Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 14:55:50
In the last post I mentioned the Chartered Geographer (CGeog) accreditation run by the Royal Geographical Society. As I said in that earlier post, CGeog offers professional accreditation for those using geographical skills and knowledge on a daily basis and allows you to put those tantalising CGeog letters after your name! However it is much more than that…. as Wikipedia notes, Chartered status is awarded to a person
“who has gained a level of competence in a particular field of work and as such has been awarded a formal credential by an organization in recognition; it is considered a status of professional competency…… Chartered status originates from and may normally only be awarded by Institutions that have been incorporated under Royal Charter by the British Monarch.”
So there you have it - recognition of professional competency and of significant status (Wikipedia’s entry on CGeog).
Application criteria require a geography (or related degree) and a minimum of 6 years using geographical skills full time in the workplace… and then a requirement to maintain a minimum amount of continuing professional development. This is a key part of Chartered status in any profession - not just a validation of your professional capability, but a commitment to the profession on your part and a requirement to continually strive to exceed that competency.
Besides the core CGeog application, there are specialisms that applicants can choose to submit to: geomorphology, GIS and teaching. All have very active communities which drive these specialisms (and strangely I find myself being able to submit to all three!)
For academics it is perhaps easier to demonstrate professional use of geography and besides the standard application form and CV (yes, you keep that up to date!), there is a personal statement about your wider commitment to the subject. Overall the CGeog is a highly valuable and worthwhile status that derives value from the high standards required and demonstration of competency and CPD. It is an ideal career development opportunity for MSc students to get on to, particularly if they have been in the workplace for several years and is also suited to well established professionals to demonstrate their capability and leadership to both staff and “customers” alike. The final part of my personal statement sums things up (for me):
“Demonstrating excellence in geographic research is part of the remit of an academic career. As such it is the “extra-curricula” aspects of geographic skills and knowledge that are of importance to further aspects of the “geographic mission” that RGS is a part of. Attaining Chartered Geographer status is not about the accreditation itself, but rather the process needed to achieve and maintain it. As geographers we want to evangelise about the importance of “geographic understanding” and one way this can be furthered is through accreditation and the attendance and use of CPD as part of that process. In this sense, Chartered Geographer is vital to the health of the subject.”