The real estate industry is on the verge of a major appraiser shortage, writes appraiser William Fall for HousingWire. The average age of today’s residential appraiser is in the late 50s and the total number of residential appraisers is falling even as mortgage origination volume grows.

So how can the industry reverse this trend? Fall says it may be time to move on from the mentor system currently in place. It is clear to me that a broad classroom experience that includes simulated lessons and perhaps even virtual reality can provide a more complete learning experience than the current, limited appraiser career path.

Commercial pilots and physicians use similar tools, he writes so why can’t appraisers? More advanced medical programs and airline-training programs are investing in simulated learning environments, where trainees must successfully complete a series of training modules to show competency in a particular area.

The appraisal industry could adopt many of the same techniques—in fact, virtual reality and gaming systems can replicate almost every situation and experience an appraisal may confront on the job. Such training could incorporate real world scenarios, the latest technology tools and case studies designed to touch on primary appraisal principles and include frequent exams to test for proficiency.

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