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Professional designations show expertise, training

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by Jan K. Allen

SBJ Contributing Writer

Real estate professionals often list a string of designations behind their names to indicate their professional education and areas of specialty, but what exactly do the designations mean?

Some designations indicate the bearer has gone the extra mile to upgrade his or her knowledge and expertise in real estate in general, or in a certain segment of the business, while others are prestigious distinctions, available only to an elite corps of professionals.

All designations represent time, effort and money spent, along with personal prestige. NAR, the National Association of Realtors, supports a number of the designations and has designed a brochure describing what is available.

Graduate, Realtor Institute. The most common and recognizable designation is the GRI, which is earned by residential real estate professionals who want to be recognized for a high standard of professionalism in the field.

The GRI designation is supported by NAR, and some of the required classes are periodically available through the local board of Realtors. A schedule of courses offered by the local board, as well as by boards of Realtors throughout the state, is available through the local organization.

Today's Realtor can potentially earn 14 different designations. Nearly all denote some specialty education, training or experience and are approved or supported by NAR.

Accredited Buyer Representative. Candidates for the ABR designation must complete the course requirement and submit five transactions in which they represented the buyer, according to David Martin, director of REBAC.

Designees in the program have grown from 3,000 in the mid 1990s to more than 12,000 today, Martin said. Closely related to ABR is ABRM, Accredited Buyer Representative Manager. This is for brokers, owners and managers involved in training and recruiting of buyer agents.

Accredited Land Consultant. The ALC designation is broken down into five categories and is given by the Realtors Land Institute upon completion of stringent requirements. Courses are offered in each state annually and candidates must travel to the nearest location to complete the required studies, according to a representative of the institute.

Certified Commercial Investment Member. The CCIM is designed for professionals who want to be known as experts in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, asset management, valuation and investment analysis. The Institute maintains a web site which outlines courses and provides details on requirements and prerequisites.

Certified International Property Specialist. Realtors with the CIPS designation work with buyers and sellers from different countries or cultures. This is another designation supported by NAR.

Certified Property Manager. Offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management, CPM course studies allow the candidate to acquire the skills that put him or her on the competitive edge in property management, and residential, commercial and industrial real estate.

Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager. The CRB is available through the Realtors National Marketing Institute. It provides the designee the skills to successfully meet the challenge of brokerage management.

Certified Residential Specialist. The CRS designation, also offered by the Realtors National Marketing Institute, entails advanced study in listing and selling property. The courses involved help designees meet established production levels.

Counselor of Real Estate. The CRE designation is a member-only designation available only to an elite few. The 1,000 members worldwide are accepted by invitation only.

General Accredited Appraiser. The GAA designation gives the appraiser the added distinction of education and experience beyond the basic requirements. The program is supported by NAR.

Leadership Training Graduate. The LTG designation focuses on career improvement and individual goal attainment.

This designation is supported by the Women's Council of Realtors.

Realtor Association Certified Executive. The RCE is another NAR supported designation.

Those who attain the RCE are recognized for their specialized industry knowledge, their academic and association achievements, and experience, according to institute information.

Residential Accredited Appraiser. The NAR-supported RAA designation offers the same recognition as the GAA, specifically in the field of residential appraisal.

Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. The SIOR designation identifies top producers in industrial and office real estate brokerage.

Another elite group, the worldwide designation mandates regular recertification, assuring clients of the designee's excellence in the field.


The counselor of real estate designation is held by only 1,000 members worldwide who are accepted by invitation only.[[In-content Ad]]


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