10 Most Popular Real Estate Agent Designations

Couple shaking hands with real estate agent in office

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The designations used by real estate agents can represent anything from two hours of online study to months of classroom education. Some designations are available to agents based solely on agent experience, extensive qualifications, and payment of a huge fee. Here are the 10 most popular real estate agent designations.

Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)

The Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council grants this designation to real estate agents who pass an online self-paced course to represent buyers as a buyer's agent. Unlike exclusive buyer's agents who never represent sellers, an agent who has earned this designation may elect to work as a listing agent or a buyer's agent. Additional qualifications include documentation of completed single-agency transactions—either before or after graduation—membership in the National Association of Realtors, and membership in the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council.

Accredited Consultant in Real Estate (ACRE)

To become an Accredited Consultant in Real Estate, agents download the coursebook, read and study it, and take the exam online. It teaches agents how to use a consulting approach versus a sales approach. There are no additional qualifications, but to be listed as an ACRE member on the company's website, an additional fee is required.

Accredited Seller Representative (ACR)

Offered through Realty U Online, this course is designed to improve a listing agent's professionalism and refine the dimension of service to sellers. Agents can choose between online or in-class courses and must pass the exam. You will also need membership in the National Association of Realtors, membership for a fee in the Seller Agency Council, documentation of closed single-agency transactions, and letters of recommendations from sellers of the above transactions

At Home With Diversity (AHWD)

Sponsored by the National Association of Realtors, AHWD—which is a certification, not designation—promises to increase agent awareness and sensitivity to people of different cultures. Agents can choose between in-class attendance or an online course. The certification can be used as credit toward other designations such as CRS.

Counselor of Real Estate (CRE)

The Counselors of Real Estate offers membership in its organization by invitation only. To be eligible, an agent must have at least 10 years in the business with related counseling experience and be recognized for excellence. Additional qualifications include objective analysis experience, adherence to the organization's Code of Ethics, and membership in the National Association of Realtors.

Certified Residential Specialist (RRC)

The Residential Real Estate Council says agents who hold a CRS designation earn four times more than average agents. Agents must pass 4–6-unit courses, depending on how many transactions they have closed within a specified time period. Emphasis is on education to better represent residential clients. Along with an application fee, additional qualifications include membership in the National Association of Realtors, membership in a local board of Realtors, and membership in the Residential Real Estate Council.

Certified Internet Professional (ePRO)

Sponsored by the National Association of Realtors, ePRO is an online course about using email, social media, navigating the internet, and incorporating digital devices into the workplace. To use this designation, agents must pass an online exam, be a Realtor, and a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI)

 Approved by the National Association of Realtors and offered through state Realtor associations, agents who desire a GRI designation must complete a minimum of 90–95 hours of coursework on the state that licenses them, and pass the exams. Education covers law, practice, finance, taxes, exchanges, and more. 

Additional qualifications include membership as a Realtor in the National Association of Realtors, membership as a Realtor in the state association of Realtors, and membership as a Realtor in a local board of Realtors.

Quality Service Certification (QSC)

Quality Service Certification, Inc. gives agents a choice between live or online coursework, and the material emphasizes accountability, superior service, and professionalism. Agents get two chances to pass the exam and must sign a commitment to be professional, accountable, and to participate in a survey for every transaction. Agents must also participate in client satisfaction surveys and pay a fee for each one. Agent ratings are published online.

Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

Sponsored by the National Association of Realtors, the SRES designation is for agents who work with buyers and sellers over the age of 55. Coursework is offered as a two-day live class, online, or a combination of the two, and agents must pass an exam. Along with membership in the National Association of Realtors, agents must pay annual dues for membership in SRES Council.