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Every March, since 1976, auctioneers have joined together in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University campus for classes, culminating in earning the Certified Auctioneer Institute designation.

The Indiana Auctioneers Association started this program, and it quickly grew to the point that their state association was overly burdened with interest.

The Auction Marketing Institute was created and administered the Certified Auctioneer Institute on a nationwide basis until around 2002 when the National Auctioneers Association and the Auction Marketing Institute started to discuss merger plans. Shortly after, a merger was completed, and the National Auctioneers Association now manages the Certified Auctioneer Institute via the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute and Trustees.

Auctioneers wishing to be confirmed with the Certified Auctioneer Institute designation take one-week classes for three years, and prepare a final auction summary report. After successfully completing all the classes, and obtaining a sufficient grade on the auction summary report, that auctioneer is awarded the Certified Auctioneer Institute (CAI) designation.

CAI designees must maintain their designation by completing 24 hours of continuing education every three years, and paying the annual dues which entitle that auctioneer to audit courses in the future.

Some designees who have not paid their annual dues and/or not submitted their continuing education are able to say, on their website or otherwise, that they are “graduates of the CAI program,” or “have completed the CAI program,” but not able to put the CAI letters after their name.

Another topic that has been discussed is if a person wishing to take the CAI classes must be a member of the National Auctioneers Association. At this time, membership in the National Auctioneers Association is not required to take these classes, nor earn the CAI designation.

Current eligibility to enter the CAI program includes:

  • Two or more years of full-time experience in the auction profession
  • At least 21 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or the equivalent

Courses cover such topics as business structure and planning, ethics, technology, marketing, communication and listening skills, legal issues, financial and accounting principles, advertising, public relations, and various ways to effectively market real and personal property.

Most who attend report that the friendships and relationships developed during CAI are as valuable as the course material. Many CAI graduates note that they still work with fellow classmates, and/or have referred business to those met at CAI.

As with any classes, there is much discussion during breaks, lunch, dinner, and after class. With these auctioneers being physically away from their businesses for a week at a time, focus is put on getting to know each other, and learning from each other.

The National Auctioneers Association notes that:

    Designation holders have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality services to all types of clients. In addition, their designation indicates to attorneys, trust officers, government officials, financial planners, accountants, real estate professionals, and others who seek the services of well-qualified auctioneers, that the CAI designation holder is an astute business person who upholds the highest professional standards.

Any auctioneer wishing to enhance their business skills, and further their knowledge of the auctioneering industry, is well advised to attend the Certified Auctioneer Institute.

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.