How to Become an Appraiser


Do you enjoy the idea of working with people, as well as with numbers? Are you interested in an office-based career that involves getting out of the office to do site visits and meet with clients? If so, a career as an appraiser is worth considering. Here are some quick highlights of working in this field:


• Excellent level of pay

• Able to apply in-field experience (such as sales or technical experience)

• The ability to choose a specialty, such as real estate, jewelry, heavy equipment, or commercial assets

• Opportunity to help people or businesses acquire and dispose of various forms of property


If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this profession, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what these valuators do, how much they can earn, and what you’ll need to qualify!



Education and Experience Needed

The education and experience you’ll need to become an appraiser depends largely on the following factors:


• What your future area of specialization will be

• The requirements of your employer, or the specific job posting

• Satisfaction of professional certification pre-requisites


It’s worth noting, that a career as an appraiser is not considered ‘entry-level’, meaning that you’ll either have to have related post-secondary education or years of experience in your area of specialization, or a combination of both. Below is a brief overview of the education/experience you’ll need for each area of specialization:



Automobiles and Equipment: Years of related sales and technical experience is typically sufficient, although a degree in a field such as general business/commerce, finance or economics.


Financial Assets: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field such as general business/commerce, finance or economics.


Fine Art: A bachelor's or master's degree in art history, plus experience working in art galleries or museums.


Jewelry: A diploma or certificate from a recognized school, plus related work experience.


Personal Property: A bachelor's or master's degree in history, and/or years of sales or technical experience in the field.


Real Estate: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field such as general business/commerce, real estates finance or economics. Years of experience as a realtor or property administrator is often considered an asset.





Appraiser Job Description

Appraisers are responsible for determining the value of various assets or potential assets including land, businesses, buildings, structures, certain types of equipment. Appraisers also determine the value of personal and household items. The main purpose in determining the value of an asset or of a potential asset is for taxation, acquisition, disposal, bankruptcy or strategic purposes.



Areas of Specialization Within This Field

The term “Appraiser” is a blanket term for a professional that works to determine the value of real, personal or commercial property. Appraisers may choose to specialize in the determination of various forms of property, including:


• Antiques

• Automobiles and/or other vehicles

• Commercial and business assets

• Collectable items

• Financial assets (such as securities)

• Fine art

• Jewelry

• Heavy equipment

• Real estate (land and/or improved property)


Please Note: Within each area of specialization there is also the opportunity to further specialize. For example, art appraisers may specialize in a particular period of history or a particular type of artwork.



General Job Duties

The job duties of an appraiser can vary widely, especially from one are of specialty to the next. In general however, appraisers are responsible for performing the following duties:

• Assessing the condition, quality and age of the object or collection

• Checking the origin of the object or collection by examining receipts and/or other proof of how the owner obtained it

• Carrying out research, using reference books and the internet

• Consulting specialists and historians keep up to date with current prices and demand

• Preparing written valuations for clients, and explain findings to them

• Acting as an expert witness in disputed cases that have gone to court

• May be involved in analyzing the financial statements of a business



Certification Requirements

Of all specializations within the field of appraisal, currently only real estate appraisers require certification in order to practice. Each regional real estate association sets its own minimum standards of education and training for membership and certification.


For official, detailed information about licensing requirements, contact your regional real estate association, as these requirements change relatively frequently.


There currently is no legislation regulating other specialized appraisal professions (such as personal property appraisers). There may however, be voluntary certification programs available, which can be used to demonstrate professional competence in the field to potential employers and clients.


Success Tip: Consult with a current professional in the specialized field of appraisal that you’re interested in. They ought to be able to tell you a lot about what you’ll need to enter the profession, and they may even take you on as an assistant. This can be a great way to gain career experience!





Personal Characteristics Needed to Be Successful

Possessing certain personal characteristics will help you go a long way in your career, as they will ensure that you find your work fulfilling, that you enjoy what you do, and that you approach the work with professional habits. Some of these characteristics include:


• Honesty and integrity

• Tact and good communication skills

• A willingness to accept responsibility for decisions

• The ability to deal calmly and effectively with people who may be under a great deal of stress

• The ability to remain objective when pressured by property owners who want to influence appraisal values

• The ability to maintain client confidentiality

• Take enjoyment from analyzing information to determine values

• Take enjoyment from working with people and data



Who Employs Appraisers? Where Do They Work?

Appraisers are hired by organizations that are responsible for determining the value of various forms of property. The types of organizations that typically employ them include, but are not limited to:


• Antique shops

• Appraisal firms

• Art galleries

• Auction houses

• Banks and financial institutions

• Insurance companies

• Real estate appraisal firms

• Retail jewelry stores

• Second hand stores

• Self-employment 



How Much Do They Earn?

The salary level of appraisers can vary considerably based on the following types of factors:


• What field they operate within (such as Real Estate, Personal Property, Business Valuation, etc.)

• Their level of experience

• Their level of education

• The size and type of their employer (including whether or not they are self-employed)

• The region in which they work


Appraiser Salary Canada (Alberta Figures Only): According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey (latest figures available as of June 4, 2019), Albertans working in the Personal Property and Equipment Appraisers occupational group earn an average overall salary of $74,614 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available for other Canadian provinces and territories at the time of writing.


Appraiser Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate occupational group is $49,540 per year, and the median salary level of those in the Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators group is $59,850 per year.



Job Opportunities - Open Positions

Our job board below has "Appraiser" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.


Working Conditions

Working Hours: The working hours of appraisers may vary, depending on the requirements of their employer, as well as the industry niche they operate within. In general however, appraisers often work normal weekday hours, which may include working evenings and weekends from time to time. Self-employed appraisers may work very long and irregular hours, in order to look after all aspects of their business.


Work Setting: Appraisers are often based in an office found within an office building, a dealership or an auction house. They may have to travel to clients' homes or businesses to carry out valuations, which may involve traveling locally, nationally or overseas, depending on the needs of the clients and/or the employer. 



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to appraiser, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities:


• Accountant

• Art Appraiser

• Commercial Realtor

Financial Analyst

• Insurance Underwriter

• Real Estate Appraiser

Venture Capitalist




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an appraiser.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Assessors, Valuators and Appraisers.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Business and Financial:Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Business and Financial:Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

Explore Careers:Art Valuer.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved October 22, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Appraiser

The 'Relevant Fields of Study' section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an appraiser. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming an appraiser. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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