What is a Real Estate Appraiser Trainee?
The appraiser trainee license is the very first level of licensing (the license title varies state to state). All states require this in order for you to obtain the supervised experience hours necessary for your desired level of licensing or certification. The minimum experience hour requirements are set by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and are mostly consistent across all U.S. states. The exception is some states may increase the hours required for licensing or the time period to obtain the experience hours. For example, some states make the experience hours equal to the certification. Some state have eliminated the licensing level. 2,000 experience hours is the minimum required for the license and the time to obtain those is between 12-28 months (for those states that still offer this level). 2,500 hours are required for certification and 3,000 hours for certified general (of which 50% must be of property other than residential).
As a licensed real estate appraiser trainee, you will be able to complete inspections and appraisal reports under the direct supervision of a certified appraiser. However, the amount of work you do depends on the amount your supervisory appraiser allows you to do. He or she may just give you the task of researching property data and filling out reports. Ideally, the supervisory appraiser is a mentor who works with you through the entire appraisal process, helping and guiding you and answering questions. Finding a mentor (especially a good mentor) and obtaining experience hours is probably the most challenging part of becoming a real estate appraiser.
In order to become a trainee in most states, you must complete 75 hours of per-licensing coursework with passage of exams. Beginning in 2015, many states are now requiring trainee and supervisors to complete a 4-7 hour course on this topic. However, no formal training or state exam are required.
Real estate appraising is a diverse field. There are many different factors and scenarios you will encounter and each appraisal assignment is unique. After completing your first few appraisals, you will understand the purpose of field work under a supervisory appraiser and on the job training (which can take 1-5 years, depending on your states minimum time requirements and how often you can do appraisal work). It requires specialized knowledge. Obtaining your trainee license demonstrates that you have the elementary knowledge necessary to begin your journey.
Curious about becoming an appraiser? Join an appraiser on real appraisal inspections in our video series!