Escrow Officer: Career Summary, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for escrow officers. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary information, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Escrow Officer

Escrow officers are the third persons in real estate transactions who ensure that all parties abide by the agreement made. Also considered to be title examiners, abstractors or searchers, they are often responsible for examining real-estate documents and providing a list of legal policies that apply to a particular real-estate sale. They also make sure to have copies or summaries of all documents related to sale and go over any restrictions on individual titles. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required None required
Licensure Required in some states (check with land title association or state department)
Job Duties Handling funds, paying bills, closing the escrow when the contract is complete, handling real estate transaction documents, preparing tax documents
Job Growth (2014-2024) Little to no change (for all title examiners, abstractors and searchers)*
Median Salary (2017) $45,690**

Sources: *O*Net Online, **Salary.com

What Are My Duties as an Escrow Officer?

An escrow officer is a neutral third party in real estate transactions who is responsible for holding deposits, deeds or sums in the interim before a deal is closed. As an escrow officer, you act as the medium by which buyers, sellers, borrows, lenders and sometimes brokers move capital between entities. You make sure that both parties are following the instructions of a contract before, during and after its fulfillment. You might also go by the titles of an escrow holder or loan officer. As a third party, you should be honest, willing to follow orders and able to execute commands. It is in the best interest of both parties if you are neutral and not familiar with either side.

Some of your tasks include handling funds, paying bills when authorized and closing the escrow when all contract terms are met. You'll also make sure titles are clean and all the documents for a real estate transaction are in order before a sale is closed. You may also provide documentation for tax purposes.

What Outlook Can I Anticipate From this Career?

As an escrow officer, the size of your salary may vary depending upon the value of the property involved in each deal you oversee. According to Salary.com, the median annual income of escrow officers was $45,690 as of January 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of title examiners, abstractors and searchers would have little to no growth between -1% and 1% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net Online). The salary and demand of this occupation typically correlates with the performance of the real estate industry.

What Should I Study?

The training of escrow officers is unique because it rarely involves a specialized degree. You could begin working in escrow by assisting established officers and learn the trade through these experienced holders. Or you could study business or real estate. Many colleges offer certificates and degree programs in real estate, some of which offer a specialty concentration or courses in escrow. In fact, some colleges even have an escrow management program that trains you in bookkeeping, escrow procedures, accounting, business law, accounting and real estate basics. Some states require that escrow officers gain licensure by completing an examination. Check with your state's land title association or state department to learn more about specific licensing requirements.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Other than being an escrow officer in real-estate, title examiners, abstractors or searchers may also find careers in scientific fields, technical services, financing and insurance. Other related careers include office and administrative support workers; credit analysts; and bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks. In all of these careers it is important to keep track of and organize documents. These careers also require a person to pay attention to detail, whether it be the fine print of a contract, legal policy, or account numbers.

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