Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Career & Licensing Guide

Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Career & Licensing Guide


Real estate appraiser and assessor are two popular career choices for those interested in the broad field of real estate.

The real estate market will always be an area of concern for many American citizens. The process of buying and selling land or property can be exhausting, thus many individuals seek help from those knowledgeable in the field. Appraisers and assessors play a vital role in determining the overall value of a specific property.

This classification is important in the real estate purchase process, as real estate agents and brokers rely on appraisers to accurately determine the price of property. As more and more people transition from renting a home to owning one, real estate appraisers and assessors will be increasingly in demand.

Thus, you can be reasonably sure that a career as a real estate appraiser or assessor is well worth your time, energy and financial investment. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a steady 8 percent growth in the field throughout the next decade, adding nearly 6,800 jobs around the country. We’ll delve deeper into the career of a real estate appraiser or assessor, including all of the specific licensing requirements in the following sub-topics:

Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Job Description and Salary

Choosing a career path involves weighing all of your options. One important deciding factor for any job is the value of the investment. If you are going to devote your time, money and finances toward a certain career field, you want to be relatively sure that the position will last. Real estate is an area in which people will always be interested.

Real estate agents and brokers sell property to their clients, but they could not properly do their job without the work of appraisers and assessors. Evaluating the price of property is the most essential part of the buying and selling process, which makes the career choice a safe pick when it comes to sustained job growth over time. Projections for all careers within the real estate field display a steady rising trend. 

Real estate appraisers and assessors estimate a property’s value by physically inspecting it and analyzing data for the use of comparison before it is sold, mortgaged, insured, taxed or developed. Before a real estate agent can sell a home or commercial space, he or she must receive the value from an appraiser or assessor.

Both positions perform similar duties, which can include verifying property descriptions in public records, inspecting properties for unique characteristics, analyzing data from similar properties, maintaining current data and preparing written property reports. Appraisers and assessors generally work in one specific locale in order to familiarize themselves with any environmental factors that could influence a property’s value. 

When it comes to understanding the difference between the two career choices, it boils down to one factor: all real estate assessors are appraisers, but not all appraisers are assessors. In other words, real estate assessors must hold an appraisal license. The largest difference between an appraiser and an assessor is that appraisers typically work with one property at a time while assessors work by neighborhood.

This is because assessors are largely concerned with property tax assessments and usually work for state governments. They utilize mass appraisal techniques in order to assess a large neighborhood and must be extremely knowledgeable about tax assessment procedures. 

Real estate appraisers and assessors work in a variety of job environments. Many work in real estate offices and firms, although assessors may also work for the government. Real estate assessors use mass appraisal techniques, which typically allows them to perform many of their duties from behind their desk. Appraisers also work during regular business hours in an office location. However, they often spend much of their time on location as they physically inspect a property. 

The salary range for real estate appraisers and assessors varies depending on place of employment, job type and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for real estate appraisers and assessors falls in the low to mid $50,000 range. However, the income for both careers is very much dependent on economic conditions and property types available. As the real estate market fluctuates, real estate appraisers and assessors can experience varied income levels. 

Other Career Options in the Field

Real estate appraisers and assessors may specialize in certain areas. There are three different levels for appraisers: licensed real property appraisers, certified real property appraisers and certified general real property appraisers. The differences between each level involve the different pricing planes of each property.

Upgrading to a different level requires the appraiser to complete more training and log more work experience hours. Some states also place time limits on upgrading. For example, appraisers must typically work for at least two years as a licensed appraiser prior to becoming a certified general real property appraiser. The salary ranges for each appraiser depend on the location and job type.

Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Education and Training Requirements

In order to become a real estate appraiser, individuals are required to earn a license. All aspiring appraisers must meet certain education and job training requirements prior to becoming licensed. All 50 U.S. states currently require licensure for real estate appraisers, thus ensuring safe and legal practices. Unlike appraisers, assessors do not have a national requirement for certification.

In the states that do require certification for assessors, the requirements are typically similar to those for appraisers, which is why it is always recommended to earn at least a two-year associate’s degree. An individual who lives in a state that does not require certification for assessors can still expect to take basic appraisal courses and receive on-the-job training. 

