Let’s go over them.

The truth is there are no prerequisites for most IAAO courses. I asked IAAO headquarters years ago for the reason behind this stance. I was told it relates to the fact that some jurisdictions across the globe offer classes so infrequently that they’ve asked IAAO to allow students to take a class if they’re “ready”. Those jurisdictions couldn’t have an educational program with strict prerequisites. Employees in those jurisdictions try to gauge whether a student is ready for the class offered that year. Likewise, we should gauge whether a student is ready for an IAAO class here in North Carolina. Please contact me for advice. We all need to work together to ensure students are ready for class. The new NCDOR certification levels II and III have been well received, which is great news! Every class, I ask students if their county has embraced the new levels, and how. I estimate about half of my students share that their county recognizes the new certification levels. More and more recognize them through some reward. The creation of those levels will increase appraiser competency throughout our state, providing a higher level of service for our citizens. We are offering more classes, in more locations, and teaching more students than ever. Maybe as a result of the push towards the new levels, I have encountered students in class who are unfortunately not in their appraisal comfort zone.

Before a student registers (or is registered by a supervisor) the experience and work area of the student should be considered and judged to meet the subject and level of difficulty of the course. To supervisors, I encourage you to determine with the prospective student whether the student and the course are a good match. Please consult with me or other instructors involved in the PTEP program if there are any questions. IAAO instructors in our state want the student experience to be superior.  As a rule, having students in the classroom who are not prepared for the challenge doesn’t work out well for the student, the instructor, the class, or the county. Remember that feeling in math class when you thought the teacher was speaking a different language? I believe it’s called “math anxiety”. It’s what one of my students felt who was in a completely different field two weeks ago, but was in the first day of a 30-hour IAAO class while we’re talking about net operating income and reconstructing an expense statement.

To add confusion, the numbering system assigned to IAAO courses is not consistently descriptive of the difficulty. For example, IAAO 500 is an introductory level personal property course. This course would be fine for someone just starting in personal property appraisal. IAAO 112 is a much lower number, but the course by title, Income Approach to Valuation II, is definitely not an introductory course. Still, IAAO 101, Fundamentals of Real Property Appraisal should usually be successfully completed prior to IAAO 300, Fundamentals of Mass Appraisal.  Note: IAAO 101 is typically a student’s first IAAO course, but it is not an easy course at all. There is an IAAO 2-day workshop that introduces real property appraisal, without an exam. Party time!? Look for that workshop, IAAO 100, on the next PTEP calendar.

The best rule is to not get in a rush before attending or sending students to an IAAO course or workshop. The IAAO 300 series of mass appraisal courses require some knowledge of valuation concepts, a comfort in math, and the ability to dive into the use of statistics in mass appraisal. This is the series of courses that will really blow your hair back if you’re involved in mass appraisal of real property. It takes that base knowledge learned in single property appraisal but introduces the statistical methods that should be used in a county-wide reappraisal.

To further help with determining whether a student is ready for a course, see the information provided on IAAO’s website for each offering. It offers descriptions and some recommendations (not requirements). Also, please review with prospective students the text from IAAO, Property Assessment Valuation, 3rd edition, for 100, 200, and 500 series courses. For 300 series courses, the text is Fundamentals of Mass Appraisal. For 400 series courses, the text is Assessment Administration. These texts are not required for purchase for the classes, but they are a worthwhile investment for your jurisdiction. They are extremely helpful in these respective areas of professional assessment. They are available from the store on the IAAO website.

Some IAAO course manuals describe “advanced readings”. In reality, we hardly ever assign advanced readings for class. During class, all of the material will be covered by the instructor, on the PowerPoints used in class, and in the student reference manual. Separate IAAO textbooks are not required.

See you in class!