College Degree Requirement is Flawed
Why the 4-year college degree requirement is flawed and how to make the requirement work?
Many, many years ago, my local college offered appraisal classes. You could take a couple classes, go take the state test and start knocking on doors. New people didn’t need a mentor. And new people learned by trial and error. It probably wasn’t the best way to do things. But it did allow for new people to freely get into the profession without a bunch of hurdles to overcome. Times have changed.
Today, new people have to have a 4-year college degree in anything first, to get moving toward being an appraiser. To make things even harder, even with a degree, new people can’t find mentors. Mentors who are willing to shadow them every step of the way for an insane amount of hours. Mentors who are willing to do it all for very little money, to assume any additional risk, and are willing to train their own future competition. Suddenly, but not surprisingly, current statistics show that nobody is getting into the profession any more.
The new requirements have created a ridiculous scenario today. A sculptor with a BFA degree, or a chef with a degree from a culinary school, is now more qualified to be appraiser, than an actual appraiser with 20 years of experience who doesn’t have a 4-year degree.
If someone wanted to pursue a degree in culinary school to be a chef, what would they have to do? Well, they would have to take all the usual basic classes, and then all the classes specific to cooking as he/she got closer to graduation. This is the typical path for any college degree profession that I am aware of. The way degree programs are set up, they give new students good basic skills to enter a profession of their choice. The finer details are learned over the years after the new student finds a job and a mentor.
The problem with the new 4-year degree requirement to be an appraiser is, a degree in anything doesn’t give someone any skills at all to be an appraiser. The new requirement is absurd. It has no relevancy on being an appraiser. Anybody coming into the appraisal profession right out of college in any degree, knows NOTHING about appraising. And that is why the requirement is so flawed.
If the profession is now stuck with the new 4-year requirement, how can the requirement be made to work? How does the profession attract new people into the business?
It’s simple. Real estate appraising needs to become a college degree. And it needs to be found in any college catalog, along with degrees in engineering, culinary arts, and journalism for instance.
The first two years would consist of the basics like in any other degree – math, English, history, etc. The final years would include courses on USCRAP, basic construction, software, regulatory, FHA, regression, and any of the other courses active appraisers are offered by their education providers. Other course could discuss appraising things other than real estate such as golf courses, cars or antiques. The final year would consist of real world activities and filling out numerous URARs. The final graduation project could consist of appraising a commercial building.
The interesting thing about a 4-year degree in real estate appraising is, all that education and training could eliminate the need for a new person to find a mentor. And it could fully satisfy an hourly requirement threshold. A thorough, 4-year college education in real estate appraising, could allow someone to go straight to the state test exam, skip a mentor, and allow them to start knocking on doors again right after their test was passed. Show a bank or an AMC a degree, and boom, get hired.
In my opinion, industry leaders and coalitions need to spend the time drafting up a full college curriculum. They then need to approach colleges throughout the country with the outline. This needs to get implemented right away if the desire is to save the profession and real estate/mortgage appraisers specifically. Retired or current appraisers would make great instructors.
Something to ponder and consider.
Until something like this happens, the bleeding will continue…