Continuing Education Requirements for Real Estate Agents: State-by-State Breakdown

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: June 16, 2021  •  15 min read  •  Real Estate
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Part of any good real estate school’s web site and outreach resources should include information on how continuing education in real estate is handled in a particular U.S. state.

All 50 states each have their own rules and review boards for real estate continuing education, many developed under a state Department of Commerce directly.

These systems work to make continuing education in this field consistent and to spell out what license holders have to do in order to maintain a real estate license over time.

In this article, we’re going to go over many of the details of specific state-by-state real estate continuing education requirements in some of the most populous U.S. states with the biggest collective real estate markets.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in California

In the state of California, the California Department of Real Estate regulates continuing education requirements for real estate professionals.

Real estate salespersons who are renewing a license for the first time have to complete 45 hours of approved continuing education.

Five three-hour courses included in mandatory course work treat subjects including ethics, trust fund handling, fair housing, and risk management.

The California board also requires at least 18 hours of consumer protection education.

The remaining 45 hours are somewhat elective.

License holders can choose courses related to consumer service or consumer protection.

Brokers who are renewing for the first time have to complete 45 hours of approved continuing education as well.

They have to complete the same slate of three-hour courses as well as one additional three-hour course.
They also have to do the 18 hours of consumer protection courses.

Like real estate salespersons, brokers who are renewing for the first time can choose the rest of their continuing education credits.

When renewing again, both salespersons and brokers have to complete 45 more hours of approved continuing education.

This includes a mandatory eight-hour survey course and 18 hours of consumer protection courses.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Texas

In the state of Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission regulates real estate licensing and continuing education.

The TREC mandates that sales agent license renewals require 18 hours of approved continuing education, including legal update courses.

The TREC maintains a list of approved continuing education providers including Aceable Agent and Real Estate Express.

Real estate professionals can choose from dozens of approved schools.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Florida

After California and Texas, Florida is the third most populous U.S. state and has a large real estate market, including many high-profile vacation neighborhoods as well as retirement communities and much more.
In the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation sets requirements for real estate professionals.

Florida’s department offers license renewal information, including continuing education requirements that are subject to change.

Some common courses include a three-hour ethics and business practices course.

Courses also cover ethics and legal issues in real estate.

Get more information from the agency directly.

Continued Ed Real Estate Training

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in New York

The state of New York is also a big real estate market with the five boroughs of New York City as well as other urban centers like Albany and Buffalo.

In New York, the New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services maintains requirements for real estate professionals.

As of 2017, license renewal requires 22.5 hours of continuing education.

Participants have to complete three hours of fair housing and discrimination courses.

They also have to take at least one hour of law of agency coursework.

More details are available at the department’s web site.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has a diverse real estate market including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and surrounding areas, as well as lots of rural and suburban real estate scattered throughout a rather large territory.

Pennsylvania state requirements mandate that real estate salespeople get 14 hours of continuing education every two years for license renewal.

That same number of course hours is also mandatory for brokers who are renewing their licenses.

The state of Pennsylvania requires real estate agents and brokers to complete these courses through approved education providers, and submit an application after passing the exams.

The commission establishes requirements for continuing education to be met by licensed real estate brokers and real estate salespersons as a condition of license renewal.

In addition, some experts are reporting efforts to require specific property management courses for Pennsylvania agents. Be sure to get all information directly from a state office in order to make sure that these requirements are credible!

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Illinois

In the list of most populous US states, the state of Illinois is not to be missed.

Apart from the Windy City and Chicagoland area, Illinois also has many unique real estate markets across the state.

In Illinois, it’s the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation that sets standards for license renewal.

Updates on pending regulations show that Illinois brokers will soon need 12 credit hours of continuing education for license renewal.

By contrast, an Illinois real estate leasing agent needs six credit hours in order to renew every two years.

These rules also evolve over time.

Here’s what the Illinois office has to say about a new approved curriculum for real estate agents in January of this year:

(State law) requires that the continuing education curriculum for Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Managing Brokers include a ‘single core curriculum’. The core curriculum must consist of 4 hours per 2-year pre-renewal period on subjects that include, but are not limited to, advertising, agency, disclosures, escrow, fair housing, leasing agent management and license law.

All courses need to be less than two hours long.

