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Auctioneer

Find out how to become an auctioneer, and see what the job entails, including areas of concentration. Learn what apprenticeship and training programs are available to you, and learn what the career prospects are for auctioneers.

Is Auctioneering for Me?

Career Overview

An auctioneer is a sales agent who directs the process of buying and selling goods and services at an auction. As an auctioneer, you might perform a wide variety of tasks beyond directing the bidding war. Your responsibilities can include setting up and taking down the auction, organizing item lots, creating auction catalogs, preparing paperwork and acting as an appraiser, valuing the items for sale.

During an auction, an auctioneer, also called a colonel, typically stands at a podium in front of the crowd of bidders, using a rapid form of speaking known as chanting. They do this to describe items, take bids and build excitement in the crowd. As an auctioneer, you can choose to specialize in selling one type or a variety of items. Some items you might sell are agricultural equipment, antiques, paintings or livestock.

Employment Information

You could be a self-employed auctioneer or work for an auction house. As of April 2014, PayScale.com reported that the annual pay for most auctioneers ranged from $24,629-$102,439 when they earned take home pay (including bonuses and profit-sharing) in the 10th-90th percentile range; the median reported salary was $48,940.

How Do I Become an Auctioneer?

Education and Training

Most auctioneers learn the trade through a formal training program or an apprenticeship with an experienced auctioneer. You can find auctioneering programs at community colleges and career centers, starting at the diploma level. As part of your program, you'll learn auction coordination, management, rules, regulations and appraisal information-gathering procedures. Topics might also include advertising and promotions, voice methods and selling skills, as well as auction-specific computer systems and business practices. Formal training programs might take several months of study.

Licensing and Certification

Some states require you to complete a training program to gain an auctioneer's license. In addition to formal training, state licensing requirements might include completing an apprenticeship, participating in live auctions and passing an exam. Other requirements can include passing a background check and, if you plan to sell real estate, possessing a real estate license.