How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Pennsylvania?


real estate brokerage career

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

As a real estate appraiser in Pennsylvania, you could be evaluating properties for a family who is buying a home, for a mortgage lender who wants to know the value of their loan collateral or even institutional investors who are looking to invest into real estate.

Regardless of the type of clients you are serving, your responsibility is to provide an objective and fair market value of different properties.

To become a real estate appraiser in Pennsylvania, you need to fulfill the education and work experience requirement. Plus, you are required to register at the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers. It is the board which establishes the industry standard, regulates and issues the license for appraisers.

There are three license levels of appraisers in Pennsylvania:

  • Licensed Appraiser Trainee
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

How to Become a Licensed Appraiser Trainee in Pennsylvania?

Realtors In Front Of A House

As an Appraiser Trainee, you will work under a supervising certified appraiser. Your job could involve researching properties, working on reports, or inspecting properties together with the supervisor.

Having a good mentor would give you a good head start in this career. The supervisory appraiser should educate you with practical appraisal methods, how to properly research a property, how to analyze the data to assess the fair market value of the property.

The best way to advance your knowledge is to go through every step in the appraisal process, observe carefully to how your supervisor assesses properties, and always raise your questions or concerns.

Becoming a Licensed Appraiser Trainee is the first step into the real estate appraiser industry. To give you a better understanding of what it’s like, there was an Appraiser Trainee job opening from a real estate appraisal firm in Erie, Pennsylvania.

They specialize in evaluating retail, commercial, and industrial properties. Their clients consist of attorneys, accountants, banks, developers, private property owners, departments of transportation, hospitals, government agencies, and many others.

They require that the applicants be detail oriented, organized, and have excellent researching skills. Although it is not necessary to have a Bachelor’s degree to be a Licensed Appraiser Trainee, this particular job requires their applicant to hold such a level of education.

While this company will offer training, education allowance, health insurance plan, matching of IRA contribution, and E&O insurance.

4 Steps to Become a Licensed Appraiser Trainee in Pennsylvania

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No prior related experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

It is mandatory to complete 79 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education. (Which includes the 4 hours of Supervisory/Trainee Appraiser course.)

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

Step 3: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

In Pennsylvania, in making sure you can get the help and attention you need, a supervisory appraiser cannot supervise more than three Licensed Appraiser Trainee at any given time.

You might wonder how to find a mentor. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers on LinkedIn.

Begin with a friendly conversation. Let them know that you would like to join the appraisal industry and ask for their opinion on how to become a good appraiser.

Many people would be willing to share their experience and insights. As the relationship established, ask them if they know anyone who is willing to supervise a Licensed Appraiser Trainee. The more appraisers you can connect to, the higher the chance you could find a supervisor.

Here’s an online forum I like to visit, you might be able to connect with some experienced appraisers in there too.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers

Since you have fulfilled the education requirement and found a mentor, your next step is to begin the registration process. Here are the details.

If the PA Appraisal Board has the online submission available, then I would strongly encourage you to use that option. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment. 

Keep an Organized Record of Appraiser Experience Logs

If you are planning to advance your career in becoming a Certified Appraiser, you’ll need to show your appraisal experience upon upgrading your license.

To do so, you’ll need to complete the Experience Log. There are two distinct sets of experience logs.

  1. Experience Log for Licensed Appraiser Trainee
  2. Experience Logs for an Upgrade to a General Estate Appraiser Certification

They both require the signature of your supervisor.

You should also keep an organized filing of the documentation such as copies of the actual appraisal reports, supporting details or data to develop the appraisals.

Upon approval of your education requirement, the board would request you to submit sample appraisals. They would also require you to provide the “Required Checklist for Licensed Appraisal Trainee,” which could be found on page 12 of the “Application for Initial Certification as a Residential Appraiser or General Appraiser.”

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Pennsylvania?

As a Certified Residential Appraiser, you can appraise for:

  • family properties with 1 to 4 residential units regardless of the transaction value or complexity.
  • other kind of real property given that the transaction value is less than $250,000

You could working as a fee-based appraiser, providing services to clients such as individuals, lenders, banks, or appraisal management companies (AMC). Your daily routine could include doing research online, going on the field to inspect properties, and writing the appraisal reports.

Alternatively, you could be hired by an appraiser firm or financial institution to become their in-house appraiser, where you could enjoy the stable salary and company’s benefits.

