How Long Does It Take to Become an Appraiser?

How Long Does It Take to Become an Appraiser?

If you want to become an appraiser, you may be curious about the time it takes to get your license and start earning income. There is no set answer; the exact answer varies due to a number of factors, including what state you live in. Our team is providing an in-depth look to help you answer the frequently asked question, “How long does it take to become an appraiser?”

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

You can get your trainee appraisal license and start working with a supervisor and earning income in just a few weeks. However, the timeline to become an independent appraiser depends on:

  • Your state’s specific requirements
  • Your desired credential level
  • Your personal timeline to complete the requirements

You will need to complete the necessary qualifying education and supervised experience, which typically requires a minimum of 1,000 in no less than six months. Some states do require additional training and education, so it’s always important to verify with your state board.

Getting started

Becoming a trainee is the first step. Most states require you to complete 75 hours of appraisal qualifying education which you can complete at your own pace through on-demand courses or via live webcasts. You will also need to find an appraisal supervisor (you can do this before, during, or after you complete your coursework). Once you do these two things, you will need to apply with the state for your Trainee Appraiser license, once you receive it, you may begin your supervised work and earning income. It may only take a few weeks from start to finish.

Further reading: How to Become an Appraiser 

Checking your state’s appraisal licensing website to research your state’s requirements is a good first step.

Real property appraiser qualification criteria

Once you are a trainee, earning your credential to practice independently is a bit longer. The biggest factor is gaining the necessary supervised valuation experience. Education and exam requirements may add time onto the process as well.

For example, it might take you several months to complete the 150 education hours you need to qualify for a Licensed Residential Appraiser credential. Plus, once you get your education and experience completed and submit to the state to sit for the exam, it might take the state several weeks to approve the application, and it might take another several weeks for you to schedule and pass the exam.

Below is the real property appraiser qualification criteria recommended by the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB).

Classification Education Hours College Degree Requirements Experience Requirement
Trainee Appraiser 75 None None
Licensed Residential Appraiser 150 None 1,000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in no fewer than 6 months
Certified Residential Appraiser 200 Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree in a focused field of study, successful completion of 30 college semester credit hours in specified topics or successful completion of CLEP exams 1,500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in no fewer than 12 months
Certified General Appraiser 300 Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any field) from an accredited college or university 3,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 18 months (of which 1,500 hours must be in non-residential appraisal work)

Please note that individual states may adopt more stringent requirements than the national requirements above. Hours required include specific curriculum courses and hours.

The major qualification categories progress from Appraiser Trainee, which requires pre-licensure education but no solo field experience, through Licensed/Certified Residential levels focused on inspecting and valuing residential properties, up to the Certified General form with the greatest experience demand, allowing the broadest property type appraisals.

The classroom and supervised field hour thresholds ensure property appraisers and assessors have sufficient formal valuation methodology training combined with diverse inspection exposure to different property types, neighborhoods, market conditions, and geographical areas before being licensed. Exams then test for retained knowledge proficiency.

Can I work as an appraiser while earning my license?

Yes. Many appraisers start out as an appraisal assistant or office assistant gaining insights about the inner workings of the business while getting their hands-on training in assessing properties and researching comparables. Once you have your Trainee Appraiser license, you and your supervisory appraiser will work on completing on-site assessments of residential homes and other properties. During this process, you’ll observe how aspects like floor plan flow, prior remodel permits, drainage issues, or parking accessibility influence property market value. Exposure across building types cements classroom concepts into practical competence.

You also don’t have to take your appraisal career one step at a time going from Trainee to Licensed Residential Appraiser to Certified Residential Appraiser, and so forth. Instead, you can “skip” a step or two and go from Trainee to Certified General Appraiser, as long as you complete the qualifying education and experience and pass the exam.

Is there any way to speed up the process?

Yes. You can take your appraisal qualifying education courses completely online through an accredited appraisal school, such as McKissock. Online appraisal schools allow you to complete your qualifying education requirements at your own pace, and on your own schedule. Online coursework can often be completed more quickly compared to taking in-person classes, so this is a great option if you’re eager to begin your appraisal career as soon as possible.

How long does it take to become an independent appraiser?

Working independently requires investing time across three pivotal milestones – qualifying education, extensive supervised field experience, and rigorous national testing. 

While patience and commitment remain vital, strategic preparation can facilitate trusted property valuation status faster than many skilled fields. The timeline varies based on your target credential and state benchmarks:

Gaining Supervised Experience

As we mentioned above, you will need to log relevant practice under the supervision of a Certified Residential or Certified General Appraiser.  This face time in the trenches builds a well-rounded perspective while meeting hourly requirements set by your state’s licensing board.

Passing Certification Exams

Once you complete the required qualifying education and experience hours, you will apply with your state board to take the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Exam. This is the final step towards becoming a qualified appraiser and assesses knowledge ranging from statistical concepts to different approaches necessary to determine a fair and reliable valuation. 

Passing the appropriate exam level – Licensed Residential, Certified Residential, or Certified General – demonstrates your competency and allows you to provide trusted valuations independently or as part of specialized teams serving agents, owners, and county assessors.

How long does it take to become an appraiser on average?

If you are focused on earning your appraisal license, you go from wanting to be an appraiser to a Trainee to an independent Licensed Residential Appraiser in under a year. From there, you can upgrade your license to a higher credential to increase your income and expand your business.

Start your qualifying education with McKissock Learning

McKissock offers on-demand and livestreaming qualifying education to offer convenient solutions and high-quality instruction. Our appraisal education packages are customized to meet your state’s requirements and help you earn your credentials.

Did you know? McKissock offers students two types of 100% online education: self-study and live stream. Find courses in your state.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published on October 18, 2019 and updated on March 27, 2024.