Should I Become a Real Estate Title Officer?
Also known as title examiners, real estate title officers review documents to ensure that the information concerning restrictions and legal descriptions is accurate. They conduct research into use limitations and prepare reports that outline their findings. This occupation may require many hours of working seated at a desk. As of January 2016, title officers earned a median annual salary of $54,687, according to Payscale.com.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; some employers prefer college degree|
|Experience||3+ years experience preferred|
|Key Skills||Strong verbal and written communication skills, knowledge of federal and state financial aid policies; proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, student information systems, PeopleSoft, and other financial aid systems|
|Salary||$54,687 (2016 median salary for all title officers)|
Sources: Occupational Information Network, job postings (November 2012), The National Association of Land Title Examiners and Abstractors, Payscale.com
To work as a real estate title officer, you'll need at least a high school diploma, but some employers prefer a college degree. Voluntary certification is also available. You should have at least 3 years of experience, but sometimes candidates with less experience are considered. Strong verbal and written communication skills, knowledge of federal and state financial aid policies and proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, student information systems, PeopleSoft and other financial aid systems are helpful.
Steps to Become a Real Estate Title Officer
Let's look over the steps you'll need to take to become a real estate title officer.
Step 1: Complete Education Requirements
Most companies require applicants to hold a minimum of a high school diploma to qualify as a title officer, although some real estate title examiners have postsecondary education. A few colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs with an emphasis in real estate. Additionally, there are graduate degree or certificate programs in real estate available to students who have already earned an undergraduate degree and are interested in pursuing further education. These programs cover topics like real estate finance, real estate law, investment analysis, real estate appraisal and development.
Step 2: Get Work Experience
Some companies ask that candidates have three or more years of experience in underwriting real estate titles or similar positions. Additionally, an employer can often waive some education requirements if a prospective employee has enough relevant experience. Students may be able to obtain work experience while attending school through an internship.
Learn about your state's title insurance codes. Employers expect their title officers to know the requirements and regulations regarding property titles and insurance in their state.
Develop communication skills. The ability to communicate with customers and clients is necessary, since some employers ask their title officers to assist with recruiting new clients and maintaining old ones.
Step 3: Licensure or Certification for Career Advancement
Licensed real estate brokers and sales agents may work as title officers, but dedicated title officers not involved in the sales portion of real estate don't need to be licensed. Depending on the state you live in, there are options for voluntary certification. For example, in Pennsylvania, the Association of Title Examiners (ATE) offers two certifications: the Certified Title Examiner (CTE) or Senior Certified Title Examiner (SCTE). These certifications are meant for individuals who examine land records in county courthouses or those who are at the highest skill level in their position and have experience. Both exams include multiple-choice questions and an essay.
The National Association of Land Title Examiners and Abstractors (NALTEA) provides two national certifications for title abstractors: the NALTEA Certified Abstractor (NCA) or NALTEA Master Abstractor (NMA). To qualify for the NCA, you must have three years experience and pass a test for initial certification. Then, you need to complete 10 hours of continuing education every two years. For the NMA certification, you have to be an active member of NALTEA with eight years experience, in addition to the successful completion of a 100-question exam.
To become a real estate title officer, you'll need to complete education requirements, gain experience and meet any licensure requirements.