Professional registration is a really important tool in your arsenal. In some industries chartership is mandatory for you to hold down your job, then the decision as to whether or not to apply is straight forward. However, in some industries it is optional and then the excuses can build.
There are many different levels of professional registration available now, and I think it is really important to hold the correct one at all points in your career. It is a standout ‘badge’ that shows a specific level of competence in your professional field. So, read on and see if you agree with me.
WHY IS CHARTERSHIP GOOD FOR YOU?
There are many reasons why becoming chartered is good for you and I will discuss some of them below. It is worth the hassle of completing the paperwork, I assure you.
Wage Increase or Promotion.
It is becoming more common for chartership, or getting it, to be a requirement for higher level jobs in large companies. If you already have chartership, you stand out from the others that don’t. Some companies give people a one-off bonus when they get chartership, but not all do. They will definitely charge you out at a higher rate when you have chartership so you can use it as a pay negotiation tool if the pay increase is not automatic!
Internationally Recognised Qualification
Chartership is a playing field leveller across the world, it means something very specific that is recognised everywhere.
I used to work with an Italian company, and my chartered status helped secure my technical lead position with them.
Evidence of Expertise and Competency For Your Skills
Sometimes it is difficult to prove the range of skills that you have outside your niche specialism. If you are chartered, this is a clear understood set of skills at a high level proven by an external body. You can take this with you wherever you work.
Enhanced status in Own Organisation and Industry
Chartership shows that the levels you have achieved have been externally verified. It shows that you are good at your job, and it’s not just your particular employer that thinks this.
Build New Relationships
Once you have chartership a lot of new networking opportunities are opened for you with like minded people.
My charterships have led to me working with a wide range of chartered people in the IOP and the companies I’ve worked in, I have a network of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It has also meant I have been invited to be on the Professional Standards Committee for the IOP, which gives me a say in how the membership and professional qualifications are decided and run.
It also allows you to be a supporter for other people applying for chartership, which gives you the chance to work professionally with a different set of people than your job may expose you to.
There are a lot of opportunities for volunteering in new capacities when you get chartership. You can be on the panels that review chartership applications; mentor people applying for chartership; running ‘get chartered’ events at work and attend chartership specific events.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CHECK FIRST
Check you meet the criteria for the qualifications or the experiential route of your chosen professional registration, and make sure you are working at the correct level. There is often a stepping stone route, where if you don’t have a qualifying degree for chartership you can start on the incorporated level first and work your way through.
If you have a degree, check it is accredited by your chosen professional body and they have a sensible route for you to apply through. If you have done a graduate scheme with a company, then this could be accredited, and you could use this as evidence for your chartership application.
A lot of the ways to show you have the experience to apply for chartership have changed recently, so if you thought you didn’t really meet the criteria before have another look as things like the experiential route have been introduced.
WHO DO YOU GET CHARTERED WITH?
You have to get chartership through being a member of a professional body. Which one to join is sometimes an obvious choice, sometimes a hard one. If you need persuading that you should join your professional body then check out my blog post on just that topic: https://swamphen.co.uk/new-blog/2019/5/13/why-you-should-join-your-professional-body
For me it was straight forward, I am a physicist who works in a predominantly engineering environment. My first degree is in physics, so I am a member of the Institute of Physics and have been since 1996. The IOP recognise that a lot of physicists end up working in a physics and engineering cross over environment, and this is well supported. You can get a range of charterships through the IOP, I have Chartered Physicist (CPhys) and Chartered Engineer (CEng). They also provide EngTech, IEng, RSciTech and RSci covering people in different stages of their careers. This works well, as it means I have only one professional body to be a member of, but I can recognise the two fields I work in. Had the IOP not done CEng, and I wanted to pursue CEng then I would have had to join someone like the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Which chartership you should go for depends on what job you do. I could have stuck with just CPhys, but the job I do is on the boundary between CPhys and CEng so I was eligible to apply for both. Remember it is a professional qualification, so pick a field you actually work professionally in for a significant fraction of your time!
Most of the professional bodies have guidance for your application and someone in the body that you can contact for further information. Check out their web pages to see who you should contact.
GET A MENTOR
Normally to get chartership there is a prescriptive application form to fill in and possibly an interview. It is always best to go into these things with an application form that meets the requirements well, what these requirements actually are is not always obvious. This is where a mentor comes in.
A mentor can talk to you about the kind of work you are doing and the responsibilities you have and guide you into how these can fit with the application form. The mentor doesn’t have to be directly connected to your work, and they are often an external person to your company. It is really important that your mentor actually understands the chartership review process you are applying for. Preferably, they should be someone who reviews chartership applications for the professional body already, so they will know the ins and outs of the system and actually help you submit a good application.
If you have any questions about chartership, I’m more than happy to answer them, so ask away!