How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Montana?

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How to become a real estate appraiser in Montana? The short answer is you need to start off as a Trainee Appraiser, then upgrade your licenses in becoming a Licensed or Certified Appraiser. You must fulfill the qualifying appraisal education, and work experience requirement.

You also need to register with the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraisers. They are responsible for regulating the practice of real estate appraisers and issuing licenses to them.

There are nearly 1.05 million people residing in Montana. In terms of sheer size, it is the fourth biggest state in the country, which makes it a sparsely populated state. When you run your appraisal services, you should consider focusing your business in areas with high population. The largest city of Montana is Billings, other sizable cities include Missoula and Great Falls.

According to the figures (as of Dec 15, 2018) displayed on the Appraisal Subcommittee website, there are a total of 421 appraisers in Montana.  The breakdown is as follow:

  • # of Certified General Appraisers 211
  • # of Certified Residential Appraisers 171
  • # of Licensed Residential Appraisers 39

As a real estate appraiser, you are in the profession of providing an objective opinion of the properties’ market value for your clients. Your appraisal report could be used by a home buyer or seller, a mortgage lender who wants to understand the value of the collateralize assets, an individual who needs it for tax assessment or estate sale.

Regardless of who is in needs of your appraisal services, your work products must remain objective, unbiased and professional.

Montana Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Requirement

How to Become an Appraiser Trainee in Montana?

Your first step into the real estate appraisal career is to work as a Trainee, where you will be mentored by a certified appraiser. An experienced supervisor could guide you into the right direction in this career.

The supervisory appraiser should educate you effective ways to conduct research on properties, its proximity, zoning, and how to analyze the data.  Most importantly, the industry accepted approaches to develop an objective estimation of the property’s market value.

Your typically working day could involve doing property research, working on appraisal reports, or inspecting real estate together with the supervisor.

To get out the most from this learning stage,  you should walk through each and every step in the appraisal process, and review carefully on how your trainer inspect and evaluate real estate.

4 Steps to Become an Appraiser Trainee in Montana

Step 1: Fulfill the Basic Requirement

  • At least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No prior related experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the Qualifying Education

You must complete the 75 hours of appraisal courses and the AQB Supervisor/Trainee course.  

Study tip: Whenever possible, I prefer to take online courses. You can study at your own pace at the convenient of your home, library, or wherever there is internet access. Here’s an article review of an online school that I like.

Step 3: Search for a Supervising Appraiser

Appraiser Education

Your next step is to find a supervising appraiser to mentor you. Some trainees might find this one of the most challenging tasks. But no problem, Here are the 10 Tips in Finding a Supervisory Appraiser.

When you submit your Trainee application, you and your trainer need to let the Board know about the mentoring relationship. 

You must also document your working hours with the approved experience log. These logs are necessary when you upgrade your appraiser license in the future. In order for them to be valid, make sure you and the supervising appraiser sign on every page of them. 

Step 4: Submit Application to the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser 

How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Montana?

Real Estate Business Sale And People Concept Happy Smiling Realtor With Folder Showing Documents To Female Customer At New Office Room Realtor Wit

As a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you can evaluate non-complex residential properties with 1-4 units, while the transaction value cannot be greater than $1,000,000. Although you can also appraise complex properties, the maximum value is up to $250,000.

You could be employed by an appraisal firm, financial institution or government assessor’s office as their in-house appraiser, where you could enjoy the stable income and employee’s benefits. Or you could also become a self-employed appraiser, having the flexibility to run your own business.

There are only 39 Licensed Residential Appraisers in Montana versus 382 Certified Appraisers. We believe many appraisers would upgrade to become Certified once they have fulfilled the specific license requirement.

Nevertheless, Licensed Residential Appraiser is still a good transitional position to expand your scope of practice beyond the Trainee title, while you are working toward being a Certified Appraiser. 

