IOP Institute of Physics

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Getting chartered: a case study

Becoming a chartered physicist can lead to increased status and recognition in your career, as well as a sense of personal satisfaction, as Stuart McRobbie, a physicist working in research and development in Berkshire, found.

Getting chartered

The process was remarkably straightforward, and the only thing that made it take any time was me getting round to doing it. My employer, TRL (the Transport Research Laboratory) started encouraging people to get chartered and held a couple of internal discussion sessions about what it would involve and what the best route might be. A group of us who were all looking to get CPhys status set up a sort of support group where we discussed the application process and helped each other sort out evidence for completing the application forms.

Reasons for chartership
I wanted to get chartered for myself and my own satisfaction. I also wanted to get some professional recognition from other physicists. Obviously the fact that it might help my career progression was also an attraction.

The IOP were kind enough to hold a ‘Getting Chartered’ workshop here at TRL one lunchtime. This was very helpful and answered a lot of our questions. In terms of balancing it with other commitments, I have a full time job, two daughters, a football team I support and a part-time PhD, but, as I already had all the requisite experience, the application process really only consisted of filling in the application forms and finding other chartered physicists to support my application.

I think the forms themselves took about two weeks, working in the evenings, and then the application and review took about three months or so.

The benefits
I think the benefits of chartership are intangible really. I didn’t get a pay rise or promotion just for getting chartered, and it is not like I have levelled up and now have extra physics powers. However, I think being chartered will help show others that I know what I am doing, and that I do it the right way, which will in turn help me progress in my career, either with my current employer, or any future ones.

Standing out
I am currently working in an environment where there are far more chartered engineers than chartered physicists, so I think it sets me apart slightly and gives me something different. The process of getting chartered helped as well, because I had to really think about where I was, and what I wanted to do, particularly in terms of continuous professional development and the non-technical side of things.

Stuart McRobbie, 36, is a Researcher at TRL in Crowthorne, Berkshire.  He was elected Chartered Physicist in August 2010.

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