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Many people who attend auctions, buy and sell otherwise including real estate, grow up in an auction family or environment, or are looking for a change in career consider becoming an auctioneer. For most, the question, “Should I go to auction school?” is one question they all ponder.

First, many states in the United States require a license to act as an auctioneer. And, most of those license states require pre-licensure schooling. However, we would suggest no matter any state’s requirements, auction school is a good idea for anyone pursuing a career as an auctioneer.

Some wonder then, if they are going to act as an auctioneer solely in a state which doesn’t require licensing, nor schooling, why they would attend auction school? While that is a reasonable question, there is an equally reasonable answer: Just because a state doesn’t mandate auctioneer licensing, all states have laws regarding the conduct of auctions, and the lack of knowledge about those laws will likely result in unwanted liability.

For instance, all states (except Louisiana) have adopted the UCC 2-328 which is known as “Sale by Auction.” These laws as adopted dictate contract formations at auction, types of auctions, seller withdrawal and buyer retraction; these are critical laws every auctioneer must know.

Further, in some cases, auction staff such as clerks, cashiers, and ringman, plus other family or associates involved in the auction business are also advised to complete auction school. Auction school is much more than learning to talk fast — and that myriad of other issues are important for anyone involved in the auction business.

Auction school training (except for Pennsylvania) is mandated as a minimum of 80 hours of education. Topics include bid calling, ethics, contracts, UCC 2-328, appraisal, business structures, agency and fiduciary duties, insurance, livestock, farm equipment, cars, charity auctions, probate issues, firearms at auction and the ATF, consignment auctions, on-site auctions, staffing, auction terminology, auctioneer health issues, computers and software, Internet bidding, catalog and specialty auctions, settlement and file maintenance, public address systems (wired and wireless), public speaking, advertising and marketing, booking auctions, auctioneer associations (including the National Auctioneers Association), and many other topics.

For most students, auction school is the start of their auctioneer career and the beginning of many lasting relationships with fellow students and instructors. At the same time, this 80-hour learning experience can help auctioneers and their staff avoid unnecessary problems and issues due to an ignorance of the laws and customs of the auction industry.

Should I go to auction school? If you want to be an auctioneer, or learn about the auction business to be of service to an auctioneer or auction company, the answer is, “Yes, you should attend auction school.”

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.