Professional development in property and construction

January, 2015

Find out about professional bodies in this sector and which roles require additional qualifications or chartership

Do I need to do postgraduate study?

If you don't have an accredited first degree, it's possible to consider Masters degree conversion courses in areas such as construction, surveying, real estate and planning, which will enable you to study for the appropriate professional qualifications. For example, for planning roles, professional qualifications accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) will normally be required. Similarly, for surveying roles in either property or construction, qualifications from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will be important.

Before you enrol on a full-time course, bear in mind that many employers in this sector offer graduate schemes that include supporting graduates through professional qualifications as well as gaining Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) - a first step to chartership.

The training route to become a chartered architect includes postgraduate study validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). For most senior engineering roles you need to be chartered, which will require an MEng or equivalent.

For more information on entry requirements and career development in the property and construction sector, see job profiles.

To find postgraduate construction and property courses in the UK, search postgraduate courses.

Should I join a professional body?

This depends on the type of job that you're aiming for. Entry qualifications for some jobs are provided (or accredited) by professional bodies; you might need to join the body to become qualified to do the job.

For other jobs, being a member of a professional body is voluntary but can be valuable for developing networks, continuing professional development (CPD) and generally keeping up to date.

Which professional qualifications are recognised in the sector?

A range of professional qualifications are recognised, including:

  • British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) - offers award, certificate and diploma professional courses from level 2-7 which can lead to a Masters in applied facilities management and an MBA in facilities management for senior facilities management professionals.
  • Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) - the world's largest professional body for construction management and leadership. Offers continuing professional development courses and a route to chartered construction manager.
  • Institute of Residential Property Managers (IRPM) - provides accreditation for professional skills. In order to become an accredited member at foundation or associate level you have to pass IRPM professional qualifications and have relevant experience.
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) - organisation that provides an internationally recognised civil engineering qualification.
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) - global organisation supporting architects at all levels. Accredits the degree, postgraduate qualification and professional practice and management exam needed to qualify as an architect and to achieve chartered status.
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - professional body for surveyors who work in land, property and construction. Accredits degrees and postgraduate courses and provides routes to associate and chartered membership.
  • Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) - UK's leading body for town, country and spatial planning. Accredits degrees and postgraduate planning courses and provides the route to becoming a chartered town planner.