Attitudes Survey 2019, respondents were asked about the benefits that the RICS membership brings. 72% of all UK respondents to the survey are RICS members. Thus, the answers to the questions posed provide substantive benchmarking for the industry’s perceptions of the difference that the RICS makes.

The survey found that professional accreditation remains the core benefit of RICS membership. It can be the difference between an exciting career trajectory and a less empowering job path. Especially in a market in which there is a skills shortage, RICS membership gives you a distinct competitive advantage.

RICS membership is like a passport, recognised worldwide as confirmation of your professionalism and that you work to international standards. Employers recognise this as beneficial to their operations, and so demand for RICS members looking to fill their surveyor jobs tends to be strong among hiring companies.

RICS credentials also demonstrate high ethical standards, and a commitment to CPD as you develop technical and professional knowledge and capability. RICS membership is a symbol of your status within the industry, commanding respect from clients and peers. Your RICS membership gives others confidence.

There are more than 125,000 professionals around the globe who have attained RICS status. The networking opportunities this represents enables you to strengthen business connections, gain greater insight to new ideas and best practices, and access to the best surveyor jobs.

RICS Membership

The esteem with which the industry and employers hold RICS members results in higher salaries at all levels. 

As you step up to FRICS, not only does the salary gap widen, but you’ll find that other elements of compensation increase substantially, too. 

Survey results show that your base salary is likely to be 38% higher when you are RICS qualified.

Here is the breakdown by RICS status and compared to non-qualified professionals:
(PQ = Part Qualified)



Assoc RICS










Car Allowance


















Overall, the average RICS qualified salary is £48,600 in the UK. This compares to the average non-qualified salary of £35,000 – an uplift of around 38%.

RICS – Your Career Ladder

An RICS status makes you more attractive to an employer. Demand for your signature will be greater. This gives you an advantage in the jobs market and a good hand in salary negotiations. The higher up the RICS membership ladder you climb, the more you will be valued within the industry. How do you get on the RICS ladder, and advance your career?

Routes to Becoming RICS Qualified

No matter the stage of your career, there is a route for you to become RICS qualified. You may be an industry leader, an experienced professional, or you may have only recently gained an accredited degree.

Proving Competency for RICS

To become RICS qualified, you must demonstrate that you have the technical competencies and business skills needed in your role. The competencies are defined at three levels and across three categories.

The competency levels are designed to ensure you attain competency in a logical and progressive way:

  • Level 1 covers knowledge and understanding
  • Level 2 covers the application of your knowledge
  • Level 3 ensures that you provide reasoned advice and implement technical knowledge effectively

These competencies are measured across the following categories:

  • Mandatory skills are common to all pathways. These skills are personal, interpersonal, professional practice, and business skills.
  • Core technical skills cover the primary skills of your chosen pathway.
  • Optional technical skills are additional skills required for your chosen pathway (see more below).

Download the full RICS Requirements and Competencies Guide here.

Are You Eligible for AssocRICS?

If you have vocational qualifications or work-based experience, AssocRICS is the route for you. The first of five stages of assessment for AssocRICS is checking your eligibility for qualification. 

RICS Membership

The base requirement is four years’ relevant experience. However, this can be reduced if you hold certain qualifications as follows:

  • An approved HND, HNC, NVQ3, BTEC or foundation degree will reduce the length of experience required to two years
  • A relevant bachelor’s degree reduces the experience requirement to 12 months
  • You may have approved direct entry to AssocRICS
  • Direct Entry to AssocRICS

    For direct entry to AssocRICS, you will need current CPD records in line with RICS requirements and be proposed by an existing MRICS or FRICS. You will need your professional body to confirm that there are no ongoing regulatory matters or sanctions against you. Finally, you must pass the RICS online ethics module.

    RICS maintains a list of qualifications and professional bodies which are acceptable for direct entry to AssocRICS.

    Whatever your eligibility status, your application will be vetted, and you must complete the RICS online ethics module and assessment. Your RICS counsellor will confirm when you are ready to submit for assessment. Your submission must include:

    • A 3,000-word summary of your experience against the competencies required in your chosen pathway
    • A 2,500-word case study of a recent project which demonstrates your technical ability
    • A record of at least 48 hours of CPD during the last 12 months

    AssocRICS Pathways

    There are 11 pathways available for AssocRICS:

    • Building Control
    • Building Surveying
    • Commercial Real Estate
    • Facilities Management
    • Geospatial Surveying
    • Hydrographic
    • Land
    • Project Management
    • Quantity Surveying and Construction
    • Residential
    • Valuation

    RICS Membership Salary Survey

    Are You Eligible for MRICS?

