Determining Whether You Need Additional Training and Professional Certifications

After you have worked in real estate for about a year, you should have a pretty good grasp of the work and will hopefully have a few transactions under your belt. As you begin to discover aspects of the profession that you especially enjoy or markets that you really like, you may want to start thinking about getting additional training and specialization to continue improving and honing your skills.

A good way to do that is to consider getting a designation or certification that tells potential clients that you are highly trained in a particular aspect of the business. The National Association of REALTORS®, and its affiliated institutes, societies, and councils offer a number of opportunities for you to receive additional training and become designated in a particular specialty.

Following are a list of the designations you might want to consider and where you can get additional information:

  • Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). Conferred by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), this designation is for real estate professionals who focus on all aspects of buyer representation. For more information, contact REBAC at 1-800-648-6224 or visit the REBAC Web site.
  • Accredited Land Consultant (ALC). Conferred by the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI), the ALC designation recognizes experts in land brokerage transactions of five specialized types: (1) farms and ranches; (2) undeveloped tracts of land; (3) transitional and development land; (4) subdivision and wholesaling of lots; and (5) site selection and assemblage of land parcels. For more information, visit the RLI Web site.
  • Accredited Residential Manager® (ARM®). Conferred by IREM, this designation recognizes specialists in the management of residential properties onsite. For more information, visit the IREM Web site.
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member® (CCIM). Conferred by the CCIM Institute, this designation recognizes experts in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, asset management valuation, and investment analysis. For more information, visit the CCIM Web site.
  • Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS). Conferred by NAR, this designation recognizes real estate professionals who focus specifically on the international market. Whether traveling abroad or serving an immigrant niche in local markets, CIPS designees are trained to serve consumers in the unique aspects of international real estate. For more information, visit the CIPS Education page.
  • Certified Property Manager® (CPM). Conferred by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®), this designation recognizes practitioners who are trained experts in property and asset management, from residential to commercial to industrial properties. For more information, visit the IREM Web site.
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). Conferred by the Council of Residential Specialists, this designation serves top-producing practitioners across the country who complete advanced training in listing and selling. CRS designees benefit from nationwide referral opportunities, and sales and marketing support. For more information, visit the CRS Web site.
  • General Accredited Appraiser (GAA). Conferred by NAR, this designation is awarded to general appraisers whose education and experience exceed state appraisal certification requirements. For more information, visit the NAR Appraisal page.
  • Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI). Conferred by NAR, this designation is for residential real estate professionals who want to attain additional training to further their knowledge of real estate. For more information, contact your state REALTOR® association for course dates and locations. For contact information for your state REALTOR® associations, click here. NAR maintains a clearinghouse of information for individuals interested in the GRI program. For more information, visit the GRI database.
  • Performance Management Network. Conferred by the Women's Council of REALTORS®(WCR), this designation will replace the Leadership Training Graduate (LTG) designation after 2005. It provides curriculum training in effective negotiation, networking to generate referrals, organizational performance management, personal performance management, and cultural awareness. For more information, visit the WCR Web site.
  • Residential Accredited Appraiser (RAA). Conferred by NAR, this designation is awarded to appraisers whose education and experience exceed state appraisal certification requirements. For more information, call NAR at 1-800-874-6500, ext 8393, or visit the NAR Appraisal page.
  • Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR). Conferred by the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®, this designation recognizes practitioners who specialize in industrial and office real estate brokerage. For more information, visit the SIOR Web site.

Additional designations also are offered for more experienced real estate professionals or those in management. Learn more at NAR's education page.

In addition to designations, there also are a number of certification programs you may be interested in. These include:

  • At Home With Diversity Certification. NAR’s ground-breaking professional education initiative is designed to provide real estate professionals with training and tools to expand their business as well as homeownership opportunities for more Americans. The program provides training in working with and understanding a variety of cultures and cultural issues. For more information on this course, please visit NAR’s At Home With Diversity page.
  • e-PRO. This training program is presented entirely online to certify real estate salespeople and brokers as Internet Professionals who have been trained to use technology to do better business on the Internet. For more information on the certification, visit the e-PRO Web site.
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