Continuing education or CE can be an important part of growing your career as a real estate professional. The specifics of what you have to do or what’s going to be valuable in your career depend on the particular type of real estate professional you are and also where you live. For example, CA real estate continuing education requirements and options may be different than a state like Florida or Texas.
Sometimes, continuing education is required. Other times, it might be something you do optionally because you want to improve your skills and give your career a boost.
The following are some of the general things real estate professionals should know about continuing education.
Why Continuing Education in Real Estate?
Continuing education or CE is to keep you up-to-date, whether you’re an agent or a broker, on changes in regulations and laws. You can also refresh your general knowledge of real estate or expand it, particularly in certain niches like real estate investment.
When you initially get your real estate license, it’s a relatively quick process. You complete your pre-license course, take your exam, and you can launch your career in real estate. While this is a good thing in some ways, you also don’t learn everything you need to know as a real estate professional in your pre-license course.
When you do CE, not only do you stay up to date with the regulatory environment, but you can fill gaps in your current knowledge.
Every agent is going to have strengths but also areas of weakness, and continuing education is a good way to address those.
You can build particular skills, and if you’re already a working real estate agent, you’re going to have a better idea of where to focus your time when it comes to CE. You can boost your marketability when you learn new things, and if you’re ever in a career rut, continuing education can help pull you out of that and feel a renewed sense of inspiration.
The more knowledge you have, the more likely you are to have improved earning opportunities and career opportunities.
Maintaining Your License
Depending on your state, whether you’re an agent or broker, you may have to do some CE when you renew your license.
Going back to the example of California, in that state, if you’re a salesperson going up for your first renewal, you have to complete 45 clock hours of continuing education approved by the California Department of Real Estate. This includes four three-hour courses on different topics, two-hour coursework on implicit bias training, a minimum of 18 hours of courses on consumer protection, and then you also have to either do additional training on consumer protection or consumer service.
If you’re a broker in California, you have to complete 45 clock hours as well, broken down in a somewhat similar way for your first renewal.
For your second and subsequent renewals, you have to complete 45 hours of training that includes coverage of mandatory subjects like ethics and risk management, 18 hours of continuing education in consumer protection categories, and the rest can be spent on consumer service or consumer protection.
Mortgage License Renewal
Mortgage loan originators aren’t real estate agents, but they do work in the same industry, and under the SAFE Act they also have to follow continuing education requirements.
Under the SAFE Act, if you’re a licensed mortgage loan originator you have to take a minimum of eight hours of CE every year for the renewal of your mortgage license.
You have to complete your CE requirements before you can submit your paperwork to renew your license on the NMLS website.
Designations and Certifications
If you’re a member of the National Association of Realtors or NAR, there are available programs and services that you can use to improve your skills and knowledge. You can earn designations and certifications that show your expertise and experience in certain sectors of real estate.
These specialised credentials for Realtors are a form of education for real estate professionals requiring that you’re also an active member of NAR.
Examples of some of these NAR designations include an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Accredited Land Consultant, a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager, a Certified Residential Specialist, and Graduate, Realtor Institute.
There are a lot of opportunities when you work in real estate to set yourself apart in an competitive environment through continuing education, in addition to the fact that sometimes it’s required for various licensing and regulatory reasons.