Becoming a Certified Real Estate Appraiser

A real estate appraiser is a professional who examines real estate to determine the true market value of the property. Appraisals are required by lenders for mortgage loan funding, as the appraiser's report determines whether or not the real estate is worth the amount of loan money being requested. You can get an appraiser's license from your state to legally work, but you cannot appraise anything other than a residence worth less than $250,000 unless you are certified in your state. Both general and residential-only certifications are available.

Visit the official website of the state agency responsible for certifying real estate appraisers for qualification information. In Georgia, for example, the Georgia Real Estate Commission oversees certification. Write down or print the list of requirements for certification. Contact the state agency directly if the information is not online. Request a certification packet online or by calling the agency.

Obtain a background check. You must have a clean criminal record to become a certified appraiser. Contact your local police agency to obtain a report. Review your report carefully for any errors or issues you need to address before applying for certification.

Read the certification education requirements. A specific diploma, such as a minimum of an associate's degree from an accredited college, is normally required, and your state may mandate certain classes, like real estate law. Visit your local college or university to enroll in classes if you need a degree or a particular class.

Prepare your real estate appraisal log, which is a detailed listing of the appraisals you have completed. Certified appraisers typically must meet experience criteria, such as the completion of a set number of hours of appraisal work under another certified appraiser, and you must provide the log to the state department as proof of the experience. Get your log signed by the person who supervised your appraisals. Use the official form provided by the state if available. Use your records to verify the required information about each appraisal.

Complete the state certification application. Include all requested documents, like your appraisal log and proof of education. Submit the packet to the state agency.

Schedule your exam. Review the certification papers for exam instructions, locations, scheduling and fees. The exam process for a certified real estate appraiser varies by area, but the exam sections typically include mathematics and real estate measurements, ethics, real estate laws, sales comparison techniques and economic principals.

Take the exam. Apply for final certification once you pass the exam; the passing exam results are needed to complete your certification. The fees for certification vary by state.


  • Do not wait for a long time after passing your exam to complete the certification process. The exam results may expire in your state after a period of time or the state certification fee can increase.

2016 Salary Information for Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

Appraisers and assessors of real estate earned a median annual salary of $51,850 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, appraisers and assessors of real estate earned a 25th percentile salary of $37,490, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $73,080, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 80,800 people were employed in the U.S. as appraisers and assessors of real estate.