Appraiser Salary and Income Vary Based on License Level

appraiser salary

If you are considering a career in real estate appraisal, you’re probably curious about appraiser salary and income potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all appraisal license levels was $58,650 in 2020—$16,700 more than the median annual wage for all occupations in the U.S. economy. Your actual earnings will vary based on your appraisal license level.

How does license level affect appraiser salary?

According to, Certified Residential Appraisers’ average income is $55,483 and Certified General Appraisers’ average income is $103,932 in 2021.

Average Base Salary for All Appraisers

A higher appraisal license level gives you an advantage in the local market and offers greater control over your fees and more stability in your work. Certified General Appraisers can shield their income from the ups and downs of the real estate market and do not have to compete for smaller residential assignments.

Free Download: Is an appraisal career right for you? Learn more in our free career guide.

Appraiser start-up costs

An appraisal business is a relatively inexpensive business to start. You don’t need any heavy equipment, a fancy car, large number of employees, factories, retail space, or any of the other money-sucking costs required to start other small businesses.

Most business purchases you already have—computer, cell phone, car, comfortable pair of walking shoes. (Talk to your accountant about ways to depreciate and deduct these expenses on your income tax form.)

However, starting an appraisal business requires purchasing some items specific to your business:

Appraisal Trainee qualifying education

$800 – $1,500 / year

Appraisal software for writing reports

$2,000 / year

Internet fees, cloud storage, MLS access

$1,000 – $1,500 / year

Errors and Omissions Insurance

$800 – $1,000 / year

Laser measuring device and other tools


Ready to launch your appraisal career? Find out if an appraisal career is right for you in our free guide. Once your appraisal business is up and running, the next step will be to upgrade your license.

Did you know? McKissock now offers both online and live stream appraisal licensing courses. Find courses in your state.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on October 19, 2021.

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