Before reading into this page, keep in mind two broad definitions:
Designation: A "designation" usually involves specific training for a specific discipline. For instance, by earning an "Accredited Buyer Representative" (ABR) designation, brokers and agents are better able to work on problems unique to residential home buyers. Most of the skills learned in the ABR program are best put to use on the buyer side of the transaction.
Certification: A "certification" course offers specific skills that can be used in a variety of aspects of real estate. For instance, the "e-PRO" certification course teaches sales associates the finer points of using technology in their businesses. The e-PRO skills can be used on behalf of buyers or sellers, in an agent's personal marketing, or in working with other participants in the transaction.
Also keep in mind, however, there are no certification or designation police, and often certification courses will look like designation courses and vice versa.
Here are some of the designations and certifications offered in the industry. Those recognized or offered by the National Association of Realtors are marked with an asterisk "*."
Accredited Association Management Company, offered by the Community Associations Institute to professional managers.
Accredited Auctioneers, Real Estate, offered by the National Auctioneers Association.
Accredited Buyer Representative, offered by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council.
Accredited Buyer Representative Manager, offered by REBAC.
At Home with Diversity Certification, offered by the National Association of Realtors and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Accredited Home-Staging Specialist offered by RealtyU.
Accredited Land Consultant, offered by the Realtors Land Institute
Accredited Luxury Home Specialist offered by RealtyU.
Association Management Specialist, offered by the Community Associations Institute to those who have learned how to manage home owner and condo associations.
Certified Commercial Investment Member, offered by the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute (CIREI).
Certified Distressed Property Expert, offered by the Distressed Property Institute.
Certified Neighborhood Specialist, offered by the Council of Neighborhood Specialists, RealtyU.
Certified Consumer Real Estate Consultant, offered by the National Association of Real Estate Consultants
Certified Exclusive Buyer Agent, offered by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.
Certified Graduate Builder, offered by the National Association of Home Builders.
Certified Property Manager, offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management.
Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager, offered by the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council.
Certified Real Estate Appraiser, offered by the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers.
Certified Relocation Professional, offered by the Employee Relocation Council.
Certified Residential Specialist, offered by the Council of Residential Specialists.
Counselor of Real Estate, offered by the Counselors of Real Estate.
Certified ShortSale Professional (CSP) offered by RealtyU.
Certified Staging Professional for home staging, offered by Certified Staging Professionals.
Real Estate Divorce Specialist, offered by the Financial Divorce Association.
Distinguished Real Estate Instructor, offered by the Real Estate Educators Association.
e-PRO, offered by the Internet Crusade.
ecoBroker is available from the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals.
Green Certified Real Estate Professional is offered by the Green Real Estate Education Company.
The Green Property Advisor is offered by Allied Schools.
NAR's sustainable property designation is offered by NAR's Green Resource Council.
General Accredited Appraiser, offered by the National Association of Realtors.
Graduate-Realtor Institute, offered by state Realtor associations, see state Realtor association Web sites.
Leadership Training Graduate, offered by the Women’s Council of Realtors. Being phased out, see PMN below.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design offered by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Quality Service Certified, offered by Quality Service Certification Inc.
Performance Management Network, offered by the Women's Council of Realtors.
Realtor association Certified Executive, offered by the National Association of Realtors.
Residential Accredited Appraiser, offered by the National Association of Realtors.
Real Estate Divorce Specialist, offered by the Real Estate Divorce Specialists.
REF Designation, offered by the Agent Referral Council.
Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, offered by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.