An auctioneer is a person responsible for managing an auction.
Auctioneers ensure a fair bidding process while helping to attract higher bids.
Auctioneering is a unique career that may not appeal to everyone.
Before embarking on this career path, you should take the time to learn more about it.
Here’s what you should know about a career as an auctioneer.
- Auctioneer: The Basics
- Work Opportunities in the Auctioneer Industry
- What It’s Like to Be an Auctioneer
- Auctioneer Dress Code
- Auctioneer Salary & Income
- Overview of the Auctioneer Industry
- Jobs Related to Auctioneer
- Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Auctioneers
- Auctioneer Education & Schooling
- Auctioneer Education Options and Degree Programs
- How to Become an Auctioneer
- Current Career Job Openings
- Frequently Asked Questions
Auctioneer: The Basics
Auctioneering is a real job.
So, how do you get started?
Let’s start with the basics.
What Is an Auctioneer?
An auctioneer is a person who oversees an auction, which is typically the public sale of items to the highest bidder.
Auctioneers manage auctions for estate sales, auction houses, livestock auction markets, and more.
The auctioneer presents each item at auction and acknowledges the bidders as they place bids.
The auctioneer also helps drive up the price by encouraging competition between bidders.
What Is an Auctioneer Called?
Instead of an auctioneer, some businesses may use other job titles.
Related words for auctioneer include seller, estate agent, dealer, broker, and concessionaire.
What Does an Auctioneer Do?
An auctioneer is responsible for selling items to the highest bidder during an auction.
Common responsibilities include:
- Appraising and preparing items for auction
- Attracting potential bidders ahead of the auction
- Introducing and describing items during the auction
- Accepting bids and overseeing the bidding process
Work Opportunities in the Auctioneer Industry
Becoming an auctioneer may offer an exciting career path, but you should first learn a little more about the auctioneering industry and where auctioneers work.
Auctioneer Job Description
Auctioneers are needed to oversee auctions.
They typically stand in front of a group of bidders and present items for sale.
The highest bidder buys the item.
Auctioneers also need to understand the value of the items they are auctioning off.
Learning more about the items in the auction helps auctioneers attract higher bids.
Top Auctioneer Jobs and Careers
Potential auctioneer jobs and careers include:
- The bid assistant (ring person) helps spot bidders and generally helps the auctioneer.
- An auction clerk catalogs the items available at the auction and maintains a record of the sales price.
- The auction coordinator oversees the entire auction, including managing the auctioneer.
- The auctioneer is the individual who presents items and accepts bids.
Where Can an Auctioneer Work?
Auctioneers often work for auction houses, estate lawyers, charitable organizations, automobile dealers, livestock dealers, and large equipment auction firms.
What It’s Like to Be an Auctioneer
Here’s a quick look at what to expect when working as an auctioneer.
Is Being an Auctioneer Hard?
Being an auctioneer can be hard due to the fast-paced nature of the typical auction.
Some people struggle to maintain composure or deal with being the center of attention.
Working as an auctioneer can become stressful when the audience appears uninterested in the items at the auction.
Common Auctioneer Workday
The typical workday for an auctioneer varies depending on whether they have an auction to attend.
Before an auction, an auctioneer may spend time researching the items.
The auctioneer may need to learn about the origins, value, and uses of each item at the auction.
Auctioneers may also need to assist with marketing and promotion.
Some auctioneers interact with repeat bidders to inform them of upcoming auctions.
On the day of the auction, the auctioneer may help prepare the items for display and set up the auction room.
Auctioneer Tasks & Duties
The main tasks of an auctioneer revolve around preparing for and managing auctions.
They research items, attract bidders, and oversee the auction.
Auctioneer Work Hours & Schedule
Many auctioneers work as contract auctioneers, which allows them to set their own hours.
Auctioneers who work for private institutions, such as auction houses, may only work up to 40 hours per week, depending on their experience.
Auctioneer Dress Code
Auctioneers typically need to wear professional attire and fit in with the environment.
For example, a livestock auctioneer may dress slightly more casually compared to an auctioneer for estate sales.
Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?
Auctioneering can provide a great work/life balance, as auctioneers rarely work overtime.
Auctioneer Salary & Income
Can you make a living as an auctioneer?
Here’s a quick review of the average pay for auctioneers.
Auctioneers make decent money.
A large part of the auctioneer’s income comes from commissions.
A skilled auctioneer can dramatically increase their salary by driving up bids during the bidding process.
How Much Do Auctioneers Make?
The average pay for an auctioneer is about $60,000 per year.
However, auctioneers may earn $6,000 to $59,000 per year in bonuses and commissions.
