How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser:
The Definitive Guide

Have you ever sold your house or bought a new home?

If so, then you may have come across a Real Estate Appraiser.

With knowledge and understanding of mortgages, tax assessments, statistics, and other property information in order to help sell homes or buildings.

These skilled experts use their knowledge to estimate how much a certain piece of real estate is worth.

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Real Estate Appraiser Job Description

As a Real Estate Appraiser, you will use your expertise to showcase the value of the real estate.

In this career field, you will assist clients who want to buy, sell, invest and lend money.

It is likely that you will spend quite a bit of time looking at different types of real estate to determine how much it’s worth.

There are several different types of Real Estate Appraisers, depending on the type of certifications you achieve, such as a Certified General Real Property Appraiser, and Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser.

No matter what type of Real Estate Appraiser you strive to become, it’s important to have great communication and customer service skills in this career.


There will likely be quite a bit of traveling to do in this career because as a Real Estate Appraiser, you will spend time looking at real properties in order to determine how much they are worth.

Other types of daily tasks you may have to do include:

  • Visit and research properties
  • Track and analyze procedures
  • Determine ratings
  • Speak with clients and homeowners
  • Know and understand trends


The average Real Estate Appraiser boasts a yearly salary of around $63,000.

Working in this field for many years can create an even bigger salary, closer to $100,000 in some places.

For example, states like California or Washington DC pay their Real Estate Appraisers much closer to $100,000 a year.

Beginning a career as a Real Estate Appraiser doesn’t mean you will start out making that much.

Typically, a new Real Estate Appraiser will make closer to $30,000 a year to begin.

Having relevant education and credentials can provide a higher salary, as well as how well you treat your clients and customers.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $70,050


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$101,440
New Hampshire$72,650
New Jersey$90,910
New Mexico$48,100
New York$79,060
North Carolina$60,230
North Dakota$65,410
Rhode Island$79,480
South Carolina$66,160
South Dakota$51,690
West Virginia$48,460
Puerto Rico$34,960

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $101,440.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $101,440
Maine - $100,120
New Jersey - $90,910
Minnesota - $89,300
Washington - $86,410
*Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

Step 1Educate Yourself

The first step into the world of a Real Estate Appraiser is to gain as much education as possible.

This can be done in several ways, some Real Estate Appraisers earn an Associates degree from a community college or university.

A typical Associates degree can take about two years to finish, and this may be why some people choose a different route.

There are many training programs to enroll in as well, some that can be done all online.

In an Appraisal program, you will typically need to take about 75 hours worth of credits.

Some of the types of information that you will gather in an Appraisal program are:

  • Basic appraisal principles
  • National USAP course
  • Basic appraisal procedures

Take a look at your local colleges or real estate companies to see if they offer these courses.

Step 2Start Training

After you become aware and understand the intricacies of real estate appraisal, you will want to gain some knowledge in the workplace as well.

You can do this by becoming an assistant or an apprentice to a senior Real Estate Appraiser.

An assistant Real Estate Appraiser must be supervised to get the necessary amount of hours before they can go off on their own.

Once a Real Estate Appraiser has 1,000 hours of experience, it’s possible to become a licensed Real Estate Appraiser.

In order to become a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, you will need at least 6 months of experience.

While you won’t need a degree to become a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, if you want to become certified, you will need at least a Bachelors degree in a related field, such as business management.

Step 3Become Licensed

Getting experience while you are under the wing of a senior Real Estate Appraiser is a great way to start, but soon you will need to fly on your own.

Once you gain about 6 months of experience, you will need to become licensed.

The requirements for licensure can vary from state to state, but typically, you will need to:

  • Submit an application and fee, around $100
  • Consent to a background check and fingerprinting
  • Take an exam

Depending on which state you plan to work, the licensing exam can be completely different.

However, typically the exam will consist of topics that include:

  • Influences on real estate value
  • Types of value
  • Economic principles
  • Property description
  • Appraisal statistical concepts

Again, these topics and questions can vary depending on the state in which you take the exam.

For those taking the exam for the first time, to become a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, 3 hours will be given to finish the exam.

For more advanced Real Estate Appraisers, like Certified Residential and Certified General Appraisers, the exam should take around 4 hours.

After several weeks, you will be informed if you have passed or failed the exam.

