The 3 Best Appraisal Schools in Washington State
If you are considering becoming a licensed real estate appraiser in the state of Washington, the first thing you will need to do is find a school approved by the Department of Licensing (DOL). The DOL is Washington state’s appraisal board. They establish all of the licensing requirements and regulations for appraisers within the state boundaries.
There will be a lot of hard work involved to becoming a licensed appraiser. It is crucial to start off on the right foot by finding a reputable program that will educate you on the appraisal industry, especially if you have no prior experience in appraisal. After researching through the list of DOL-approved schools, here are my top 3 schools for obtaining your Washington appraiser’s license.
1. Hondros College
Hondros College is a growing online school that has programs in real estate, appraisal, home inspection, and insurance. They have had a presence in the education industry for over 40 years and offer programs in all 50 US states. They have enrolled over 500,000 students in both the classroom and online courses.
Hondros College used to develop the courses and offer them through a secondary provider. However, they have been taking the initiative to work more directly with students. What this means is they can offer these same courses at a lower cost to the student. In fact, they have one of the cheapest programs in the market.
To satisfy the Washington state education requirements, you will need to enroll in their 75-hour National Trainee Package. You are given up to 6 months from the time of enrollment to complete the program. This format of the content is text-based, so it is just like reading a book on the website. You can move at your own pace and access your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The DOL requires seat-time on these courses, so you will have to be online for all 75 hours.
If you need any help while you are taking the course, Hondros College does have support to help you with any IT issues or account management. However, if you have questions about the course content, their instructor support is limited to email only. They will respond back to you within the next business day.
What really impressed me with Hondros College was their exam prep called CompuCram. It boasts an 86.5% pass rate for first-time test-takers. That is significantly higher than the national average pass rate of 67%. It gives students access to online flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, and matching tools to test their knowledge and learn. There is an “overall readiness” indicator that tracks your progress and lets you know when you are ready to take the actual exam. CompuCram is also mobile-friendly, so you can take a couple of practice test questions the next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store.
Best suited for: the Budget Shopper
Hondros College has been investing a lot in improving their programs recently and it shows. It would be nicer if they provided more robust options in terms of instructor support. However, with an industry-best 86.5% pass rate on the state exams and the lowest prices on the market, Hondros College has made their online appraisal program hard to pass up.
Learn more at www.hondros.com
2. McKissock Learning
McKissock Learning is the largest appraisal school in the country. Since 1990, they have helped over2 million people in the real estate industry satisfy their pre-license and continuing education courses. They have classrooms, live webinars, and online courses. However, all qualifying education is only available in the online format.
McKissock Learning’s Washington appraisal qualifying education courses have earned an average rating of 4.22 out of 5 stars, based off 607 customer surveys. If you are not 100% convinced on their courses, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you do not like what you are seeing, you can get all of your money back within 7 days of signing up.
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, it includes 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 Washington. The courses are text-based, and you are given one year to complete the program. There is an interest-free payment plan available for up to 4 months with this 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 they do not get shipped out until after you have already completed the courses. The DOL requires that you log time in the courses so the books can only be used outside of the program.
Best suited for: the Value Shopper
McKissock Learning is the leader in appraisal education. They are constantly innovating to make their courses more engaging. They offer the most variety in terms of payment and package options for obtaining a Washington appraiser license. You will have to spend more money on the McKissock Learning programs. However, all of the bonus content and features that come with their new QE Unlimited Subscription program will easily pay dividends.
Learn more at www.mckissock.com
3. Appraisal Institute
The Appraisal Institute (AI) has been around for over 70 years. It is a trade association made up of over 18,000 real estate appraisers and close to 100 chapters from around the world. If you want to join the Appraisal Institute, there are different membership levels, such as the MAI, SRPA, and SRA designations. All members have to pay an annual membership fee as well as meet certain continuing education requirements.
There are a lot of benefits to becoming an AI member. You get access to a prestigious network of appraisers, discounts on appraisal courses, and more opportunity in the commercial sector. In fact, some financial institutions, courts, and corporations will only send work to MAIs or SRAs.
Appraisers have to undergo a rigorous process to become a designated AI member. They will have to take an additional set of courses and exams, not to mention that a bachelor’s degree is required. It is not surprising that only about 15% of real estate appraisers achieve this designation.
If you are not a member, you can still take any of their courses. You just have to pay extra.
The Appraisal Institute does offer a few pre-license courses in a classroom. However, there is limited availability and only offered in a few select locations. You will still need to take some courses online to satisfy all of Washington state’s education requirements.
The online courses follow a pretty strict regimen. 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, which costs an additional fee per exam. If you want to cancel the courses, there is a minimum cancellation fee of $60. If you have already completed more than 25% of any course, then you will not be eligible for a refund.
Best suited for: Aspiring Commercial Appraisers
The Appraisal Institute sets a high bar in every category. Their courses demand more from you, cost more expensive, and give you less time to complete the courses than at other schools. However, if you want to be a commercial appraiser and are thinking long-term, having courses from the Appraisal Institute on your resume will look very good. This will make you stand out from every other candidate and open more doors for you in your appraisal career.
Learn more at www.appraisalinstitute.org