When we were searching online for the real estate appraiser jobs available in Pennsylvania, many companies did require you have the certified designation. In fact, many reputable financial institutions and lenders only work with certified appraisers to evaluate their desired properties.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Pennsylvania

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Fulfill 1 of the 6 post-secondary education options which meet the real property appraiser qualification criteria. Check out page 2 and 3 of this file for more details.

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 1500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be acquired for over a 12 months period. Of which at least half of the experience must be from actual preparation of the appraisal reports where interior and exterior property inspection are involved.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

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

Since you should have completed some of the courses when becoming a Licensed Appraiser Trainee,  you just need to make up for the extra courses. Here’s a chart with the courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers along with other required documents.

Most Regulatory Boards require you to apply within a specific period after you take the pre-licensing courses. Therefore, don’t wait till it expires! 

Here is more info about the registration process.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

After the board approves your application, they will send you an exam admission notice. It would provide you with instruction to register for the exam writing. There is a fee of $145, where PSI will administer the exam.

The Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam, which comprised of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions.

Remember to check out the 10 tips to pass the real estate appraiser exam.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Pennsylvania?

The Certified General Appraiser designation is the highest one you could get in this appraisal industry. The scope of your practice is unlimited, as you could assess for all types of real properties regardless of the transaction value or complexity.

Since your clients depend on your appraisal reports in making an informed investment decision, you need to be extreme careful and responsible on your work.  It is your job to perform detailed research and provide your clients with an objective and fair appraised value.

To give you some idea about this career, an appraisal firm in Downtown, Philadelphia was looking for a Certified General Appraiser.

This position held the responsibility to inspect properties and writing high qualified appraisal reports that comply with the USPAP standards.

The type of real properties to be assessed include professional, industrial and retail. There were also special types such as schools, golf courses, and hotels.

The annual compensation for this job was ranged from $85,000 to $114,000.

Due to the high expectation of a low tolerance of error in your appraisal work, the amount of work experience and education required to become a Certified General Appraiser is the greatest among all the levels of licensing.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Pennsylvania

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 Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have a minimum of 3000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be obtained for over a 18 months period. Of which at least 1500 hours must be non-residential appraisal work and involve inspection of the interior and exterior property.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

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

Since you should have completed some of the courses from the previous license(s),  you just need to complete the additional courses. Here’s a table with the courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers along with other required documents.

Keep in mind that most State Boards have the option for you to apply through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee. You should definitely check it out.

Here are the details of the registration process.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

A letter will be mailed to you once the board approves your application, in which will include instructions to register for the exam writing. The exam registration fee is $145, where PSI will administer the exam.

The Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 6 hours exam, which comprised of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions.

PA Appraisal License Courses Requirement

The core curriculum should include the following:

 Appraiser AssistantCertified Residential AppraiserCertified General Appraiser
Supervisory Appraiser/Trainee Appraiser Course4 hours
Basic Appraisal Principles30 hours30 hours30 hours
Basic Appraisal Procedures30 hours30 hours30 hours
Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 15 hours
Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach 15 hours
Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches 30 hours
Residential Report Writing and Case Studies 15 hours
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 hours 15 hours 15 hours
Statistics, Modeling and Finance15 hours15 hours
Advanced Residential Applications and Case Studies15 hours
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives 20 hours
General Appraiser Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 30 hours
General Appraiser Sales Comparison Approach 30 hours
General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach 30 hours
General Appraiser Income Approach 60 hours
General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies 30 hours
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives30 hours
Total79 hours200 hours300 hours

Note that the Pennsylvania Board does not recognize courses that were taken more than 5 years before the application.

Plus, credit will NOT be granted for the following courses:

  • Real estate theory and practice
  • Real estate fundamentals
  • Real estate administration and management
  • Real estate sales
  • Real estate brokerage real estate practice

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.

Registration with the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers

Now you have fulfilled the requirement. It’s time to get your license from the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers

You’ll need to download and complete the specific form for your license.

Besides the application, you are also required to provide:

  • Fees: ($75 for Licensed Appraiser Trainee; $235 for Certified Residential Appraiser; $235 for Certified General Appraiser)
    • The payment could be made with a cheque, money order payable to “COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA”
    • Note the fee is non-refundable and non-transferable
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Evidence which shows you have completed the required hours of Board-approved appraisal courses. (i.e., Official transcripts, course completion certificates).
  • Background checks where it may be obtained at https://epatch.state.pa.us or from the
    Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository. Their contact details is 1800 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758, (717) 783-5593.

In addition to the above, if you are applying for the license in becoming a Certified Residential/General Appraiser, you’ll also need to provide.

