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Because of the lack of regulations, many dealers in antiques do appraisals and claim to be antiques appraisers, but they do not have certification or training. Unlike real-estate appraisers, most states do not require a license to be an antiques appraiser. This is a perfect way for shop owners to make money, but they could do a much better job with appropriate training in appraisal techniques and ethics. They can become certified appraisers.
Check the certification process. There is no state certification and national certification is through private organizations. The International Society of Appraisers (ISA), the Appraisers Association of America (AAA) and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) offer a form of certification, and all require some coursework prior to certification. Some of the coursework can be done online with distance learning.
Look at the experience requirements. You must have 2 to 5 years of documented experience in a field of expertise to become a certified appraiser. AAA requires 5 years, 3 years for ISA and 2 years for ASA with other qualifications like a college degree. Choose a field of expertise and gain valuable experience by buying, selling, studying, speaking and working directly in the field.
Investigate the coursework required and the cost. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) course is standard in the industry; take this class at the earliest opportunity. The ISA requires applicants to take its core course in appraisal studies at a cost of $1290 and an application fee of $75, in 2010. There are also specialty courses and re-certification courses with the ISA.
The AAA has a different structure, with an 2010 application fee of $275 and testing fee of $125 for theory, methodology and one area of expertise. Applicants to AAA must also complete the Uniform Standards (USPAP) coursework and a report writing course at an additional fee.
ASA accepts ISA and AAA certifications in some specialties, with specialized requirements in others. The ASA application fee for 2010 is $100. You must complete the principles of appraisal practice and ethics courses as well as USPAP within 10 months of application. Submit continuing education requirements every five years.
Expect annual dues. The ISA dues for 2010 are $450 and AAA dues are $525. ASA dues are $415. There are also some optional fees like journal subscriptions. Continuing education courses and re-certification fees are required, and if you want to be active in the organization, there are annual meetings and seminars.
Get certified and enjoy the advantages. You will qualify for work for insurance companies and federal government appraisal jobs. You name is listed on the association website so you can be contacted for appraisal work. You know the ethics requirements for appraising antiques and have confidence in your work as an antiques appraiser.