Top 3 Appraisal Schools in Florida
If you are like most people interested in becoming a real estate appraiser, you have little to no background in appraisal. That’s okay.
The Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB), which regulates the appraisal industry for Florida, requires you to take a minimum amount of education to give you a basic understanding of the appraisal profession. You will learn all the terms and methodologies needed to perform this job.
One of the keys to your success will be to find an approved school with a good program. Fortunately, we have done the research for you. Here are the top 3 appraisal schools that are accredited by the FREAB for getting your appraiser’s license in Florida.
1. OnCourse Learning
OnCourse Learning is a growing online education provider that offers programs in both real estate appraisal. They have designed their courses to prepare you with a working knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations. They used to offer their appraisal program under the brand of Career WebSchool, but have since reinvigorated the courses with fresh content and material.
They offer a single, convenient 75-hour pre-licensing package to meet Florida’s education requirements. It is a 100% online program that is text-based, so it is like reading a book on the computer. Because it is web-based, you will be able to access it from any internet-connected device such as a tablet or laptop. You have up to 6 months to pass the final exams and complete the courses. You will also have to be online to take this course as Florida requires seat time.
OnCourse Learning provides instructor support via email only. If you have an IT-related problem or issue with your customer account, you can contact their support department by phone during their regular business hours Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 6 PM Central Time.
OnCourse Learning has the best (and lowest) price for getting your appraiser’s license in Florida. They also have frequent promotions, which make their programs even cheaper. This is especially nice since appraisal courses are very expensive. If you are not entirely confident you want to pursue this as a long-term career, this is a good way to hedge your bet.
If you decide to sign up with OnCourse Learning, you will need to know that they do not offer any state-specific courses. For example, FREAB requires you to take a 6-hour Florida Laws and Rules course. Although it is a short course, you will eventually need to get that course from another provider.
Best suited for: the Budget Shopper
OnCourse Learning is the perfect program for someone that prefers to learn independently and is looking for the best deal. OnCourse Learning has dramatically upgraded its online programs recently and is now one of the top appraisal schools for obtaining a license in Florida. Although they have limited support options and do not come with any extra features, OnCourse Learning delivers a compelling appraisal program at a great price.
Learn more at www.oncourselearning.com
2. McKissock Learning
McKissock Learning is the de facto standard when it comes to obtaining your appraiser’s license. Over 2 million people have taken their courses for both qualifying and continuing education in the past 30 years. They have the widest offering of courses, both in terms of format and topics, compared to any other education provider.
McKissock Learning’s Florida appraisal pre-licensing education courses have earned an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 137 self-reported customer surveys. They are the only appraisal school that I have seen that backs up their program with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you change your mind within the first 7 days of enrollment, you can get a full refund. No questions asked.
McKissock Learning offers 3 packages to get started:
Qualifying Education (QE) Unlimited Learning Subscription – This is an annual subscription that gives you access to satisfy not just the initial 75-hour education requirement, but ALL pre-license courses you will ever need in appraisal. This is actually a really good deal because you should be able to easily complete all the appraisal courses within a year, so you can just cancel the subscription after the first year.
104-hour Trainee (TR) Get Started Package – This package consists of the required 4 online appraisal courses to get licensed in Florida as well as the mandatory state-specific courses. The courses are 100% text-based, and you get one year to complete the program. There is a convenient interest-free payment plan available for up to 4 months with this package.
104-hour Trainee (TR) Advanced Pro Package – This package includes everything in the Get Started package plus instructor support and printed textbooks. Due to state requirements, McKissock Learning cannot send the books to you until you finish the courses first. In other words, you will have to read the material online when you take the course. The main benefit for this package is the instructor support, where you can get to interact with certified instructors during the weekly Q&A sessions.
Best suited for: the Value Shopper
McKissock Learning offers the complete package. They have all the appraisal courses you will ever need and have flexible payment options. The courses look attractive and modern. They are a little on the high end of the price range. However, they make up for that with their high-quality material and extra content. It is no surprise that McKissock Learning continues to be the leader in appraisal education.
Learn more at www.mckissock.com
3. Appraisal Institute
The Appraisal Institute (AI) is a globally recognized organization within the real estate appraisal industry. There have approximately 20,000 members in 95 chapters located around the world. They set the bar for excellence, and it will help you stand out down the road if you have their courses listed on your resume.
Anyone can take their courses, and anyone can be a member. You simply pay an annual membership fee along with any applicable chapter fees. One of the benefits of being a member is that you get a discount on all appraisal courses. However, since you have to pay to become a member, I do not think it is worthwhile just to become a member to get the discount.
Why do people become a member? There are different membership levels, and the real motivation to join the Appraisal Institute is to earn one of its prestigious designations, such as MAI, SRPA, or SRA. It is not easy to earn these designations, and that is by design. They require a college degree, additional coursework, and rigorous testing. Only about 15 percent of all appraisers hold one of these designations.
If you can become a designated AI member, there will be a lot more opportunities available to you, especially in the commercial sector. Some companies, lenders, and government agencies only want to work with you if you hold an MAI or SRA designation. It gives them a higher level of confidence that the appraisal report will be accurate and of the highest quality.
If you decide to enroll in their program, you will want to make sure your calendar is clear. Although the courses are online and you can study whenever you want, they only give you 30 days to complete courses that are 15 hours or less, and 45 days to complete any course that is over 15 hours. You will have to schedule an appointment at a Pearson Vue testing center to take the final exams.
Best suited for: Aspiring Commercial Appraisers
Whether you decide to become a designated member or not, completing courses from the Appraisal Institute automatically earns you the distinction of excellence. They have the most rigorous and expensive program on the market. I would only recommend this for people who are serious about pursuing a long-term career in appraisal. If you are able to put in the extra hard work and considerable financial investment that the Appraisal Institute requires, you will get access to more opportunities.
Learn more at www.appraisalinstitute.org