Virginia Land Title Association

FAQ for Title Examiner and Title Settlement Agent Certifications

1. I have been in the title industry for many years. Will I still need to take the class as a prerequisite to taking the certification exam? Yes.

2. What is the cost of the class? For VCTE, see here. For VCTSA, see here.

3. When and where will classes be held? For VCTE, see here. For VCTSA, see here.

4. What is the cost of the exam? For VCTE, see here. For VCTSA, see here.

5. How do I pay for the exam? For VCTE, see here. For VCTSA, see here.

6. Will I need continuing education classes to keep my certification current? Yes.

7. What are the intervals for certification renewal? Renewal is required by December 31st on a biennium basis on odd numbered years.

8. Does my certification expire? Yes, at the end of the biennium.

9. I only do title construction draw updates, rundowns and recordings. Does the Title Examiner Certification apply to me? Yes, every aspect of the title search process including draw updates, rundowns and recordings is encompassed in the certification course.

10. Will there be different levels of certification? No, not at this time.

11. I only work with out of state clients. Does the Title Examiner Certification encompass this type of search as well? Yes, as long as the property is located in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

12. I own a title insurance agency and hire freelance title examiners. Can I take the exam and certify their work without each of them being certified? No.

13. If I have questions about the process or exam, who do I contact? or 800.929.8730.

14. Will there be a way to access a database of certified title examiners available to those who need title examiner services? Yes, click here for the most current list.

15. I am employed by a Virginia law firm as a title examiner and/or as a paralegal that was trained by the law firm to examine titles. As an employee of the law firm, does Title Examination Certification apply to me? Yes, the certification program is recommended for anyone who conducts any aspect of a title examination.

16. After going through a course and passing the VCTE or VCTSA Exam, will the VLTA be able to help me obtain E&O insurance with a premium discount? Yes. At this time, the provider is working with VLTA to develop the program.

17. Will the course and test be made available for home study? The VCTE Course will be online by February 1, 2014

18. I perform my title examinations via “on-line” records or remote access for several jurisdictions in Virginia. I am located outside of Virginia and examine these titles for non-resident agents and offices. Does the Title Examination Certification apply to me? Yes, as long as the searches you perform are on property located in Virginia.

19. What are the anticipated penalties for failure to comply with taking the class and passing the test? None. Certification is strictly voluntary.

20. If the class is not mandatory, why take it and incur the expense? Certification elevates and sets you apart from your competition; certification empowers you to stay on top of changes in the industry; certification enhances your ability to market your services; certification identifies you as a title industry professional; certification commands the respect that has been missing for title examiners and title settlement agents, and certification demonstrates you are invested in your professional development. Certification will meet the recommendations set by title insurance underwriters.

21. If I am already a licensed title insurance agent, does this class qualify as continuing education credits? No, not at this time.

22. How soon after successful completion of the VCTE or VCTSA class do I have to take the Exam? The Exam must be taken within 90 days of completing the course.

23. If you take the class, pass the test and become certified, will the certification transfer into a license once licensure is a requirement by the Commonwealth of Virginia/Bureau of Insurance? Currently the Virginia Land Title Association is in the process of pursuing licensure for title examiners through the Commonweatlh of Virginia. The process is ongoing, therefore, we are not presently in a position to state any requirements that may or may not be mandated by the state..

24. How many classes do I have to take? One 16-hour course followed by continuing education courses required to maintain certification.

25. Are continuing educations classes required after certification? Yes.

26. Who will be teaching the VCTE course? Julie Rutledge-Pugh.

27. Who will be teaching the VCTSA course? Karen Koogler.

28. What will the VCTE and VCTSA Exams consist of? Both Exams cover all the material contained in the Course textbook.

29. How many questions will be on the VCTE and VCTSA Exams? Both Exams consist of 100 multiple-choice questions delivered in a 120-minute format, with a passing score of 80%.

30. Is each participant required to purchase a book or can two or more share one book? Each participant is required to purchase a Course textbook. Purchase price includes Online Examination for one person. Purchase the VCTE Virginia Study Manual for Title Examiners here. Purchase the VCTSA Virginia Study Manual for Title Settlement Agents here. VLTA will stock copies for purchase for those not attending the class.

