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Friday, June 5, 2015

What Happened to Multiple CAPP Designations?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: What happened to multiple CAPP designations?

Answer: The CAPP designation awarded by ISA is the highest level of membership within our organization. It has been earned through education, experience, and testing. All CAPP members have either come through the “ranks” or levels of membership (full member and Accredited Member) or bridged to ISA through another appraisal organization (there are specific requirements for those candidates). The designation is no longer awarded in a specific category.

The Accredited Member (AM) status is achieved by taking a specialty class or proving expertise (Advanced Studies Committee) and by taking an exam and providing a replacement cost report in their declared field. This does not limit the member from appraising in other fields, nor does it require additional AM designations to do so.

The CAPP level is awarded based on experience, professional development credits, passing a general methodology and principle exam, and by submitting a broad evidence report to be graded by their peers. (We ask the report be done in the area they received their AM.) The designation signifies a certified appraiser of personal property, but does not designate the specialty area.

In the “old days,” a CAPP would be awarded in a specialty or product knowledge. CAPPs were awarded in Appreciable Residential Contents, Depreciable Residential Contents, Fine Art, Gems & Jewelry, or through Specialty Studies (a SCAPP [Specialty CAPP] in silver, historical documents, etc.) One would endeavor to gather CAPPs in every area they wished to add to their arsenal. The CAPP designation would be followed by the wording, “in the area of…” This made the process extremely onerous and difficult to maintain or manage. (Imagine trying to keep up multiple CAPPs through requalification for each one.) It also made the process impossible for the accrediting organization (ISA). Every desired specialty would need an approved course and exam before announcing competence in a specific area.

The change to the present system was not a recent one. The CAPP is no longer awarded in a specialty. One does not have to achieve multiple CAPPs to appraise in different categories. The appraiser must be competent and work competently in every assignment (USPAP Competence Rule). Just because one has a CAPP does not make him or her competent for every assignment, however. Each task must be judged on its own merits, as must the appraiser’s qualifications.

Advertising one’s credentials must be accurate and true. A curriculum vitae should include all applicable qualifications for a specific assignment. Just being a CAPP may not be sufficient.

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