Career Description for a County Assessor
County assessors are usually elected officials, and they are responsible for determining the amount of property taxes a property owner will pay on an annual basis. To do this, county assessors analyze the characteristics and conditions of different properties and review property sales and price trends.
These professionals are often part of a team of elected assessors, although this could vary depending on the size of the county for which they are employed. County assessors are responsible for reporting taxable values to the public and to government officials, in addition to defending the property values they've determined.
|Education||Varies by state, work experience, state certification|
|Job Skills||Customer service skills, problem solving skills|
|Median Salary (2017)||$54,010 for appraisers and assessors|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||14% growth for appraisers and assessors|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Before running for this position in an election, aspiring assessors will need some educational background and work experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), requirements are typically determined by the state. While requirements vary, assessors will most likely need to be state-certified or licensed. Licensure requirements usually involve at least 200 hours in the classroom and 2,500 hours of on-the-job experience. Some states require assessors to work in apprenticeship positions under licensed assessors prior to earning certification.
The BLS reports that states often have different levels of certification or licensure. Achieving higher levels of certification could require additional experience and education. In many cases, assessors will need to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. Many assessors also have licenses to work as appraisers. Appraisal licensure requirements are similar to those for assessors, the BLS reports.
County assessors will need to have solid customer service and problem solving skills, since this position requires interaction with the public. Analytical and math skills are also beneficial.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for real estate appraisers and assessors was $54,010, as of May 2017. The highest paid tenth of professionals in this field earned $101,710 or more for that same time period, while those on the lower end earned $28,440 or less. The BLS also reports that jobs for all appraisers and assessors of real estate, including county assessors, are expected to grow faster than average, by 14% from 2016-2026.
The BLS advises that the job market will be competitive for assessors and appraisers, since new technology is being used to assess real estate value and employment of these professionals fluctuates with the housing market. Note, however, that these concerns are targeted at real estate appraisers who work mainly with residential properties.
Other career choices within the industry include:
Real Estate Broker
For those with an interest in real estate and its value, becoming a real estate broker is an option. Brokers take on clients who want to buy or sell property, help them negotiate the best deals and make sure all legal requirements are met. They also have to perform extensive research into past sales and market trends to find out what a property is worth. Although college education beyond a high school diploma is not usually necessary, a prospective broker must obtain a license by completing real estate courses and passing an exam. They must also work as a sales agent for 1-3 years in order to qualify for a broker position. The BLS expects over 24,900 broker and sales agent positions to open up during the 2016-2026 decade, although this growth could fluctuate because of economic conditions. In May of 2017, the BLS estimated the median yearly salary of brokers to be $56,730.
These professionals analyze real property as assessors do, but go beyond to determine the safety and legality of the structure. All the exterior and interior components, such as electricity and plumbing, are inspected to insure compliance with local laws and ordinances. Inspectors also prepare reports and issue violation notices when necessary. To enter this career field, a high school diploma and knowledge of construction practices are required. A number of states also require building inspectors to pass an exam and become licensed. According to the BLS, a 10% increase in job opportunities is predicted for construction and building inspectors between 2016 and 2026. These professionals received a yearly median wage of $59,090, as reported by the BLS in May 2017.