REALTOR® Designation Awareness Month is recognized annually in the month of November. The National Association of REALTORS® encourages members to increase their professionalism, marketability, and proficiency through the pursuit of an officially-endorsed NAR designation or certification. If you’re not swayed merely by the new knowledge you’ll gain by earning a designation, you’ll also be happy to know that, according to NAR, a REALTOR® who earns one or more designations also earns more money. Based on data from the 2013 NAR Member Profile, the median income of REALTORS® without a designation was $33,500 and the median income of those with at least one designation was $61,100: a difference of $27,600.

The Arizona Association of REALTORS® supports your desire to gain more knowledge, more income and raise the level of professionalism throughout the real estate industry.

“The value of REALTOR® education is so much more than the letters you place behind your name,” said Barb Freestone, senior vice president, Professional & Business Development at AAR. “It’s about the skills you learn from true industry experts that will set you apart from others in your field. Earning a designation or certification helps REALTORS® reach their career goals much faster. With a comprehensive curriculum, you can expand your referral network, stand out from the crowd and raise your level of professionalism. We want you to come away from these courses with the skills you need to enact real change in your career and in our industry.”

Currently, AAR offers many NAR designations and will be adding more in the coming year. Below is a brief breakdown of a few of the designations offered by AAR. To find an upcoming class, visit the AAR calendar.

ABR®: Accredited Buyer’s Representative

This designation provides the expertise REALTORS® need to gain a competitive edge in serving today’s home buyers. Accredited Buyer’s Representatives (ABR®) stand for the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation. Not only do ABR® designees earn more, but member benefits such as publications, marketing tools, a referral network and other resources, help them maintain that edge.

Note: This is a two-day course, plus a one-day elective.

CRB: Certified Real Estate Broker Manager

To stay ahead of the competition, brokers and managers must learn new trends and business strategies to improve individual and company performance. The Certified Real Estate Broker Manager designation is open to any real estate professional and delivers the knowledge and resources needed to create opportunities to excel. After taking CRB courses, managers and brokers will be better positioned to develop and streamline operating practices, market and position his or her company, and better understand how to keep brokerage costs in check. Read about who can participate in the CRB.

GRI: Graduate, REALTOR® Institute

The GRI designation is the cornerstone of REALTOR® education. This professional development course provides REALTORS® with in-depth knowledge of legal and regulatory issues, technology, sales process and professional standards and is taught by professionals with proven track records of success.

In 2014, the GRI designation will undergo a major overhaul, evolving into a designation that can be tailored fit each individuals needs. New classes and a more streamlined approach will give REALTORS® the opportunity to earn multiple designations at once and will be flexible in terms of time and learning preference. To see how the GRI has evolved to meet the needs of today’s REALTOR® visit

SRES: Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

This designation educates REALTORS® on how to develop business building skills and the resources needed to serve the 50+ consumer. One student said recently, “I learned so much more than I expected to in this course that will help me be a better REALTOR®, no matter what age my clients are.”

RSPS: Resort & Second-home Property Specialist

NAR’s advanced education-based certification is designed for resort and second-home professionals. This core course focuses on the knowledge and skill base that real estate professionals need to specialize in buying, selling, or managing second homes in a resort, recreational, and/or vacation destination and properties for investment, development, or retirement. Find out more here.

SRS: Seller Representative Specialist

SRS is the premier seller agency designation recognizing real estate professionals who have completed special education in seller representation. The SRS covers a comprehensive look at seller representation, including marketing, but also discusses the full lineup of legal issues, Code of Ethics issues and practical issues of getting the listing from acquisition to closing.

According to one student “This class was a great investment in my business and me. I learned quite a bit about ramping up my listing presentation, how to make myself look more professional and help my customers and clients see that I have their best interests at heart…”


The e-PRO® certification teaches you the latest social media technologies to create an online presence vital to reaching today’s hyper-connected consumers. The National Association of REALTORS® has partnered with the Social Media Marketing Institute (SMMI) to develop a program to help you successfully compete in today’s ever-evolving real estate market. The new e-PRO® curriculum shows you how to use the latest social media technologies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to create an online presence vital in reaching today’s hyper-connected consumers. NAR’s e-PRO® certification also teaches REALTORS® how to take advantage of rich media and e-office strategies to run his or her business more efficiently.

Become a Certified Risk Management Specialist

AAR also offers the rCRMS (Certified Risk Management Specialist) program to REALTORS® across the state. This certification program is taught by practicing attorneys in Arizona and helps members successfully manage real estate transaction while reducing clients’ exposure to potential risk. Earning this certification will give your clients the utmost protection during their transaction!
Requirements for certification include attending one contract course, three core courses, and one elective course. The requirements must be completed within a two-year period, and rCRMS holders must recertify every two years by taking one of the contract courses.
Watch the rCRMS video to find out more!

Tell us: What designations do you have and which ones deliver the most “bang for your buck”?