Only two percent of Realtors nationwide take their profession to the next level by becoming a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest credential in the industry.


Duane Duggan, Realtor and Author RE/MAX of Boulder

To earn a real estate license in Colorado, an applicant must complete a total of 168 hours of coursework covering real estate law and practice, Colorado contracts, trust accounts, legal issues, closings and practical applications. Colorado has much more stringent educational requirements than other states. Therefore, after agents are licensed and can practice real estate, it is common for many of them to stop right there when it comes to their training and professional development.

As of today, there are 46,000 real estate licenses on the books in Colorado. That number includes both active licenses and inactive ones. As of December 31, there are 26,593 real estate agents who have elected to become a Realtor®.

Becoming a Realtor is the next step if real estate agents want to strengthen their qualifications. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the industry’s leading trade organization, which been around for over 100 years. NAR develops standards for efficient, effective, and ethical real estate business practices – and provides resources including business tools, real estate market data, and educational opportunities to help Realtors® achieve a higher level of professionalism. A Realtor must take classes on the Realtor Code of Ethics and make an oath to uphold the code of ethics in dealing with both the public and with their peers. Realtors also pledge to educate themselves and advance their competency in their specific area of expertise.

Only two percent of Realtors nationwide take their profession to the next level by becoming a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest credential in the industry. In Colorado, as of today, there are 1,273 Realtors who have attained the CRS designation or about 4.7 percent of the Realtor population. The prestigious CRS designation is granted by the Residential Real Estate Council (RRC). This organization was first formed in 1976, then known as the Council of Real Estate Specialists, to provide residential real estate brokers with shared knowledge and tools. The Council is recognized as the leading provider of real estate education and networking for residential real estate agents. The Council offers training courses that Realtors must take in order to obtain the CRS designation. In addition, the Realtors must provide evidence of experience by having completed a certain number of successful transactions. A Realtor must take 30 hours of RRC training and show evidence of 60 transactions or $30 million in sales volume over the last three years. As an alternative path to the designation, Realtors with 10 years of experience and 150 transactions will meet the base requirements. The CRS designee must also commit to continuing education in order to maintain their designation.

In order to serve clients better, over 1,000 CRS designees gather once a year to attend classes, share ideas, and network with other CRS designees across the country. This year’s event, in February, will be held virtually due to COVID-19. This event features world-class speakers as well as superb educational breakout discussions that help CRS designees stay at the top of their field. CRS designees have established a nationwide network, meaning that not only can your CRS designee serve you better in your hometown, if you are planning to relocate to another town or state, your CRS designee will know another CRS designee in the place where you are moving – and this results in a more seamless move.

Benefits of working with a CRS designee:
• CRS designees receive advanced training.

• CRS designees have a proven track record of experience.

• CRS designees continuously improve their skills for success in an ever-changing real estate environment.

• CRS designees adhere to a strict code of ethics not required of an agent who is only licensed at the state level.

To find a CRS designee in your area, go to the Residential Real Estate Council (RRC) website at and click on the “Find a CRS” icon, enter location, then click “Search.”

By Duane Duggan. Duane has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail [email protected], call 303.441.5611 or visit