Become a Real Estate Appraiser

Real estate appraisal utilizes your personal skills, math skills, and your detective skills. Most appraisers are their own bosses, which means you can have the free time to spend with the family by letting you set your own hours. Many appraisers think of it as the best job in the world.


  1. Check with your state licensing board to see how you can obtain a 'trainee' license (see below for a link to your state's licensing board.) Find out the list of classes you must take to get to this first step. Then find where local or on-line schools are that give classes for your trainee license. It is possible to begin getting appraisal experience before getting a license in some states; California is one of them.
  2. Work towards obtaining your trainee license. This is usually done by taking classes and passing a test, and/or having some experience in appraisal work. (Each state has their own criteria in obtaining this license - check with them).
  3. Find an appraiser who can be your mentor. After getting your trainee license, you'll need a 'supervising' appraiser to teach you the tricks of the trade and to help you attain the experience hours that you will need. Be aware that you may need two or more 'supervising' appraisers to help you on your journey. Work with a supervising appraiser who lives near you, as you'll have to spend time with this person in actual 'hands on' experience. Finding a supervising appraiser to help you will be the toughest part of the job, but it will be worth it. You'll need a supervisor to sign all of your work as a trainee. You can also find a supervising appraiser before getting your trainee license, like a friend or relative who is already a working appraiser.
  4. Get a trainee job at a real estate appraisal office. This is one of the best ways to see if you really like appraising and to find out what appraising is all about.
  5. Get a trainee position at a bank. Banks and savings and loans of all sizes hire trainee appraisers who have obtained their trainee licenses right off the street. It's a great way to get paid and get an education at the same time.
  6. Network with professionals in your area. Do what you can to work with (or for) experienced appraisers in your area. Give them an incentive to hire you.
  7. Find a loan broker you can work with. Since most of appraisals are done for bank loans, it will serve you well to find the people giving the loans and talk with them. A good relationship with a loan broker will go a long way.
  8. Stick with it. As a trainee, your pay will be minimal until you obtain your normal license. It may take many months, but hang in there !
  9. Get your real estate sales license even if you do not intend to work in sales. Your sales license may be needed to obtain MLS data for your appraisers, and it can't hurt.
  10. Complete your 150 hours of license education. You will be required to take 150 hours of state approved appraisal license education, including the 15 hour USPAP course.[1]
  11. Complete your 2,000 hours of trainee experience. You can't complete these hours in less than 1 year.[2]
  12. Apply for your license and take your state test!
  13. Work toward becoming a certified residential appraiser. Individuals seeking to become a Certified Residential Appraiser must successfully complete a minimum of 200 AQB approved hours of education, obtain 2,500 experience hours and pass an examination administered by the jurisdiction awarding the credential.
    • Note: some states do not accept distance education for qualifying education credit.[3]
  14. Progress by becoming a certified general appraiser. All individuals seeking to become a Certified General Appraiser must successfully complete a minimum of 300 AQB approved hours of education, obtain 3,000 experience hours and pass an examination administered by the jurisdiction awarding the credential.[3]



  • Don't quit. Work everyday on getting your regular license. If your supervising appraiser doesn't give you any work, find another supervising appraiser.
  • Prepare to work for little or no money for a while. Having your trainee license only gives you the right to obtain your normal license, which may take a while.
  • Having a second job is a good idea. Many trainee appraisers (and sometimes even experienced appraisers) may have to take a second job to make ends meet in the lean times.
  • Have money to support yourself while you have your trainee license.
  • Networking doesn't matter because appraisers are chosen from a pool. It's illegal to choose your own appraiser these days.


  • Like working in real estate sales, the entire real estate market in many markets may be 'feast or famine'. Appraisers make great money in the good times but may not make much in the lean times. However, even in slower sales markets, appraisals are necessary for refinancing.
  • As an inexperienced appraiser, you may be intimidated by mortgage brokers or banks who may want you to appraise a property for more than its worth, but as you develop good clients this scenario is less likely.

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