Title Examiner: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a title examiner. Learn about job duties, education and training requirements, along with salary information, to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Title Examiner?

A title examiner locates and researches records of real estate ownership. This involves studying mortgages, liens, judgments, easements, plat books, maps, contracts and agreements. Title examiners are also responsible for knowing what legal instruments apply to a given estate, including taxes. All the documentation they review needs to be summarized, organized and filed for future reference. Detailed information on this career can be found in the following table.

Education Required High school diploma or GED
Training Required On-the-job training as a searcher or abstractor
Key Responsibilities Locate and recover public title records, information verification
Certification Certified Title Examiner, Senior Certified Title Examiner
Projected Job Outlook (2014-24) -0.3% (title examiners, abstractors, & searchers)*
Median Salary (2015) $44,370* (title examiners, abstractors, & searchers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Title Examiner?

Your main responsibility as a title examiner is to locate and recover public title records. The purpose of a title search may be to establish ownership of land or other property, ensure the strength of an ownership claim, or determine if there are existing claims for unpaid assessments, bills or taxes on a property. Specific duties include establishing the validity of individual titles; verifying facts in liens, judgments, contracts and mortgages; preparing lists of all legal documents associated with a parcel of land or piece of property; sharing title-related information with law enforcement personnel, lenders, buyers, sellers and contractors; and entering new or corrected information into title records.

Where Could I Work?

Little to no growth is projected in the field for the 2014-2024 decade. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported employment numbers of about 54,620, not including any examiners who were self-employed.

According to the BLS, legal services firms and insurance companies are your leading employment prospects. You can find a smaller number of opportunities with real estate firms, oil and gas extraction companies and local government agencies. The BLS notes that title examiners, abstractors and searchers earned a median of $44,370 as of 2015.

What Education Would Help Me?

In some cases a high school diploma or GED is sufficient for employment as a title examiner. O*Net OnLine reports around 56% of title examiners, abstractors and searches have only a diploma or the equivalent. You might receive on-the-job training as a searcher or abstractor, then transition into a title examiner position.

Associate's degree programs in paralegal studies can also prepare you to work as an examiner. Paralegal programs primarily train you in the basics of law and legal research in order to assist attorneys. However, the skills you develop in document management and the retrieval and interpretation of public records are directly applicable to the career of a title examiner. Courses in real estate law and insurance law can provide relevant background knowledge.

Is Certification Available?

At least one organization provides certification for examiners. You can obtain the Certified Title Examiner and the Senior Certified Title Examiner designations from the Association of Title Examiners. Each has a certification exam composed of multiple choice, essay and true/false questions requiring a score of 80% or better to pass.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some other related careers that require many of the same skills include those of license clerks, loan interviewers and paralegals. License clerks are responsible for reviewing applications for licensure and verifying document authenticity. Loan interviewers review applications for loans, examine related documents and interview applicants to determine if they are fit for a loan. Paralegals typically have an associate's or bachelor's degree, and they assist lawyers by researching the facts of a case, preparing case files and speaking with clients or witnesses.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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