The debate over the coming appraiser shortage doesn’t seem to be going away. But whether you believe there’s a shortage or not – and I believe there is – folks on both sides agree we’re having a hard time attracting people to the profession, and that something needs to change.
Currently, a trainee needs a four-year college degree plus 200 classroom hours and 2,000 hours of job training under the supervision of a certified appraiser in order to get his or her license. Needless to say, it takes time for an appraiser to realize a return on that considerable investment. It’s even harder considering that many certified appraisers don’t have the time to train a future potential competitor.
“Fortunately, the Appraisal Quality Board (AQB) task force recently proposed new education and training requirements that help remove these burdens to the profession and standardize the training process.”
First, instead of requiring that a trainee have a four-year college degree, candidates could instead pass a college level equivalency program equivalent to 21 semester hours of college level coursework. A second option exists for licensed residential appraisers to take 21 hours of specified college coursework. And a third option would allow candidates to qualify by combining college level courses with college level equivalency program tests.
In addition to new education requirements, the AQB is getting caught up with the millennial generation by allowing appraisers to get their training remotely, via the Web. In fact, the AQB has already created digital training modules that can be used for online training purposes. This paves the way for more uniform and standardized training with a stronger focus on basic objectives of the profession. It also brings the industry one step closer to possibly using virtual reality for training purposes in the future.
I’ve been asked whether these changes are tantamount to “relaxing” appraiser standards. If that were true, there’s no way I would support them. I do believe they are more realistic, though—plus they will allow new appraisers to move forward in their careers based on ability, which will ultimately result in higher quality professionals.
With the average age of an appraiser near 60 and few recruits waiting in the wings, more could and should be done to remove the barriers to an appraisal career. The AQB’s proposal is a great start.