A title examiner is responsible for searching through public records for ownership or title information on any kind of property, residential or commercial, to check whether the ownership is free of any restrictions or covenants and to make sure there are no public or private liens held on it; title examiners also check whether local zoning regulations are complied with in the property whose title is under examination and prepare documentation for leases, deeds, grants and easements, if necessary.
- Most title examiners start their careers as title searchers or abstractors, working in these positions for periods upwards of two years.
- There are no mandated formal education requirements and the qualification and certification requirements to become a title examiner vary from state to state.
- A high school diploma followed by an associate or bachelor's degree in subjects such as law, business, finance, public administration, government or real estate is the preferred education route.
- 2-4 years or more of work experience as a searcher or abstractor is required in most states, along with or followed by state or national level certification.
- National-level certification is provided by the National Association of Land Title Examiners & Abstractors (NALTEA); two certificates are currently awarded - (a) NALTEA Certified Abstractor (NCA); and (b) NALTEA Master Abstractor (NMA).
- Candidates applying for NCA should be active members of NALTEA, score a minimum 75% in testing conducted by NALTEA and fulfill continuing education requirements - ten hours every two years.
- NMA candidates must fulfill the same requirements as NCAs above, except that they are required to score 90% in the certificate examination. Additionally, they are required to submit the following: (a) certified statement showing at least eight years of work experience in title examination; (b) a full commercial search exercise for review; (c) letter of recommendation from any client for whom the candidate has carried out a title search and mention that the former is satisfied with the candidate's expertise and competency.
(Source: NALTEA, naltea.org)
Title examiners can work in government departments, insurance companies, real estate and property development companies, for law or title search firms. Average annual salaries are in the range of $35,000 to $40,000.