With a goal of becoming an antique appraiser, you will need to start by developing a deep appreciation of antiques and knowledge of how to determine genuine items from reproductions. Not all appraisers have a college education, but obtaining a degree can be helpful. Many antique appraisers are members of a professional organization, and this designation gives them credibility with the clients they serve.
Some people who end up working as antique appraisers have a degree in fine art, but this is not a requirement. Most people who decide to become an antique appraiser have a background in antique sales, jewelry sales, or real estate. They may also have previous experience as an art dealer before getting into this career field.
A person who is deeply interested in antiques and who is looking to make a career change to become an antique appraiser can gain the knowledge he or she needs to evaluate items by taking an appraisal course. Study options include courses offered by professional associations for appraisers and distance learning by studying at home. Prospective students should consider their options carefully to choose a quality program that will give them the skills they need to work in this field.
Choosing a program carefully is important because antique appraisers don't just give clients an estimate of how much an item is worth. They prepare documentation that the client can use to arrange appropriate insurance coverage for their antiques collection. The appraisal documents can also be used to show to a potential buyer if the owner is interested in selling part or all of his or her collection and used as part of the price negotiation process. They may also be called in to provide evaluations for estate valuation or gift tax calculation purposes.
Check out professional associations to find out about their accreditation process. Some of them require people who want to become an antique appraiser to complete courses offered by the association before becoming certified. They may also require new members to have a specific level of professional experience before they can advertise themselves as being certified antique appraisers.
Getting established in the business is the next step for a person who wants to become an antique appraiser. Developing a clientele can take some time. Many people who work as appraisers started off working part-time until they can generate enough paying clients to earn enough income to work full time in this capacity.