How to Become a Certified General Appraiser

Certified general appraiser using a digital tablet during on-site inspection of commercial building.

As of December 31, 2018, only 42% of the 78,000 state-credentialed appraisers in the United States are certified general appraisers, also known as commercial appraisers. As a certified general appraiser, you will enjoy more stable fees, a higher income, and more choices in the assignments you decide to take on. Are you growing tired of appraising simple properties? Are you looking for more complex assignments with higher income potential? Here’s how to become a certified general appraiser.

How to upgrade your appraisal license

Depending on your state, the exact steps to upgrade your license will vary slightly. However, these are the general guidelines you’ll need to follow to meet the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) criteria to become a certified general appraiser:

  • 300 education hours
    • Hours required include specific curriculum course and hours—please see the Real Property Qualification Criteria for details
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher (in any field)
    • Must be from an accredited college or university
  • 3,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 30 months
    • 1,500 of these hours must be in non-residential appraisal work

Note that state appraiser regulatory agencies may set requirements that are higher (i.e., more stringent) than AQB criteria. Make sure you check your state’s specific licensing requirements to know precisely what you need to do.

Want more info on how to upgrade your appraisal license? Learn more with our free upgrade guide.

Getting Started

You can upgrade your appraisal license, enroll in USPAP, and complete your continuing education courses right here at Just click on the links below, or contact us if you have questions.

McKissock’s Education Specialists can help you understand all of the requirements you need to meet for upgrading your license to certified general appraiser. Call us at 877.204.1039.

How much will you make as a certified general appraiser?

According to the 2020-2021 Appraisal Income Guide, in 2019 the average salary for certified general appraisers was $87,685, compared to $71,667 for certified residential appraisers. That’s a 22% salary increase.

A higher appraisal license level gives you:

  • An advantage in your local market
  • Greater control over your fees
  • More stability in your work

As a certified general appraiser, you can shield your income from the ups and downs of the real estate market, and you don’t have to compete for smaller residential assignments. Ready to upgrade your appraisal license and earn more? Visit the Upgrade section of our website to get started.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on February 1, 2022.

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