Become an Assessor: Education Requirements and Career Info
Learn how to become an assessor. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career as an assessor.
Do I Want to Be an Assessor?
Assessors evaluate real estate properties to determine their monetary value. They typically work for local governments, and their results are used to compute real estate taxes. About one-fourth of assessors were self-employed in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those individuals often worked overtime, during nights and weekends, in order to complete their written reports.
There is no national standard, so educational requirements for assessors differ considerably depending upon the state or locality. In general, assessors need at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training. However, many assessors acquire a bachelor's degree, according to iSeek.org. In addition to on-the-job training, appraisers may be expected to take basic appraisal courses, accumulate work experience and pass examinations in order to gain a state license or advance to higher positions. The following table contains the main requirements for being an assessor:
|Degree Level||At least a high school diploma or equivalent required*; some employers may prefer a bachelor's degree**|
|Degree Field||If required, business, economics, finance or related**|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Some states require licensure**** or certification*|
|Experience||Experience is required for certification*|
|Computer Skills||Real estate appraisal, property assessment, lease comparison and map creation software knowledge***|
|Technical Skills||Experience with distance meters, laser measuring tools, ultrasonic measuring instruments***|
|Key Skills||Problem-solving skills, organizational skills, analytical skills*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **iSeek.org, ***O*NetOnline, ****Minnesota State Board of Assessors
Step 1: Acquire Training
Assessors need to take specific courses on assessor laws and basic appraisal procedures in order to acquire a license or earn certification. This training is also useful for aspiring assessors who are new to the field. These courses are available through state assessor associations or through the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). Course examples include property appraisal, valuation and tax policy.
Consider a bachelor's degree. While not required for this position, some employers may prefer assessors who have earned bachelor's degrees. A bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related field could be useful for this career. The BLS reports that courses in math, computer science and real estate law may also be helpful.
Get Work Experience
In some states, assessors may need to meet the same certification requirements as appraisers, according to the BLS. In order to get certified, these professionals must acquire work experience after taking assessor and appraiser courses. On-the-job training can be found through apprenticeships in assessor offices. However, the BLS reports that assessors can also acquire experience through employment at revaluation firms.
Step 3: Get Professional Certification
The IAAO has established five professional designations for assessor competencies. Candidates with a specified level of assessment or appraisal experience must complete required courses and projects before sitting for a comprehensive examination. Designations recognize competence in residential evaluation, personal property, mapping, comprehensive assessment and administration.
Step 4: Get Licensed as an Assessor
Several states require assessors to be licensed, but requirements vary. Some states grant a license to applicants who have taken required courses and others require applicants to take an exam after completing education and work experience requirements. Many people in the field obtain both assessor and appraiser licenses. For states requiring assessors to obtain certification as appraisers, the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of the Appraisal Foundation offers coursework and examinations. Based upon courses and exams completed, postsecondary education and appraisal experience, the AQB confers trainee status and three levels of professional certification. These certifications may specify the maximum loan value or type of property an assessor is qualified to assess.
Step 5: Meet Continuing Education Requirements
Licenses and certificates typically need to be renewed after a certain period of time, requiring continuing education credits and a minimum number of hours on the job since the previous approval. The IAAO offers many instructional courses, workshops and forums for assessor training and continuing education.
- Be tech-savvy. The field of real estate assessment increasingly relies on technology, especially mobile technology. Hand-held devices are replacing a pen and a notepad. In a competitive job market, individuals who can adapt quickly might have an advantage.
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