Most states require agents to complete a minimum number of continuing education (CE) hours to renew their real estate license. While agents can choose from a wide variety of courses approved for CE, dotloop’s CE-certified training courses can help you manage the transaction process more effectively and close more deals quickly. Here, certified dotloop instructor Carolyn Thompson offers a few tips on optimizing your CE experience.
While real estate agents do not need an advanced degree before becoming licensed, they do need to acquire CE requirements similar to other advanced learning professions. For example, in the state of Ohio nurses are required to complete 24 hours of CE every two years; counselors must complete 30 hours every two years; and CPAs need to acquire 20 hours of CE credits annually. By comparison, Ohio real estate agents must complete 30 hours of CE every three years.
The goal of ongoing CE education is to make sure agents stay current with changes in real estate regulations and procedures, but it also sends an important message to the public that agents take their profession seriously.
According to Janice Stevens, broker-owner and president of the Youngstown Columbiana Association of Realtors, the CE requirement demonstrates to clients that agents add real value to the transaction.
“Having more professionalism helps the public see us more as a service than a cost,” she says.
One course that’s helping agents create a faster, smoother transaction for their clients is “Managing Online Transactions” taught by certified dotloop instructor Carolyn Thompson. A licensed, working agent based in Oklahoma, Thompson has taught approved courses in 40 states.
Thompson recommends that agents at least know how the major transaction tools work, even ones their office doesn’t use, because they’ll invariably be working with other agents who use them.
The vetting process for approval as an instructor is often rigorous, requiring Thompson to submit a detailed teaching record, her real estate licensure history and multiple references.
States are also strict about what qualifies as CE curriculum. They don’t want a sales pitch, Thompson notes, but, rather, an informative training that offers real-life applications.
Usually, “Managing Online Transactions” classes are free unless the local realty association requires their members to pay an individual fee.
Having taught in the majority of states, Thompson offers a unique perspective on the practice of real estate in general as well as the local nuances of managing transactions for that particular region.
Rather than looking at CE as an inconvenience that accompanies license renewal, agents should view continuing education as an opportunity to sharpen their skills, increase their knowledge and network with colleagues.
To help agents get the most out of their CE, Thompson provides these three useful tips:
1. Don’t wait until the last minute.
A license renewal deadline is something every agent knows about years in advance. That said, it’s easy to procrastinate. If an agent can plan to take classes regularly over the term of their licensure period, not only will they avoid having to take them all at once, but they’ll have a better chance of getting the courses they want.
2. Take courses that improve performance.
CE courses are available for a wide variety of topics within real estate. While many of them might sound interesting, the best return on the time invested will come from those that develop a skill and improve the agent’s ability to offer their clients better service.
3. Attend classes in person.
There are many options for taking CE classes online, and it’s certainly the most convenient route. But agents should plan to take at least some of their classes in person. There’s an interaction with the instructor that can’t be duplicated online. Also, CE classes offer a great way to network with agents from other brokerages.
You can find out about classes in your area that meet CE requirements on dotloop’s Support page. You may also contact your local Realtor association. The local association will usually announce courses with dotloop instructors such as Thompson.