While specific licensure requirements may vary across the country, most individuals interested in becoming a real estate appraiser must at least meet the following conditions:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Must complete at least 30 semester hours from an accredited college or university (bachelor’s degree preferred)
  • Must complete an appraisal education course
  • Must earn a trainee or apprentice appraisal license
  • Must pass state-issued licensing examination 

There are different classifications of real estate appraisers that determines the amount of education an individual will need. For example, licensed real estate appraisers need a minimum of 30 semester hours at an accredited college or university along with 150 hours of appraisal-specific training. Licensed appraisers may assess non-complex one to four-unit residences with a value of less than $1 million and complex one to four-unit residences with a value of less than $250,000.

However, for those looking to become a Certified Real Property Appraiser, he or she must attain a bachelor’s degree. Aspiring appraisers are always encouraged to earn their bachelor’s degree in subjects such as finance, business or real estate law. Earning a four-year degree sets those individuals apart from their competitors and paves the way for job growth. College experience must be earned before completing the appraisal-specific education requirement.

Appraisal courses can be taken through many online and in-person appraisal training schools. Most individuals can expect to complete at least 75 hours of appraiser-qualifying education to become a trainee, and an additional 75 hours (150 in total) before officially becoming certified. These programs must be approved by the state in which an individual lives and intends to practice. Programs generally cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000, depending on the course chosen and the state in which the appraiser lives.

Some states allow individuals to enroll in an online course, whereas others require specific classroom time. Additionally, some states will require individuals to complete more than one course if the program is categorized. All appraisal courses review basic appraisal procedures, laws and tax assessments.

Before enrolling in an appraisal school, applicants should verify that the program is approved by their state’s licensing agency to ensure that the credentials will be accepted in the licensing process. Most state’s real estate boards will direct applicants toward a list qualified programs. Aspiring assessors who live in states without national requirements may still need to complete these appraisal programs.

Once the trainee program is finished, individuals must gain experience under a licensed appraiser. Each state controls the amount of hours that trainees must receive. The trainee will be directly supervised by a more experienced appraiser, and is required to maintain a log to keep track of his or her hours. The experience requirement for licensed appraisers is no less than 2,000 hours within 12 months or more. Similar to the trainee experience, new appraisers will log their hours with a seasoned appraiser. 

All appraisers are required to sit for an exam to attain licensure. The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) administers the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations, which all aspiring appraisers must pass prior to becoming licensed. 

Upon receipt of a license, an appraiser or assessor is legally allowed to evaluate property in that state. However, many states require appraisers and assessors to participate in continuing education courses and programs. Most states require refresher courses every two years. State requirements vary from state to state; individuals should contact their state’s real estate commission to verify all requirements.

How to Get Licensed as a Real Estate Appraiser or Assessor

All 50 states require real estate appraisers and assessors to maintain licensure in order to evaluate property. Licensure guarantees that all appraisers and assessors are practicing within legal parameters and are working according to their state’s laws. Much of the real estate industry relies on accurate appraisals, which makes it imperative that individuals are knowledgeable about all of the rules and regulations. Licensure allows consumers to feel confident that they are receiving the best advice and information that they possibly can.

Appraisal and assessor licensure is regulated at the state level, so specific requirements may differ across the country. While assessors do not follow a national requirement, appraisers must all meet the following minimum conditions:

  • Complete at least 30 semester hours at an accredited college or university
  • Enroll in a state-approved appraisal training school to become a trainee
  • Enroll in a state-approved appraisal training school to become certified
  • Complete the required number of experience hours 
  • Pass the national and any state-issued exams

Once all of the required trainee and licensed appraisal courses are completed and individuals have logged the correct amount of work experience hours, they are allowed to sit for the national examination. Passing the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations (NULCE), which standardizes the practice of appraising and assessing across the country, is required in all 50 states.

In addition to the NULCE, some states may administer their own licensing exams through the state’s department of real estate. Applicants can expect to pay an application fee as well as submit consent forms for background checks. Although all states use the NULCE, specific additional requirements may exist. 

Students who have received their appraisal education overseas or abroad cannot rely on their international credentials when it comes to licensure. Foreign-educated students will be required to enroll in an appraisal training school in the United States. However, those who hold a bachelor’s degree from a foreign institution may be able to appeal to their state’s licensing board to inquire about reciprocity. If approved, he or she may be able to waive the college education requirement. They will still have to complete their appraisal-specific training and take the NULCE. 

