The continuing education (CE) requirements for real estate brokers vary from state to state, so a complete history of continuing education is hard to summarize within the limitations of this article. In Florida, CE requirements are governed by the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). Licensees who wish to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) must meet additional educational requirements and are subject to restricted business practices governed by its code of ethics.
According to FREC, real estate licensees are required to complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years. The continuing education requirements vary from state to state. A real estate broker may complete these requirements through any FREC accredited school, including the C.E. offerings of the National Association of Realtors and its state and local chapters. Local NAR organizations, such as the Pinellas Realtor Organization (my local chapter), offer free 14 continuing education classes.
The largest professional organization of real estate brokers is the National Association of Realtors. Only members of this organization may call themselves “Realtors.” The organization was founded in 1908 to “to unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests.” NAR now has over 1.2 million members and 14,000 local associations.
NAR started Realtor University (RU) in 2001, which boast of over 400 hours of online educational material. RU specializes in online classes. Local associations host similar in-person classes for the same designations at approximately the same cost as RU’s online programs. This is a particularly effective way of accommodating different professionals at different stages in their lives and careers. The local, state, and national associations work closely together, and collect dues in one, non-separable invoice.
Realtor University recently launched an accredited graduate school in February of 2012, which offers a M.S. in Real Estate. I recently had a chance to discuss the program with the university’s dean, David L. Overbye. The launch of RU (RU will now be reserved strictly for the graduate school) represents the first time a major professional organization has started its own accredited graduate school. According to Dr. Overbye, the university is focused on both developing a high level scholarly research for Realtors, while focusing on teaching pragmatic skills that its M.S. students can apply in their careers. Currently, the university has fewer than thirty students enrolled in the program, but the dean predicts that number will skyrocket as awareness of the program increases, which seems very probable due to the number of members that belong to the organization.
This unique university will undoubtedly set a precedent for other large professional organizations. As human resource development scholars, it will be fascinating to see how it evolves and if it succeeds in sustaining itself as its own 501c nonprofit organization.
Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC): http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/re/frec.html
National Association of Realtors (NAR): http://www.realtor.org/about-nar/mission-vision-and-history
The Pinellas Realtor Organization: http://www.pinellasrealtor.org/
Realtor University (RU): http://realtoru.com/about-realtor-university
Reprints permitted as long as they contain the byline, “By Ed DiMarco M.S., M.A., Realtor @ MovePinellas.com”