Many schools offer online certificate and associate degree programs in real estate that include information needed to become an escrow officer. These programs can usually be completed 100% online, with students accessing courses and assignments when their schedules permit.
Licensing is required for many positions in the real estate industry, including for brokers, sales agents and mortgage loan officers. Students should make sure that any education program they are considering meets their state's licensing standards.
Real Estate Certificate
Students can obtain the necessary skills and knowledge leading to a career as an escrow officer through a broader certificate program in real estate. Escrow officers liaise between buyers and sellers to ensure all financial and legal obligations are fulfilled before funds change hands and a property becomes occupied, and it's these financial and legal obligations that are explored in real estate certificate programs. Students gain a broad overview of how property is bought and sold, including marketing, investment, financing, appraisal and property management. Programs also explore the role and responsibilities of sales people and brokers in the process of buying and selling real estate.
Program Information and Requirements
Certificate programs in real estate can often be completed in less than a year. Online programs are available for students unable to relocate for school or currently employed. Students need a computer and Internet access. Students usually use an online course management system, view presentations online and communicate with instructors by e-mail.
Escrow officers must be versed in applicable laws and legislation, proper transaction procedures, and possess a general knowledge of real estate transactions.
Legal Issues in Real Estate
This course covers some of legal issues encountered in real estate, such as probate sales, joint tenancy, sales contracts, trust deeds, the landlord-tenant relationship and escrows. Class discussions and case studies are at the heart of the course.
Financial Issues in Real Estate
Students develop a basic vocabulary of financial terms and are introduced to key real estate finance principles. Some topics of discussion are money and credit sources for mortgage funds and property appraisal.
Basics of Real Estate Practice
This course gives students a comprehensive idea of the everyday life of a real estate professional. Topics of discussion include the listing and purchase agreement, good customer service practices, handling financial transactions, taxation, and property management.
Associate of Arts - Real Estate
An Associate of Arts in Real Estate is an appropriate educational option for students interested in pursuing a career as an escrow officer. An associate degree prepares students for careers in a few different areas of real estate, including escrow. Common procedures in buying and selling real estate are introduced, along with property management, business skills and concepts in real estate law, appraisal, taxation and economics. These programs also typically cover real estate licensing requirements.
Program Information and Requirements
Students should expect to devote two years to an associate degree program. Online programs offer students the opportunity to student from home at their convenience. For online instruction, students need a computer with Internet access.
An associate degree program is comprised of some core educational requirements as well as courses specifically in real estate. Course topics cover property management, basic real estate business practices and other related legal and financial concepts.
Coursework introduces the theories and practices of assessing property value. Some topics of class discussion include methods of appraisal, residential and retail property value, market value and current industry trends.
Introduction to Real Estate Finance
Students get a broad and comprehensive overview of current practices and financial instruments common to buying and selling real estate. Topics include private and federal real estate funding and risk analysis.
Introduction to Property Management
An overview of the evolution of property management is given with emphasis on the role of the property manager, legal and administrative issues, and basic maintenance of properties. Students study and discuss current examples and case studies.
Career Information - Real Estate Certificate
Certificates enable students to seek basic, entry-level positions in various areas of real estate, such as brokerage, finance, appraisal, sales and escrow. Although a certain amount of knowledge is acquired on the job, a certificate is usually the minimum educational requirement for employment. Students often opt to continue education at the associate level, which gives graduates additional depth of knowledge and may lead to better employment opportunities.
Career Information - Associate of Arts
In November 2019, Salary.com reported the median annual salary for escrow officers was $48,849. While a formal degree is not essential, many escrow officers take courses in business and real estate. Being an escrow officer is a unique career niche that does not offer much advancement. Other related career fields include real estate brokers and sales agents, which according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was expected to see a 7% growth in employment between 2018 and 2028, which is slower than the national average (www.bls.gov).
Escrow officers handle the financial and legal minutiae of purchasing or selling a home, ensuring a pleasant and safe transaction for buyers and sellers. Online programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels for those aspiring to this profession; typically these programs can be completed entirely online.