If you pass, you may become a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, if you fail, it is time to retake the exam.

Step 4Advance Your Career

There are several ways to advance your career as a Real Estate Appraiser.

For example, you could become a Certified General Appraiser or a Certified Residential Appraiser.

A Certified General Appraiser can work with all types of real estate, big and small.

A Certified Residential Appraiser will work with properties over $250,000 in transaction value.

This is different and more advanced than a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, who is capped at appraising properties over $250,000.

These are both specialized credentials that will provide promotions and salary increases for Real Estate Appraisers.

The higher the credential, the bigger the projects you will be able to appraise.

This could mean more money, and eventually you will be able to set your own prices and fees.

Working as an individual is another way to advance your career as a Real Estate Appraiser.

Those who work for themselves don’t have to worry about all the extra fees and regulations, and they can set their own work hours.


There are several factors that come into play when thinking of becoming a Real Estate Appraiser.

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide which type of education you’ll want to receive.

Some aspiring Real Estate Appraisers will earn an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree, which will help to gain recognition in the field.

Having an Associate’s degree shows competency in the field as well as in the area of your degree.

This type of program takes around two years to complete and can lead to bigger salaries as well.

You will be required to take general education courses for this style of degree, and you may get into more business or hospitality type courses, depending on your degree concentration.

If you want to earn a Bachelor’s degree, it can take around four years for full-time students.

Within a Bachelors degree program, you will want to focus on courses like:

  • Communication
  • Math
  • Building and Construction
  • Customer Service

However, there are others who choose to pursue another type of educational program.

These types of programs can vary from state to state, so make sure you speak to your local regulatory agency to find out what you need to do to work legally.

A typical Real Estate Appraiser program won’t take as long as a degree, but may not offer the same benefits.

One of the most recognized associations for Real Estate Appraisers is The Appraisal Association.

The Appraisal Association offers several courses for all types of Real Estate Appraisers.

Most courses take about 7 hours, and you can do them online or in-person in many states.

It is required to take many of these courses in order to become licensed later on in your career, so it would be wise to take them when you’re just starting out.

Other educational programs are state-regulated and can be found on the Appraisal Institute website.

Video About The Career

Certification and Licensing

When you begin your career as a Real Estate Appraiser, you will be working under a senior Real Estate Appraiser so that they can evaluate your performance.

Once you have 6 months of professional experience, you will be eligible to gain licensure as a Real Estate Appraiser.

After gaining licensure, you will be able to work without supervision.

This can be done through your state agency, or through The Appraisal Association or The Appraisal Subcommittee.

Both of these associations have great information on every state’s requirements.

In order to be eligible for licensure, you will typically need to complete:

  • 150 hours of education which must include-
    • Residential Market Analysis
    • Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach
    • Sales Comparison
    • Report Writing and Case Studies
  • 1,000 hours of experience as a Real Estate Appraiser
  • Real Estate Appraiser exam with a passing score

Some states don’t require that you hold a degree in order to become licensed, but some do, so check your state agency for more information.

Licensure means that you are legally able to work as a Real Estate Appraiser in your state, but having certifications and specializations in the field can lead to promotions and raises.

Some of the types of credentials a Real Estate Appraiser can expect on their journey are:

  • Certified General Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser

Both of these certifications allow for larger real estate properties, over $250,000 in some states.

Passing an exam is also required in order to gain either one of these certifications.

You won’t know your total score for any exam, as a pass/fail letter is sent out to test-takers instead.

It is required in some states to hold a Bachelor’s degree before being eligible to earn either the Certified General Appraiser or the Certified Residential Appraiser credential.

All licenses and certifications expire after four years, then you will need to retake an exam to recertify.

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

The average training program takes about 75 hours to complete.

This may seem like a long time, but it’s really only a couple of weeks when you break it down.

Other training programs may take up to 100 or even 1,000 hours, depending on which state you work in.

All training programs are required to take in order to become licensed or certified as a Real Estate Appraiser.

Some states even allow you to take these classes while in school or training.

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Job Outlook

Expect to see a rise in career opportunities for Real Estate Appraisers over the next ten years.

This is because the job growth for Real Estate Appraisers is projected to be around 3 percent.

This is quite a bit for the area of real estate.

Technological advancements and automated evaluations are more widely available, there are easier ways to do the job of a Real Estate Appraiser.

