How to Become an Appraiser in Texas
The Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board (TALCB) is the state appraisal board for Texas that provides education and licensing services as well as regulation and enforcement of state and federal laws that govern real property appraisals. There are currently 5,252 appraisers that are actively licensed in Texas.
Here’s the breakdown by license level:
Certified General (CG)
Certified Residential (CR)
Licensed Residential (LR)
- Complete a total of 154 hours of qualifying appraisal courses
- Find a supervisory appraiser
- Apply for the trainee license
- Acquire 1,000 hours of experience with a certified appraiser
- Pass the state exam
- Upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license
From start to finish, it takes about 9 months to 15 months.
- Applicants will need to be 18 years or older.
- Be a legal resident of Texas for at least 60 days before filling your license application
- Meet TALCB’s standards for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity
There is no longer any college requirement to get licensed.
1. Fulfill Education Requirements
You’re going to have to take 154 total hours of qualifying appraisal courses.
They are split up into two parts: 79 hours and 75 hours. You start with the 79 hours, and then can do the remaining 75 hours at any time before upgrading to LR.
The first 79 hours consists of:
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Principles
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Procedures
4-Hour Supervisor/Trainee course
15-Hour National USPAP Course
The last 75 hours are:
15-Hour Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use
15-Hour Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach
15-Hour Residential Report Writing and Case Studies
30-Hour Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches
If you do them online, you’ll be required to be logged in for at least 50 minutes online for every course hour. That translates to being online for a minimum of 128.33 cumulative hours for a 154 hour program.
You can study as many hours in a day that you want, so the more hours you can fit in a day, the sooner you will be able to finish.
Texas requires all course finals to be proctored. A proctor is someone that will vouch for you that there wasn’t any cheating involved during the exam. They will have to be present and will monitor you during the exam.
There are some restrictions on who can qualify to be a proctor, such as family members, employees (if you own a business), or people who live under the same roof.
There are a lot of options these days, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one.
I used proctors at public libraries because they’re free.
There are also proctors available at public universities and colleges. If you’re a part of a church, pastors and other church officials will qualify. Also officers in the military can help with proctoring.
You pay them about $20 to $40 per test, but you can take the exam at home. They will have someone watch you during the test through a webcam.
How Much Does It Cost?
I recommend choosing an online program as they are the most cost effective. No matter which appraisal program you go with, it will easily cost over $1,000 for the full 154 hours of required education. Some schools offer payment plans.
2. Find a Supervisory Appraiser
After you complete the 79 hours of appraisal education, you’ll need to find a supervisory appraiser who holds either a Certified Residential or Certified General license in good standing.
This will most likely be the biggest challenge you’ll encounter. You can read about how I was able to find my supervisory appraiser here.
Your supervisor is responsible to TALCB and to the public for your conduct while you’re a trainee and is required to sign off on all your appraisal reports.
3. Apply for the Trainee License
Once you have chosen your supervisor, you can submit your trainee application online or by mail. There is a $20 paper filling fee if you apply by mail.
There’s a $300 application fee and you’ll also need to get your fingerprints taken by MorphoTrust for a background check.
You’re required by law to have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
4. Obtain 1,000 Hours of Experience
Your supervisory appraiser will be teaching you the ins and outs on how to write an actual appraisal report.
You’ll have to log your hours for each job and they’ll have to sign off on it.
Something unique to Texas is that the TALCB will actually give you feedback on your work file prior to sending in the final application. You can send your work file for review to TALCB after you’ve completed 500 hours and 1,000 hours along with a $75 processing fee. They will audit it for you and identify any deficiencies, so that your future appraisals will be perfect!
Do trainees get paid?
Yes! How much you get paid will vary person-to-person. It’s really up to you and your supervisor. However, you’ll most likely get paid per appraisal report (because that’s when the appraiser gets paid too).
You can use this as an incentive and find creative ways of attracting a supervisor appraiser. I’ve heard people offering to pay for their mentor’s CE courses or working with no pay for the first month or two.
In my personal opinion, it’s more important to focus on getting the experience rather than a paycheck. You can worry about how much you’ll make after you get licensed.
5. Pass the State Exam
When you’ve got all your education and experience requirements done, you’re ready to apply for the state exam. TALCB has contracted with the independent testing company called Pearson VUE to administer the exam. They have locations all over Texas, so it’ll be very easy to find one that’s close to you. You can schedule an exam date here.
The examination fee is $54. You have a maximum of 4 hours to answer 125 questions. You need a passing score of 75% or better.
Fortunately, they appear to be making the state exam easier. According to The Appraisal Foundation, the average pass rate for Licensed Residential (LR) was 67% in 2017 (compared to 43% in 2013).
Renewing Your License
Your license expires every 2 years from the initial date you were licensed.
To keep it active, TALCB requires that you complete 28 hours of Appraiser Continuing Education (ACE) courses every two years. This will need to include a 7 hour USPAP course and the renewal fee of $290.
You’re not allowed to repeat the same courses within a two year period.
You can work on your continuing education at any time during your two year cycle. However, you will have to wait until 90 days before your expiration date to turn in the certificates.