How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Colorado

The Colorado Division of Real Estate handles appraisal licensing. Unique to Colorado is the Ad Valorem level of licensing. This level of licensure is only utilized for appraiser employees of county tax assessment offices.

Colorado Ad Valorem Appraiser

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check to Colorado Bureau of Investigations
Training Requirements: None
Education Requirements: 110 hours of qualifying education courses. 

Courses can taken through a provider such as OnCourse Learning Real Estate, where Appraiser Career Center readers get an exclusive 15% discount! (Appraiser Career Center is partnering with OnCourse Learning Real Estate to offer online real estate courses).

Fee: $276.00
State Required Test: Yes

Colorado Licensed Appraiser

Colorado Licensed AppraiserBasic Requirements:Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check to Colorado Bureau of Investigations
Training Requirements: 1,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 6 months
Education Requirements: No college-level education is required. 150 hours of appraisal specific coursework are required.

Courses can taken through a provider such as OnCourse Learning Real Estate, where Appraiser Career Center readers get an exclusive 15% discount! (Appraiser Career Center is partnering with OnCourse Learning Real Estate to offer online real estate courses).

Fee: $328.00
State Required Test: Yes

licensed real estate appraiser is the first level of licensing for appraising real property without a supervisory appraiser.  With this credential, you are able to appraise non-complex one to four family residential units having a transaction value less than one million dollars ($1,000,000), complex one to four family residential units having a transaction value less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) and other types of real property having a transaction value less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000). While most states have adopted this kind limitation for this credential, some states may vary.

As a Colorado licensed real estate appraiser you may find yourself working for an appraisal firm or for yourself as a fee based appraiser. Your clients may be local, such as individuals, lawyers, accountants and small banks, or national clients such as from large appraisal management companies (AMCs), national lenders or government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae). Keep in mind, however, that many larger lenders and financial institutions may enlist only certified appraisers to complete their appraisals. The exception is if a certified appraiser accompanies you on the inspection and signs as the supervisory appraiser on the report.  Regardless, as a field appraiser, your day will be divided between property inspections and completing research online and at local court houses and/or assessor’s offices.  For most purposes you will be completing appraisals for home purchases, refinancing, divorces, estates and portfolios.

Colorado Certified Residential Appraiser

Certified Real Estate AppraiserBasic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check to Colorado Bureau of Investigations
Training Requirements: 1,500 hours of experience in no fewer than 12 months
Education Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree or other accepted option from the following:
1) Bachelor’s Degree in any field of study
2) Associates Degree in a field of study related to: Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Economics; or Real Estate
3) Successful completion of 30 semester hours of college-level courses that cover each of the following specified topics
4) Successful completion of at least 30 semester hours of College Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations
5) Any combination of Option #3 and Option #4 that includes all of the topics specified in Option #3
6) No college-level education is required. This option applies only to appraisers who have held a Licensed Residential credential for a minimum of five (5) years and have no record of any adverse, final, and nonappealable disciplinary action affecting the Licensed Residential appraiser’s legal eligibility to engage in appraisal practice within the five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application for a Certified Residential credential.
50 hours of additional appraisal specific coursework (in addition to the 75 hours required for the state license total will be 200 hours).

Courses can taken through a provider such as OnCourse Learning Real Estate, where Appraiser Career Center readers get an exclusive 15% discount! (Appraiser Career Center is partnering with OnCourse Learning Real Estate to offer online real estate courses).

Fee: $328.00
State Required Test: Yes

A certified real estate appraiser is the second level of Colorado state licensing for the appraisal of real property. It is one above from licensed and one under general certified (commercial). With this credential you are able to appraise all types of non-complex one-to-four family residential property without regard to the transaction value and other types of real property having a transaction value of less than $250,000 (two hundred fifty thousand dollars) (exact limitations may vary by state).

Just like as a licensed real estate appraiser, you may find yourself working for an appraisal firm or for yourself as a fee based appraiser. Your clients may be local, such as individuals, lawyers, accountants and small banks, or national, such as from large appraisal management companies (AMCs), national lenders or government sponsored enterprises.

As a Colorado state certified appraiser, you now meet the requirements of many larger lenders and financial institutions which enlist only certified appraisers to for their transactions. Likewise, as a field appraiser, your day will be divided between property inspections and completing research online and at local court houses and/or assessor’s offices. For most purposes, you will be completing appraisals for home purchases, refinancing, divorces, estates and portfolios.

