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5 Top Tips to be a Great RICS APC Counsellor

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Building a Better You

Property Elite’s sole aim is to build better property professionals - supporting your career every step of the way, whether you are an AssocRICS or RICS APC candidate or a MRICS or FRICS Chartered Surveyor simply seeking engaging CPD.

We provide a wide range of training and support, so why not find out more on our website about how we might be able to support you? We work with candidates across all RICS APC and AssocRICS pathways, routes to assessment and geographic regions.

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What is today's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we look at our top 5 tips for what it takes to be a great RICS Counsellor.

What is the role of an RICS APC Counsellor?

An RICS APC Counsellor is an essential role in a candidate’s journey to become a Chartered Surveyor.

It is a mandatory requirement for every candidate to have an appointed Counsellor. However, the role is much more than just a tick box exercise.

A Counsellor is there to support and guide their candidates throughout their RICS APC journey, with the responsibility of signing off the candidate’s submission prior to their final assessment submission and interview.

The level of support will vary from candidate to candidate. For example, Structured Training candidates may need more hands on support and technical advice than an experienced Senior Professional, who may benefit from a peer to peer approach.

RICS publish a helpful assessment process diagram in their Counsellor Guide, which should help Counsellors to advise their candidates on the right route from the outset (if in doubt, drop us a message using the chat box at the bottom right corner of this page):

Table showing different routes to becoming MRICS
Routes to Become MRICS (RICS, 2022)

Throughout your candidate’s RICS APC journey, we recommend meetings at least every three months. These can be in person or online.

Who can be a RICS APC Counsellor?

To be a Counsellor, you must be MRICS or FRICS.

A candidate may also have a Supervisor, which is a different role and not a mandatory requirement. This is typically a line manager or senior member of staff in their workplace.

Why should I become a Counsellor?

There are many reasons that you may wish to become an RICS APC Counsellor. It is a fulfilling role where you are able to:

  • Give something back to the surveying profession

  • Raise the profile of RICS

  • Maintain high professional standards

It can also be used as supporting evidence towards the FRICS fellowship characteristic, ‘Service to RICS’.

What training do RICS provide?

To be a Counsellor, you need to complete the RICS Counsellor module. This can be accessed online.

We also recommend that you undertake the RICS Professionalism Module, which is a requirement for all candidates to pass prior to submitting for final assessment. Being familiar with the contents and structure will help you to better support your candidates.

It can also contribute towards your rolling CPD requirements relating to ethics and professional practice.

What tasks might a Counsellor undertake?

An RICS APC Counsellor has a varied role, with typical tasks undertaken including:

  • Helping your candidate to choose their route, pathway and competencies

  • Planning and monitoring CPD activities

  • Reviewing your candidate’s diary and logbook to review their overall progress

  • Supporting with your candidate to draft their final submission, including selecting examples at levels 2 and 3 and choosing a case study topic

  • Helping your candidate to prepare for their final assessment interview, including Q&A sessions and/or a mock interview (Property Elite can also help with this, for an impartial experience and feedback)

  • Signing off your candidate’s submission

  • Supporting your candidate if they are referred

What are our top 5 tips to be a great RICS APC Counsellor?

5 tips for how to be a great RICS APC Counsellor

  1. Know the RICS APC process inside out, so you can better support your candidates. This includes being familiar with the candidate guide, pathway guide and potential competency choices for your candidate. The RICS are also in a period of transition with ARC having been phased out, so be familiar with the current submission process.

  2. Encourage your candidate to drive the process. You are there to support and guide them, not to complete their RICS APC on their behalf! Give them the right support at the right time, but don’t do everything for them. A good way is to give them tasks to complete and then to reflect on the output with your candidate in your Counsellor meetings.

  3. Plan ahead! Set an action plan with your candidate over the next 12-18 months to keep them motivated and to ensure that they remain on track. Do appreciate though that sometimes work and life get in the way and the plan needs to remain flexible.

  4. Help your candidate to identify any gaps in their experience, skills or knowledge and find ways to address these. This could be through rotating into another department, going on secondment, undertaking work experience or shadowing or assisting another surveyor.

  5. Be honest. When working with your candidate, there should be no surprises at the sign off stage. Give them honest feedback in your Counsellor meetings and ensure that you only sign off a submission that is genuinely of the standard required of a Chartered Surveyor by RICS. If you sign off a candidate who is not ready, it will not provide them or you with any benefit and it only risks disappointment and a referral. Signing off a candidate is a very important role and puts your own professionalism, as a Counsellor and as a Chartered Surveyor, on the line – so it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

How can we help you as a (potential) Counsellor?

If you’d like to find out more about how you can be a great RICS APC Counsellor, then why not book in an hour of mentoring with one of the team at Property Elite? We can help you to identify ways to better support your candidates and to help them achieve their aspiration of becoming a Chartered Surveyor.

How can you help us?

If you are already an experienced RICS APC Counsellor or mentor and would like to discuss becoming a consultant to Property Elite, then please get in touch (by emailing or fill out this form.

How can we help candidates?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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