  • Proof that you have fulfilled the specific requirement of college level of education for your license (i.e.: Diploma, official transcripts, certificates.)
  • Appraiser Experience Log and other documentations which show your working experience.

Basically, both applications contain a checklist of the required documents. So just follow along the instruction would be fine.

Then post the entire package to the PENNSYLVANIA STATE BOARD OF CERTIFIED REAL ESTATE. Their mailing address is on the first page of the application.

It could take approximately 3 weeks for the board to evaluate a Licensed Appraiser Trainee application. As for registering to be a Certified Appraiser, once they approve your application, they will notifying you with instruction about the exam writing.

PA Appraisal License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

real estate career studying

All real estate appraisers in Pennsylvania need to renew their license before June 30th of every odd-numbered year.

To do so, you need to submit the renewal application, and complete the continuing education requirement. The renewal fee:

  • $150 for a Licensed Appraiser Trainee
  • $305 for Certified Residential/General Appraiser

To have your license maintaining in good standing, you are required to take the following each biennium (July 1, odd-year to June 30, odd-year)

  • 7 hours of National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) update course
  • 28 hours of approved appraiser Continuing Education courses

The renewal notice will be mailed to you 2 to 3 months prior to the license expiration. To avoid interruption to your appraisal practice, you should renew it and complete all continuing education requirement before the license expiry date.

How Much Do Real Estate Appraisers in Pennsylvania Earn?

The income range among appraisers in Pennsylvania is quite huge. Your earning potential depends on numerous factors such as the licensing level, the type of properties you specialize in evaluating, your experience, the company size, its location, and most importantly, the amount of effort you are willing to put into this career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018), the average annual income of real estate appraisers in Pennsylvania is $59,830. The starting annual salaries are around $30,140 ($14.49/hour), and could go up to $97,240 ($49.75/hour) for top producers.

Based on the figures on Salary.com, appraiser who focus their practice on commercial real estate tends to make more than those who only assess for residential properties.

The average annual income of appraisers who focus their practice in the residential real estate is $51,297. The range generally is between $42,273 and $59,266.

Whereas, an appraiser who focus on appraising the value of commercial real estate has an average annual income of $95,548. The range is mostly between $82,182 and $109,609.

Is there a demand for real estate appraisers in Michigan?

According to the figures on the Appraisal Subcommittee website, there is a total of 3052 appraisers in Pennsylvania. The breakdown is as follow:

  • # of Certified General Appraisers 1357
  • # of Certified Residential Appraisers 1695

Pennsylvania has over 12.82 million people, and it’s a state with a relatively dense population by comparison.

There is 0.202 real estate appraiser per 1000 jobs in Pennsylvania. (*)

As long as there are people in Pennsylvania who need a professional opinion of the valuation of a property, there would be a demand for real estate appraisers.

When you are considering the regions to conduct your appraisal practice, you should target areas that have a high population. After all, businesses can only occur when there are customers.

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018)

Career Tips for Appraisers in Pennsylvania

If you are running a fee-based appraisal practice, then you’ll probably need to find your own clients. To do so, you could contact Appraisal Management Companies and ask them if they could include you into their list. This way, they might contact you if there are appraisal orders to be fulfilled.

Here’s a list of Appraisal Management Companies. But it also contains AMC(s) from other states so that you should look for the ones with the PA abbreviation.

Another way to obtain appraisal work is to connect directly with the lenders or loan officers. They could be mortgage lenders from banks, credit unions or other financial institutions.

Another tip is always to perform your due diligence of the company you’ll be working for. Some people were so eager in finding a mentor that they basically jumped into whichever job offer that came along.

As a result, they ended up working for a firm which failed to provide them with adequate training. Not only that, there were cases where the firm asked the Appraiser Trainee to perform tasks where he/she did not even have the appropriate license for that.

Therefore, make sure to check out the customers’ rating and the company profile online.

So that’s all we have to share for now, we hope you’ll find this post useful.

Current Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Pennsylvania

[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 Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Reference:

  • Mckissock Learning- Pennsylvania Appraisal License Requirements: (Source)
  • The Appraisal Foundation- National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations: (Source)
  • State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers: (Source)
  • sokanu – How much does a Real Estate Appraiser make in Pennsylvania ? https://www.sokanu.com/careers/real-estate-appraiser/salary/pennsylvania/
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Commercial Real Estate) in Pennsylvania :(Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Residential Real Estate) in Pennsylvania : (Source)
  • Appraisal Subcommittee- Active Appraiser Credentials Summary Report (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate (Source)

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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