How Do I Become an Assessor?

Research what it takes to become an assessor. Learn about the education requirements, job outlook, job duties and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Sales Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Assessor?

As an assessor you will analyze and evaluate real estate, usually for tax purposes. They photograph the property inside and out, as well as compare other similar properties to find an accurate value of the property. They develop reports on the values of the property and keep up with current data on real estate. Normally assessors work for local government and normally value entire neighborhoods as opposed to just one property.

The following table provides some information regarding this career:

Degree Required May require a bachelor's degree, varies by state
Certification Professional designations: Residential Evaluation Specialist, Assessment Administration Specialist, Certified Assessment Evaluator, continuing education each year
Key Responsibilities Estimate the value of real estate, utilize computer software for assessments, update maps and databases
Job Growth (2014-24) 8% (appraisers and assessors)*
Average Salary (2015) $58,400 (appraisers and assessors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Assessors Do?

As an assessor, you would estimate the value of real estate, primarily for tax valuation purposes for a local municipality. Rather than looking at individual homes and structures, assessors typically use computer software that allows them to value entire neighborhoods at once. After you've determined the property value, you would apply the local tax rate and update maps and databases. In large jurisdictions, the assessor may work with a revaluation firm that does most of the fieldwork, which the assessor then certifies.

Your job would also involve notifying property owners of their new assessed value and defending the assessment at a hearing if it is challenged. While assessors don't typically work with single homes, you may need to inspect properties yourself to justify your valuations. At a more senior level, you might approve or reject applications for exemptions from property taxes and set policies and procedures for establishing assessed values.

What Education, Skills and Training Do I Need?

Assessors need to be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Strong customer service, research and writing skills are also important. Mathematical and analytical abilities are needed. You also need to be comfortable working with computers and with maps.

While no specific degree is generally required to become an assessor, most states establish their own requirements for education, licensing and certification. Some require completion of specific classes at state-approved schools and passage of certification exams, and you may need to complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education each year. You can also earn professional designations through the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). These include Residential Evaluation Specialist, Assessment Administration Specialist and Certified Assessment Evaluator credentials.

Where Can I Work?

Most assessors work for city, town or county governments, but you may also find employment and on-the-job training with evaluation firms that work with large assessment offices. In small jurisdictions, assessors may work on contract or part time. You need to know the area you work with so that you understand any issues that may affect property values.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

An appraiser does very similar work that an assessor does, though they normally work on one property at a time and specialize in a certain type of property, either residential or commercial. Other similar occupations include construction and building inspectors. These inspectors make sure that the construction meets the building codes and regulations.

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