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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ask Leon: Accredited or Full Member?

There seems to be some confusion over the terminology accreditation within ISA. Let’s explain.

There are three levels or tiers of membership credentials in our organization.

The first level is called “full membership.” This is when one has “graduated” from a candidate member by taking the core course, USPAP, and by submitting appropriate market information. Becoming a full member allows one to use the initials ISA after their name.

The second tier is the Accredited Member. This member has taken a specialty course and had their reports reviewed. (This can be through one of ISA’s specialty classes (FA/ARC) or through application with Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee.) This allows a member to use the initials ISA AM after their name (accredited member).

The third level is the Certified Member. This member has earned their CAPP by taking the CAPP exam and by having other reports graded by their peers through D & R (designation and Review Committee). It also includes an application detailing education, experience, and billable hours.

Each tier is, in a sense, a “credentialing” level. It marks the attainment of certain goals and standards, each of importance in our profession and to the public. The commission of these hallmarks and their use is strictly defined by our organization and not to be taken lightly. A full member may use the designation ISA, but they are not accredited. An accredited member is one designated as ISA AM. They are not certified. A certified member has fulfilled all the obligations and is both accredited and certified.

So be careful in your representation of membership level. We do not want to mislead the public or infer things that are not true. (It will also keep you from incurring ethics charges against misrepresentation of credential and membership level.)

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

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