There are many certification programs involved with property tax.  I suggest that every NC property tax student be familiar with which organizations provide certifications, credit hours, and the requirements of those organizations. A certification or designation is required by law for some positions. Two are required in the assessor’s office. If you are one of the 100 appointed county assessors in North Carolina or a county appraiser, you must be certified by the NC Department of Revenue. Becoming and being a certified assessor or appraiser includes requirements for initial certification (certifying education) and also follow-up requirements for continuing education. If you represent yourself as a real estate appraiser but do not fill one of the two positions above, NC law requires your certification to be through the NC Appraisal Board. All other certification programs for property tax are not legally required in NC law but may be required by your employer or by your association. Perhaps you’re not currently in a position that is required to be certified but your future could lead you in that direction. Regardless, I think you should maintain your course records for attendance and successful completion of property tax courses. I have recognized uncertainty in this area over the years and it seems to be more so in recent times. I hope this post is a way to help bring us back to certainty.

It is easy to define the county assessor for these certification purposes. There is one appointed assessor for each NC county. But how do we define a county appraiser? We should ask whether a “county appraiser” is based on a person’s job title. Certainly, if someone has “appraiser” in their job title, they are expected to be one. But my experience with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) leads me to a conclusion that absent a law defining “county appraiser”, I don’t think the job title defines who is an appraiser.  I think instead we should combine the USPAP definition with the element of being employed by the assessor’s office. That leaves us with a definition of one who is employed by the assessor’s office and who is also expected to perform services pertaining to property value competently and in a manner that is independent, impartial, and objective. That could be anyone in the assessor’s office, regardless of their title.



Subchapter 2 of Chapter 105 of NC General Statutes makes the NC Department of Revenue the legal authority over a program of required certification and continuing education for all NC county ad valorem (property tax) assessors and appraisers. Among many other things, the Local Government Division administers that program. Manuals, supplements, and more information about this required program, and the optional levels 2 and 3 for county appraisers, are all available on the NCDOR website at:



A program to partially fund a training program in property tax appraisal and assessment at the School of Government is established in Section 501 of Chapter 105 of NC General Statutes. As part of that program, the SOG and the NCDOR support many of the required and elective courses in the certifications listed in this post through the Property Tax Education Partnership (PTEP). The SOG does not independently offer a certification program, gather applications, or maintain records for the certification programs summarized here. The SOG does communicate with these other certifying organizations about student attendance and grades for the courses offered by the SOG. The SOG also supports a 1,800-member property tax listserv, called PTAX, available to all of these certifying organizations. The SOG maintains faculty expertise offering support for the NCDOR, NCAAO, and NCTCA. More information is available by using the search feature on the website here: and also on the calendar at:



The NC Association of Assessing Officers is an affiliate of the International Association of Assessing Officers. The NCAAO offers three certifications: The Certified Assessor, Certified Real Property Appraiser, and Certified Personal Property Appraiser. Information, applications, and details about a Candidates Club to assist members with achieving professional designations are all available on their website:



The International Association of Assessing Officers is an 8,000-member nonprofit, educational, and research association headquartered in Kansas City. It is a professional membership organization of government assessment officials and others interested in the administration of property tax. The IAAO is a founding member of The Appraisal Foundation, authorized by Congress to establish USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, applicable to all appraisal disciplines. IAAO offers 6 internationally recognized professional designations in assessment, appraisal, and mapping. More information is available on their website:



Chapter 93E of NC General Statutes makes it unlawful, with few exceptions, for anyone in North Carolina to act as a real estate appraiser without first obtaining the required registration, license, or certificate from the NC Appraisal Board. Appraisers certified by the NCAB are sometimes referred to as “single-property or fee appraisers” and are typically hired by a client to perform an appraisal on a single property for mortgage lending, refinancing, estate, property tax appeal, or other purposes. One of the few exceptions to this legal requirement of a real estate appraiser being certified by the NCAB is if the appraiser performs only ad valorem tax appraisals, which we can define by exception as those certified by the NC Department of Revenue described above. So all real estate appraisers in NC are certified by the NCDOR or the NCAB, or sometimes both. Since some county ad valorem appraisers are also licensed by the NCAB, the School of Government and NC Department of Revenue are approved by the NCAB as course sponsors. If a student identifies as needing credit from the NCAB, and the continuing education course has been approved by the NCAB, the SOG and NCDOR will update the continuing education records with the NCAB and the student should maintain their individual records. The SOG and NCDOR typically offer continuing education for fee appraisers and do not offer certifying education – those courses required to become certified or licensed by the NCAB. More information is available on their website:



North Carolina Tax Collectors’ Association (NCTCA) is a professional organization made of tax office personnel from counties and municipalities from all over the state of North Carolina. Many NC revenue directors and their staff are certified as collectors, deputies, or assistants through the NCTCA. While NCTCA certification is not required by the Machinery Act, a number of local governments require it as a condition of employment in their tax offices.  More information including certification and continuing ed detail is available on their website:



The North Carolina Property Mappers Association was formed to help the needs of state and local government officials whose work involves mapping and land records management. The NCPMA has a listserv they administer with support from the School of Government. More information about their certification program is available on their website: