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How to Become a Certified Real Estate Appraiser

Updated on March 31, 2010

Real estate appraising can be a rewarding career. Most real estate appraisers are self employed and set their own hours, giving them more time and flexibility to spend with their families. In addition, real estate appraising requires a variety of personal skills, math skills, and investigative skills that can make the job challenging and interesting. Here are some steps to take in becoming a certified real estate appraiser.

Trainee License

First, you will need a trainee license. The requirements for obtaining this license vary from state to state, so check with your state’s licensing board. Most states require you to complete certain classes to get this license. Some states, such as California, allow you to gain some experience in appraising before obtaining a trainee license.

There are several online options for taking the courses required for your trainee license. Find the classes that fit with your schedule and enroll. Most classes require you to take a test or gain some experience in appraisal work in order to pass.

Gain Experience

Once you have completed your classes and obtained your trainee license, you will need to be mentored by a certified appraiser. This relationship works something like an apprenticeship, with the appraiser teaching you the techniques you will use on a daily basis. Choose an appraiser that works in your area and get as much “hands on” experience as possible. In order to earn your certification, your appraiser will have to sign off on your hours logged and, in some cases, your skill level as well. Choosing an appraiser to serve as your mentor can be a challenging task, but it is vital in ensuring that you gain the skills and experience you need, as well as the required experience to earn your certification.

Alternatively, you can also look for a trainee job at a real estate appraiser’s office. While the salary likely will not be great, the experience will be valuable in learning whether you like appraising in the “real world.” Banks also often hire trainee appraisers and this is another good option. In addition to this hands-on experience, also network with other appraisers and consider joining or using the resources of national organizations for appraisers, such as the American Society of Appraisers.


Certification requirements vary from state to state, but usually require a minimal amount of education and experience. Once you log the magic number of hours on the job and classes completed, you may be eligible to get your certification on those grounds alone, or you may be required to take a test before certification.

Image Credit: respres, Flickr


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