Benjamin Franklin famously once said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And if you’re a real estate agent in California, you’ll want to add continuing education to that list. Even if you are fresh to the real estate arena, it’s likely you’ve heard of continuing education from other agents or your pre-license classes. But what exactly is continuing education, why is it required, and how does it help agents, brokers, and the public? At Your Pace Online is here to answer those questions and clear up any confusion you may have about continuing education for California real estate agents.
Every state government in the United States requires some degree of real estate education before an individual can obtain that state’s real estate license. If you want to be an agent in California, this means completing 135 hours of state-approved real estate course work and passing a written exam. The classes are dense with information, but these education requirements ensure that the agent has all of the skills and knowledge they need to successfully fulfill the duties of a real estate agent, from handling financing to negotiating contracts to maintaining compliance with fair housing laws.
Some states go farther than just the initial required pre-licensing course work and require that salespersons and brokers take periodic classes, known as continuing education, or CE. Though not as extensive as the pre-licensing requirements, CE classes ensure that California real estate agents are up-to-date on relevant laws and regulations in this ever-changing industry. Continuing education serves as a refresher and covers some of the most important topics that you learned in your pre-licensing courses. These courses are also an opportunity to grow in your career, dive into new areas and niches, and shape yourself up to be the very best real estate salesperson that you can be!
Just like other types of professional licenses, your California real estate license is only valid for a certain amount of time— 4 years. In order to renew your license, you must submit an application, pay a fee, and complete their continuing education requirements. A real estate agent needs to take 45 hours of state-approved CE in order to satisfy state license renewal requirements put forth by the California Department of Real Estate. Some states have more specific requirements than others - take a look at MN and its requirements for Minnesota real estate continuing education classes to view an example.
But, if you dig just a little bit deeper, you’ll find that continuing education’s necessity is more than just ticking a box off of a renewal application. It’s about ensuring that real estate professionals are competent, skilled, and ethical in their careers. The stakes in real estate are enormous– hundreds of thousands of dollars, the roofs over people's heads, and the health of families and individuals. Mistakes and mishandlings can have large impacts on the lives of clients. Even honest mix-ups and oversights can have severe consequences for agents as well, including the imposition of fees and fines, license suspension, or even license revocation.
As important as CE is, many people see it as a time-consuming burden. After all, by the time your first renewal comes around, you’re already several years into your career and living the bustling life of a successful real estate agent. Years ago, CE meant having to carve time out of your busy schedule to go to a brick-and-mortar school and sit for hours in a boring lecture. Luckily, real estate lawmakers have seen the value and functionality of online education. California has approved a number of online providers and CE courses, including At Your Pace Online. Schools like At Your Pace Online give you the opportunity to complete courses when and where you want, easing the burden but still providing you the knowledge and skills to excel in your career.
There might be some things you remember from high school, but unless you’re practicing calculus in your free time, you probably don’t remember much about finding the derivative of an inverse function. Similarly, no matter how hard you try to remember all of the lessons you learned in your pre-licensing courses, chances are, some things will probably slip your mind.
Every day in real estate is unique. No two clients are exactly alike, which creates endless possibilities of the knowledge and skills you’ll use. Certain aspects may be similar day-to-day, but every once in a while, you’ll come across a situation that really puts you to the test. If it’s been 13 years since you had any kind of real estate instruction, you might be slow to react appropriately. But that will never be the case, thanks to CE. Concepts will always be fresh in your mind, helping you navigate tricky situations with ease.
Salespersons aren’t the only ones who benefit from CE; brokers do as well. To become a broker in California, a salesperson must be licensed and practicing real estate full time for at least 2 years and complete additional education requirements. Even with all the extra schooling and experience, brokers are required to complete CE. With these classes, they learn valuable leadership, management, and supervising skills that allow them to run their office smoothly and effectively.
For real estate professionals, CE is a chance to become an expert in your field, expand your horizons, and prepare for changes in an industry that’s constantly evolving. For people of the general public, continuing education gives them the peace of mind that the real estate professionals that they deal with are adequately trained and skilled in their field. Unskilled agents leave their clients vulnerable to unfavorable situations like misrepresentation and fraud. So in the end, everyone benefits from the knowledge!
Continuing education is more than just satisfying a requirement for your California real estate license renewal. There is enormous value to CE, which is why it’s important to choose an education provider that cares. With At Your Pace Online, you’ll find comprehensive, relevant courses that are easy to understand and use. If you have more questions about California's real estate continuing education, don’t hesitate to reach out to At Your Pace Online today!