Board Strengthens Appraiser Qualifications

Here’s what you need to know about new education requirements for real property appraisers.

May 27, 2015

With all the work going on to increase professionalism in the real estate industry and to improve services provided by local and state REALTOR® associations and boards, real estate pros might find interesting parallels in the changes that are unfolding for appraisers.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) recently updated the minimum national requirements for becoming a real property appraiser in an effort to continue to advance the profession and attract the best and brightest to the profession.

Here are some of the key changes that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015:

  • A bachelor’s degree is now required for an individual to obtain a State Certified Residential or State Certified General credential.
  • Individuals seeking a State Licensed Residential credential are required to complete at least 30 semester credit hours of college-level education from an accredited college or university, or earn an Associate’s degree or higher.

These changes weren’t decided upon quickly, and aren’t taken lightly. Every five to seven years, the AQB conducts a thorough review of the existing requirements and seeks public feedback to determine whether any adjustments are necessary. In this case, the decision to adopt new requirements was made in December 2011 after significant public input. The AQB issued five separate drafts over two years before settling on the final requirements.

Leading up to these changes, we’ve seen increasing interest in the appraisal profession from educated professionals. Since 2008, the AQB National Uniform Licensing and Certification Appraiser Examinations have been offered in all 55 states and territories. From 2012 to 2013, we saw a 30 percent increase in the number of people taking the exams. The increase from 2013 to 2014 was 73 percent. An improving economy may have played a role in the increased number of applications.  Another possible reason may be the recent efforts of the Appraiser Qualifications Board to attract high-caliber applicants through its Graduate/Undergraduate Degree in Real Estate Review Program. Of the first-time applicants for the Certified General classification in 2013 and 2014, over 80 percent held a college degree.

Before the new requirements were adopted, the process to become a licensed or certified real property appraiser was still quite thorough. However, when the AQB considered expectations from users of appraisal services and examined corresponding requirements in other countries, it recognized that the minimum qualifications needed to be raised. Now, individuals seeking a credential are not allowed to sit for the exam without first satisfying the new education criteria outlined above.

These requirements apply only to those seeking credentials for the first time, as appraisers who have already received their credentials are grandfathered in. The changes will, however, impact existing credentialed appraisers, since there may be situations where they will need to meet the 2015 requirements, such as when seeking a credential in a different state or looking to upgrade from one credential level to another. For these reasons, the new education requirements are relevant to the entire appraisal profession. 

Ultimately, we at The Appraisal Foundation are excited to recruit talented young appraisers to the profession. We are confident that these changes will continue to build public trust in our work and therefore benefit the entire real estate industry. 

President of The Appraisal Foundation

David S. Bunton is President and chief operating officer of The Appraisal Foundation since 1990.  He is a respected leader in the valuation world in the United States and abroad.  Prior to joining The Appraisal Foundation, David served as a staff member for twelve years in the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.