The real estate industry is saturated with an
abundance of real estate designations, certifications and membership accreditations.
In some regards it appears that the industry has almost exhausted all standard
three letter combinations.
This is largely due to the fact that real estate industry spans many different
professions and occupations such as brokerage, appraisal, construction, inspection
etc., as well as various functions such as sales, management, administration,
etc. and over numerous types of real estate such as residential, commercial,
agriculture, resorts, etc.
In each of these market segments or niches there are many Institutes, Associations,
Councils and Societies resulting in various different designations and certifications.
Although most have very specific rules governing the awarding of their accreditations,
there is no consistency across the board and it is almost impossible to detail,
compare or rank the different real estate designations and certifications.
To the best of our knowledge there is no definitive list of all real estate designations
across all real estate related industries, and neither does our list claim that
List merely serves as an attempt by RealtyU® to create
as comprehensive a resource as possible as a guideline and resource for our constituents
- residential real estate agents and brokers - providing them with an easily
accessible source to find, check and make sense of the alphabet soup of designations
they come in contact with.
RealtyU®, the largest network of real estate schools and colleges in the
country, educates and trains over 200,000 real estate professionals every year
and does so over a large variety of real estate related fields. RealtyU® and/or
its schools have strategic alliances with or licensing or training agreements
to teach a number of the below listed courses - although there are many Institutes,
Associations, Councils and Societies with which we have no relationship at all.
This list is not intended to provide a benefit or preference to some and not
others, rather it is merely a comprehensive alphabetical listing of related real
What is the Focus?
The primary focus of this list is to serve the residential real estate agent
industry. Depending upon the economy, the number of residential real estate agents
may vary from year to year. However, as a rule of thumb, there are about 1.5 to
2.4 million agents that hold a real estate sales agent or broker license. It
is widely accepted that 50 to 60% of this group (1 to 750,000 million) are agents
that derive their primary income from the marketing and selling of real estate.
In 2005 the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) membership surpassed
an all time record of 1,300,000 REALTORS®; representing approximately 80
to 90% of all active/full time real estate agents and brokers. Many of the industry's
most well known real estate designations such as CRS, GRI, ABR, etc., are awarded
and managed by a Society that is part of the National Association of REALTORS®.
However, there is also a growing number of sought after real estate designations
such as AHS, CSP, CNS, CNE etc., that are non-NAR designations and are awarded and
managed by a variety of independent Societies.
How Many Designees Are There?
Across the entire real estate industry it is anyone's guess as to how many designees
there are for the various designations. Even just identifying the total number
of residential real estate agents that hold a real estate designation is a very
complex task. This is further complicated by the fact that many real estate agents
hold more than one real estate designation thereby skewing the results.
With that said, it is estimated that about 200,000 real estate agents hold one
or more of the top 30 real estate designations focusing on residential real estate.
It is further estimated that these 200,000 professionals account for the lion's
share of the 6+ million residential real estate transactions that take place
every year. No accurate statistics are available but many believe that the 80/20
rule applies. 80% of the business is done by 20% of the agents and brokers. It
is very likely the 20% is comprised largely by the same 200,000 holding designations.
Obviously, having a real estate designation does not guarantee that you will
be successful. However, education gained by attending quality classes such as
those represented by many of the real estate designation and certifications listed
below clearly contributes significantly toward improving your skills, increasing
your professionalism and usually results in an increase in your income.