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Montana

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold an Associate Degree or higher. Alternatively, you could complete 30 hours of semester courses which cover specific topics. 

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 2000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience, where they need to be acquired for over a 18 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 150 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved courses provider.

You should have taken some of the courses before you became an Trainee. Therefore, you just need to make up for the additional course works.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser 

More details about the registration process can be found later in the post.

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

I’ll include more details about the exam further down the article. (i.e: required passing score, the amount of time to write it, number of questions)

Is real estate appraiser a good career? This is one of the common questions I hear a lot. Therefore, I spent months and months in connecting with different real estate appraisers. Here are their valuable insights about this profession. Make sure to check it out!

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Montana?

Similar to being a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you could be employed by a company or government agency as their in-house appraiser or become a self-employed business owner.

real estate appraisal

With the Certified Residential Appraiser license, you can assess:

  • residential properties with 1 to 4 units regardless of the transaction value or complexity.
  • non-residential 1-4 units property given that the transaction value is no more than $250,000

There is no restriction on the transaction value of residential properties you could assess. The scope of your practice and business opportunity would be a lot wider than being a Licensed Residential Appraiser. Many large lenders and financial institutions only accept assessment work from Certified Appraiser. 

Due to enhanced recognition and broader work opportunity, there are a lot more Certified Residential Appraisers (171) than Licensed Residential Appraisers (39) in Montana.

So let’s review the steps to become a Certified Residential Appraiser.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Montana

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher

Step 2: Complete the Appraisal Work Experience

You need to complete a minimum of 2500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in not less than a 24 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 200 hours of qualifying appraisal courses from an approved provider.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser 

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Montana?

If you want to expand your appraisal work to more complex type of real estates, then becoming a Certified General Appraiser would be the option! In fact, out of the 421 appraisers in Montana, there are 211 holding Certified General Appraiser license. 

Real Estate Appraiser Helpful Tips

This is the most sophisticated license type you could obtain in the appraisal industry. You could provide assessment to all types of real estate regardless of the transaction value or complexity. 

For example, commercial properties, golf courses, hotels, wind generating plants, marina, oil refiners, federal or land acquisition. 

Since the transaction values involve could be significant, you must be extremely careful and responsible when handling your work. Extensive research and site inspections are often required. It is your responsibility to provide your clients with an objective appraised value as accurate as possible.

Due to the expectation of low margin of error in assessment, the amount of work experience and studying required to become a Certified General Appraiser is the most challenging among all the levels of licensing.

So let’s go over the steps to get you this credential.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Montana

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 3000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be obtained for over a 30 months period. At least 1500 hours of the working experience needs to be from non-residential appraisal work.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to finish 300 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Maine Board of Real Estate Appraiser 

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

Courses Requirement for Montana Appraiser

 Appraiser Trainee (Credit Hours)Licensed Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified General Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 15 15 15
Basic Appraisal Principles30 30 30 30
Basic Appraisal Procedures3030 3030
Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 1515
Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach 1515
Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches 3030
Residential Report Writing and Case Studies 1515
Statistics, Modeling and Finance15 15
Advanced Residential Applications and Case Studies15
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives 20 30
General Appraiser Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 30
General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach 30
General Appraiser Sales Comparison Approach 30
General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies 30
General Appraiser Income Approach 60
Total75 hours150 hours200 hours300 hours

Starting April 14, 2018, you could take all the qualifying courses through distance education.

Interested in becoming a real estate appraiser? Here is an Education Resources Page which could be helpful to you in getting the appraiser license.

Registration with the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser 

real estate career studying

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit your application to the State Board. Here’s the link to the applications. 

