Contact Editor

Frequently Asked Questions About USPAP

by Jennifer Aguilar | Nov 09, 2017

Confused About Your USPAP Status?

USPAP for Standards 7 and 8 Users (PP, GJ and MTS)

There has been quite a bit of confusion regarding the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) education requirements for ASA appraisers who have their designations in Personal Property, Gems & Jewelry and Machinery & Technical Specialties. The questions and answers below should help clear up some of the confusion. The responses will also help ASA appraisers to understand their options and differentiate between the 15-Hour Courses and the 7-Hour Update Courses (as well as the “National” and USPAP for PP Courses).

1The “national” course refers to the USPAP course that is taught for certification of real property appraisers and focuses on examples from real property appraisal practice. This course will no longer fulfill USPAP education requirements for PP, GJ, and MTS appraisers.


Frequently Asked Questions about USPAP
• Q. Why did the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) change the requirements for USPAP education for PP, GJ and MTS appraisers?
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is now published every two years. Appraisers who state in their appraisals that they are compliant with USPAP need to be aware of what is necessary to be compliant. This means that appraisers need be aware of what is in USPAP. This change in the minimum qualifications requires personal property appraisers to take a course to stay current with each new version of USPAP.

Real property appraisers have been required for several years to take USPAP every two years to stay current with standards and rules. The Appraisal Qualification Board wants all users of appraisal services to be assured that the appraisers they hire are current with their professional credentials and their knowledge of and compliant with USPAP.

• Q. Who is included in this changed educational requirement?
Members of organizations that are “sponsors” of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) are required to comply with this new requirement. The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) has been a sponsor of TAF since it was established more than 25 years ago.

The new changes apply to “Personal Property” appraisers. In USPAP, the term “Personal Property” applies to all users of Standards 7 and 8: appraisers in the Personal Property (PP) discipline, the Gems and Jewelry (GJ) discipline and the Machinery and Technical Specialties (MTS) discipline. The new AQB minimum qualifications require candidates as well as designated members to take a USPAP update course every two years.

• Q. What courses can I take to fulfill my requirement?
The first time an appraiser takes a USPAP course, they must take the 15-Hour Course and pass the examination. To update their credentials, appraisers can take either the 7-Hour Update Course or the 15-Hour Course. If an appraiser chooses the 15-Hour Course, appraisers must take and pass the examination that is part of the course to get credit. There is no examination for the 7-Hour Update Course.

To fulfill their USPAP requirement, an appraiser can take any personal property-specific course that has been developed by or approved by The Appraisal Foundation when taught by an AQB- certified instructor. (Taking a course that has not been developed or approved by The Appraisal Foundation or not taught by an AQB-certified instructor will not fulfill the ASA USPAP education requirement.)

• Q. What is the difference between the “National” and the “Personal Property” courses? Can I take either?
No, PP, GJ and MTS appraisers must take the “Personal Property” courses to fill their USPAP education requirement. For appraisers in these disciplines, the courses designated as “Personal Property” are generally pertinent to their appraisal practices and geared to these disciplines. The “national” courses instead, have a strong focus on real property and real estate appraisal issues such as federal mortgage regulations.

In addition to the updated USPAP information, the 7-Hour Update Course focuses on problems and situations in PP, GJ and/or MTS appraisal practice. Both the 7- and 15-Hour Courses focus on Standards 7 and 8, the Standards used for appraisal development and reporting by PP, GJ and MTS appraisers. The “National” Course instead focuses on Standards 1 and 2, the Standards used by real property appraisers and the examples used in the course are primarily geared to real property appraising. The “National” Course will not fulfill the USPAP education requirement.

• Q. What are the differences between the 7- and 15-Hour Courses? Is the content generally the same?
The obvious difference is the length of the courses and in most cases, the fees (which are lower for the shorter course). The 7-Hour Update Course also has no examination. The 15-Hour Course has an examination and to get credit for the course, an appraiser must take and pass the examination—whether this is the first time the appraiser has taken a USPAP course or not.

