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Understanding APC Routes - By Jen Lemen

Understanding APC Routes - By Jen Lemen

At the beginning of your APC journey, you may be left confused by the myriad of routes and pathways that are available to you. How do you know which to choose and how do you know that it is the right option for you?

In this blog, we demystify the various APC routes which are available for you to consider. We give practical advice on which may better suit your needs and how you can seek success in your APC.

What is the difference between a route and a pathway?

This article is going to focus on the various APC routes; these are effectively the entry points into the APC assessment process based on your prior experience, qualifications and any other professional memberships.

The sector pathways are slightly different, relating to your specific area of practice, e.g. Quantity Surveying & Construction, Building Surveying, Planning & Development and Commercial Real Estate.

What routes are available?

The RICS website provides the starting point for the various routes available to you; https://www.rics.org/uk/surveying-profession/join-rics/chartered-member-mrics/.

However, figuring out which is right for you can be a challenge!

Below are summarised the various routes available for the APC:

  • APC (what we will call the ‘traditional’ routes) - Structured Training, straight to assessment and preliminary review.
  • Senior Professional Assessment;
  • Specialist Assessment;
  • Academic Assessment;
  • Direct Entry;
  • AssocRICS Progression.

What are the ‘traditional’ APC routes?

The ‘traditional’ APC routes, i.e. not Senior Professional, Specialist or Academic, are split into four main categories:

  • Structured Training (24 months/minimum 400 days experience) - RICS-accredited degree and no prior experience, i.e. usually pursued by recent graduates.
  • Structured Training (12 months/ minimum 200 days experience) - RICS-accredited degree and at least 5 years’ relevant experience, i.e. typically pursued by more experienced candidates or those who have undertaken a part-time or distance learning degree course;
  • Straight to Assessment – RICS-accredited degree and at least 10 years’ relevant experience, i.e. experienced candidates who are still doing technical day to day work rather than occupying a senior professional role;
  • Preliminary Review – Non-cognate degree or membership of an RICS approved professional body and at least 5 years’ relevant experience, of which 12 months must have been post-graduation.

The main differences between these are that:

  • Structured Training candidates need to keep a diary recording their experience. This is not required by Preliminary Review or Straight to Assessment candidates
  • Preliminary Review candidates need to submit their Preliminary Review submission roughly 4-6 months prior to submitting their final assessment. This provides a quality assurance check for RICS via an assessed written submission. The documents submitted are the same as those submitted for final submission, i.e. Summary of Experience, Case Study and CPD Record.

What are the three other routes?

The Senior Professional, Specialist and Academic routes have different assessment requires to the ‘traditional’ routes above.

The Senior Professional Route requires you to have at least 10 years’ relevant experience, reduced to 5 if a postgraduate degree is held. Your role must include senior professional responsibilities, including leadership, management of people and management of resources.

The Specialist Assessment also requires at least 10 years’ relevant experience, again reduced to 5 if a postgraduate degree is held. You will also need to have advanced responsibilities for a specialist or niche area of work.

The Academic Assessment is appropriate for academic professionals, e.g., lecturers or researchers, with at least 3 years’ academic experience and a surveying-related degree.

The RICS have a vetting procedure for each of these routes which you must pass before being admitted onto the route. If you do not pass this procedure, then RICS are likely to advise that one of the ‘traditional’ routes are more suitable, e.g. if your senior professional role is not considered to be suitably senior.

What is Direct Entry?

Direct Entry is available for candidates with qualifications or other professional body memberships which RICS consider are appropriate to either allow candidates to apply directly for assessment or to apply via Preliminary Review, e.g. MCIOB. A full list is available on the RICS website; https://www.rics.org/uk/surveying-profession/join-rics/direct-entry-to-rics-membership/.

What is AssocRICS progression?

This is available if you already hold the AssocRICS membership, however, we understand that this route is currently under review by RICS. It requires 4 years’ post-AssocRICS experience and completion of 900 study hours from the final year of an RICS-accredited degree course.  This is followed by the APC submission and final assessment interview.

What common pitfalls are there? 

  • Candidates are not always aware of the Senior Professional route, which is often more suitable for those with key decision making or leadership roles;
  • Equally, candidates who do not truly have a Senior Professional role should avoid this route as the level of questioning and scrutiny will be inappropriate. In this case, one of the ‘traditional’ routes would be more appropriate;
  • Candidates sometimes have the option of either Preliminary Review or Structured Training – if you have an RICS-accredited degree then we would generally advise against Preliminary Review as it adds an extra element of uncertainty into the process;
  • Existing AssocRICS members may have more than one route option available and all should be explored to choose the right one for you.

 If in doubt, contact RICS or Built Intelligence to discuss which route may be right for you.

How can I choose the right route?

  • Seek early advice;
  • Speak to other candidates to find out about their experiences of each route;
  • Make the right decision for you, not anyone else;
  • Read up on the RICS website about each route – do your own due diligence and research first!

About the author - Jen Lemen BSc (Hons) FRICS 

Jen has extensive experience in providing training services to students, RICS AssocRICS, APC and FRICS candidates and corporate clients, together with academic experience as a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Lecture at the University of Portsmouth and Associate Tutor at the University College of Estate Management. Her RICS assessment experience includes sitting on final APC interview panels, APC appeal panels and being a lead APC preliminary review assessor.

She has also written published articles in Property Week, ACES Terrier, RICS Modus and the RICS Property Journal. She also writes a regular APC column in Estates Gazette Brick & Mortar podcast series with Sarah Jackman and is a contributing author to the Health & Safety section on RICS iSurv.

Jen works as a trainer and consultant with Built Intelligence on the APC Structured Learning programme - more details and to book on module one - Overview of the APC can be found here

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