by John Mashack
When asked to write an article for the Examiner Magazine on obtaining the ALTA National Title Professional (NTP) Designation, several thoughts ran through my mind. First, I was flattered that a simple post on the VLTA Online Community website had inspired another member to consider, and eventually earn the NTP Designation herself. Second, I was excited about being given the opportunity to write my first article for publication on professional development in general and the NTP Designation in particular. And finally, I was a little bit terrified at the prospect of actually having to write something for others to read.
I discovered the NTP Designation in Autumn 2020 when I decided to seek additional educational opportunities in the land title industry and registered for the Virginia Certified Title Examiner (VCTE) and Virginia Certified Title Settlement Agent (VCTSA) courses offered by VLTA. The course summaries on the VLTA website stated that these certifications were approved for credit toward the NTP Designation. My interest piqued, I immediately clicked on the provided link to find out what this NTP Designation was all about. That day I started the process of becoming a National Title Professional.
Below are a few questions I encountered on my journey to earning the NTP Designation. I will also show the nuts and bolts on how I earned the required 100 NTP points to show that it is possible for others to earn this accolade as well.
What is the NTP Designation?
The National Title Professional (NTP) Designation is a professional credential for mid-career professionals in the land title industry. It is provided by the American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association that represents the land title industry. Below is a brief description of the NTP designation taken from the ALTA NTP website:
The National Title Professional (NTP) Designation is designed to recognize land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience, and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property.
What are the prerequisites?
There are several prerequisites necessary to apply for the NTP, but a few I would like to highlight are as follows: you must be currently working and have a minimum of five years of experience in the land title industry, you must meet the licensing requirements in each state where you physically conduct business, and you must be a member or employed by a member company of both ALTA and your state or regional land title association. In addition, you will need to complete three courses offered by ALTA: Title 101, Title 201, and Ethics in the Title Industry. There is also the option of completing the NTP equivalency exam in lieu of the three courses.
What do I need to do to EARN the ntp designation?
You will need to earn a total of 100 NTP points from the seven categories listed below:
- Section 4: State/Regional Land Title Association Professional Certification or Designation
- Section 5: Industry Experience
- Section 6: Attendance Record
- Section 7: ALTA Involvement
- Section 8: State/Regional Land Title Association Involvement
- Section 9: Involvement with Other Professional Organizations Related to the Land Title Industry
- Section 10: Education and Training
A maximum of 30 NTP points can be earned in each section. I earned 90 of the required 100 points by maxing out three sections: Sections 4, 6 and 10. Here is how I did it.
I earned 30 NTP points in Section 4 by obtaining the VCTE and VCTSA certifications. Either certification is sufficient to satisfy this section, both are not required.
For Section 6 I started attending monthly VLTA Committee meetings. I also attended meetings presented by other regional professional associations related to the land title industry, as well as the 2021 ALTA Springboard and the 2021 ALTA Advocacy Summit. One point per day is earned for every meeting you attend over the preceding 5 years.
Section 10 was the easiest to earn 30 NTP points. I simply added up the preceding 5 years of Continuing Education (CE) credit needed for my Virginia and DC Title Producer licenses. You earn one point for each half day (0-4 hour) course and two points for each full day (5-8 hour) course.
Finally, I earned one point for each of the 17 years of industry experience, plus some a few other miscellaneous points here and there, to get me over the 100-point line.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST to EARN the ntp designation?
In addition to the expenses required to maintain your state Title Producer licenses, there is the cost for obtaining the VCTSA or VCTE certification. The current price for the VCTSA course is $310 for VLTA members and $570 for non-members. At this time, the VCTE course is being revamped and will be updated and released shortly.
Prices for the three ALTA prerequisite courses and the NTP equivalency exam are listed below.
- Title 101: $199 for ALTA members; $299 for non-members
- Title 201: $199 for ALTA members; $299 for non-members
- Ethics in the Title Industry: $150 for ALTA members; $225 for non-members
- NTP equivalency exam: $99
Earning NTP points for Section 8: State and Regional Land Title Association Involvement can be accomplished relatively inexpensively. Attendance to the VLTA monthly meetings is free. Most of the education webinars offered by ALTA are free as well. You can visit the ALTA website for registration information and pricing for ALTA events, including ALTA Springboard, ALTA Advocacy Summit, and ALTA ONE.
Section 10: Education and Training should not bear too much of an additional expense because you should be able to earn the maximum 30 NTP points offered by tallying up your CE credit hours for your Title Producer license over the last 5 years. I earned 9 points in this section from the 2021 VLTA Annual Convention alone.
Finally, a non-refundable $95 application fee is due when submitting the NTP Designation application.
I went to the VLTA Annual Convention last year. Can I put that under both Section 6 Attendance Record and Section 10: Education and Training?
You can put it in either section but not both. You cannot request points for the same event in more than one section. On my application I listed six points under Section 10 for the 6 hours of CE credit I earned at the convention. I completed the last three CE hours of on-demand courses after submitting my application so I will reserve those for my renewal application.
Now that I have THE NTP Designation, what do I need to do to keep it?
The NTP Designation is valid for three years, expiring on December 31 of the third year following designation. The renewal process is similar to the initial application process. However, for renewal you will only need to earn 30 NTP points in the following four sections:
- Section 3: State/Regional Certification or Designation
- Section 4: ALTA Attendance, Involvement and Education
- Section 5: Attendance and Involvement with State/Regional Land Title Associations and Other Professional Organizations Related to the Land Title Industry
- Section 6: Education and Training
A minimum of 10 NTP points must be earned in Section 4 and a maximum of 20 points can be earned in Section 3. Essentially, you will need to maintain your Title Producer licenses, VCTE/VCTSA certifications, and participate in ALTA sponsored events, meetings and webinars and you should satisfy the requirements for NTP Designation renewal. You will also need to pay a $95 renewal application fee.
What are some benefits of obtaining the NTP Designation?
I have been an NTP since January 1, 2022, but I’ve already observed quite a few benefits in that short time. Below are a couple of benefits I’ve noticed in the 6 months I’ve been an NTP.
- More nuanced understanding of the title industry
- Several gaps in knowledge and education have been filled in
- Increased confidence in what I can offer to my customers, employer, coworkers, and other title professionals
- Higher reputation within the title industry
- More opportunities for networking
I wrote this piece hoping to inspire others to begin their own NTP journey. I would be extremely gratified if other Virginia title industry professionals would join me in becoming National Title Professionals. As of writing this, there are 97 NTP Designees on the ALTA NTP Directory, with only 5 from Virginia. I challenge my fellow VLTA members to increase the Virginia representation of NTP Designees to double digits.