Certified General Appraiser: Everything You Need To Know About This Career Choice

Suppose you’re interested in getting into real estate appraisal, or you’re a newly licensed appraiser. In that case, you probably know by now that there are many different types of appraisers you can be.

All of these types have different requirements you need to fulfill before you become a certain kind of appraiser. Also, all of them have extra perks, and their range of work differs.

Today, we will specifically be talking about certified general appraisers.

So if you’re wondering: What is a certified general appraiser? What does a certified general appraiser do? How to become a certified general appraiser?  How much does a certified general appraiser make? 

Read our article and find the answers to these questions and much more!

What Is A Certified General Appraiser?

A certified general appraiser is at the top of the ladder when it comes to real estate appraising. This is the highest license you can achieve as an appraiser.

Because it’s the highest license achievable, it will allow you to increase the amount of work you can do. Other types of licenses have restrictions on what kind of real-estate you can appraise.

Becoming a certified general appraiser comes with the perk of appraising any real object, no matter the value or purpose of the real-estate.

For example, a certified residential appraiser can only appraise a building with a maximum of 4 dwelling units, no matter the value or complexity of the property. For example, he can’t appraise office buildings, which always have a higher value than residential houses.

On the other hand, a certified general appraiser can appraise absolutely every possible real-estate property, no matter its value or purpose. 

He can appraise a residential two-story house worth $200.000 or a commercial office building downtown worth millions of dollars.

Becoming a certified general appraiser means the sky’s the limit when it comes to evolving your business as a real estate appraiser.

What Does A Certified General Appraiser Do?

Now that we’ve explained what a certified general appraiser is, it’s time to cover what you can do and what is expected of you from an employer.

Your primary job is to conduct research and collect information regarding various types of complex property, such as agricultural, industrial, or commercial buildings.

Then, based on this information, you evaluate what the value of the property in question is. This value is used for a wide range of purposes, such as:

  • Mortgage lending
  • Negotiation between buyers and sellers
  • Government acquisition of private property for public use
  • Lease negotiations
  • Business mergers and dissolutions

Apart from this, employers may need you to fulfill some other duties related to your profession. For example, if you’re working in a government department, these other duties could include:

  • Providing training to appraisal staffs and assigning projects to them
  • Providing assistance to the supervising appraiser to evaluate personnel
  • Presenting appeals before the Assessment Appeals Board
  • Keeping up to date with the latest construction costs, land values, and market trends

Your knowledge is vast as a certified general appraiser. Don’t be surprised when your employer wants you to do other things other than just appraising a few buildings’ values.

How To Become A Certified General Appraiser?

Rdl Certified General Appraiser

Since a certified general appraiser’s job involves very high-value property, the margin for error is practically non-existent. 

Considering this fact and that it is the highest possible license you can acquire, it’s no easy task to become a certified general appraiser.

The requirements are much different and harder to fulfill than for any other type of license. 

These requirements are set by the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB), but states themselves can set the ladder even higher.

Always check your state’s licensing requirements when wanting to get an appraisal license.

Let’s go over the criteria the AQB requires you to meet in order to become a certified general appraiser:

A Degree

  • If you want to become a trainee appraiser or licensed residential appraiser, you don’t need a  college degree.
  • However, things are different when you are aiming for the spot of a certified general appraiser. To become one, you have to have a college bachelor’s degree, at least.
  • This degree must be from an accredited university or college.
  • This is because you’ll be working with huge sums of money, and you are required to have the knowledge a bachelor’s degree provides.


  • You’ll have to take courses – and a lot of them!
  • First of all, you need to take the trainee appraiser 75-hour course. These are courses on basic appraisal principles, basic appraisal procedures, and the National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course.
  • You’ll also be under direct supervision by an appraiser who is in good standing so that he can help you learn the in’s and outs of the business as fast as possible.
  • On top of these courses, you’ll then have to take 300 hours’ worth of certified general appraiser courses, which will give you all the knowledge you need to be qualified for this job.


  • Experience in the field of appraising is also necessary. You will have to have 3.000 hours of total experience in no fewer than 18 months.
  • Half of that (1500 hours) must be in residential appraisal work.
  • Only after meeting all of these requirements will you be able to take the final step, which is:

The Exam

  • The National Uniform Licensing and Certification Exam is the final obstacle on your way to becoming a certified general appraiser.
  • There are actually 3 different exams depending on the license level. 
  • There is the Licensed Residential Exam for licensed residential appraisers, the Certified Residential Exam for certified residential appraisers, and finally, the Certified General Examination for certified general appraisers (also known as commercial appraisers).
  • The Certified General Examination consists of conceptual topics established by the AQB. 
  • You’ll be tested to see whether you understand the subject and solve real-life situations that may occur in your everyday work.
  • There are 125 questions in total, out of which 110 are scored. The other 15 are just pre-test questions that are not scored at all.
  • You will have 6 hours to complete the test. Don’t take it lightly because it’s not so easy to pass.
  • Statistics from The Appraisal Foundation (which is the creator of the AQB) show that more than 1 out of 4 applicants fail the Certified General Examination the first time, so make sure to pay attention to those courses!

Apply For Your License

  • Once you’ve passed the exam, all you have to do is to apply for your license with your state board.
  • You need to pay the application fees, provide fingerprints so they can run a background check on you, and submit your exam scores. After your application is processed, you’ll get your license and be set to start off your career as a certified general appraiser!

How Much Does A Certified General Appraiser Make?

Real estate appraisers have a rather nice salary, as you probably know already.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in May of 2019, the median salary for real estate appraisers was $57.010, which may not seem much more than the median annual wage of all other professions, which is $54.000.

However, most appraisers are licensed, residential appraisers. Their salary is around $69.000, whereas certified general appraisers make about $81.000 on average.

As you see, upgrading your license makes a big difference when it comes to the money you can make.

A higher license gives you an advantage in the local market because you can appraise any real estate you want, so there are no limitations in that regard.

As with anything, the more experience you get, the more clients and work you’ll have, and as a result, you’ll make more money.

Getting a certified general appraiser license is the first step on this long journey.

Final Words

Becoming a certified general appraiser takes a lot of effort and work, but it sure pays off. It’s the highest license you can get as an appraiser, which is a big success itself!

You are free to work with any available real estate without any limitations regarding the real-estate object’s complexity or its value.

To become a certified general appraiser, you will have to take many courses and have prior experience. Still, if you push through those obstacles, it will be worthwhile.

Be careful; not many people pass the exam the first time they take it, so make sure you invest the time and effort needed to ace the exam.

Your starting salary will be a nice one, but after you gain some experience and broaden your client pool, you can make a very nice living doing this job.

Considering all these things, though it may be hard, it’s definitely worth working hard and getting the highest license you possibly can as a certified general appraiser.