A real estate designation or certification are credentials that show if a Realtor specializes in a specific real estate sector and are recognized throughout the industry.
A Designation will provide specialized training & education, marketing, and networking tools to educate the agent in a specific field. They are continually improved upon and expanded and thus require annual dues.
A Certification is also specialized credentials for REALTORS®. Maintaining a certification requires only an application fee and continued membership in NAR, but no annual dues.