Michigan State Tax Assessor Certification

The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth estimates that the demand for assessors of real estate in the state will increase by 3 percent from 2008 to 2018. To qualify as a real estate tax assessor in Michigan, state-issued certification is necessary. The Michigan State Tax Commission oversees the certification of assessing officer program, which consists of three levels of credentials.

Michigan Certified Assessing Officer

The Michigan Certified Assessing Officer is the entry level tax assessor certification in Michigan. Recipients of the credentials use the initial MCAO after their names for professional purposes. The certified assessing officer designation requires prospective assessors to complete a 24-month training program sponsored by the State Tax Commission. The program accepts 25 applicants. Courses begin twice per year in May and October. The majority of the coursework is presented online with students completing assignments and participating in online message-board-based discussions. Participants also attend an all-day Saturday seminar once every four to six weeks throughout the program. At the end of each of the program's four semesters, students complete a final examination. Those who pass all four tests gain MCAO certification at the conclusion of the program.

Michigan Advanced Assessing Officer

The second-level of designation for Michigan tax assessor certification is the Michigan Advanced Assessing Officer designation, which allows recipients to use the initials MAAO for professional purposes .To qualify for this designation, assessors must work for two years at the MCAO level and receive an initial promotion based on their performance, making them an MCAO II. The Michigan State Tax Commission requires prospective MAAOs to complete 180 hours of home-based self-study coursework and show evidence of completion prior to applying for certification. Applicants must also provide assessment reports to the commission for review and pass a written certification examination after completing the coursework.

Michigan Master Assessing Officer

The highest level of Michigan tax assessor certification is the Michigan Master Assessing Officer designation, which results in the MMAO professional designation. To qualify for the certification, assessors must have MAAO certification and complete five additional self-study courses. Next, candidates take a written test that consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. Those who receive an 80 percent or better on the exam are invited to apply for the MMAO training program. The state selects 10 applicants twice a year to begin the program each year in May and October. Assessors spend 12 months completing a training seminar and composing a three to five-page thesis. At the conclusion of the year, students undergo an oral examination and have their theses graded. A committee determines whether or not each candidate fits the requirements for MMAO certification based on these tasks.


The Michigan State Tax Commission publishes guidelines that determine what level of certification an assessor must possess to perform assessments at the county or local levels. For the 2011 tax year, entry-level MCAOs could not perform assessments at the county level and were approved to assess properties at the local level valued at up to $130 million. Those who earned a promotion to an MCAO II could assess properties worth up to $130 million at the county and $488 million for local taxes. MAAOs could assess properties valued at $130 million to $2.125 billion for counties and $488 million to $2.125 billion for local taxes. At the MMAO level, assessors had approval assess properties worth more than $2.125 billion for both county and local taxes.