Overview of the Auctioneer Industry
The auctioneer industry is growing at the same pace as other industries in the United States.
Most auctioneers start with smaller roles as part of the auction staff, such as bid assistant or auction clerk.
After getting your foot in the door, you can keep an eye out for first-time auctioneer opportunities.
Auctioneering can provide a stable career for those that enjoy public speaking and interacting with others.
The job outlook for auctioneers remains positive.
The large size of the senior population and the increasing number of estate auctions creates a continued need for auctioneers.
Demand for auctioneers is likely to increase.
The industry has a high turnover rate, which makes more room for those who stick it out and persevere.
Rome was the first to require auctioneers to obtain a license.
In Roman times, auctioneers started auctions by driving a spear into the ground.
Jobs Related to Auctioneer
The following jobs may offer a better option if auctioneering isn’t quite the right fit:
Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Auctioneers
Auctioneering isn’t for everyone.
Here’s a closer look at the requirements for this job.
- Who Should Consider an Auctioneer Career Path? Auctioneering may be a good fit for those with confidence and charisma. If you enjoy putting on a show, you may be a good auctioneer.
- Who Should Not Consider an Auctioneer Career Path? You should avoid this career path if you dislike public speaking or dealing with a fast-paced environment.
- Is It Hard to Become an Auctioneer? Becoming an auctioneer is not difficult but may require several years of on-the-job training.
What Do I Need to Become an Auctioneer?
Becoming an auctioneer typically requires a high school diploma and some form of training.
Many states also require licensing, which may involve taking an auctioneering course and passing an exam.
Requirements for Becoming an Auctioneer
About 37 states currently require some type of license or certification to work as an auctioneer.
Some counties may also have specific regulations and requirements for auctioneers.
What Skills Does an Auctioneer Need?
Essential skills for auctioneers include communication, public speaking, and customer service.
What Education Does an Auctioneer Need?
A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement for auctioneers.
According to Zippia, about 50% of auctioneers have bachelor’s degrees.
About half of auctioneers have a high school diploma or a GED.
- Can You Become an Auctioneer Without a Degree? You can become an auctioneer without a college degree.
What Experience Does an Auctioneer Need?
Before auctioneering full-time, many auctioneers start with smaller roles, such as helper or bid watcher.
Some states also require one to two years of experience before you can apply for a license.
Depending on where you live, you may need to work an entry-level job or apprenticeship.
Auctioneer Education & Schooling
Attending an auctioneer school can provide helpful training for passing a licensing exam but is not typically mandatory.
What Is Taught in an Auctioneer Course?
An auctioneer course teaches you how to lead an auction and communicate with bidders and helpers.
Courses often teach how to organize and manage different types of auctions and maintain records.
How Long Does an Auctioneer Course Take?
The average course lasts about two to three months with two to three days of school per week.
Some courses may be completed in less time.
Auctioneer Education Options and Degree Programs
Many auctioneers complete an auctioneer program approved by the NAA.
- Bachelor’s Degree: About half of all auctioneers hold a bachelor’s degree. Common majors for auctioneers include economics, finance, marketing, and business management.
- Master’s Degree: About 4% of auctioneers hold a master’s degree. No master’s programs in auctioneering exist.
Schools for Auctioneers
The National Auctioneers Association (NAA) maintains a list of approved auctioneer programs in the US, Canada, and other parts of the world.
How to Become an Auctioneer
If you’re still interested in becoming an auctioneer, review the following steps.
Steps to Become an Auctioneer
- Complete high school. A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement for this career.
- Earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is optional but can increase your career prospects.
- Complete an auctioneering course. Most auctioneers complete an NAA-approved course.
- Determine the licensing requirements in your state. Some states require a license or certificate to manage an auction.
- Apply for an apprenticeship. You may need to work as a lister, helper, or assistant for one to two years.
- Apply for an auctioneering position after obtaining the necessary experience and training.
Current Career Job Openings
If you’re ready to look for work as an auctioneer, start your job search with the current openings from around the nation:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Auctioneers Really Talk Fast?
Auctioneers don’t need to talk quickly.
However, most auctioneers use a fast-talking style called a “chant.”
The chant helps lull bidders into a relaxed, focused state.
Do Auctioneers Earn Commissions?
Most contract auctioneers charge a commission.
The commission may range from 10% to 15%.
Auctioneers help sell items at an auction. People bid on items, and the highest bidder gets the sale.
An auctioneer ensures an orderly bidding process, which requires public-speaking skills and confidence.
If you’re up to the challenge, working as an auctioneer can be a rewarding career.
However, you typically need to start with a more minor position.
Start by looking for work as a bid assistant or an auction clerk to get your foot in the door.