While it can initially be worrying to see a real estate appraiser trainee on your home appraisal report, rest assured that trainees are well educated and carefully supervised throughout their training process.
Real estate appraiser training is a program designed to prepare individuals to become licensed or certified real estate appraisers. The training includes both classroom instruction and practical experience in conducting appraisals under the supervision of a licensed or certified appraiser. The curriculum covers topics such as property valuation methods, real estate market analysis, and appraisal report writing. The goal of the training is to equip trainees with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform accurate and ethical appraisals.
Finding a real estate appraisal apprenticeship can be very challenging. Taking on a trainee is not initially profitable. Unfortunately, some appraisers view supervising as training their competition. But if the supervisor is a good teacher, the trainee is a quick learner, and both get along professionally then it can be a mutually beneficial relationship in the long run. Appraiser trainees will often have to apply to multiple supervisors, utilizing varying ways of communication and attending networking events, in order to find a supervisor and get their real estate appraiser internship experience.
Registering as a Trainee
Prior to obtaining any practical experience, real estate appraisers need to be registered with the state as a trainee. There are four appraisal trainee courses, totaling 75 hours, that are required in order to register as a trainee in Washington state. A supervisor must agree to take on the trainee and there is a license fee for the appraiser trainee license. Most, if not all, lenders require real estate appraiser trainees to be registered before signing appraisal reports.
There are supervisor qualification requirements to take on a trainee to ensure new appraisers are learning from exemplary appraisers. The supervisor must be certified as a general or residential appraiser for a minimum of three years. They must be in good standing for the three years immediately preceding their supervisory registration and have to complete a supervisory/trainee course. To make sure supervisors are able to give proper training to their trainees, there is a limit of three trainees with less than one year experience per supervisor.
To become state-licensed real estate appraiser in Washington state, trainees need four additional appraiser specific classes along with the initial four classes for a total of 150 classroom hours. They also need to work under a supervisory appraiser for at least one year for 2,000 logged experience hours.
Certified Residential Requirements
To become a state-certified residential real estate appraiser in Washington state, on top of the licensed classes, appraisers have several college degree/course options AND three additional appraiser specific classes for a total of 200 classroom hours. They also need to work under a supervisory appraiser for at least two years for 2,500 hours. A trainee can become certified or a licensed appraiser can upgrade to certified. Certified residential appraisers can typically appraise higher value properties than licensed real estate appraisers.
Certified General Requirements
To become a state-certified general real estate appraiser in Washington state, on top of the trainee classes, appraisers must have a bachelor’s degree or higher AND seven additional appraiser specific classes for a total of 300 classroom hours. They also need to work under a supervisory appraiser for at least two and a half years for 3,000 hours. At least 1,500 hours must be in non-residential appraising. Certified general appraisers can appraise residential AND commercial real estate.
During a real estate appraisal apprenticeship, also known as a real estate appraiser internship, a real estate appraiser trainee goes through home appraiser training under the supervision of another appraiser. The real estate appraiser trainee gets to learn how to complete real appraisals from start to finish and keeps an experience hours log for the state. The supervisory appraiser has to sign off on each appraisal report as required by the state and lenders to ensure the supervisor is guiding the trainee through the process.
Once the required time, courses, and experience hours have been met, a real estate appraiser trainee can provide all this information and apply to Washington state. After multiple course exams, the trainee has one final exam before officially becoming licensed or certified as a real estate appraiser.
The information in this post is based on the current requirements in Washington state as of 01/30/2023. The national standard differs slightly and Washington state may loosen requirements a bit to meet the national standards in the future. The national standards still require extensive classroom training and experience hours.
Another pathway that may be offered in Washington state in the future is Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA), a practical experience in a virtual environment combining appraisal theory and methodology in real-world simulation. This is an alternative to the traditional supervisor/trainee model.