Real Estate Appraiser Specializing in Commercial Industrial Residential Income Land & Single Family Residential Properties Existing or Proposed Construction Estate & Gift Tax Conservation Easements Partial Values Fractional Interests Former Senior Appraiser United States Treasury Department IRS Large Business and International Division California General Certified Real Estate Appraiser FHA Approved

Michael F. Ford #AG002512


What the different license / certification levels mean.


    Question: What do the License Levels mean (i.e. AT, AL, AR, AG)?

    Answer: There are four levels of real estate appraiser licensing. They are:

  • AT - Trainee License
  • AL - Residential License
  • AR - Certified Residential License
  • AG - Certified General License

The Trainee License (AT) is for entry level appraiser trainees and those who have met their experience requirements for upgrading to the next level, but have not yet passed the test for their Residential License (AL).

A trainee is required to be under the direct supervision of a Certified Real Estate Appraiser. They may participate in any activity that their Supervisory Certified Appraiser is qualified to perform. This may include training in commercial activities; though as a practical matter few trainees perform such functions.

Trainees typically perform preliminary research and assist in property inspection, learning how to properly inspect and measure improvements, and learning to recognize significant site, market and neighborhood conditions. Trainees may also accompany their supervisory appraisers during inspection of comparable sales, and assist in valuation analysis and draft report writing.

The Residential License (AL) appraiser has met the educational, experience and performance requirements of a State Licensed Real estate Appraiser.  Licensed appraisers may appraise non complex one to four unit residential properties with transaction amounts up to one-million dollars ($1,000,000).

Caution must be exercised to insure that neither the ownership interests; physical conditions affecting the property, market conditions, or terms of the transaction affecting it result in an appraisal assignment that is complex.

Some AL level appraisers perform land appraisals.

Land appraisals by their nature are usually very complex. Caution should be exercised before assigning a land appraisal to an appraiser that is not State Certified.

Proposed construction is considered by most appraisers to be a complex appraisal assignment.

The Residential Certified (AR) appraiser has met the experience and educational requirements and passed a test for Certification by the State of California. 

The Residential Certified Appraiser is permitted to perform appraisals of one to four unit residential property without limitation based on transaction amounts, or assignment complexity (provided the appraiser is otherwise qualified by relevant experience to perform any specific complex assignment).

  • AR level appraisers usually have from five to twenty-five +/-  years experience.
  • AR level appraisers are permitted to directly supervise up to two trainee level appraisers at a time.
  • AR certifications are required before an appraiser is permitted to apply for placement on the HUD / FHA approved appraiser list.

Residential Income property with five or more units; commercial property, industrial property and or land for these purposes should not be appraised by AR level appraisers, unless supervised, reviewed, and cosigned by a General Certified Appraiser.

The General Certified (AG) appraiser is  permitted to provide all real estate appraisal services without regard to real property type, or complexity provided that they have the experience required for any specific assignment they undertake, or the requisite knowledge to perform the assignment competently, or associate themselves with another appraiser who has the necessary experience for a particular assignment.

Most AG appraisers can perform most common commercial, industrial, residential and residential - income property appraisals.

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Appraisers at all levels are obligated to advise prospective clients in advance if they lack experience or skill needed to competently complete an assignment.


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