A real estate appraiser estimates the market value of commercial or residential property. The requirements for becoming an appraiser differ by state, but national requirements dictate that candidates must have college-level education, complete prelicensing courses, acquire industry experience, and pass the appraiser exam. Visit your state’s licensing board to confirm state-specific requirements.
Becoming a real estate appraiser can be a great career, but you’ll need the proper education to get started. Check out McKissock Learning to see what’s needed in your state and enroll in necessary classes online at a reasonable cost—giving you the flexibility to complete coursework on your schedule. Click here to learn more.
Here are the seven steps to becoming a real estate appraiser.
1. Get a Trainee License by Completing Coursework
To become a trainee, you need to complete and pass specific coursework that provides a solid real estate appraisal foundation. The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) sets national course requirements, and some states require additional coursework. The appraisal industry is regulated differently in each state, but all states require you to start your career as a trainee appraiser. Check with your local licensing board for specific requirements.
Complete National Coursework Requirements
To become an appraisal trainee, the AQB requires you to complete a total of 75 credit hours’ worth of educational content from an AQB approved provider. This required core curriculum coursework, which can not be substituted by experience, covers appraisal principles, procedures, and practice and is broken out as follows:
- Basic Appraisal Principles (30 hours): This course introduces aspiring appraisers to basic real property concepts, legal considerations, real estate finance, economic principles, and appraisal ethics.
- Basic Appraisal Procedures (30 hours): The procedures course teaches students about the actual valuation process, including the three traditional approaches to value—cost approach, sales comparison approach, and income approach—and how to collect data, describe the subject property, and communicate appraisal results.
- Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) (15 hours): The USPAP 15-hour course sets forth industry requirements for ethical behavior and competent performance as described in the USPAP.
Real estate appraiser classes will teach you how to provide an objective estimate of the value of a property for tax, mortgage, insurance, and other purposes. Take our quiz to find out which provider can give you the best training according to your professional needs.
Which Online Real Estate Appraisal Class Is Right for You?
Top Three Real Estate Appraiser Course Providers
Even though specific course requirements differ between states, there are a few highly rated online education platforms that offer real estate appraiser courses. These online schools specialize in providing high-quality education on an easy-to-use interface, and they may be the best fit for your budget and schedule.
These are our top three course providers to help you become a real estate appraiser:
Real Estate Appraiser Course Provider
Read more details on the best online real estate appraiser course providers.
Review State-specific Coursework Exceptions
In addition to the national course requirements, some states require more classroom time to become an appraiser trainee. These states still require the four-hour trainee class as well as their state-specific requirements. Learn more about your state’s requirements by visiting the state licensing board website or by visiting an online education provider’s website.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the requirements in some of these states:
- New York, California, and West Virginia: 150 hours of coursework
- Colorado: 110 hours of coursework
- Florida: 100 hours of coursework
- North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia: 90 hours of coursework
There are many education providers that offer the standard appraisal courses required for getting your trainee license, but they are not created equal. McKissock Learning has more than 25 years of experience educating real estate professionals and offers in-depth, state-specific learning that prepares soon-to-be appraisers to be the best in their field. Visit their website for more information.
2. Complete 1,000 Hours of Real Estate Work Experience
After becoming an appraiser trainee, you must start working as a real estate appraiser under the strict mentorship of a licensed real property appraiser. To graduate to the next level of appraiser licensing and become a licensed real property appraiser, you must complete approximately 1,000 hours of work experience under the supervision of a licensed real property appraiser in no fewer than six months.
Getting a position as a real estate appraisal trainee can be challenging. Trainee appraisers can usually find positions at residential appraisal firms and, more frequently, at banks, which generally have the greatest need for real estate appraisal services. Places like the American Society of Appraisers job bank or Indeed can often be great resources once you reach this point. Just be sure you work under a certified appraiser and keep track of the hours you work.
Pro tip: Certified residential appraiser Doug Haderie gave a great tip for those just starting out: “Go to the state board website and print out every appraiser within a 10-mile radius, and just start calling them.” Haderie stated that he printed out about 40 pages of information but didn’t get to the bottom of the second page before he had a lead for a job that ended up becoming his beginning steps in real estate appraising.
3. Complete Final College-level Coursework for the Appraiser License
After becoming an appraiser trainee and spending a minimum of 1,000 hours under the supervision of a licensed real estate appraiser, you can earn your appraiser license. Additionally, some states require trainees to complete final preparatory coursework or degree programs, such as an associate degree or college-level courses. However, as of May 1, 2018, there is no longer a national college-level education requirement imposed by the AQB.
State appraiser regulatory agencies are only required to adopt minimum AQB criteria, and many states do not impose college-level education requirements. However, some opt to require additional coursework, so contact your state to confirm licensing requirements. For example, New York requires applicants to complete 30 semester hours of relevant college-level education or hold an associate degree or higher.
4. Pass the Residential Real Property Appraiser Exam
To become a licensed appraiser, some states require you to take and pass a real property appraiser exam. This exam generally covers appraisal math, legal considerations, real estate markets, types of value, and other national subjects. To qualify to sit for the exam, states generally require applicants to have completed appraiser trainee requirements. Contact your state’s licensing board to learn more about examination requirements in your state.
You can also learn about the appraisal requirements in your state by contacting the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).
5. Submit Your License Application to Get Your Appraiser License
After completing your work experience, meeting educational requirements, and passing your exam, you can submit a license application to your state’s real estate appraisers board. Once your license is approved, you can begin working as a real estate appraiser with some limitations on what types of property you can appraise.
