Review of the Top 3 Appraisal Schools in Texas
If you are thinking about becoming a real estate appraiser in Texas, the first step is to find a school that has been accredited by the Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board (TALCB). TALCB is the state’s appraisal board that regulates all things appraisal in Texas. They set the education requirements and establish all the rules that a licensed appraiser must follow.
Becoming an appraiser is a serious, life-changing decision. It is important to find the right school that fits your learning style. After researching the different appraisal programs in Texas, I have come up with the top three schools for obtaining your Texas appraiser’s license.
Hondros College is a national online real estate school. They have been at it for over 40 years and have courses in every US state. They have made considerable upgrades to their online programs recently. They used to offer their appraisal program through other schools only, even though they were the ones developing the courses. However, Hondros College has made a substantial investment in cutting out the middleman and become a direct education provider. I feel they are one of the rising stars in the appraisal industry now.
Hondros College offers a single 75-hour National Trainee package to satisfy the state education requirements. You have up to 6 months to finish the courses. This is a self-paced, online program, so this should be plenty of time. The text-based courses are just like reading an online book. Since TALCB requires seat-time on all appraisal pre-licensing courses, you will have to spend those 75 hours in the course online.
If you have questions on your enrollment, they do provide IT and customer support. They are available by phone or email during their regular business hours from 9:00 AM to 7 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. They are also available on Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM Eastern Time. If you have a question for the instructor, you can email them your question, and they will typically try to respond to you within 24 hours.
What I really liked about Hondros College, besides the low price, is that you can get all of the courses as well as study materials for the state exam. Their exam prep is called CompuCram, which boasts an 86.5% pass rate for first-time test-takers. That is significantly higher than the national average pass rate of 67%.
Best suited for: the Budget Shopper
Hondros College packs a powerful punch with their online appraisal courses. They have the lowest prices in the industry without compromising on quality. They do not add any bells or whistles to the program and keep it simple. The instructor support is quite limited, so you will have to be self-motivated and be able to learn independently to succeed with this program.
Learn more at www.hondros.com
McKissock Learning is the leading appraisal school in the country, offering the widest selection of topics and formats available. They started off as a small appraisal school and have grown into a large education provider with courses across multiple industries. Their programs span all 50 states, including Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands.
McKissock Learning’s Texas appraisal qualifying education courses have earned an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. This is based on 1,317 customer reviews that they surveyed themselves, so you have to take this with a grain of salt. However, they are the only school in the appraisal industry that backs up their courses with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with the program for any reason within the first 7 days of enrolling, you can get a full refund back without any hassle.
McKissock Learning offers 3 flexible ways of getting started:
Qualifying Education (QE) Unlimited Learning Subscription – This is a new program that they began offering. This program is actually an amazing deal because it includes all of the online qualifying education (up to Certified General). Plus, McKissock Learning gives you access to video tutorials, monthly webinars, appraisal community, and partner discounts. This is an annual subscription, so you will automatically get charged every year. However, you should be able to finish the courses within a year, so you can just cancel the subscription before it renews again.
79-hour Trainee (TR) Get Started Package – This package consists of the required 4 online appraisal courses to get licensed in Texas. This includes the Basic Appraisal Principles, Basic Appraisal Procedures, Supervisor-Trainee course, and the 15-hour National USPAP Update course. You are given one year to complete the program. There is an interest-free payment plan available for up to 4 months with the package.
79-hour Trainee (TR) Advanced Pro Package – This package includes everything in the Get Started package plus instructor support and hardcopy books. You will be able to talk to certified appraisal instructors directly during weekly Q&A sessions if you need any help on the courses. If you want to study with the books, you should be aware that McKissock Learning does not ship them out until after you have already completed the courses. TALCB requires that you log time in the courses so the books can only be used for future reference.
Best suited for: the Value Shopper
McKissock Learning is the consummate school founded by appraisers, for appraisers. They have a robust offering of packages and payment options. They are a little on the high end for pricing. However, if you are serious about a long-term career as an appraiser, you will not be able to find a better deal than with the new QE Unlimited Subscription.
Learn more at www.mckissock.com
The Appraisal Institute (AI) is a global association of real estate appraisers with about 20,000 members from over 95 chapters around the world. As a member, you get access to advocacy programs and a very close network of like-minded appraiser professionals. With additional coursework and examinations, you can set yourself apart as an appraiser by becoming certified as an MAI, SRPA, or SRA.
Some lenders, courts, and government agencies seek, and may even require, an appraiser to hold one of those designations. The reason is they want to be assured that they will be getting high-quality work. MAI, SRPA, and SRA’s have to go through a rigorous process to achieve that designation, including being required to have a bachelor’s degree in college. Less than 20 percent of all appraisers are designated Appraisal Institute members.
You do not have to be a member to attend any of their courses. However, members do receive a discount on all courses. If you are considering becoming a member, you have to pay an annual fee plus satisfy their own continuing education requirements.
The Appraisal Institute offers live classes for appraisal pre-licensing, but they do not have all of the required courses, and there are limited availability and locations. So, regardless, you will need to take some online courses to satisfy all 154 total hours of appraisal education.
The format of the courses is strict. You are given 30 days to complete any online course that is 15 hours or less, and 45 days to complete any course that is over 15 hours long. All final exams have to be administered at a Pearson Vue testing center. If you change your mind and want to cancel, you are hit with a minimum cancellation fee of $60. If you have completed over 25% of the course, then you are not eligible for any refund.
Best suited for: Aspiring Commercial Appraisers
The commitment to professionalism is why the Appraisal Institute is still widely-respected within the appraisal community throughout its 70-year history. However, they are the most expensive option with the strictest standards. Most appraisers will not really gain any benefit by becoming a member. Nonetheless, if you are planning to build a long-term career in appraisal, especially in the commercial sector, taking courses from the Appraisal Institute will definitely open up more opportunities.
Learn more at www.appraisalinstitute.org