Once the NULCE and any required state-specific exams have been completed and passed, applicants must send their exam scores to their state’s real estate commission. In addition, applicants may be required to send proof of having met any other requirements, such as college transcripts and appraisal training school certificates. The application procedure for appraiser and assessor licensure can differ between states, but typically applicants will be required to complete a notarized application form along with a variation of any of the following:

  • Degree transcripts
  • National Uniform Licensing and Certification Exam score
  • Any state exam scores 
  • Proof of having completed appraisal training school
  • Work experience logged hours
  • Application fee
  • Background check consent form
  • Valid form of identification

There may be additional requirements necessary depending on the state in which a real estate appraiser or assessor lives. All applicants are encouraged to check with their state’s real estate licensing commission for all corresponding application requirements and documents. See the “State Boards” document included at the end of this guide to find your state’s real estate commission and all relevant contact information. Incomplete applications will not be processed and applicants risk losing their application fee.

All applicants should send completed applications and required documents to their state’s real estate department. The department will contact applicants regarding the status of their application. Applicants will also be notified of any missing documents or requirements.

Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Licensing Exam Information 

All real estate appraisers are required to pass a standardized test before receiving their license. While assessors do not adhere to any national requirements, they may not have to take an exam. However, each state may have a different licensing procedure for assessors. Appraiser licensure is controlled at the state level, but all states administer the same exam.

The National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination (NULCE) is distributed in all states through approved testing services. The purpose of requiring an examination at the national level is to help state regulating agencies decide which qualifications are necessary in order to work as a licensed real estate appraiser in the United States. The NULCE is administered by the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB). 

Once a student has finished all education and training requirements, he or she is able to register for the NULCE, as well as any state examinations required by his or her state board. The easiest way to apply for any appraiser examination is online. States offer the NULCE through various testing services, such as Pearson VUE and PSI. Applicants can find their state’s testing service website through the real estate commission.

Depending on which testing service the applicant’s state uses, applicants will receive an approval notification allowing them to officially register and pay for their exams. All applicants will apply and pay the testing fee directly on the testing facility’s website. Applicants will also be prompted to confirm that they have read and agreed to the AQB’s rules and regulations, of which a copy will be provided.

Applicants will be able to schedule their examination date and time online once the fee is paid. Testing accommodations can be requested online for those who qualify. 

The AQB does not endorse any specific NULCE study guides, but offers various other suggestions for exam preparation. The AQB has sample questions and topics listed under “Guide Note 1” on its website. Applicants are encouraged to review this guide in order to review possible topics that may be included in the exam. Since the exams are practice-based, applicants will benefit from practicing applying concepts in real-life scenarios.

Numerous other third-party organizations may offer NULCE study guides or textbooks available for purchase. Individuals interested in receiving a comprehensive study guide can do a quick internet search and browse through the various guides offered. The AQB warns applicants that the questions and topics included in third-party guides are not necessarily part of the NULCE. However, these supplements may be helpful alongside the information included in Guide Note 1. 

On the day of the appraiser exam, test-takers will be required to show a valid form of identification to gain entry to the testing site. Each testing service may have different identification requirements, so applicants should check with their state’s testing service prior to arriving at the facility. Any applicant with a missing form of identification could be denied entry and risks losing his or her spot. Along with providing proof of identification, many testing services will require applicants to scan their fingerprints. The prints scanned may also be forwarded to the state’s licensing agency to meet security requirements. 

NULCE test results are available to applicants immediately after the exam.  Results are scored as pass or fail only. Official score reports can typically be requested by logging into the testing facility’s website. Those who fail the NULCE must typically wait at least one business day before they can schedule a retest. The exact requirements may differ between testing services. PSI, for example, allows individuals to retest as soon as three days after the initial fail. Applicants will be expected to re-register and pay the testing fee prior to retaking the exam. 

Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor Job Search Tips and Guidance

With the proper education and training under your belt, you’re now ready to become a licensed real estate appraiser or assessor.

The first step for many job seekers is scouring the internet for job openings. While internet job boards are helpful, they also may turn up thousands of results. Sifting through numerous openings can be overwhelming, and many positions may not interest you at all. 

Before starting your search, it’s a good idea to understand what you’re looking for in a career. Job satisfaction is a crucial part to your overall health, which is why it is extremely important to understand your wants and needs. Real estate appraisers and assessors have different options when it comes to job setting and environment. Determine whether you’d prefer to run numbers behind your desk or travel back and forth to different property sites.

