Escrow officers perform research about property ownership and gather needed documents pertaining to the sale of the property. They also allocate the monies associated with the transaction. A college degree is not required for this profession, but real estate training or experience may make a candidate more attractive to employers.
Escrow officers help real estate buyers through the closing process. They typically act as an objective third-party, responsible for making sure the overall transaction is legal and properly completed. Becoming an escrow officer takes knowledge in real estate and financial practices. There often are no specific requirements, but applicants with degrees and experience in real estate may have the best chances at employment in this field.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED required; degree in real estate or related field recommended|
|Other Requirements||Real estate experience recommended|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-0.3% (for title examiners, abstractors and searchers)|
|Median Salary (2016)**||$47,683|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
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Educational Requirements for Becoming an Escrow Officer
Beginning a career as an escrow officer does not require any formal training or education. However, companies often prefer applicants who have a degree or previous experience in real estate. A variety of schools offer associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in real estate.
In most instances, an associate's or bachelor's degree can provide the requirements needed for an entry-level escrow officer position. Coursework in these programs usually covers real estate practices, economics, accounting, real estate regulations and market analysis.
Experience is often a major factor in beginning a career as an escrow officer. Many officers come from the banking or finance industry, which demonstrates to employers a working knowledge in financial practices. Overall, employers look for applicants who have developed good communication, computer and customer service skills in their past jobs.
Escrow officers often work for title companies, mortgage lenders and credit unions. During the real estate closing process, their job duties typically include preparing paperwork, witnessing document signings and disbursing funds to the seller. In addition to these administrative tasks, an escrow officer may spend time following-up on leads and explaining services to prospective real estate buyers. They are usually responsible for establishing an escrow account and maintaining its funds and records.
According to Payscale.com, the median income for escrow officers was $47,683 in January 2016, with a range of salaries from $31,988 to $74,638.
Employment opportunities for escrow agents may rise and fall in accordance with changes in the national economy and the housing market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job openings in the real estate industry would decrease 0.3% between 2014 and 2024. However, overall employment opportunities in this field were projected to fluctuate based on housing market reactions to recessions and high unemployment levels (www.bls.gov).
An escrow officer usually requires only a high school diploma or the equivalent, but knowledge of real estate and legal documents may also be necessary. Classes and programs are available for this profession from vocational schools or community colleges. The median salary was around $47,000 for escrow officers as of 2016.