State application requirements vary, but generally include:
- Background information: In addition to providing a Social Security number and other identifying information, applicants must generally provide background information regarding criminal charges or convictions, revoked or suspected licenses, and child support.
- Evidence of course completion: Applicants will be asked to provide the name of the training courses they completed, the course providers, and the date of course completion.
- Employment: Employment histories are requested to provide background information and to provide evidence of relevant appraisal experience.
- Experience report: In addition to providing general job history, you will have to provide an accounting of your appraisal experience; the amount and type of experience varies by state.
As a licensed residential appraiser, you can only appraise non-complex, one- to four-unit residential properties worth less than $1 million and complex, one- to four-unit residential properties worth less than $250,000. To appraise more complex properties or properties valued higher than $1 million, you need to take additional coursework to become a certified residential appraiser.
6. Find Work as a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser
To find work as a licensed real estate appraiser, search for job openings on job search aggregators like Indeed. In the first few years of your career, you’ll likely work for a bank or private appraisal company. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for real estate appraisers is expected to continue growing over the next 10 years.
Did you know:
The BLS reported that there were more than 75,000 real estate appraiser jobs in 2019 with a projected growth rate of 3%. While this rate is considerably less than it was at this same time a year ago, it is still considered on par with other occupations.
To appraise real estate accurately, you’ll need access to a multiple listing service (MLS) to research closed and current properties for sale. To gain access to an MLS, join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) by registering with your local realty association. Yearly dues vary by state, but most charge $150 to $250 per year. Depending on your firm, this cost may be covered by your employer.
7. Upgrade Your License
After working as a licensed residential appraiser for a few years, you may want to upgrade your license to become a certified residential appraiser or certified general appraiser. Certified residential appraisers can appraise larger, more valuable residential properties, while certified general appraisers can appraise all types of real property. Consider upgrading your license if you want to expand your business to larger residential or commercial properties.
Benefits of Becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser
The main benefit of upgrading your license to become a certified residential appraiser is that you can appraise properties valued at more than $1 million. To do so, meet national and state requirements for appraisal coursework, experience, and college-level education. Once you become certified, you’ll be more marketable because many banks prefer to work with certified residential appraisers rather than licensed residential appraisers.
To become a certified residential appraiser, meet the following additional requirements:
- Coursework: Certified residential appraisers are required to complete 200-plus hours of AQB-approved appraisal coursework; previous coursework to get your appraisal license counts toward this goal, so you only have to complete the balance of credits to be eligible for a certified appraiser license.
- Experience: Certified residential appraisers must have at least 1,500 hours of experience working as an appraiser or appraisal trainee in no less than 12 months; the hours of work experience you completed as a trainee count toward this total, so you only need to make up the balance with work as a licensed appraiser.
- Education: Certified residential appraisers must have a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, complete 30 hours of college-level courses or a combination thereof as summarized by The Appraisal Foundation; contact your state’s agency to see how they are adopting new standards and what is required of you to meet them.
As a certified residential appraiser, you can appraise one- to four-unit residential buildings of any complexity or value. You may also appraise vacant or unimproved land that is utilized for one to four residential units or is best suited for one to four residential units. To appraise vacant or unimproved land suited for more than four residential units, you need to get additional certifications.
Benefits of Becoming a Certified General Appraiser
Appraisal professionals can also become certified general appraisers. As a certified general appraiser, there are no limitations on the type of real property you can appraise. To attain this certification, the AQB requires a minimum of 300 hours of qualifying education and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Professionals must also complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of fieldwork in no fewer than 30 months, including at least 1,500 hours of nonresidential experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much money can I make as a real estate appraiser?
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for all real estate appraisers in 2019 was $57,010 per year. However, as appraisers earn fees based on the quantity and types of appraisals, which are influenced by overall local market conditions, it is difficult to speculate on how much money a real estate appraiser can expect to make. That said, the highest 10% earned well over $100,000 in 2019.
Do you need a degree to be a real estate appraiser?
Real estate appraiser education requirements vary by state. However, the national standard set forth by the AQB does not require appraisal professionals to have a college-level degree to earn an appraiser license. However, there are college-level education requirements for upgrading your license to become a certified real estate appraiser or a certified general appraiser. Check with your state licensing board to confirm education requirements in your state.
Do real estate appraiser trainees get paid?
Appraisal trainees should expect to make between $24,000 and $50,000 per year, depending on what region of the country they work in, previous work experience, skill set, and their level of education. You can always look at the available trainee jobs at Indeed to get an idea of what the salaries currently are in your area.
What is the best school for real estate appraisal training?
Check out our guide to the six best real estate appraiser training options for information on online course providers. We chose McKissock Learning as the best option because they offer required courses for most states that can be completed on your schedule. Click here to see a list of courses required by your state.
To become a licensed real estate appraiser, you must complete training requirements and work under the supervision of a licensed appraiser. Once you apply for and earn your license, you can upgrade your license to become a certified residential or general appraiser, which enables you to inspect larger, more valuable properties. To learn more about specific licensing requirements, visit your state’s licensing board.
Quality education and mentorship are key factors for future success in the appraisal industry, so be sure to choose your education provider with attention to detail. McKissock Learning offers national and state-specific prelicensing, license upgrade, and continuing education courses to help appraisers at every stage of their career.