How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

Discover how to become a real estate appraiser. Learn more about education and job requirements, as well as salary outlook.

portrait of Whitney Sandoval
by Whitney Sandoval

Published on March 3, 2022 · Updated on May 12, 2022

Edited by Giselle M. Cancio
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How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser


Have you ever wondered how much a house is worth? Whether you are buying or selling or just interested in seeing if your home's value has changed, you have likely encountered a real estate appraiser.

A real estate appraiser determines the value of a property by inspecting it and comparing it to similar properties. The property's value as determined by the real estate appraiser is called an appraisal. Appraisals are used for tax assessments and determining mortgage loans, among other things.

What Are The Requirements to Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Becoming a real estate appraiser can lead to an exciting, specialized career. There are general requirements for becoming a real estate appraiser, as well as varying state-specific requirements. You can choose between several paths to pursue a career as a real estate appraiser.

Owner and founder of HouseCashin, Marina Vaamonde, suggests appraisers make their own website and create videos or articles that debunk popular online myths about appraisals. "Somewhat paradoxically, I think it comes down to using the internet to build — as much as I dislike the phrase — your personal brand," Vaamonde told BestColleges.

Minimum requirements

The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) sets minimum requirements for education and experience for real estate appraisers. These professionals may also need to take a certification exa. For example, someone who hopes to become a real estate appraiser must complete at least 150 hours of education and 1,000 hours of experience over at least six months in order to obtain a Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser license.

These are minimum requirements across the United States, however each state can add additional requirements. These requirements will need to be met in order to apply for state licensing or certification.

Look for qualifying education

The AQB requires appraisers to meet minimum education requirements. You must become an trainee appraiser in order to become a licensed property appraiser. Typically, a trainee is supervised by a certified appraiser.

Trainee appraisers must complete at least 75 educational hours. Future appraisers can meet this requirement by taking courses in basic appraisal principles and procedures, as well as completing a National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course.

Once you have completed the trainee appraiser requirements, you will need to continue taking courses. The number of classes you must take varies based on the certification level you're seeking. For instance, a licensed residential appraiser must complete 150 hours of qualifying education; certified residential appraisers need 200 educational hours; and certified general appraisers must earn 300 hours.

Several organizations offer appraisal courses and you do not need a college degree in order to become a real estate appraiser. Additional educational requirements vary depending on the state.

Find a Supervisor Appraiser

A supervisor appraiser should be certified in good standing. You should check with the state you wish to become certified in to see if it requires supervisors to hold a specific number of years of experience.

You can search the National Registry of Appraisers to find a supervisor appraiser in your area.

National Appraiser Licensing and Certification

Once you have completed your necessary education and experience, you can apply to test for licensing and certification through your state. Your appraiser training courses cover all the necessary information for the tests.

You may be tested on subjects like appraisal math and valuation methods. Check online for practice tests and sample questions. The program you completed your educational hours with may also have study guides or test prep resources.

After passing your exam, you can apply to become a licensed residential appraiser.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Market swings can impact an appraiser's job. "When the market is on the upswing and rates are low, many owners are looking to refinance their homes, so the success of their deal depends on a high appraisal," Vaamonde said. "When the market is low, this pressure is eased a little as sellers are more willing to negotiate on the sales price of a home."

The amount of training and the length of time it takes to become a real estate appraiser is dependent upon which type of appraisal certification you are completing. The different appraiser options each have different education and experience requirements.

Trainee Appraiser

Becoming a trainee appraiser requires 75 hours of qualifying education, and you must work under a licensed appraiser. There are no required degrees.

Licensed Residential Appraiser

In order to become a licensed residential appraiser, you need to complete 150 hours of qualifying education and 1,000 hours of appraisal experience in no fewer than six months. You must also pass a licensing test and apply for licensure.

Certified Residential Appraiser

Unlike trainee appraisers and licensed residential appraisers, certified residential appraisers must possess a college education on top of the 200 hours of qualifying appraisal education. These professionals must also complete 1,500 hours of experience in no fewer than 12 months.

There are several options for meeting the college education requirement. This includes:

You may also become a certified residential appraiser if you have been a licensed residential appraiser for at least five years with no negative actions taken on your license.

Certified General Appraiser

On top of earning a bachelor's degree in any field, certified general appraisers must also complete 300 hours of qualifying appraisal education. You must also complete at least 3,000 hours in no fewer than 18 months. Of those hours, 1,500 must be in non-residential work.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Real Estate Appraiser's Career

Do real estate appraisers make good money?

Although pay varies by a professional's location and experience, you can earn a decent salary by becoming a real estate appraiser. In May 2020, the median annual wage for property appraisers was $58,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest 10% of appraisers earned more than $107,090 the same year.

Salaries may also vary depending on which sector you work in. For instance, property appraisers in local government earned a median annual salary of $55,930 in May 2020, whereas those who worked in finance and insurance took earned $65,730.

Are real estate appraisers in demand?

The BLS projects positions for property appraisers to grow 4% between 2020 and 2030. Although this is slower than the national rate of growth across all occupations, the BLS expects approximately 6,300 openings for property appraisers each year.

How hard is the real estate appraisal exam?

The National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination is challenging. The tests for for hopeful licensed residential appraisers and certified residential appraisers are four hours long. The certified general appraisal test is six hours long. All tests are composed of 125 questions.

In 2020, only 57% of licensed residential appraiser test takers passed, and 65% of certified residential appraiser testers passed. That same year, only 55% of certified general appraiser test takers passed.

Not every career requires a bachelor's degree. If you're considering entering a vocation, check out these popular — and lucrative — trade school jobs. We've ranked the top online graduate certificate in finance programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your graduate certificate online. Real estate appraisers are in demand. Learn about how to become an appraiser, including education and certification requirements.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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