How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Florida

The Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board handles appraisal licensing. Florida no longer has a “licensed” level of appraising. It is trainee, certified and certified general. It has the most strict requirements for certification.

Florida Registered Trainee Appraiser

As a Florida 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.

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 six months to two 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.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check; have a registered social security number
Training Requirements: None
Education Requirements: High School Diploma and successfully complete 100 classroom hours of board approved appraisal courses required by the FREAM. Fee: $230.00
State Required Test: Yes.

Trainee Appraisers must also complete a course about the responsibilities of Supervisory Appraisers and Trainee Appraisers. The course must be completed by the Trainee Appraiser prior to obtaining a Trainee Appraiser credential from the individual credentialing jurisdiction. This Trainee Appraiser course does not count towards the 75 hours of qualifying education required.

Florida Certified Residential Appraiser

Ad-GuideA certified real estate appraiser is the second level of Florida 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 Florida 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.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check
Training Requirements: 2,500 hours, at least 150 reports, of experience in no fewer than 24 months
Education Requirements: Must hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 200 classroom hours of board approved courses required by the FREAM.  Fee: $360.00
State Required Test: Yes. Must complete the National Residential Exam and the Florida Supplemental Exam.
Other: Register business name with department.


Also, if you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you have other options:
2. Associate’s Degree, or higher, in specified fields of study identified in rule.
3. Successful completion of 30 semester hours of college-level courses in each of the specific topic areas identified in rule.
4. Successful completion of at least 30 hours of College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations that cover each of the specific topic areas in Option #3 as identified in rule.
5. Any combination of Option #3 and Option #4 that includes all of the topics as identified in rule.
6. An appraiser who has held a Licensed (residential) credential for a minimum of five (5) years and has no record of any adverse, final, and non-appealable disciplinary action affecting the 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 and has successfully completed the additional qualifying education identified in rule.

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

Florida Certified General Appraiser

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older, submit a completed application and fingerprint background check
Training Requirements: 3,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 30 months. 1,500 of these hours must be in non-residential (commercial) appraisal experience; a minimum of 23 Summary or Self-Contained reports in a narrative format or 12 nonresidential Summary or Self-Contained reports, 135 non-narrative supportable and documented appraisal reports all obtained over a 30 month or greater time period.
Education Requirements: Must hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher; successfully complete 300 classroom hours of board approved topics required by the FREAM.  Fee: $360.00
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 Florida 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.

Interested in Appraising? Check out the Ultimate Appraiser Career Guide!
  • 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!


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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Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board

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

Interested in Appraising? Check out the Ultimate Appraiser Career Guide!
  • 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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