In additional to the application, you must provide the following:

  • Registration fee (The amount is listed on the form) 
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Evidence which shows you have completed the required hours of Board-approved appraisal courses. (i.e., Official transcripts, course completion certificates).
  • Proof that you have fulfilled the specific requirement of post-secondary education for your license (i.e.: Diploma, official transcripts, certificates.)
  • Stated Approved Appraiser Experience Log  (Only if you are applying to become Licensed/Certified Appraiser)

If you have any questions, you could contact the Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser at:

  • Address: 301 South Park, 4th Floor – Delivery PO BOX 200513, Helena Montana 59620-0513
  • Phone (406) 444-5711
  • Fax (406) 841-2305
  • Email:

Montana Real Estate Appraiser Exam

real estate exam

Typically speaking, you would  write the exam on a computer at a testing center.

  • Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam,
  • Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam;
  • Certified General Appraiser Exam is a 6 hours exam

The licensed and certified exams consist of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions. The required passing score is 75. You will immediately know your score once you finish writing the test.

You could find out more details in the Montana Real Estate Appraisers Program Candidate Handbook

To increase your chance in passing the exam on the first time, make sure to check out our exam hacks. In there, not only you will find the content of the exam, but also 10 effective tips on how to prepare for it.

Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Maine are required to renew their license every two year. You could do so by mailing them the renewal application, or do so conveniently online. 

In addition to the renewal application, you also need to:

  • Complete 28 hours continuing education every 2 years which must include the 7 hours of National USPAP Update course
    • There is no restriction on how many CE credit hours you can take online
  • Pay the renewal fee (The amount can be found on the application)

To prevent interruption to your appraisal practice, you should renew it and complete all continuing education requirement before the license expiry date. 

How Much Does a Real Estate Appraiser Make in Montana?

Your earning as a real estate appraiser depends on many things. For instance, your experience, licensing level, the type of properties you specialize in appraising, the company size, its location.

Here’s an article where we discussed in depth of the different factors that could affect the real estate appraisers salary. 

According to the figures on, the average annual salary of real estate appraisers in Montana is $45,390,  which is higher than 74% similar careers in the same state.

The starting annual salary of a real estate appraiser in Montana is only around $18,100, but could go up to $80,840 for high earners. Of which some appraisers could be working full-time or part-time.

Based on the Dec 1st, 2018 figures on, appraisers who focus their practice on commercial properties tend to have a compensated better financially than residential real estate appraisers.

  • The average salary for Residential real estate appraisers is 
    $46,778. The range mostly falls between $38,552 and $54,047.
  • The average salary for Commercial real estate appraisers is
    $87,169. The range generally falls between $74,977 and $99,995.

Is commercial real estate appraisal a good career? Check out this complete guide. In it, you’ll find the type of work involved as a commercial real estate appraiser, the income potential, and the training you need to have to become one.

Helpful Tips for Appraisers in Montana

Tip#1: Complete the Appraisal Courses Asap

You could read as much as you want, but your career would not begin unless you start taking action.

Taking the real estate appraiser classes would be your first step. Not only you could gain valuable knowledge and practical skills, but you will also have a better understanding about what is like to be an appraiser.

Besides, most states would require you to complete all the trainee education before your working experience could count toward the licensing requirement.

I included some details which could be helpful to your studying on our education resources page. Be sure to check it out.

Tip#2: Build Your Network with Other Real Estate Professionals in Maine

Connecting with other appraisers in Maine is a good way to gain a better understanding about the appraisal industry. You could do so by joining appraiser coalitions, online forums or even LinkedIn groups -for instance, the Montana Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

Start with a casual conversation by letting them know that you are starting a career as an appraiser. Ask them if they have any tips or advice for newbies to the industry. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who are willing to share their insights with you.

In addition, you should network with other professionals in the real estate field. Mortgage agents, lenders, and realtors can all provide you with valuable feedback, which could be very helpful to your career building in the long haul.

Here’s a list of real estate professional groups on our resource page. Remember to check it out!

Current Real Estate Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Montana

Note: The list of Appraiser Jobs Opportunity is coming soon. Please stay tune

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact The Montana Board of Real Estate Appraiser.


Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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