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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

The Profession

A Melton Real Estate Sign

Most professionals in the real estate industry are salespeople or sales associates. They help people buy and sell property, as members of a brokerage. All licensed real estate agents must belong to a brokerage according to the Real Estate Council of Alberta. They must complete a series of courses and undergo a period of supervised training called "articling" before they can register as professionals. Requirements for licensing vary by province; the Alberta Real Estate Association lays out the standards for Alberta's real estate professionals. Real Estate Associates are required to take an introductory course and a Real Estate Associates program. Real Estate Associates can then become real estate brokers, allowed to own a brokerage, by meeting provincial licensing requirements that require both experience and further education. Brokerages may be independent or franchised real estate companies, operated by a broker or corporation.


Once they are licensed, they are called industry practitioners. They must register as a member of a real estate board before they can call themselves REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is trademarked by the Canadian Real Estate Association; a REALTOR® must be a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association and they must abide by a strict Code of Ethics and high standards of professional service.

The real estate industry can be a high risk industry. Often, REALTORS® are at the mercy of an unsteady market, governed by real estate booms and busts. Most REALTORS® work on commission, instead of receiving a steady salary. As a result, a REALTOR's® income varies greatly. For example, in Alberta in 2005, over half of REALTORS® earned less than $75,000 from real estate transactions, while 35% earned between $75,000 and $225,000.

Table of Contents

The Real Estate Industry is not made up of only associates and brokers but also offers a variety of careers in property management, land development, mortgage banking, and real estate appraisal. Those entering the industry also work as office assistants, rental agents, or agent assistants.

Before the 1950s, most Albertans working in real estate also worked in insurance or law. However, by the 1950s, companies started to specialize in real estate focusing exclusively on residential, commercial, recreational, industrial and/or rural real estate.


Alberta Real Estate Association. "General Information on Becoming a REALTOR®." Retrieved July 2, 2008

Alberta Real Estate Association. " Working with a REALTOR® ." Retrieved July 2, 2008

Canadian Real Estate Association. "Starting a Career." Retrieved July 2, 2008

Canadian Real Estate Association. "Career Possibilities." Retrieved July 2, 2008

Gilpin, John. Responsible Enterprise. Edmonton: Edmonton Real Estate Board Co-operative Listing Bureau Limited, 1997.

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