Training Indiana’s Assessors
This paper reports on the current educational and training system for Indiana’s assessors, reviews necessary job functions and prerequisites, and summarizes their current qualifications. In most every regard, we find each area lacking and in need of upgrading. The typical Indiana assessor enters the profession with little or no assessing qualifications and with no specified educational background. Until 2003, they could remain in the post indefinitely without ever having to earn even the minimum state certification. We applaud recent legislation that will, if retained and enforced, mandate all elected assessors at every level earn and maintain the highest designation.
However, current certification programs are but a poor attempt to train interested parties in the requisite assessing skills. Moreover, the continuing education programs and course hours mandated by the state are not up to par. Rather than a serious attempt to train assessors and rejuvenate their approaches and practices, continuing education programs offered by the Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance and by the assessors themselves are not thought-provoking. Hours earned toward re-certification are typically without substance. We suggest several long-term solutions to these various problems.
Rather than merely rehash and recite the persistent lack of serious continuing education and training, we formed the Indiana Assessment Academy (IAA). This educational body strives to educate all members of the Indiana assessment community, whether in government or private enterprise. Already up-and-running, the IAA is self-sustaining from course fees as well as contributions. Courses are expanding in terms of offerings and student attendance. Perhaps most importantly, the reputation is growing as well as the IAA offers not just continuing education hours, but a professionally managed organization, qualified instructors and thorough, topical classes. We expect the IAA to be a long-term solution to these training issues and provide a foundation from which to develop quality assessors and assessment practices.