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Career Definition of a Title Examiner
A title examiner is a legal support professional who assists lawyers with many duties, including researching real estate records and examining property titles. Daily tasks of title examiners may vary based on the needs of the employer, but responsibilities will generally include researching the specific details of a title, keeping records of information gathered about titles, reporting research findings to attorneys and other legal professionals as needed and determining the legal barriers that exist in the sale of a property. Title examining is a career that requires attention to detail, research and analytical abilities, basic familiarity with property law and knowledge of terminology and other technical aspects relating to property titles. Like many other legal support professions, certain qualities, such as the ability to keep confidentiality, work independently and remain accurate under pressure, are very important.
|Education||Generally, related college coursework as a minimum requirement|
|Job Skills||Independent, calm under pressure, analytical, computer literate|
|Mean Annual Salary (2015)*||$49,840 for title examiners, abstractors and searchers|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||0.3% decline for title examiners, abstractors and searchers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Because legal support workers who specialize in property titles, including title examiners, title searchers and title abstractors, rely heavily on research and analytical abilities in order to do their work effectively, it is generally required that these professionals have completed at least some college coursework. For legal professionals, accuracy and clarity in communication and research are essential to the proper execution of work, and potential title examiners need to read documents, write reports and perform research of a certain complexity in order to properly perform their tasks. A high school education alone may not be sufficient preparation for this work. According to O*Net Online in 2016, about 40% of title examiner, abstractor and searcher jobs required at least some college-level coursework, with 2% requiring a bachelor's degree (www.onetonline.org).
It is important for title examiners to be able to work independently, to see a research project through to completion and to be able to report the findings of their research accurately and clearly. The ability to analyze information is important for many legal support professionals, including title examiners, as is the ability to tolerate pressure, since law offices often work against strict deadlines. Title examiners also need to be able to work extensively with computers, performing somewhat routine, protocol-based work while sitting at a desk.
Economic and Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average hourly wage for title examiners, abstractors and searchers was $23.96 hourly and $49,840 annually, as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Little or no growth, and maybe even a slight decline, is expected in this field from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
If working as a title examiner interests you because you would like to work in the legal field, you might also consider becoming a paralegal, legal assistant or legal secretary.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant
Most paralegals and legal assistants have associate's degrees in paralegal studies, although some have bachelor's degrees in other fields and earn certificates in paralegal studies. These professionals support lawyers by maintaining files, writing documents and conducting research. About as fast as average employment growth of 8% was anticipated from 2014-2024 for this career by the BLS. As of May 2015, paralegals and legal assistants earned, on average, $25.19 per hour or $52,390 per year, the BLS reported.
Working under the supervision of paralegals or lawyers, these secretaries prepare legal papers and help with legal research. Although formal training isn't always required, many legal secretaries attend vocational schools and community colleges for courses related specifically to the legal profession. Projected job growth for legal secretaries was slower than the average of all occupations with a 4% decline from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Legal secretaries earned an average wage of $22.34 per hour, or $46,470 per year, the BLS reported in May 2015.