Real Estate Appraisal Certification and Career Information

Apr 21, 2021

A bachelor's degree and state certification are required to be a real estate appraiser. Real estate appraisers assign dollar value to properties when they're bought, sold or developed. They may work with residential or commercial properties.

Essential Information

Real estate appraisers are certified by the state to assess the dollar value of residential and commercial properties when the property is bought, sold or developed. Real estate appraisal certification requirements vary according to state standards. In general, appraisers must meet specific education and training requirements and then pass a state test. Appraisers must earn continuing education credits to keep certification current. State Certified Residential, State Certified General and State Licensed are the three state appraisal classifications recognized by the federal government.

Required Education Depends on certification; typically a bachelor's degree or a certain amount of college credits as well as 200-300 hours of appraiser coursework
Required Training Depends on certification; between 2,000 to 3,000 hours of work experience
Exam Must pass statewide exam
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 3% (for all real estate appraisers and assessors)
Median Annual Salary (2020)* $58,650 (for all real estate appraisers and assessors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real Estate Appraisal Certification Options

State Certified Residential

The Certified Residential credential allows one to evaluate residential properties (for 1-4 families) regardless of complexity or value. One can appraise other types of properties that have sale values of less than $250,000.

A bachelor's degree or 30 units of college level education is required. Additionally, 200 hours of appraiser education must be completed. Appraiser course work generally includes the study of appraisal procedures and principals, finance, sales comparison and site valuation, report writing, statistics, case studies and study of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Prospective appraisers must also gain 2,500 hours of appraiser experience in the field.

State Certified General and State Licensed

State Certified General credential entitles appraisers to evaluate any property without dollar value constrictions, but the qualifications to obtain the general certification are more demanding. A bachelor's degree is required along with 300 hours of appraiser course work and 3,000 hours of field training.

Many states also offer a state license for appraisers, which requires 30 semester hours of college education and 2,000 hours of field experience. While easier to obtain, the license carries detailed limitations on the types of property and property values that can be evaluated.

Real Estate Appraiser Career Information

Appraisers calculate property values by weighing variables like architecture, building structure, property location, renovations and nearby home sales. They do on-site evaluations and research of residential and commercial properties and then write reports. Appraisers may be self-employed or work for banks or mortgage companies. In May 2020, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $107,090 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $32,990 or less per year.

Because appraisals are connected to real estate sales, employment as an appraiser can be difficult to find during an economic downturn. The BLS predicted an employment growth about as fast as the national average through 2029. Appraisers can make themselves more employable by gaining the highest level of state certification. They may also find more work in large cities or by providing expertise in a particular location.

There are different levels of state certification available, and appraisers with the highest level of state certification will be able to compete most effectively for job openings. A bachelor's degree and appraiser coursework are generally required for certification.

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