A rural practice surveyor, or land agent, values the assets of farms and estates. They buy and sell rural land, including farms, country estates, woodland and forestry plantations. They may specialise in agriculture, environmental regulations, forestry or in valuation work.
You could be:
valuing land, property, crops, machinery and livestock
assisting clients in buying and selling rural land or property, possibly by auction
dealing with legal matters, such as planning regulations, land use regulations, environmental law and applications for subsidies and grants
monitoring farm or estate accounts and advising on taxation
advising on the possible development of land for other uses, such as leisure, specialist crop production or renewable energy
keeping up to date with all UK laws relating to land, agriculture and the environment
keeping clients informed of any developments or problems in their business
dealing with a broad range of clients and professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, farmers and gamekeepers.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for graduate rural practice surveyors are around £27,000 a year. Experienced surveyors can earn £40,000 to £50,000 or more a year. Chartered or Senior surveyors can earn up to around £60,000 a year, sometimes more.
According to the RICS and Macdonald and Company UK Rewards and Attitudes Survey 2020-21, the average annual salary for a rural surveyor is £48,014.
You will work from an office, possibly in a market town or rural area.
You will also work outdoors in all weathers and on rough ground.
You will probably have to work some evenings and weekends, depending on the demands of landbased tasks.
You may have to travel and spend nights away from home, especially if you are responsible for more than one estate.
Studying a degree (SCQF Levels 9-10) accredited by RICS followed by a period of supervised practical training (Assessment of Professional Competence).
A degree in a related subject such as agriculture, rural business management, countryside management, business studies or geography is particularly useful.
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and the University of Aberdeen offer RICS accredited courses in land and rural subjects.
If your degree is not RICS-accredited you can do an accredited postgraduate qualification.
You could enter a job with some subjects at National 5 and Highers and train on the job towards the AssocRICS qualification (associate member of RICS) for 4 years.
Alternatively, if you have a HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) you could get a trainee job and work towards RICS associate membership with two years of supervised training.
Entry requirements for an HND are 2 Highers, and for a degree, 4 Highers. English and Maths are preferred.
In addition to the above:
you usually need a driving licence
you should have a genuine interest in the countryside and environment.
This is a small area of surveying and there are fewer vacancies than in other branches. Look for a job with individual landowners, commercial or industrial companies, local authorities, agricultural surveying firms or organisations such as the National Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage.
business skills and a good understanding of the rural economy
good organisational skills
excellent communication and negotiating skills
good analytical skills for interpreting and presenting data
an understanding of the economic benefits of different crop varieties and animal breeds
knowledge of UK and EU agricultural and land-use laws
You need to be able to:
make decisions, which may be unpopular
manage projects and see tasks through to the end
communicate with a wide range of people
work alone and in a team.
Once you have completed an accredited degree you would find employment as a trainee surveyor.
To qualify as a chartered surveyor you would complete your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) which is 24 months of structured training, consisting of on the job learning and assessment. This leads to RICS membership and the status of chartered surveyor.
Chartered Surveyors have to complete 20 hours continued professional development (CPD) every year.
Once you have had some experience, you could move into consultancy work.
You might perhaps go on to specialise in auctioneering.
You might specialise in advising on the development of renewable energy in the countryside (see below - More Information).
The RICS publishes a list of accredited degree and postgraduate courses. As interest in the environment grows, the role of the rural practice surveyor could change.