They also have to be live:

All Core Curriculum Courses must be provided only in the classroom or through a live, interactive webinar or online distance education format. Credit for courses completed in a classroom or through a live, interactive webinar or online distance education format shall not require an examination.

Managing course content in this manner goes a long way toward the state’s ultimate goal of ensuring quality results for those who get real estate licenses and their clients.

Real Estate MCE Sections

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Ohio

Many people think of the state of Ohio as a rural state, but it also has some of the top urban real estate markets on the eastern seaboard, including Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

In the state of Ohio, real estate salespeople who want to renew a license have to complete 30 hours of coursework every three years.

Courses include:

Brokers need to also complete 30 hours of coursework, including:

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Georgia

Georgia is the USA’s eighth most populous state: it has the enormous Atlanta metro area, as well as other urban centers like Savannah.

In the state of Georgia, real estate license holders have to complete 36 hours of continuing education approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission (GREC). These 36 hours have to be done for each four year renewal period and must include three hours of coursework related to license law. There are rules to exempt individuals with license numbers under 100,000 representing older licenses.

The Georgia Real Estate Commission offers online services where license holders can check continuing education status.

In Georgia, every school approved by GREC has to offer a course in every calendar year that helps real estate agents and professionals to meet continuing education requirements.

There are also rules and restrictions of the duration of classes, the subject areas that are put into the curriculum, the length of the course and how often a license holder can complete a particular course.

The board also stipulates that “only instructors with appropriate experience and knowledge of the content areas of continuing education courses may teach these courses.”

Schools may or may not present a certificate to learners.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in North Carolina

On the eastern seaboard, the state of North Carolina is a major presence. With a total population of over 10 million, North Carolina has large real estate markets such as the capital, Charlotte, and the Raleigh/Durham triangle.

In North Carolina, real estate agents have to do eight hours of continuing education during each license, during a specific summer window from July 1 to June 10.

A general update course helps provide credits towards that goal. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission decides the curriculum of this course. The additional four credit hours can be fulfilled with an elective.

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission urges license holders not to wait till the last minute.

Avoid the mad rush at the end of the license period,” write state board officials. “You will have a better choice of elective courses and a better chance of finding space available in either the General Update or the Broker-in-Charge Update (BICUP), and the elective courses if you take your CE courses early. You will also avoid the possibility of an unexpected conflict (illness, death in family, business emergency, etc.) preventing you from acquiring the required education by June 10.

Ohio Real Estate Continuing Education Course

Real estate schools in the state of North Carolina can supply more practical advice about how to ace a licensing exam in NC, and what to expect after you graduate.

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, license holders have to complete 18 credit hours of continuing education within a three year cycle.

A resource from the Michigan State Bureau of Professional Licensing’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Dept. (LARA) provides more information on real estate CE within the state.

“The real estate law changed on January 1, 2015 to no longer require continuing education courses to be preapproved or reported to the Department as a condition of renewal,” state officials write. “Within each 3-year cycle, a licensee must still complete at least 18 clock hours of CE courses that involve any subjects that are relevant to the management, operation, and practice of real estate or any other subject that contributes to the professional competence of a licensee, and at least 2 of those hours of CE must be completed in each license cycle year that involve law, rules, and court cases regarding real estate.”

LARA requires the license holder to show the state that he or she has met the requirements with a particular process for delivering proof of work to get a license.

“It is the licensee’s responsibility for documenting the evidence to support the fulfillment of Continuing Education requirements;” LARA states. “The Department does not maintain a record of this information. The Department is working with the Michigan Realtors (MR) to provide all Michigan licensed real estate salespersons or brokers with access to the CE Marketplace to electronically track continuing education hours.”

State Control of Continuing Education Systems

In addition to these 10 specific processes for the most populous U.S. states, many other states have similar rules and requirements.

For example, many states will control the number of credit hours needed in any given license cycle.

They will generally split the requirements into two categories – core courses that are mandatory, and other classes that are electives chosen by students towards meeting a certain number of credit hours.

Many states also have the same list of approved educators, and schools advertise that approval on their websites.

A commission or board typically seeks to control the quality of continuing education for real estate agents and brokers by setting criteria and standards, and by reviewing how schools work within the state.