As a state certified appraiser, you will also qualify for many in-house positions at large financial institutions and AMCs (generally as a review appraiser). Although years of experience is often desired, having the state certification meets one of the basic requirements set by many employers and makes you more qualified than if you only have your license. Check out job postings for real estate appraisers to get an idea of what positions are available, what they entail and their exact requirements and qualifications. Working an in-house position is one of the alternatives to field work and you also get to enjoy salary pay and health benefits.

After you get you state certification, you may desire to appraise commercial property. For this you will seek the certified general appraiser credential.

Colorado Certified General Appraiser

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check to Colorado Bureau of Investigations
Training Requirements: 3,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 30 months. 1,500 of these hours must be in non-residential appraisal experience
Education Requirements: Must hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 300 hours of qualifying education courses. 190 hours of additional appraisal specific coursework (in addition to the hours of coursework required by both the state licence and certification) are required. 

Courses can taken through a provider such as OnCourse Learning Real Estate, where Appraiser Career Center readers get an exclusive 15% discount! (Appraiser Career Center is partnering with OnCourse Learning Real Estate to offer online real estate courses).

Fee: $328.00
State Required Test: Yes

certified general appraiser is the highest level of licensing. He or she is able to appraise all types of property – residential or commercial –  with no value limit.  Typically, these appraisers will spend the majority of their time appraising commercial properties. The type of appraisal could vary from a small, one-story office building valued at $250,000 to a high-rise apartment building with a value of $20,000,000.

The main differences between a certified appraiser and certified general appraiser are many additional hours of coursework and 1,500 of commercial appraising (non-residential) experience under a certified general appraiser, and a bachelor’s degree. Commercial appraisals are much more complex and time consuming and require far more research. There is far less margin of error. The intended user of the appraisal may be basing a significant business decision on the outcome and an erroneous appraisal could result in a loss of millions of dollars. As a result, the requirements to become a certified general appraiser are more stringent.

As a Colorado certified general appraiser, you will typically work in a small to medium sized firm devoted to commercial work. You may but rarely will complete residential assignments. But if you do decide to complete residential appraisals you can (just like licensed or certified appraisers) do work for local and national clients devoted to residential transactions.

When Should You Take The Appraisal Courses?

appraiser_traineeIt is not required to take the required appraisal courses before finding a mentor.

However, I suggest taking the courses first for three reasons:

1)  It will help you determine your level of interest and aptitude for actual appraising. Maybe you’ll change your mind after going through the courses, or maybe you’ll become much more interested. I offer an eBook about being an appraiser, but the courses will show you actual appraising and you’ll do it in theory by completing samples (case studies).
2)  If you find a supervisory appraiser, he/she may tell you to come back later once you complete the courses for the trainee level (at a minimum) and obtain the trainee license, which could take two months, depending how quickly you can complete the courses. In the meantime, someone else could take your spot.
3) Your experience hours don’t count until you’ve taken the courses and obtained your trainee license. So if you wait to find your supervisory appraiser before taking the courses, you’ll lose two months worth of experience hours (or however long it takes you to get through the courses). You’ll get the experience, but the hours won’t officially count.

Here’s an example of a trainee posting from Craigslist illustrating this:

“Certified Residential Appraiser looking to take on a trainee… Preferable applicant will have a minimal 2 year degree and will have completed all required basic level training to acquire an appraiser trainee license. Please submit a resume for consideration.”

Of course, if you find a supervisory appraiser who is willing to take you on immediately even before you complete the courses or obtain your trainee license, do it! You don’t want to lose the supervisory appraiser. Just accept the loss of initial “log” hours for the immediate opportunity you have.

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Official Career Handbook


This 60-paged eBook is available (instant download) to help you learn more about becoming a real estate appraiser and decide whether it’s right for you.

It will answer many of your questions about becoming an appraiser, how to get started, finding a mentor, which courses to take and other questions you may have about this profession! 

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Colorado Division of Real Estate

The author of this article, Chris Dolland, is an active Certified Real Estate Appraiser. If you have questions about becoming an appraiser, post one in the comments below!

Want to know more? Read our 60-paged eBook written by a state certified appraiser!
  • Front CoverGet an inside look at being a real estate appraiser
  • Determine whether appraising really is the right career choice for you
  • Discover the little known experience hour “loop hole”and how it can help you get more hours
  • …and Much More!

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