31. Is the VCTE [Title Examiner] certification class a beginning, intermediate or advanced course? The course is designed to provide knowledge, skills and procedures necessary to complete a basic title examination. While some topics are at a basic level, others are at an intermediate level.

32. What is the reason the Title Examination Certification was developed? More than 60% of title insurance claims in the Commonwealth of Virginia are the result of errors in the title search. For this reason, title insurance underwriters have identified the need for training of title examiners.

33. Is the VCTSA [Title Settlement Agent] certification class a beginning, intermediate or advanced course? The course is designed to enhance the knowledge, skill and expertise necessary to competently process, close, and post-close a settlement transaction. In addition, the course focuses on escrow, fiduciary, and risk management procedures that must be implemented in the Title Settlement Office of the future. While some topics are at a basic level, others are at an intermediate level.

34. Who is responsible for making us become certified as Title Settlement Agents? As you may be aware, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released its Integrative TILA-RESPA Proposed Rule which includes replacing the current Initial TIL and GFE with a new Loan Disclosure and replacing the current HUD-1 and Final TIL disclosure with a new Closing Disclosure. Regardless of which entity [Lender, Settlement Agent, or both] will be required to provide the Closing Disclosure three business days in advance of settlement, the Integrative Rule will change the face of the settlement industry as we now know it. In addition, on April 13, 2012, the CFPB issued a Bulletin to Lenders []. Although initially intended to address Lenders’ relationships with mortgage servicing providers, its reach extends to ALL service providers with whom Lenders do business, including title settlement agents, title examiners, and title insurers. The one-two punch of the April 13, 2012 Bulletin and the Integrative TILA-RESPA Proposed Rule puts title settlement agents front and center under the regulatory microscope. Failure to have proper internal controls – e.g., employee training and oversight, quality control and audit procedures, and a full risk management program – in place may cause Lenders to cease doing business with your company. Karen Koogler, author of the Virginia Study Manual for Title Settlement Agents and instructor of the TSA 16-Hour Course, saw the writing on the wall in 2010, when she began writing the LCAT™ Series of Multi-State Study Manuals and closely monitoring the CFPB as it moves through the Integrative Rule process. The Virginia Study Manual for Title Settlement Agents contains forms and procedures necessary to prepare your company for the future!

35. Where do we go to take the VCTE or VCTSA Exam? The Exam is administered by The Koogler Group, LLC on its Online Training Portal [] using Secured Online Testing Protocol.

36. Is the Exam open book? No. The Online Exam is a Closed Book Exam delivered in a timed [120-minute] format.

37. How do we know what to study? Refer to the EXAM CONTENT OUTLINE located at the front of the Study Manual. It shows the number of questions that will pull from the various Sections of the Study Manual.

38. Will the Course Instructors “prep” us to pass the Exam? No. The VCTE and VCTSA Courses are not Exam Prep courses. You are responsible for studying on your own prior to taking the Online Exam.

39.  Is TSA Certification the same thing as TSA Registration?  No. The VCTSA program is for LICENSED TITLE AGENTS who are already REGISTERED as Title Settlement Agents with the Bureau of Insurance [BOI].

40.  What do I need to do to become LICENSED as a TITLE AGENT, so that I may REGISTER with the BOI as a Title Settlement Agent?  You must first complete the 16-Hour Pre-licensing Course and pass the State Exam. Once LICENSED, you must be appointed by a Title Insurance Underwriter as an Agent and REGISTER with the BOI as a Title Settlement Agent?

41.  Do I have to be LICENSED in order to attend the VCTSA Course? No. However, the VCTSA 16-Hour Course builds off the information provided in VLTA’s 16-Hour Pre-licensing Course. Therefore, it is advantageous for attendees to complete the pre-licensing course prior to taking the certification course.

42.  If I choose NOT to become licensed, may I act as a Title Settlement Agent [TSA] if I complete the VCTSA Course and pass the Online VCTSA Exam? No. All Title Settlement Agents must first be LICENSED [See Questions 40-41] and REGISTERED.

For a list of Test Taker Guidelines, click here.
For Online Portal Assistance with taking your exam, click here.

Revised January 20, 2014


Virginia Land Title Association
14001-C Saint Germain Drive, Suite #822
Centreville, VA 20121
(tel) 800.929.8730
(fax) 703-995-0649 

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