How To Become a Real Estate Appraiser

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: June 5, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Real Estate
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You don’t have to become a real estate agent to enter the real estate industry. Becoming a real estate appraiser is a great option, too. This can be a very exciting career path.

Learning how to become a real estate appraiser will take a bit of research. There are specific steps you will need to follow. It’s good to start with what you will be doing on a daily basis. Let’s look at the necessary steps to become a real estate appraiser.

How To Become a Real Estate Appraiser

What Does a Real Estate Appraiser do?

As a real estate appraiser, you will analyze the value of properties. You can work in the residential or commercial sector of the industry. Typically, a real estate appraiser will perform duties before a property is sold. You may also perform an appraiser for a lender during a refinance of a mortgage or a second mortgage.

It’s common to gain full-time employment from a real estate company or even a government agency. Many real estate appraisers work for themselves, as well.

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in 7 Steps

1. Complete High School

Before you can go any further, you have to complete high school or get a GED. You will need your diploma or GED to move on to college, which will likely be required. Most states require at least an associate degree to become an appraiser.

Without a high school diploma or GED, you won’t be able to get into college. Therefore, it’s best to check your state requirements to ensure you meet the education requirements.

2. Get a College Degree

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become an appraiser. However, you will need this type of degree if you want to become a certified general appraiser. You can become an appraiser with an associate degree, as well. Make sure you check your state requirements for specifics on the type of degree you will need.

3. Complete the Trainee License Coursework

After gaining the right education, you will need to complete the coursework to become a licensed trainee appraiser. After completing this coursework, you can start working on your fieldwork which will be required to become a licensed appraiser. The coursework will include:

These courses will be necessary on a national level. You may also need to complete some additional state-specific courses. For example, California and New York require 150 total hours of coursework, while the national coursework requirement is 75 hours.

Coursework can be completed online or in the classroom. Many institutions and programs are offered throughout the country.

4. Complete your Fieldwork Requirement

After completing the necessary coursework, you will be ready to start the fieldwork requirement. A total of 1,000 hours of field experience is necessary. This experience will need to be completed under a licensed real estate appraiser.

Typically, you can find an apprenticeship at a government agency, bank, or real estate appraisal firm. It will take at least six months to complete this fieldwork.

5. Complete the Final College-Level Coursework

Once you complete the required fieldwork, you will need to complete the final coursework. It’s necessary to choose from the following three options:

In some states, you will need to take specific courses to complete this requirement. Therefore, it will vary based on the state you want to be an appraiser in.

6. Pass the Residential Property Appraiser Exam

You will need to study for and take the real estate property appraiser exam. This exam will test your knowledge of the coursework, including:

As well as passing this test, you will need to complete all the additional coursework and fieldwork.

7. Submit Your License Application

After all of your requirements are done, you will need to submit your license application. This application will go before the real estate appraisal board of your state. It will include your course transcripts, background information, employment history, and your field experience.

You will likely need to pay an application fee, as well. Always double-check the state requirements and necessary fees before submitting your application.

Common Skills Needed to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

If you want to become an appraiser, it’s helpful if you have the right skillset. The most common skills you will need include:

With these skills and the right training, you can enjoy a successful career as a real estate appraiser.

Becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser

If you want to become a CRA (Certified Residential Appraiser), you will need to complete further requirements. As a CRA, you will be able to work with high-value properties. While this isn’t necessary to become an appraiser, it can help open up new opportunities.

As a certified residential appraiser, you can increase your earning potential and gain leadership positions. You will need to complete 200 hours of AQB (Appraiser Qualifications Board) approved coursework and an additional 1,500 hours of work experience over at least 12 months. Once you become a CRA, you will be able to work with homes valued at more than $1 million, vacant land for residential development, and one to four-unit residential buildings.

Becoming a Certified General Appraiser

Another option is to become a CGA (Certified General Appraiser). As a CGA, you will be able to review all property types. This includes both commercial and residential real estate. You will gain new job opportunities with this certification and the ability to take on management positions.

Certified general appraisers commonly work with trainees and other licensed appraisers. You will need to complete 300 hours of AQB coursework, a bachelor’s degree, and 3,000 hours of fieldwork over at least 30 months of experience. As a CGA, you can make quite a bit more compared to being just a licensed appraiser.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Real Estate Appraiser

What type of salary can you enjoy as a real estate appraiser?

Real estate appraisers can make a very nice salary of around $60K per year. However, the salary range can go from $39K to $103K. If you work for yourself, you may be able to make even more as a real estate appraiser.

Is a degree necessary to become an appraiser?

Some states require a college-level degree to become an appraiser. However, some states do not. Typically, an associate degree or bachelor’s degree will meet the Appraiser Qualifications Board requirements. If you want to become a certified general appraiser, you will need a bachelor’s degree or higher.

How long will it take to become an appraiser?

To become an appraiser, you will need at least 75 hours of coursework and 1,000 hours of fieldwork. This will take a minimum of six months to complete. If you decide to gain a certification, you will need even more coursework and fieldwork.

If you want to become a certified general appraiser, you will need a bachelor’s degree, as well. The timeframe to become an appraiser will take from 6 months to more than five years, depending on the level you prefer.

What is the common career path of a real estate appraiser?

It’s common for real estate appraisers to follow a very specific career path. For example, you will start as a trainee appraiser before graduating to the licensed appraiser position. So while you don’t have to advance your career any further, you can.

After becoming a licensed appraiser, you can move on to becoming a certified residential appraiser or a certified general appraiser. The career path you choose will determine the type of properties you can appraise and the type of advancement opportunities you can gain access to.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.