Make the investment. Earn a designation.

November is Designation Awareness Month

In today’s market, continuing education is your best way to stay ahead of the competition. Now more than ever, successful agents must keep current on issues, involving technology, changing legalities, and many other central components of the business. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its Institutes, Societies and Councils offer advanced education designation and certification programs to help members remain up-to-date in such a dynamic environment. Although other designations exist, only these carry an official NAR endorsement.

REALTORS® who pursue professional designations have a distinct competitive edge as a result of their increased expertise and marketability. According to NAR, the median income of REALTORS® with no designation was $26,900, and the median income of those with at least one designation was $49,300. The difference between the two is $22,400.

Designation income chart

  • There are 17 designations in the field of real estate and 36 percent of members hold at least one designation.
  • The most common designation is the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) – 21 percent of members hold this designation.

MEMBERS: Increase your professional image, marketability, productivity and income through the pursuance of a designation or certification program.

Graduate REALTOR Institute logoGet started or complete your GRI designation November 28-December 1 at the Illinois Graduate REALTOR® Institute!

Celebrate Designation Awareness Month

It’s almost November, the official month selected by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) as Designation Awareness Month.  It is a month when you can celebrate the fact that the letters after your name do mean something…they show your commitment to professionalism in the industry and your desire to provide specialized services to your clients.

The REALTOR® family of designation programs provides REALTORS® with the most up-to-date topics to broaden your scope of business and develop specialized skills to help the industry thrive.  According to NAR 2010 survey data, the median  income of REALTORS® without a designation was $29,700 and the median income of those with at least one designation was $51,500 — a difference of $21,800.

We want you to celebrate with us! The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is offering a discount of our program costs to your local association for all of our supported designation programs in the month of November.  That means the cost to add those letters after your name may be a little more attractive in November and you can join the celebration too! Contact your local association today to see what designation programs they are offering in November so that you can be part of an elite group of real estate professionals! If they are not offering a program, you can complete an online course through REALTOR® University and take a proctored exam.

And don’t forget about the upcoming Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) being held at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois November 29-December 2, 2010. If you register prior to November 4, you will receive $40 off Courses I, II and II and $20 off the Grad Course. Pre-registration closes November 17.

Check out the course calendar of designation program locations at or visit REALTOR® University.

It’s REALTOR® Back to School Time

Grider pic 0809Designations—or as I sometimes refer to them, the alphabet soup behind your name—have nothing to do with having more things to place on your business card,  but everything to do with growing your real estate career.

As the daughter of a school administrator (my junior high principal), the importance of education was stressed to me. Much to my parents’ disappointment, I only went to college for one year and graduated with a Secretarial Science Certificate. That choice, however, led me to my first involvement with real estate as a real estate secretary. I worked for a small office and got hooked on real estate. I took my salesperson test soon after my 21st birthday and never stopped taking classes. First I obtained my broker’s license. From there I earned the GRI designation from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® Graduate REALTOR® Institute.

It was during those GRI courses that I met a great mentor, REALTOR® Tom Dasso. I had been offered a position in management and Tom told me that if I was going to manage I needed to do it right and get my Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation. CRB is earned by a point system giving the broker credits for experience plus educational courses.

My next designation was ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative). Early on in my real estate career I never understood why we always had to represent the seller. I had the good fortune to serve as chair of the IAR committee that worked on the introduction of buyer agency in Illinois. It only seemed appropriate to obtain the designation that focuses on buyer representation. My most recent designation is e-Pro. The course is taken completely online and is geared towards effective communication with the growing population of Internet buyers.

I credit much of my professional and personal growth to applying the lessons learned in my designation courses to my day-to-day real estate business.

November is REALTOR® Designation Awareness Month. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered you to increase your knowledge, skills and relevance to customers. After each class make an action plan of ideas, then start applying one at a time. Too often we get overwhelmed with ideas—which freezes our brains! Master one new thing then add another. You will reap the rewards!

Get a headstart with GRI online

The popular classroom Illinois Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) is right around the corner (Nov. 30 – Dec. 3 in Bloomington), but you can get a headstart online.

Take the first step to getting your GRI by completing Course I online plus earn six hours of core continuing education credit! This online program is available for Course I only and allows students to study online and take a proctored exam at the local association after completing the course. Take advantage of this program now so you can complete it before registering for Course II in the classroom this November.

The course is sponsored by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and is available through RECampus,