How to Become an Appraiser: Step-by-Step Guide

Apr 28, 2020

Find out how to become an appraiser. Explore the job description, education, and licensing requirements that can help you start a career in real estate appraisal.

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Appraisers estimate the cost and value of commercial or residential real estate properties, assuring that the appraisal process complies with local, state, and federal regulations. They also record and maintain documents regarding all appraisals and review market data to ensure that appraisals are as current as possible. Appraisers may have a general practice or specialize in either residential or commercial properties. Depending on the type of property being appraised and the place of employment, they may spend most of their work hours on site visits or in the office. Some appraisers are self-employed and may need to work overtime to complete paperwork during evenings and weekends.

Career Skills & Info

Appraisers need good analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills and basic math abilities. They should also be able to manage their time and interact well with customers. Real estate appraisers and assessors in general can expect a 7%, or faster than average, increase in employment from 2018 to 2028. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2019 they earned a median annual salary of $57,010.

Degree Level Associate's degree is required; bachelor's degree needed for advanced positions
Degree Field Real estate, business, finance, or related field
Licensure and Certification State license or certification required
Training On-the-job training and apprenticeships typically offered
Key Skills Problem-solving, organizational, analytical, time management, customer service, and math skills
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 7% growth (for all real estate appraisers and assessors)
Median Salary (2019)* $57,010 per year (for all real estate appraisers and assessors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In this next part, we'll look at the educational requirements for appraisers.

Step 1: Associate's Degree

Appraisers almost always need an associate's degree. Advanced positions may require a bachelor's degree. Some community colleges may offer associate's degree programs in real estate or real estate appraisal. Alternatively, a two-year degree program in mathematics, engineering, or marketing can provide aspiring appraisers with information and training relevant to the field.

Step 2: Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is typically needed to appraise more complex residential or commercial properties. Additionally, a bachelor's degree may be required to obtain a higher level of licensure in some states. Some states award licenses that limit the complexity or number of transactions that appraisers may complete. Appraisers who hold bachelor's degrees may qualify for licenses that do not limit their transactions. Upper-level coursework for aspiring appraisers can include business and real estate law, finance, mathematics, economics, and computer science.

Step 3: Certification

Appraisers who work on federal transactions must have a state certification or license, which entails meeting the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The Appraisal Institute, an association of professional real estate appraisers, can provide aspiring professionals with information about educational programs that meet USPAP standards. Appraisers who have earned a bachelor's degree and fulfilled the qualifying education and training or work requirements can obtain the Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser or Certified General Real Property Appraiser credential. Supervising appraisers have to be certified as either a residential or general appraiser.

Step 4: License

Aspiring appraisers in some states may qualify for the Licensed Trainee Real Property Appraiser. Requirements typically include a minimum of 75 hours of qualifying education. The Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser credential is also available in many states, which allows professionals to conduct transactions related to 1- to 4-unit complex and noncomplex residences below a certain value. Requirements include 30 college semester hours, 150 qualifying education hours, and 2,500 on-the-job hours.

Success Tip:

  • Be flexible. According to the BLS, employment opportunities will be most plentiful for individuals who can appraise both residential and commercial properties. Earning a bachelor's degree and completing the required number of work hours for certification can make one an attractive candidate for a larger pool of employers.

Don't forget, appraisers need at least an associate's degree or maybe even a bachelor's degree in real estate or another relevant area of study, which can help them qualify for professional certification or a license. In May 2019, the median yearly salary for real estate appraisers or assessors was $57,010.

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