Real estate appraisers visit properties and determine the value of land and buildings. They may provide estimates for selling, mortgaging, taxation, and insurance purposes. Some real estate appraisers also provide values for land that is about to be developed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), real estate appraisers earn a median salary of $54,980 per year. The BLS projects this occupation to grow 7% from 2018-2028 -- a rate faster than the national average for all occupations.

This guide includes information about the skills, education, and credentials needed to become a real estate appraiser.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Real estate appraisers need skills in areas including customer service and mathematics. Individuals can gain these proficiencies during educational programs or through work experience. The skills below can help real estate appraisers excel professionally.

Communication

Real estate appraisers must communicate clearly with clients, often through written reports and verbally. These professionals work with developers, construction companies, and banks, as well as individuals without real estate experience. Appraisers must convey their findings clearly to all parties and make sure there are no misunderstandings.

Mathematics

Appraisers must be comfortable using arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Professionals also need fundamental financial knowledge. Mathematics skills help appraisers determine the correct value of properties.

Building and Construction

Real estate appraisers need a basic understanding of building and construction, including knowledge of the materials, methods, and tools involved in building, repair, and remodeling. This knowledge helps appraisers understand the price of materials and labor, which can impact property value.

Customer Service

Professionals in this field work closely with clients and need excellent customer service skills to keep all parties happy. Appraisers must remain professional while discharging their duties in a timely and accurate manner. They must also evaluate and meet the needs of their clients.

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

Aspiring real estate appraisers typically complete similar steps to launch a career in the field. Although some requirements vary by state, the steps below comprise a common path to real estate appraiser positions.

Step One: Become a Real Estate Appraiser Trainee

Aspiring real estate appraisers first obtain a trainee license. The Appraiser Qualifications Board sets national standards for trainee licensure. Candidates must have at least 75 credits of coursework covering principles and procedures related to the profession.

The board states that trainees may only earn credit for courses from the following providers:

  • Colleges or universities
  • Community or junior colleges
  • Organizations related to real estate or real estate appraisal
  • State or federal agencies or commissions
  • Proprietary schools
  • Providers approved by state licensing or certification agencies
  • The Appraisal Foundation or its boards

Some states require additional credits or up to 1,000 hours of work experience. Candidates can check state requirements through their state's licensing agency.

Estimated Time: Several weeks to six months

Step Two (Optional): Earn an Associate or Bachelor's Degree in Real Estate

National standards for real estate appraisers no longer include a college degree, unless the professional wishes to pursue a certified license. However, students can consider earning a degree in real estate to increase job opportunities.

Estimated Time: 2-4 years

Step Three: Residential Appraiser Exam

After completing coursework, trainees qualify to take the residential appraiser exam from The Appraisal Foundation. This test covers subjects including math, legal requirements, real estate markets, and value types.

Estimated Time: Four hours

Step Four: State Licensure

Trainees who have completed the above requirements can apply for licensure from their state board. Licenses may include restrictions related to the types of property an appraiser can evaluate.

Typical requirements for state licensure include:

  • A background check
  • Evidence of completed courses
  • Evidence of completed employment hours
  • Appraisal experience report
Estimated Time: 2-4 weeks for processing

Step Five (Optional): Earn a Certified License

Appraisers who want an unrestricted license can pursue a certified license. This credential requires an additional 200 credits of coursework and 1,500 hours of work experience. Candidates must meet the college education requirements set by the Appraiser Qualifications Board.

Estimated Time: One year or less, not including the time necessary to earn a degree

What Education Do You Need to Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

This section details the education requirements for real estate appraisers. These requirements vary by state and license type, so students should consider their career goals before choosing a program. No degree guarantees a certain position or career. However, a college education can aid candidates in their job search.

National standards for a real estate appraiser's license do not require trainees to hold a college degree. However, appraisers who wish to obtain a certified license do need a college education.

Associate Degree in Real Estate

An associate degree generally requires 18-24 months to complete. These programs cover topics including finance, appraisal, mathematics, and marketing. Many associate programs also include internships with real estate firms or agencies, which provide practical experience. Students can earn an associate degree online or on campus.

Bachelor's Degree in Real Estate

Bachelor's programs typically require four years. Students who enroll part time generally take longer to graduate, while those who pursue accelerated learning options can earn their degree in less than four years.

Bachelor's programs in the field explore real estate topics in greater detail than associate programs. Courses typically cover topics including real estate law, appraisal techniques, finance, marketing, and management. Many bachelor's programs require an internship with a real estate firm or agency.

When researching programs, prospective students should consider whether online or on-campus learning best suits their needs. Online programs typically include more scheduling flexibility and may offer lower tuition rates. Students should look for programs offered by accredited colleges or universities.

Real Estate Appraiser Career Development and Credentials

Real estate appraisers in any state need a license to practice. However, professionals may also consider earning optional credentials. These can offer prestige and specialized training, and professionals with voluntary credentials often stand out in the job market.

Continuing Education

All states require real estate appraisers to complete continuing education experiences to maintain their license. These requirements vary and are set by each state's board or governing agency. Most states require appraisers to renew their license annually or biannually. Education requirements typically include 8-15 credits of continuing education per year.

Continuing education coursework may cover risk management; local, state, and federal real estate law; agency and contract law; ethics; fair housing; and property management. Typically, each course comprises three credits. Appraisers must complete continuing education requirements by their license renewal deadline.

Appraisers can take continuing education courses from a variety of sources, including colleges and universities, professional organizations, certified agencies, and state and federal commissions. However, appraisers should contact their state's board to ensure they take classes from an approved source.

Credentials and Licensing

Some real estate appraisers choose to pursue additional credentials or licenses. The options below can lead to increased employment opportunities.

  • Accredited Land Consultant: Companies and individuals value ALCs as knowledgeable and trusted experts when it comes to land appraisal.
  • Certified International Property Specialist: Real estate professionals can earn this credential by taking classes that cover international property transactions and law.
  • General Accredited Appraiser: Appraisers who exceed state requirements of education and experience can receive this designation, which signals excellence in the field.
  • Residential Accredited Appraiser: The National Association of Realtors awards this credential to residential appraisers who exceed state requirements of education and experience.

Learn More about Real Estate Appraiser Careers and Take the Next Step Today

Career and Professional Resources

  • National Association of Realtors NAR is the largest trade association in the United States. It welcomes all real estate professionals and works to help members become more successful.
  • Appraisal Institute This global organization for appraisers has nearly 18,000 members. The institute offers advocacy, publications, and continuing education classes.
  • Association of Real Estate License Law Officials ARELLO provides information on real estate regulations through conferences and publications. The organization offers input from real estate policy makers and regulators to help members stay current on the latest legislation and regulations in the industry.
  • The Appraisal Foundation This organization sets the congressionally authorized standards and qualifications for real estate appraisers. The foundation's website provides information about current national standards for appraisers.
  • American Society of Appraisers This international, nonprofit organization includes appraisers from various industries, including real estate. ASA offers education and accreditation resources, publications, and online tools.