Appraisers often visit both residential and commercial properties in order to perform physical inspections. Deciding between appraiser and assessor positions will help narrow down the search results, making it easier to find your perfect match. In addition to determining your ideal job environment, you should consider many other factors, such as salary and location. Appraisers and assessors often work within a certain locale, so they should work where they are both familiar and comfortable. 

Popular job board websites like Monster and Indeed allow users to search for open positions with these factors in mind. Applicants can filter results based on criteria like salary and work experience in order to narrow down results to only the most pertinent job openings. However, there are numerous other career-specific job board websites which can be of help. iHireRealEstate delivers results that only include real estate positions. Users can create a profile and upload their resume with ease. Also, don’t be afraid to utilize more than one job board. The more sites to which you post your resume, the more likely it is to be seen by employers. 

Networking may be the most important part of all job searches. People are more likely to hire people with which they are familiar than complete strangers. It’s important to put yourself out there and meet as many people in your career field as you possibly can. Joining a national association or organization is a great way to meet other appraisers and assessors through various meetings, events and conferences. Organizations also provide job search resources to their members. Users can upload their resume and be matched to qualified employers. States also often have their own real estate associations or organizations. Be sure to locate yours and enroll for the best chances of finding the perfect job.

State Licensing Agencies for Careers in Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment 

National Organizations

Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC)1401 H Street N.W.,  Ste. 760 Washington, D.C. 20005(202) 289-2735
The Appraisal Foundation, Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB)1155 15th Street N.W., Ste. 1111
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-7722

