Tips on How to Become an Art Appraiser

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Get a College Degree

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To be an art appraiser, you will need to become an art connoisseur, so it is to your advantage to have a passion for art. In other words, you must love gazing endlessly at aesthetic objects like ceramics and paintings. If you don't have this desire, you will not succeed in this career.

The first step to becoming an art appraiser is to get a college degree. Majoring in art is the way to go. A degree in art history is what many art appraisers earn.

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Besides majoring in art, St. Louis-based certified fine art appraiser Mary Carpenter recommends learning the business side of art appraising by working in a gallery or auction house.

She says, “If you can have experience with conservation as well, that is useful in assessing the impact condition has on objects.”

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Read and Specialize

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In these fast-paced times, spending time reading and contemplating is often over-looked. Since being an art, appraiser requires having a wealth of information about art and aesthetics, reading about these topics is an absolute necessity.

To become an expert, it is also recommended to specialize and focus on a specific topic. The field of fine arts and decorative arts is so broad, so narrow your focus to something specific like Old Masters works or Chinese ceramics.

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Take Exams

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Art appraiser Mary Carpenter advises that to join an art appraiser’s organization “requires 100 hours of continuing education every five years to maintain your membership status.”

“It also requires an update of the USPAP ever-changing standards as mandated by Congress every two years or a complete 15-hour course with an exam every five years.”

Because of these changes, she recommends to “update every two years since USPAP changes every two years. This USPAP requirement is also fluid. …and check with the individual organizations to make sure your credentials are in compliance.”

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Get Certified

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Art appraiser Mary Carpenter recommends, “Once you have the sale end of the business experience, become a member of the American Society of Appraisers or the Appraisers Association of America."

"This is a long process and involves completing several core courses, including the Uniform Standards and Principles of Appraisal Practice (USPAP)."

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Join Appraisal Organization

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Virginia-based appraiser Mark Grove says, “There is no licensing requirement in the United States for personal property appraisers (Personal Property is anything tangible that can be moved, e.g., art, antiques, etc.).”

Even though there is no licensing, he advises aspiring art appraisers that the best way to develop their careers in art appraisal is to earn their credentials from one of the three major Societies.

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Go to Meetings

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Art appraiser Mary Carpenter recommends, “NYU offers a certification in art appraisal courses, as do the professional organizations. It would also involve attending meetings if there is an active chapter in your area. It is an excellent way to network.”

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As a professional, networking is an important career tool.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Appraisers Watercooler to extend your professional reach.

But be careful on what you post online as real estate appraiser Kenneth Jones warns in his cautionary article Social Network Writings Can Destroy Expert Credibility.

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Keep Up to Date

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Art appraiser Mary Carpenter recommends to keep up to date in your field and “Then you can take the exams in the field of expertise you have chosen as well as an ethics exam.”

She adds, “If you can work with a certified appraiser for a while that would also be great.”

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Have a Web Presence

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A website is today's calling card. And it is a dynamic way to advertise your services and expertise.