Assessors and Appraisers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in the fields of assessing or appraising, there are a number of courses you can take in high school to help prepare you for this work. Take plenty of math classes, since you will need to be comfortable working with numbers and making calculations. Accounting classes will also be helpful for the same reasons. English courses will help you develop your researching and writing skills as well as verbal skills. Take computer science classes in order to become accustomed to using this tool. Courses in civics or government may also be beneficial.

Postsecondary Training

Appraisers and assessors need a broad range of knowledge in such areas as equity and mortgage finance, architectural function, demographic statistics, and business trends. In addition, they must be competent writers and able to communicate effectively with people. In the past, some people have been able to enter these fields with only a high school education and learn specialized skills on the job. Today, however, most appraisers and assessors have at least some college education. Most appraisers of commercial real estate property must have at least a bachelor's degree, while appraisers of residential real estate property need at least an associate degree. A number work in appropriate businesses, such as auction houses, while they earn their degrees. Some with several years of college experience are able to find employment and receive on-the-job training. Those wanting to receive professional designations and to have the best job opportunities, however, should complete a college degree.

A few colleges and universities now offer degrees in valuation sciences that will prepare you for this career. If you are unable to attend such a specialized program, though, there are numerous classes you can take at any college to prepare for this career. A liberal arts degree provides a solid background, as do courses in finance, statistics, mathematics, public administration and business administration, real estate and urban land economics, engineering, real estate law, architecture, and computer science. Appraisers choosing to specialize in a particular area should have a solid background in that field.

Other Education or Training

Courses in assessment and appraisal are offered by professional associations such as the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), the Appraisal Institute (AI), National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and the International Association of Assessing Officers. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

A number of professional organizations, such as the ASA and the AI, offer certification or designations in the field. It is highly recommended that you attain professional designation in order to enhance your standing in the field and demonstrate to consumers your level of expertise. To receive a designation, you will typically need to pass a written exam, demonstrate ethical behavior, and have completed a certain amount of education. To maintain your designation, you will also need to fulfill continuing education requirements.

Because all appraisals used for federally regulated real estate transactions must be conducted by licensed appraisers, most appraisers now obtain a state license. In addition, some states—known as "mandatory states"—require real estate appraisers to be licensed even if the appraisers do not deal with federally regulated transactions. You will need to check with your state's regulatory agency to learn more about the exact requirements for your state. In addition to a license, some states may require assessors who are government employees to pass civil service tests or other examinations before they can start work. Visit https://www.asc.gov/Home.aspx for more information on state licensing requirements for real estate appraisers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Previous experience in the real estate industry will be helpful for aspiring assessors and appraisers.  

Good appraisers are skilled investigators and must be proficient at gathering data. They must be familiar with sources of information on such diverse topics as public records, construction materials, building trends, economic trends, and governmental regulations affecting use of property. They should know how to read survey drawings and blueprints and be able to identify features of building construction. Assessors and appraisers need strong communication skills and must have good "people skills" since they frequently work with the public. They should be able to work well alone and with other professionals.