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How Do I Get an Auctioneer License?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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Auctioneers have been a part of our society since 500 B.C. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the auctioneer craft is a highly sought-after one. After hearing a traditional auctioneer "chant," many people wish to learn this art, though becoming an auctioneer is not as easy as it might seem. Essentially, there are three different ways of gaining an auctioneer license.

Often, the auction business is a family-run one. Thus, a large number of auctioneers simply take over the family business when the opportunity arises. Most of these auctioneers have been trained to run an auction by observing other family members. While this is the most common way of gaining an auctioneer license, there are other possibilities if you are not the heir to an auction house.

By enrolling in an auctioneer program at a local college, you can gain the expertise required to become an auctioneer. These programs are often offered at technical schools, though some universities may also offer similar programs. Typically, an auctioneer program will last from one week to one semester depending upon the school. All students enrolled in this type of program will learn basic auctioneer skills.

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Another great way to gain auctioneer experience is to become an apprentice. Many auction houses will hire apprentices to perform various duties. This type of hands-on experience is often priceless, and it will help you towards securing an auctioneer license. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that only licensed auctioneers can help you gain a license.

In addition to schooling and gaining experience, many successful auctioneers also enroll in marketing programs. A large part of any auction heavily relies upon strong marketing tactics. Auctioneers must be able to sell items, describe items, and create ways to entice buyers. The main difference between a well-paid auctioneer and one that, well, isn't has a lot to do with obtaining marketing skills.

The ways in which to gain an auctioneer license may vary from country to country, though the three main steps listed above often remain the same. Combining specialized schooling with a productive apprenticeship is a highly recommended course for all aspiring auctioneers. Even though the auction world may seem rather simplistic, this is a profession that requires a vast amount of skill, charm, and general know-how. Almost all auctioneer jobs can be found by applying directly to auction houses, though a valid auctioneer license is required in all cases.

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kentuckycat
Post 4

I have a pretty random question to ask. Why is it that auctioneers talk so fast and is it a requirement with the job?

I am only asking because I have not seen a single auctioneer yet that cannot at least talk semi fast and I would think that for someone that does not talk fast or project their voice well would have a major problem trying to obtain an auctioneers license.

I guess there are a lot of behind the scenes stuff that goes on at an auction house and that this may be more important than the actual auction itself. However, it seems like auctioneers are relegated to being targeted towards certain people that have certain qualities and does not seem like anyone could do it or even just get their license.

matthewc23
Post 3

It seems to me like auctioneering is a craft or an art form that has been perfected over centuries of trial and error.

A good auctioneer has to be able to combine flair with business and at the same time not focus all the attention to themselves. They are salesmen in a sense, in that they are selling the item that is being auctioned off and they need to focus the attention on that item.

However, the auctioneer has to be charismatic enough to be able to keep people interested in the auction as there are a lot of items available for sell and most people will only be interested in a couple of items. This is why the flair aspect was created as auctions can become events that can both entertain people as well as be able to conduct business.

TreeMan
Post 2

@jmc88 - I was told by many people that if they are planning to become an auctioneer it is much better to get an internship or an apprenticeship as opposed to taking classes.

I have been told the behind the scenes duties that occur are self explanatory and that school is not totally necessary in order to learn this part.

As far as the actual conduction of the auctions goes, it is something that simply comes for experience and cannot be taught in a classroom. There are way too many intangibles involved in the actual conduction of the auction that classes can only teach you so much of what to look for and the best way to actually become successful at this craft is to gain experience and learn while you do it.

jmc88
Post 1

I know a guy who got an auctioneer's license and he told me he took the apprentice path and it was rather easy.

This guy I know told me that what they made him do was come to the auction house everyday, just like a normal job, and simply watch the auction from the place people bid, while another auctioneer pointed things out to him to look for.

He told me that although it may seem complex that the actual part of conduction an auction simply comes down to experience and being charismatic to the crowd. All the behind the scenes things that go on should be expected with the job and is really just like a regular job.

He was afraid he could not talk fast enough either, but all the auctioneers told him that it comes with time the more auctions you conduct and the more accustomed you get being up front. With experience you are able to think quicker on your feet and this comes with pure experience.

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