Practicum courses provide another pathway for aspiring appraisers to fulfill their experience requirements by taking advantage of programs which offer practical experience in a real environment. The Appraiser Qualifications Board created the program as an alternative to the traditional supervisor/trainee model for gaining appraisal experience.
What is a "practicum"?
In general terms, a practicum is a course that allows students to apply what they have learned in their education courses, in a real environment. The purpose of a practicum is to provide experience in a field of study.
- Is experience, not education
- Is a structured course
- Covers pre-approved content
- Results in the individual gaining experience credits for successfully completing the approved content
- Is instructed by a qualified individual(s)
The Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria refers to “practicum”. What does “practicum” mean in this context?
While not specifically defined in the Criteria, a practicum in the Criteria is the same as described above. Practicums are common learning environments at colleges and universities. Thus, an appraiser practicum, under the Criteria, would essentially be an approved course which provides a pathway for aspiring appraisers to fulfill their required experience hours by applying the information they learned in their qualifying education courses (i.e. the appraisal process, appraisal theory, methodologies, UPSAP, etc.) after completing instructor supervised appraisal assignments.
If a practicum is experience, how does it differ from other ways of obtaining experience?
There are three ways for an appraiser to gain their experience hours:
- They can find a supervisor to work under.
- They can sign up for a Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (“PAREA”) program and gain their experience in a virtual environment.
- They can sign up for a practicum program and gain their experience in a structured “student/instructor” environment.
What is unique about a practicum is that it is approved as a “course”. Much like a qualifying education course, a practicum course has approved material to be taught over a defined period of time. It is also common for a practicum course to have more than one student enrolled in the course at one time, and, in those instances, all students would process through the course at the same time and complete the exact same appraisal assignments.
Who would approve a practicum course?
A practicum course can be approved by the Appraisal Qualifications Boards Course Approval Program (CAP), or by any individual state regulatory agency that chooses to approve a practicum program.
If a practicum is CAP approved, the state can choose to accept that course as-is, or, they may elect to conduct a separate approval process.
Where can I find practicum courses?
Whenever the AQB has an approved practicum course, they will be listed below (there are no AQB-approved practicum courses at this time). Please contact your state to determine if a course is approved in your specific state, as states may have approved their own practicum course
Does a practicum course count toward experience hours?
Regarding how hours of experience are counted in a practicum, the Criteria states the following:
Experience credit shall be granted for the actual classroom hours and of instruction of documented research and analysis as awarded from the practicum course approval process.
However, check directly with your state to understand their requirements related to how they will allow hours obtained during a practicum course to count towards your experience requirements.
How many experience hours can I gain by completing a practicum?
A practicum course can consist of as many or as few hours as the provider wishes to have approved. Regardless of the number of hours the course offers, the AQB will allow up to 100% of experience hours to come from a practicum course (or courses).
Is the practicum course a new option?
No. Taking a practicum course to gain your experience hours has been available in the Criteria since 2008.
Developing & Approving a Practicum Course
In the development of a practicum course, what should it include to meet the Criteria requirements?
The practicum course must meet the requirements set in the Criteria. A practicum course must include the generally applicable methods of appraisal practice for the credential category.
Assignments must require problem solving skills for a variety of property types for the credential category. The practicum content should include, but is not limited to:
- Requiring the student to produce credible appraisals that utilize an actual subject property;
- Performing market research containing sales analysis;
- Applying and reporting the applicable appraisal approaches in conformity with USPAP.
Is there any other guidance you can give for developing a practicum course?
The AQB created Guide Note 4 (GN-4) which includes more detailed information in order to assist developers of practicum courses and state appraiser regulatory agencies seeking to approve practicum courses. This can be found within the Criteria booklet.
Do I need to have my practicum course approved by my state or the AQB?
A practicum course can be submitted for approval to either a state appraiser regulatory agency, to the AQB, or both. The AQB can approve a practicum when one is submitted, and it meets our requirements.
What is the AQB approval process for a practicum course?
Practicum courses should be submitted through the Course Approval Program (CAP) by following the CAP Policies and Procedures. Developers should familiarize themselves with Section 13 on Practicum Course Approval within the CAP Policies to ensure all criteria are met before applying. When ready to apply, developers can apply using the Practicum Submission Instructions and upload the Practicum Submission Documents, ensuring all practicum-specific policies and materials are also provided.
Once the course is received, reviewers will determine the estimated time to review the course and the developer will be invoiced accordingly. If the course is approved, you will receive a CAP approval letter.
If I get CAP approval, can more than one state implement this program?
It depends on the states. You may want to check with your state appraiser regulatory agency on their requirements before developing a practicum course.
Are there any grants available to states to develop a practicum course?
The Foundation and its Boards do not issue grants for practicum courses. You may want to contact the Appraisal Subcommittee about grant options for state appraiser regulatory agencies.
Please contact Olivia Chalakani.