Tax Assessor: Job Outlook and Information About Becoming a Tax Assessor

Tax assessors evaluate real estate to determine the amount of tax that should be paid by property owners. Read on to learn about the education and skills needed to work as a tax assessor.

Career Definition of a Tax Assessor

The terms assessor and appraiser are sometimes used interchangeably; however, they're different jobs. An appraiser estimates the value of one property at a time, such as when a home is appraised for the purpose of selling it. A tax assessor typically works for a governmental agency to estimate the value of many properties in a locality and establish a fair charge for property tax. Tax assessors will visit locales, take photos, document their findings and create informational reports to justify their decisions.

Educational Requirements High school diploma and related work experience; an associate's or bachelor's degree may be beneficial
Job Skills Good math and computer skills, ability to work independently or as part of a team, strong time-management skills, good customer service attitude
Median Salary (2018)* $54,980 (all real estate appraisers and assessors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 14% increase (all real estate appraisers and assessors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Requirements for a tax assessor vary by state and sometimes by locality. They generally include a minimum of a high school diploma in combination with experience in a job that involves the valuation of real property, such as a position with a real estate office, financial institution or assessor's office. In some instances, holding an associate's or bachelor's degree can lessen the amount of required experience.

Required Skills

Tax assessors must have good computer and math skills. They must be self-starters who work well alone and at the same time are flexible enough to work as part of a team. Tax assessors interact with the public, so a polite manner and the ability to answer questions knowledgeably is important.

Career and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% growth in job opportunities for real estate appraisers and assessors from 2016-2026, noting that greater use of mobile technology may slow future growth. According to BLS statistics from May 2018, the median annual income for real estate appraisers and assessors was $54,980. Those employed in larger cities and coastal regions can expect to earn more than those working in rural communities.

Alternate Career Options

Those interested in pursuing a career in tax assessing may also want to consider the following positions:

Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators

While each of the positions in this occupational category has its own specific job duties, in general, claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators are responsible for reviewing and establishing the worthiness of insurance claims and compensation requests. Entry-level requirements include a high school diploma; candidates with a bachelor's degree and prior experience in the industry may be preferred. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS has projected a 1% decline in jobs nationwide for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators. Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators were paid a median annual salary of $65,670 as of May 2018.

Construction and Building Inspectors

Construction and building inspectors can specialize in a variety of areas, including electrical systems, plumbing, residential homes or public works, among other related fields. In general, they're responsible for making sure that existing and new buildings or structures are in compliance with local, national and zoning regulations.

In addition to a high school diploma, employment requirements include on-the-job training, prior knowledge of the construction industry and state certification or licensure; potential employers may prefer candidates with an associate's or bachelor's degree in a relevant area. The BLS reports that construction and building inspectors earned a median annual wage of $59,700 in May 2018, and a 10%, or faster-than-average, rate of growth is expected from 2016-2026.

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