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Become a Title Examiner: Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a title examiner. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a title examiner.

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Do I Want to Be a Title Examiner?

Title examiners investigate the contents of real estate documents of ownership known as 'titles'. They may do so to compile records of sale or ownership, validate a property's boundaries or acquire a description of a piece of property. Many work hours may be spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

Job Requirements

Most title examiners have a high school diploma or the equivalent; although, some employers prefer examiners with a bachelor's degree and prior title experience. Optional certifications are available. The chart below contains the necessary requirements and skills to work as a title examiner:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma is standard, some employers may require a bachelor's degree**
Degree Fields Accounting, finance or related field**
Certification Voluntary certification is available from the National Association of Land Title Abstractors and Examiners***
Experience 1-5 years of title or related experience**
Key Skills Time management, research, analytical, complex problem solving, writing and monitoring skills*
Computer Skills Experience with data entry, database, marketing and word processing programs, as well as various field-related software programs, such as Data Trace or Data Tree**
Additional Skills Able to conduct real estate tax, assessment and public record searches; knowledge of title laws, geography, plat maps**

Sources: *O*NET OnLine, ** and job postings (November/December 2012), ***National Association of Land Title Abstractors and Examiners.

Step 1: Gain Related Work Experience

Aspiring title examiners typically start out in entry-level positions, such as that of title typists, title clerks or escrow assistants. These positions may work with title examiners or abstractors by doing title searches, interacting with customers and handling paperwork. They also place calls to mortgage and insurance companies and governmental offices to confirm information, enter data and manage files. While not always the case, employers may look for candidates with at least one year of mortgage processing and closing, title insurance or real estate closing knowledge. Some employers prefer entry-level workers with a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as accounting or finance.

Success Tip:

  • Build computer skills. Title clerks may better prepare themselves for working as title examiners by learning how to use related computer programs for conducting real estate title searches. When hired, clerks or assistants typically are asked to have basic computer knowledge and good typing skills.

Step 2: Begin Working in the Field

Most employers seek title examiners with 1-5 years of related experience. Title examiners can work for real estate companies, title companies or law firms. Examiners may prepare legal documents related to a parcel of land, as well as inspect mortgages, court judgments, plat books and contracts to determine ownership of a piece of property. They also research titles to determine whether restrictions on ownership exist and search tax and public records to verify ownership of a property.

Step 3: Consider Becoming Certified

Being certified may increase employment opportunities. The National Association of Land Title Examiners and Abstractors offers two certifications: the Certified Abstractor and Master Abstractor. To be eligible for the former, an individual must be a member of NALTEA and have three years of experience. The latter requires NALTEA membership and have eight years of experience.

Aspiring certified abstractors must pass an exam, while aspiring master abstractors must provide a recommendation letter, pass an exam and submit a sample title search. Every 2 years, each designation requires 10 hours of continuing education courses for renewal.

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