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Escrow Officer: Career Overview

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an escrow officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Escrow officers assist real estate buyers and sellers by completing legally required administrative tasks. A high school diploma or equivalent is often required. Some states also require licensing.

Essential Information

Escrow officers facilitate property transactions between parties, usually buyers and sellers of real property. They are responsible for a wide variety of administrative duties that are legally required for the transfer or change in status of personal property or real estate. There are no specific education requirements, but a certificate or associate's degree program in real estate could be helpful in gaining employment, as could experience in an escrow office. Some states require that escrow officers be licensed, and requirements vary.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent at minimum; certificate or associate's degree in real estate recommended
Licensing License required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -.3% decline (title examiners, abstractors and searchers)*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $47,683**

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.

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Career Overview for an Escrow Officer

Escrow officers are neutral third parties that assist in the variety of tasks that are necessary to the completion of property transactions. They perform tasks that include preparing escrow instructions, holding and disbursing funds, preparing title documents and obtaining parties' signatures on paperwork. The property transactions may include sales of real property, refinancings, bulk sales and property exchanges. Escrow officers are also often notaries who can notarize the legal documents involved. According to PayScale.com, escrow officers earned a median annual salary of $47,683 as of January 2016.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring escrow officers do not have formal educational requirements to fulfill. However, schools offer certificate and associate's degree programs in real estate and certificate programs in escrow management to help aspiring escrow officers prepare for their careers. The topics that are covered may include real estate principles, escrow procedures and accounting. Some state professional organizations also have additional educational opportunities for those in the escrow industry, such as online classes, live classes and annual conferences.

Licensing and Other Requirements

In some states, escrow officers must become licensed before they are allowed to work. Although the requirements for licensure vary, they may include passing a written exam, payment of a fee, membership in an indemnity organization and bonding requirements.

Many employers require that new hires have some amount of prior escrow office experience. Aspiring escrow officers can start their careers as receptionists or escrow assistants in an escrow office to gain work experience. Escrow assistants are often promoted to being junior escrow officers before becoming full-fledged escrow officers.

Certification Information

Certain state professional escrow organizations offer professional designations for escrow professionals. Escrow officers who have worked in the industry may want to consider earning professional designation to expand their employment opportunities. Certifications are typically awarded to designees who have met educational and experience requirements, as well as passed a written exam.

Escrow officers are an important part of the real estate purchase process. They perform important administrative tasks such as disbursing funds and preparing title documents. A high school diploma or equivalent and licensing is usually required.

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