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Rural surveyor Agricultural surveyor

Rural surveyors value the assets of farms and estates, advise clients on legal and tax issues, and plan and develop land use. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £45,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a professional qualification or a relevant degree, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Relevant subjects include: 

  • geographic information science
  • land management
  • land use and environmental management
  • rural property management
  • surveying

If you have a non-accredited degree, like economics, law or maths, you could take an accredited postgraduate qualification in surveying through an employer's graduate trainee scheme, or through university study.

If you don't have a degree-level qualification, you could still apply to RICS for a professional assessment of your qualifications and experience. If successful, you could gain the RICS Associate (AssocRICS) qualification and membership. 

You could also qualify as an agricultural surveyor by taking a degree or postgraduate course recommended by the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). 

Experience of working on the land, for example in farming or conservation, could give you an advantage when looking for work.

RICS has more information about becoming a rural surveyor.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • analytical skills
  • IT skills
  • a diplomatic approach
  • excellent negotiating skills 
  • project management skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • the day-to-day running of an estate
  • maintaining accounts
  • producing financial forecasts
  • dealing with grant and subsidy applications
  • negotiating land access, with utility, mining or quarrying companies

You might carry out valuations for clients, covering property, machinery, crops and livestock. Valuations are usually done for sale, insurance, taxation or compensation purposes. 

You’ll arrange auctions of farm property, including the marketing and publicity, and conduct auctions on the day.

You might create computer maps of the landscape, using geographical information systems (GIS), satellite imaging and precision measuring instruments. 

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £26,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: over £45,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. A lot of your time will be spent visiting clients on farms or estates, which could mean early starts and late finishes. 

Auctions may also take place at weekends to maximise attendance.

You’ll need to travel. Clients may be spread over a wide area, so you’ll usually need a driving licence.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could specialise in a particular area of rural surveying, like valuations.

You could move into a senior management position, partnership in a private practice or self-employment as a consultant. 

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Last updated: 21 December 2016