The course contents also vary. The 15-Hour Course includes a full review of all of USPAP, all the Standards and Rules. The 7-Hour Update Course instead, focuses on the changes that have been made in the most recent version of USPAP; the course does not review the entire document. The last section of the 7-Hour Update Course covers current issues and problems in appraisal practice and points out USPAP solutions.

• Q. I have never taken a USPAP course. What do I need to do to fulfill my USPAP requirement?
The first time an appraiser takes USPAP, he or she must take the 15-Hour Course. This provides the appraiser with information about the entire document. To get credit for completing the course, the appraiser must take and pass the examination.

• Q. If I take the 15-Hour Course, will ASA still allow me to fulfill my USPAP requirement for five years?
No. Allowing the 15-Hour Course to fulfill the USPAP education requirement for five years was the old rule. That now has been superseded by the recently AQB-approved minimum qualifications. The new AQB minimal requirements went into effect on January 1, 2018. Since that time, ASA has required PP, GJ and MTS appraisers to take a USPAP class very two years.

• Q. I took a 15-Hour Course last year (based on the 2016-17 USPAP). Will I need to update my USPAP credential before the five years have lapsed?
Yes. As of January 1, 2018, the minimum qualification requirement states that appraisers must take an update every two years. You will need to take an update for the 2020-21 version of USPAP. It is highly recommended that appraisers take the 7-Hour Personal Property Update Course early in the 2020-21 USPAP cycle. There are numerous changes in the 2020-21 version of USPAP that will affect appraisers using Standards 7 and 8 for appraisal development and communication as well as for appraisers preparing appraisal reviews.

• Q. Can I take USPAP courses as “distance education”?
TAF has specific rules regarding distance education for USPAP education. TAF requires that all the courses specifically for PP, GJ and MTS appraisers be taught live. ASA has made classroom opportunities available to members for the 2018-19 version of USPAP and will do so for the 2020- 21 version as soon as the courses are available. In addition, ASA also offers distance education classes. Students must download their class manuals after they register for the class. An instructor presents a (live) lecture and students follow the power point presentation on their computers in their own homes or offices. Students participate in discussions and ask questions through their required telephone connections. Students must also have a copy of the current version of USPAP during the class (electronic or paper version). If the student is using an electronic version of USPAP, it must be on a device other than the one on which they are viewing the power point for the course.

• Q. Is there a time frame by which a USPAP class must be taken within the two year cycle?
There is no requirement at this time for PP, GJ or MTS appraisers. (There is a requirement for real property appraisers to take a USPAP update within the early part of the USPAP cycle.) It is highly recommended that appraisers take the update classes as early as possible in the “cycle” to get the most benefit from the course. Appraisers are held responsible for compliance with the version of USPAP current as of the date of the appraisal report (regardless of the last USPAP course they completed).

• Q. How often and when does USPAP change?
USPAP is improved, changed and updated every two years by the Appraisal Standards Board. New versions go into effect on January 1 of even numbered years and are good for two years. The new version of USPAP is available on October 1 of the previous year.

• Q. Do I have to purchase a new USPAP book every time I take the course?
Because appraisers state their compliance with USPAP in the “Certification” included in every appraisal report, they need to know what is in the version of USPAP in effect on the date of the report. Professional appraisers should purchase USPAP every time a new version is released to stay aware of all changes that affect them and their assignments.

Each USPAP student must have the current version of USPAP with them as they take any USPAP course. USPAP is available in electronic and paper versions. It can be purchased I electronic version from ASA at http://www.appraisers.org/marketplace, restrictions apply. The Appraisal Foundation has paper copies available.

• Q. Can I take a USPAP course though another organization?
Yes. As long as the course is developed by or approved by TAF, the ASA will accept completion of the course to fulfill USPAP education requirements. The course must be taught by an AQB- certified USPAP instructor. If there is an examination, that also must have been developed by or approved by TAF and should be proctored.

• Q. Are records kept regarding each appraiser’s USPAP education?
TAF is sent a list of students who complete USPAP classes by instructors or sponsoring organizations. In addition, ASA maintains records for all members, candidates, and students who attend ASA sponsored courses.

Each appraiser must provide proof of completion of a USPAP course every two years to the Membership Office of ASA.