Real estate continuing education (CE) requirements vary by state but must be completed in every state as part of real estate license renewal and usually range between 12 to 30 hours in a two- to four-year renewal period. While professionals can complete coursework in-person, most states also accept online certifications through a state-approved school.
How Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements Work
To receive a real estate agent or broker license, you must complete anywhere from 60 to 135 hours of prelicense education in your state and pass an exam. The next requirement of running a real estate business is maintaining your license.
To maintain your license, you must then renew it by completing your state’s real estate continuing education requirements. Each state has a deadline to complete the real estate CE classes and submit your license renewal. This deadline is most commonly between two to four years. However, in some states, like Michigan, you must complete a small number of CE hours each calendar year, even though you only submit those hours at the time of renewal.
It is also common for a small amount of real estate continuing education requirements to be mandatory topics like legal updates or ethics. Additionally, some states require new agents and brokers to complete a higher number of real estate continuing education hours during their first license renewal.
Real Estate CE Requirements vs Post-licensing Requirements
Some states have post-licensing requirements, along with continuing education (CE) requirements. Post-licensing courses are usually required for new real estate agents and brokers and must be completed in the first few years of receiving their license and before their first license renewal deadline.
Post-licensing courses are commonly designed to support new real estate professionals and only need to be completed one time. On the other hand, real estate continuing education requirements must be completed during every license renewal for all agents and brokers.
Who Real Estate Continuing Education Is Right For
Real estate continuing education is for agents and brokers who are actively participating in real estate transactions. Other real estate professionals, such as appraisers and mortgage loan officers, also have continuing education requirements. Each of those professionals must take state-approved courses specific to their field.
Real estate roles that explicitly require continuing education credits are:
- New real estate agents: After receiving your real estate sales license, you must complete your real estate continuing education classes in addition to any other requirements before your first renewal deadline.
- New real estate brokers: If you upgrade your license and become a broker, you will still have CE requirements that must be done before your first license renewal. The required number of CE hours may stay the same, or it may increase.
- Experienced real estate agents: Even after many license renewals, you will be responsible for completing the real estate continuing education requirements for your state.
- Experienced real estate brokers: Real estate continuing education requirements also apply to real estate brokers who have been actively running their business for many years.
Professionals in these roles must complete and keep track of their real estate continuing education requirements continually. If a real estate agent or broker is no longer active and does not want to maintain their real estate license, they may skip the continuing education requirements and allow their license to expire.
Real Estate Continuing Education Costs
The cost of completing all real estate continuing education depends on the state, the number of hours required, the course format, and the real estate school. Packages can range from $20 for a 14-hour package in Florida to $180 for a 20-hour package in Alaska.
These are a few examples of the varying costs of real estate continuing education costs.
Costs of Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements
Cost From McKissock Learning
Cost From Kaplan
Cost From OnCourse Learning
$49 per 6-hour course
The cost of completing your real estate continuing education requirements could also vary if you choose to take your course in a different format, such as in-person, live webinar, or home study. The variation in costs allows you to choose real estate CE courses within your budget.
Real Estate Continuing Education Providers
There are thousands of brick-and-mortar real estate schools throughout the country that offer live, state-approved classes with an instructor. However, the majority of states allow agents and brokers to complete the real estate continuing education requirements through an online school, which is often a more convenient and cost-efficient method.
The following are the top three online real estate continuing education providers.
Real Estate Express and its sister company McKissock Learning offer continuing education packages in all 50 states as well as courses to help you upgrade your existing license. In addition, they offer the highest level of customer support and the most contact methods.
Kaplan is a well-known online school in various industries, and it offers more course formats than any other online school. Its real estate continuing education courses are known for being thorough and in-depth.
All classes from OnCourse Learning are online and text-based and frequently offer the most affordable prices. If you don’t want to purchase a full CE package, you can purchase their courses individually.
Real Estate Continuing Education Course Options
While online schools are a great option when available, few states require agents and brokers to take some courses in-person. For example, real estate professionals in North Carolina may not take post-licensing courses online. However, almost every state allows agents and brokers to choose their CE course format. Most states have a combination of mandatory topics and elective topics, which can be used to grow your career strategically.
Real Estate Continuing Education Course Formats
Most online real estate schools primarily offer text-based courses, which means you use their course software to read through small sections of material. However, schools like Kaplan offer five different choices of course formats.