    The next step on the RICS ladder is MRICS. The route you take to progress to chartered status depends upon your career personal circumstances. You need to decide which assessment and pathway to take, according to your experience and qualifications.

    4 Assessment Options Available:

    1. APC: Assessment of Professional Competence

    This is suitable if you have a degree-level qualification and work-based experience.

    2. Senior Professional Assessment

    If you have a record of exceptional career achievement as a senior professional with leadership and/or management responsibilities, this assessment route is for you.

    3. Specialist Assessment

    Are you recognised for being impactful and having authority while providing enhanced services in an RICS discipline? Then you could be eligible for a Specialist Assessment.

    4. Academic Assessment

    This is suitable if you are teaching a degree-level programme. You should have a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of relevant teaching experience.

    All routes to MRICS require further study and/or training, and a period of further work experienced at a more advanced level. You will also need to pass a peer interview conducted by chartered members of the RICS.

    Direct Entry to MRICS

    Like AssocRICS, you may be eligible for direct entry to MRICS. You need to:

    • Provide current CPD records in line with RICS requirements
    • Have a proposer who is either MRICS or FRICS
    • Pass the RICS online ethics module
    • Provide a letter from your professional body confirming membership and that there are no ongoing regulatory matters or sanctions against you

    You might also be asked to provide a CV detailing your relevant experience.

    MRICS Pathways

    There are 22 pathways available for MRICS:

    • Building Control
    • Building Surveying
    • Commercial Real Estate
    • Corporate Real Estate
    • Environmental Surveying
    • Facilities Management
    • Geomatics
    • Infrastructure
    • Land and Resources
    • Management Consultancy
    • Minerals and Waste Management
    • Personal Property/Arts and Antiques
    • Planning and Development
    • Project Management
    • Property Finance and Investment
    • Quantity Surveying and Construction
    • Research
    • Residential
    • Rural
    • Taxation Allowances
    • Valuation
    • Valuation of Business and Intangible Assets

    Are You Eligible for FRICS?

    FRICS is the gold standard of RICS qualifications. It is a declaration of recognition of your excellence in the built environment. If you are a chartered RICS professional (MRICS), you are eligible to apply for FRICS. Your achievements in the industry should reflect the principles of fellowship. 

    RICS Membership Career Advice

    You need to identify what your achievements are, and demonstrate how they meet four of the 12 fellowship characteristics. You do this in written submissions, providing:

  • A career history, which includes a summary of your employment history, academic and professional qualifications, and a 500-word statement detailing your current role, practices and ambitions
  • A 500-word personal statement that demonstrates how your achievement meets that fellowship characteristic for each of the four characteristics you have selected to showcase
  • Evidence from a third party for each characteristic, confirming your achievement
  • FRICS Characteristics

    As a Fellow of RICS you must:

    • Demonstrate your intent to further RICS and the profession
    • Act to benefit a third party to reflect RICS’ public interest mandate
    • Promote the objectives of RICS and the profession

    The 12 characteristics are:

    1. Champion (service to RICS) – appointment to an RICS recognised group and performance of your role
    2. Champion (service to another professional body) – fellowship or equivalent of another professional body
    3. Champion (market/industry recognition) – appointment by a governance body
    4. Expert (qualification) – have gained a higher education qualification
    5. Expert (teaching) – you have published research or authored technical pieces, are an innovator, or an academic, trainer, or conference speaker
    6. Expert (dispute resolution) – you hold a judicial appointment or have been recognised as a dispute resolver
    7. Influencer (leadership) – you hold a senior position within an organisation and exercise extensive leadership and management skills
    8. Influencer (management) – you are a manager with direct responsibility over finances and people
    9. Influencer (developer) – you have responsibility for a business
    10. Role Model (client care) – you have a reputation for engaging clients or have secured high-level engagements
    11. Role Model (operations) – you have developed or influenced business practices and how services are delivered
    12. Role Model (society and environment) – You have contributed to charitable objectives, improving living standards, or environmental sustainability

    The process of gaining FRICS should take no longer than two months after submitting your application.

    RICS Membership Overview

    Stepping up into RICS is probably the most beneficial career decision and action you can take if you're looking for surveyor jobs. Each level of qualification is an extra level of endorsement of your professionalism, capability, knowledge, and value to an employer.

    As an AssocRICS, MRICS, or FRICS, you join an elite group of professional general practice surveyors in a global network. Your ability to work to the highest international standards will be recognised by employers. Your ethics, capabilities, and dedication to continuing improvement will be rewarded with real-world salary increases as well as opportunities for career advancement.

    Macdonald & Company is the preferred recruitment partner of RICS. For more information, to discuss current surveyor jobs or to discuss your personal objectives and goals in complete confidence, contact the Building & Construction team today

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