State Boards

AlabamaAlabama Real Estate Appraisers BoardP.O. Box 304355 
Montgomery, AL   36130-4355
(334) 242-8747
AlaskaAlaska Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor, Juneau, AK
(907) 465-2550
ArizonaArizona Board of Appraisals, Dept. of Financial Institutions2910 N. 44th St.,
Ste. 310
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 771 – 2800
ArkansasArkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board101 East Capitol, Ste. 430
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 296-1843
CaliforniaCalifornia Dept. of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers1102 Q Street, Ste. 4100 
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 552-9000
ColoradoColorado Board of Real Estate Appraisers1560 Broadway, Ste. 925 
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 894-2166
ConnecticutConnecticut Dept. of Consumer Protection, Occupational & Professional Licensing Division450 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103(860) 713-6180
DelawareDelaware Council on Real Estate Appraisers861 Silver Lake Blvd, Cannon Building, Ste. 203 
Dover, DE 19904
(302) 744-4500
FloridaFlorida Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate400 W. Robinson Street, Ste. N801, Orlando, FL 32801-1772(850) 487.1395
GeorgiaGeorgia Real Estate Appraisers Board229 Peachtree Street, NE Atlanta, GA 30303-1605(404) 656-3916
HawaiiHawaii Dept. of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, Real Estate AppraiserP.O. Box 3469 
Honolulu, HI   96801
(808) 586-2701
IdahoIdaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses, Real Estate Appraiser Board700 W. State Street 
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 334-3233
ILLINOISIllinois Dept. of Financial & Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate100 W. Randolph Street, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601(312) 793-6608https://w­ww.idfpr.c­om/DRE.asp
IndianaIndiana Real Estate Appraiser Licensure & Certification BoardAttn: Indiana Real Estate Appraiser Board
402. W. Washington, Room W072, Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 234-3009
IowaIowa Professional Licensing Bureau, Real Estate Appraisal Examining Board200 E. Grand Avenue, Ste. 350 
Des Moines, IA  50309
(515) 725-9022
KansasKansas Real Estate Appraisal Board700 SW Jackson, Ste. 804 
Topeka, KS 66603
(785) 296-6736
KentuckyKentucky Real Estate Appraisers Board135 W. Irvine Street, Ste. 301 
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 623-1658
LouisianaLouisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board9071 Interline Avenue 
Baton Rouge, LA   70809
(225) 925-1923
MaineMaine Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation, Board of Real Estate Appraisers35 State House Station 
Augusta, ME 04333-0035
(207) 624-8522
MarylandMaryland Commission of Real Estate Appraisers, Appraisal Management Companies and Home Inspectors500 N. Calvert Street, Rm. 302, Baltimore, MD 21202-3651(410) 230-6165
MassachusettsMassachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Appraisers1000 Washington Street, Ste. 710, Boston, MA 02118-6100(617) 727-3055
MichiganMichigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Real Estate AppraisersATTN: Board of Real Estate Appraisers 
P.O. Box 30670 
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-8068,4601,7-154-72600_72602_72731_72859—,00.html
MinnesotaMinnesota Dept. of Commerce, Appraisal LicensingDept. of Commerce 85 7th Place East, Ste. 500 St. Paul, MN 55101-3165(651) 539-1600
MississippiMississippi Appraisal BoardLefleur’s Bluff Tower, Ste. 3004780
I-55 North, Jackson, MS 39211
(601) 321-6970
MissouriMissouri Division of Professional Regulation, Real Estate Appraisers Commission3605 Missouri Boulevard
P.O. Box 1335
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1335
(573) 751.0038
MontanaMontana Board of Real Estate Appraisers301 South Park Avenue, 4th Floor, Helena, MT 
(406) 841-2375
NebraskaNebraska Real Property Appraiser Board Real Estate Appraiser Board 
P.O. Box 94963 
Lincoln, NE  
(402) 471-9015
NevadaNevada Real Estate Division1818 E. College Parkway, Ste. 110, Carson City, NV
(775) 684-1902
New HampshireNew Hampshire Real Estate Appraisers Board121 South Fruit Street Concord, NH 03301(603) 271-2219
New JerseyNew Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Real Estate Appraiser BoardP.O. Box 45032 
Newark, NJ 07101
(973) 504-6480
New MexicoNew Mexico Board of Real Estate Appraisers2550 Cerrillos Road Santa Fe, NM   87504(505) 476-4622
New YorkNew York Division of Licensing Services, Real Estate AppraiserP.O. Box 22001 
Albany, NY 12201-2001
(518) 474-4429
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Appraisal Board5830 Six Forks Road Raleigh, NC 27609(919) 870-4854
North DakotaNorth Dakota Real Estate Appraiser Qualifications and Ethics BoardP.O. Box 1336 
Bismarck, ND  
(701) 222-1051
OhioOhio Dept. of Commerce, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing 77 S. High Street, 20th Floor 
Columbus, OH 
(614) 466-4100
OklahomaOklahoma Real Estate Appraiser Board3625 NW 56th Street, Ste. 100 
Oklahoma City, OK   73112
(405) 521-6636
OregonOregon Appraiser Certification & Licensing Board3000 Market Street, NE Ste. 541,
Salem, OR   97301
(971) 485-2555
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers2601 N. Third Street 
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 783-4866
Rhode IslandRhode Island Dept. of Business Regulation, Division of Commercial Licensing and Regulation1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 69-1, Cranston, RI   02920(401) 462-9506
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, Real Estate Appraisers Board110 Centerview Drive 
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 896-4630
South DakotaSouth Dakota Dept. of Labor & Regulation, Appraiser Certificate Program308 South Pierre Street Pierre, SD 57501-3137(605) 773-4608
TennesseeTennessee Dept. of Commerce & Insurance, Real Estate Appraisers 500 James Robertson Parkway 
Nashville, TN  
(615) 741-1831
TexasTexas Appraiser Licensing and Certification BoardP.O. Box 12188 
Austin, TX  
(512) 936-3001
UtahUtah Dept. of Commerce, Division of Real EstateDivision of Real Estate P.O. Box 146711 
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6711
(801) 530-6747
VermontVermont Secretary of State, Real Estate AppraisersBoard of Real Estate Appraisers 
89 Main Street, 3rd Floor 
Montpelier, VT   05620-3402
(802) 828-3228
VirginiaVirginia Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Real Estate Appraiser Board9960 Mayland Drive, Ste. 400 
Richmond, VA   23233-1463
(804) 367-2039
WashingtonWashington State Dept. of Licensing, Appraisers Real Estate Appraisers Licensing Program 
P.O. Box 9021 
Olympia, WA  
(360) 664-6504
Washington, D.C.District of Columbia Board of Real Estate Appraisers 8401 Corporate Drive, Suite 250, Landover, Washington, D.C. 20785(202) 442-4341
West VirginiaWest Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board 405 Capitol Street, Ste. 906 
Charleston, WV   25301
(304) 558-3919
WisconsinWisconsin Dept. of Safety & Professional Services, Real Estate Appraisers BoardP.O. Box 8935 
Madison, WI 53708-8935
(608) 266-2112
WyomingWyoming Certified Real Estate Appraiser Board2617 E. Lincoln Way 
Cheyenne, WY   82002
(307) 777-7141

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