These are the possible course formats offered from real estate schools can offer:
- In-person: Live courses in brick-and-mortar classes are most commonly offered through local real estate brokerages. While these courses can be more expensive and require some travel time and scheduling, that can be worth it for real estate agents and brokers who prefer discussions with an instructor.
- Text-based reading material: This is the most common option offered by online real estate schools. This allows you to make progress on your continuing education requirements on your own schedule.
- Live webinar: Webinars are useful for real estate professionals who want the instruction of an expert without having to leave their home. Kaplan and McKissock are two of the only real estate schools in the country to offer this option.
- On-demand video: On-demand video lessons provide you with the convenience of completing your CE requirements on your own time without having to read through lots of text.
- Home study: This course format is for professionals who prefer a textbook over an online course. If you choose a home study course, Kaplan will mail you a book. To receive your course completion certificate, you must take a paper exam and mail it back to Kaplan.
Because there are many options of course format types, you can choose the best fit for you based on your priorities. When you are choosing an online school for your real estate continuing education requirements, consider your learning style and the course formats that are offered.
Real Estate Continuing Education Topics
It is common for states to require real estate agents and brokers to take a few hours of legal CE coursework every year or every renewal period. The remaining hours of required continuing education can usually be made of elective topics. This allows you an opportunity to identify where your business is lacking and to find courses that help you. There are thousands of elective course topics from which to choose.
Here are a few examples of real estate continuing education topics from Kaplan:
- Understanding Credit and Improving Credit Scores
- Good, Better, Best: When Price, Quality, and Value All Matter
- Buyer Representation in Real Estate
- Millennials: Challenging the Traditional Real Estate Model
- The Truth About Mold
- Introduction to Real Estate Investments
- Buying Within Your Budget
If you purchase a real estate continuing education package from an online school, be sure to check which topics are included. Some schools, like McKissock, allow you to choose your elective courses within a package.
Pros & Cons of Real Estate Continuing Education
If you plan on practicing real estate, completing your real estate continuing education requirements is not a choice. However, you can choose where, when, and how to take your classes. By identifying the pros and cons of real estate CE, you can make the process easy and beneficial.
Pros of Real Estate Continuing Education
- Support: By fulfilling your real estate continuing education requirements, you will find yourself with resources and education that you would not otherwise have. Depending on the courses you choose to take, you can find support for specific areas of your business.
- Business growth: Continuing education allows you to learn skills that help you grow your business and achieve your goals.
- Networking: If you choose to take your real estate continuing education courses in person, you’ll meet other real estate agents, brokers, and experts.
Cons of Real Estate Continuing Education
These are the downsides of real estate continuing education:
- Cost: All continuing education courses cost money, so this is an additional cost you must work into your real estate business.
- Time: You must find time to schedule and complete your real estate continuing education requirements each renewal period. This can be difficult when you’re running a busy real estate business or brokerage.
- State limitations: Depending on your state, you may not be able to find your ideal course topics or course formats.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is real estate continuing education?
Real estate continuing education is a requirement for agents and brokers to maintain and renew their license every few years. It is made up of various classes that are designed to keep real estate professionals updated and educated. Every state has different requirements for continuing education.
What do you learn in real estate classes?
Real estate continuing education classes are generally organized by topic. Most states have a small number of mandatory course topics, such as law and ethics. The remaining number of required CE hours can be elective course topics of your choice.
Do CE requirements change if I live in a single-licensure state?
Single-licensure states do not have real estate agents. Instead, there are brokers, brokers-in-charge, or managing brokers. All real estate professionals in these states still need to complete continuing education credits. You need to check your state’s specific real estate continuing education requirements for details.
How can I find the real estate CE requirements for me?
To determine the real estate continuing education requirements for your license renewal, you can reference the table below. If you do not see your state or license type on the table, you can check back periodically for updates.
Continuing education is a necessity for real estate professionals, to ensure that agents and brokers are conducting business transactions per the most current state legislation and using the most up-to-date methods. However, fitting the required coursework into a busy schedule can be challenging, especially if you wait until the last minute.
If you are looking for a high-quality online school to help you complete your real estate continuing education requirements, featuring user-controlled pacing and progress tracking consider Real Estate Express or its sister company, McKissock Learning. Their variety of courses in all 50 states and top-notch customer support will make maintaining your license an easy and even a rewarding task.