Many of the new openings in this career will likely come from retirements or from employees quitting this field for another.

Having relevant education and experience can provide many opportunities for those who are interested in working as a Real Estate Appraiser.

Employment Growth Projection: 4%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 3,400 jobs.

Real Estate Appraiser: Interest Over Time

Should You Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

One of the great things about this career is that it is one of the highest-rated careers in satisfaction.

This is due to the flexible work hours, decent pay, and the ability to work when you want to and on your time.

Real Estate Appraisers who have certifications and experience in the field will find that they have more satisfaction in their career than someone with little to no knowledge.

Not only that, but having credentials and expertise can provide larger salaries.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

With a career as a Real Estate Appraiser, you can expect to maintain a respectable salary.

On average, a Real Estate Appraiser makes about $63,000 per year.

Having relevant education and experience can lead to salaries greater than $80,000 in some areas of the United States.

Working in high socioeconomic status areas or larger cities can also lead to larger salaries for Real Estate Appraisers.

Real Estate Appraisers with little to no experience can expect to start out making nearly $31,000 a year.

Job Growth Outlook: Medium

Job Growth Outlook

Real Estate Appraisers will have to look forward to a growth of around 3 percent in this career.

Over the next decade, there will likely be more job opportunities and openings in the field of real estate, but especially for Real Estate Appraisers.

Though this number may not seem large, it is in the grand scheme of things.

Many new openings will come from retirements in the community and also those who are leaving the workforce.

With technological advancements making it easier to view homes and properties without having to step foot in them, working as a Real Estate Appraiser just got a bit easier.

Education Duration: 4+ Years

Education Duration

In order to have a good career as a Real Estate Appraiser, you will probably need to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

The average Bachelor’s degree takes about four years for full-time students or up to 6 years for part-time students.

Many Real Estate Appraiser programs can be found online, so you can do your schoolwork right from home.

Earning certifications can also be a great way to gain promotions and raises in this career.

On average, it takes anywhere from 4-6 years to become a Real Estate Appraiser.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

As a Real Estate Appraiser, you will likely be working with many different types of people all at once.

This means that you will need to have great communication and listening skills, but some other important qualities to have include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Creative thinking skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Math knowledge
  • Analytical abilities
  • Time-management expertise
  • Customer service knowledge
  • Building and construction knowledge

Being a people person and knowing how to negotiate are also some great qualities to have for a Real Estate Appraiser.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does a Real Estate Appraiser make?

Most Real Estate Appraisers boast a salary of close to $63,000 a year in many areas.

Having access to higher socio-economic status areas and larger populations can create higher salaries for Real Estate Appraisers, upwards of $80,000 annually for some.

However, it’s not likely that you will start out making that much.

Most new Real Estate Appraisers make closer to $31,000 a year for the first couple of years, or until they create their brand.

Q. What does a Real Estate Appraiser do?

In this career, a Real Estate Appraiser is tasked with inspecting the real property in order to estimate its value.

This could include homes, land, or other real property that costs quite a bit of money.

The reason for appraisals can be due to selling a home, buying a home, or other financial situations.

As a Real Estate Appraiser, you will spend a lot of time speaking to clients and customers.

Q. What is the demand for Real Estate Appraisers?

There will likely be steady growth in career opportunities for Real Estate Appraisers over the next ten years.

Many people are looking to sell and buy new homes or land, which can create more job openings.

Also, the baby boomer population is growing older, which means they will be retiring from the workforce, as well as selling their homes to move into the retirement community.

All of these factors will lead to a demand for Real Estate Appraisers.

Q. How long does it take to become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Most Real Estate Appraisers have at least a Bachelor’s degree.

This type of degree can take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to complete.

The average full-time student can earn a Bachelor’s degree in four years.

Those who want to gain more training or certifications can take other classes or programs in order to gain credentials.

These can last from one day to a year, depending on the type of education program.

It can take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to become a Real Estate Appraiser.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Real Estate Appraiser?

Today, a Real Estate Appraiser should have a Bachelor’s degree.

This costs anywhere from $15,000 to $45,000, depending on the school that you go to.

Online schools and universities seem to be more expensive than community colleges and can offer the same type of education.

Depending on your situation, a Bachelor’s degree can cost up to $50,000.

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