How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

If you have a keen eye for detail, an interest in the real estate market, and a desire to work independently, becoming a real estate appraiser might be the perfect career choice for you. Real estate appraisers play a crucial role in determining the value of properties for various purposes, such as mortgage lending, property sales, and tax assessments. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to becoming a real estate appraiser in the United States.

Step 1: Understand the Requirements and Regulations

The first step towards becoming a real estate appraiser is to familiarize yourself with the requirements and regulations set by the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) and individual state appraisal boards. Each state has its specific criteria for licensure, which may include education, experience, and examination requirements. Visit your state’s appraisal board website or the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) website to obtain the necessary information.

Step 2: Meet the Educational Requirements

To become a real estate appraiser, you must complete the required education courses. The number of courses and hours required will depend on the level of appraiser licensure you are aiming for. Generally, there are three levels of licensure: Trainee, Licensed Residential, and Certified Residential. These levels have different educational requirements, ranging from 75 to 200 hours of approved appraisal courses.

You can find approved education providers on the AQB website or your state appraisal board website. Enroll in the necessary courses and complete them to fulfill the educational requirements.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

In addition to completing the required education, most states require aspiring appraisers to gain practical experience under the supervision of a certified appraiser. This hands-on experience is crucial for developing the skills and knowledge necessary to perform accurate property appraisals.

Check your state’s specific requirements for the number of hours or months of experience needed at each licensure level. You will need to work alongside a certified appraiser who will guide and mentor you throughout the process. Consider reaching out to local appraisal firms or professionals to inquire about potential apprenticeship opportunities.

Step 4: Pass the Appraisal Examinations

To obtain a real estate appraiser license, you must pass the required appraisal examinations. The exams are typically administered by state appraisal boards or approved testing providers. The two main examinations are the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination and the state-specific examination.

Study diligently using exam prep materials, textbooks, and practice exams to increase your chances of success. Once you feel confident in your knowledge and understanding of the appraisal principles and practices, schedule your examination and strive for a passing score.

Step 5: Apply for Licensure

After fulfilling the educational requirements, gaining practical experience, and passing the examinations, you can apply for your real estate appraiser license. Submit the required application forms, supporting documents, and fees to your state appraisal board. The board will review your application and determine your eligibility for licensure.

Step 6: Continuing Education and Professional Development

Obtaining your real estate appraiser license is just the beginning. To maintain your license, you will need to fulfill continuing education requirements set by your state appraisal board. Continuing education ensures that appraisers stay updated with the latest industry trends, regulations, and best practices.

Additionally, consider joining professional organizations such as the Appraisal Institute or the American Society of Appraisers. These organizations provide valuable networking opportunities, resources, and professional development courses to help you excel in your career as a real estate appraiser.

Real Estate Appraiser FAQs

How long does it take to become a real estate appraiser?

A: The time it takes to become a real estate appraiser can vary depending on several factors, including the level of licensure you are pursuing, the availability of education courses, and the time it takes to gain the required practical experience. On average, it can take anywhere from one to three years to become a fully licensed appraiser.

What is the difference between a licensed residential appraiser and a certified residential appraiser?

The main difference lies in the types of properties that can be appraised. Licensed residential appraisers are qualified to appraise residential properties with up to four units, while certified residential appraisers can appraise residential properties of any size and complexity.

Can I become a real estate appraiser without a college degree?

Yes, it is possible to become a real estate appraiser without a college degree. However, you will still need to fulfill the education and experience requirements set by your state appraisal board. Some states may offer alternative paths or additional requirements for individuals without a degree.

Is real estate appraising a lucrative career?

Real estate appraising can be a financially rewarding career, especially as you gain experience and build a reputation in the industry. The demand for appraisers remains steady, and their expertise is valued in various sectors of the real estate market.

Can I specialize in a specific type of property as a real estate appraiser?

Yes, as a licensed or certified appraiser, you can choose to specialize in specific property types, such as residential, commercial, agricultural, or industrial properties. Specializing in a niche can enhance your expertise and potentially open up additional opportunities in the market.


Becoming a real estate appraiser requires dedication, education, practical experience, and the successful completion of examinations. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the real estate appraisal industry. Remember to stay updated with the regulations and requirements of your state appraisal board, invest in your professional development, and provide accurate and unbiased appraisals to contribute to the integrity of the real estate market.

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