The state also typically controls the process of verifying and certifying active license holders as having completed their continuing education and becoming relicensed or renewing their licenses professionally.

Through controlling continuing education requirements, state officials hope to ensure that career professionals proceed according to the right standards, principles, and values as they grow in their respective roles.

Ethics and Integrity

Many U.S. states also seek to ensure that real estate agents and brokers that operate within the state have ethical principles and integrity.

The state boards seek to promote honest and fair practices in real estate and try to educate real estate professionals accordingly.

Some states will work these elements into core course requirements.

Some will also add various elements to licensing requirements in order to pursue this goal.

Real Estate CE Requirements

Real Estate Schools and Logistical Preparation for State Exams

With that in mind, a real estate training school in a particular state has a big job.

One of the fundamental goals of any real estate school online or off-line is to prepare students for the state exam.

State exams differ, and so the curriculum of the real estate school will reflect that.

Schools have to put a lot of thought into exactly how they wish to represent their curriculum, and how they functionally prepare students for the exam.

Some of this work includes working on formats, so that students may access the study materials as they prepare.

For students who are out in the field, for example, a searchable document may allow more access than a PDF file.

Many schools include video or audio elements in their curriculum to help students to prepare.

Students typically have positive reviews for schools that go the extra mile on format.

You’ll see students talking about whether a school really helped them to prepare for a specific state exam.

Handling State Continuing Education Requirements

Alongside the idea of preparing students for the exam, the schools have to maintain their approval from state boards, and that means looking carefully at their curriculum.

So the school will, for instance, think about whether its curriculum promotes those ethical standards:

The school will also look at whether its curriculum treats relevant legal issues in real estate.

Some states even have courses on sexual harassment awareness or other internal training goals within the real estate industry. That can be part of CE, either required or elective.

The best real estate school curriculum shows that real estate is a “people business” and that social skills and technical skills both apply.

Technology in Real Estate Continuing Education

Real estate schools also have to consider technology as a resource, and, potentially, as a challenge.

Technology used well allows real estate schools to enhance what they offer to students.

Technology used poorly leads to confusion, missed opportunities and loss of reputation.

Schools have to approach blended learning from an informed standpoint. The combination of online and classroom learning can be a powerful resource – but it can also be a stumbling block if it is not made to be accessible to the student population.

Real estate schools have to figure out when to use online learning models, and when to use face-to-face classroom instruction.

The more work that schools put into these efforts, the more they benefit as state approved continuing education real estate schools.

Understanding the Ordinance

Although real estate schools in a particular U.S. state help students to prepare for a given license exam in that state, there are also many other wide-ranging realities to explore when it comes to state-specific real estate training.

Schools have to understand what’s practical in a local community.

Looking at state law, they can unravel everything from land-use rights to aspects of state real estate processes.

These issues can and will come into play after a student has graduated and gotten their real estate license.

Online Real Estate CE

They will also be effective when discussing CE goals.

For example, different states have different rules on the rights of property owners to retain a scenic view.

This is going to directly affect subdivisions and building.

States also have their own laws on the use of real estate assets like Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Schools need to understand these realities. Delivering insights to students is important – it sets them up for success in the field later.

A real estate training school needs to have answers for students who want to be proactive – preparing for working in a given state.

The best schools give students these resources so that they can get a competitive edge.

Schools that don’t address state law in the real estate field offer inferior learning programs.

This is another area where students can get more information by asking questions directly.

Ask the school how they approach state law.

Ask them how they prepare students for a state exam.

It’s also important to ask about how the curriculum fits with continuing education requirements – because, in the end, the license holder who wants to renew needs to meet the state’s standards.

All of this is part of the big picture when it comes to state-specific real estate training and online real estate schools.

Students that do the research before entering a program benefit from shopping around and getting the best result for their money.

As described above, real estate training is a multi-faceted goal.

It blends the necessity for technical competence with other student needs: anticipating the realities of markets, knowing a community, and knowing how to advance a career.

Along with all of that, it is carefully tied into the work of state regulators.

Good real estate training schools take a comprehensive approach to this set of goals.

They advertise well. They broadcast the realities of the real estate market to students.

Look for schools that go above and beyond, to get the best real estate education, and continuing education, in a particular state market.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!