Regardless of whether you are a real estate agent or broker, you will need to satisfy certain real estate continuing education requirements in order to renew your license and continue operating legitimately.
Even though all states have continuing education (CE) requirements for real estate licenses, there can be significant differences between them. Some states, for example, have specific requirements for first-time renewals, as well as “post-licensing education” requirements (requirements that have to be completed within a certain time-frame after getting licensed).
In this article, we break down What is Continuing Education in Real Estate, explain why it is a legal requirement in every state, and detail how you can go about completing it.
Real Estate CE Requirements
All states require real estate agents and brokers to complete a certain number of hours of CE within a specified license renewal period.
The interval between license renewals is between one and four years, and the specific number of hours of CE required can vary significantly.
Depending on your state and degree of experience, you may be required to complete:
- Post-licensing CE requirements
- First renewal CE requirements
- Subsequent renewals CE requirements
Post-License CE Requirements
Post-licensing CE is a one-time requirement that needs to be completed within a certain time frame after you get licensed. It is mandatory in many states, but not in all of them.
Post-licensing requirements can be quite different from state-to-state, both when it comes to how long you have to complete them and when it comes to how many hours of CE you will need to complete.
Similarly, some states can require you to complete post-licensing education in order to legitimize your license.
Example: In Louisiana, real estate agents and brokers need to complete 45 hours of post-licensing education before their first license renewal in order to change their license status from provisional to full.
Keep in mind that in some states post-licensing education replaces the first CE education requirements, while in others they need to be completed in addition to the standard real estate CE requirements.
First-Renewal CE Requirements
Some states require real estate agents and brokers to complete additional hours of CE on the first time that they renew their license.
First renewal requirements are different from subsequent license renewals in the following states:
Subsequent License Renewal CE requirements
Regardless of whether your state has “special” rules for first-time licensing — or post-licensing education requirements — you will need to periodically renew your license before it expires in order to maintain its validity.
Generally, but not always, a smaller amount of CE hours is required for subsequent renewals compared to first-time renewals.
Having said that, since there is a wide range of differences related to CE requirements between states, you should always check with your state’s Department of Real Estate.
Many states allow you to dedicate a certain amount of CE hours to courses of your choice from a list of elective real estate courses. This allows you to tailor your learning so it’s applicable to your work and personal interests.
For more information on CE requirements, we recommend having a look at our state-specific How to Renew My Real Estate License article.
Why is CE in Real Estate Necessary?
Every single state in the US requires real estate agents and brokers to periodically attend CE classes in order to renew their licenses.
The aim of this requirement is to provide a solid guarantee of continuous, high quality, and up-to-date real estate services.
Continuing education in real estate is necessary because it guarantees that:
- Important aspects of the issues covered in your pre-licensing education are reviewed, revised, and refreshed when necessary
- You will always be up-to-date on the most recent real estate federal and state laws and regulations
- You will be periodically updated on the latest relevant professional ethics rules and requirements
- You will be able to choose the elective courses that are necessary to specialize in new and interesting real estate sector niches
Additionally, additional CE can be required if you are renewing for the first time. This is the case in order to ensure that you:
- Consolidate your general real estate knowledge
- Reinforce your expertise
- Remove the provisional status of your license and remain eligible to engage in real estate activity (few states)
Note: Some states require post-licensing education to be completed in conjunction with normal CE requirements, but this is not always the case. Most commonly, post-licensing education replaces the first CE requirement that you would need to satisfy.
Best Real Estate Continuing Education Courses
If you are a real estate agent or broker and you need a post-licensing or a license renewal course, we recommend checking our review of the Best Real Estate Classes.
We have created a small table below, which summarizes the main advantages of each provider:
|Best Continuing Education Real Estate Courses|
|The CE Shop 4.7 / 5||
|Colibri Real Estate 4.3 / 5||
|Kaplan Real Estate Education 4.2 / 5||
The CE Shop
The CE Shop’s real estate courses are comprehensive, organized, and easy to follow.
All classes are created by industry experts and include real-world applications.
A big plus of The CE Shop is that online courses are available 24/7. They also provide a support team to help you complete your courses seven days a week.
For more information, we recommend having a look at our The CE Shop Real Estate Class Review.
Colibri Real Estate
What distinguishes Colibri’s Real Estate CE services from the other competitors on our list is that they provide a unique class format, combining live stream virtual learning with live interaction with colleagues and tutors. Self-paced classes are also available.
This means that you can complete individual learning modules on your own time, at your own pace, while at the same time attending live, interactive courses (if you wish to).
For more information, we recommend having a look at our Colibri Real Estate Review.
Kaplan Real Estate Education
Kaplan offers a very broad range of classes, tailored to suit all your post-licensing and renewal needs.
The CE materials used are extremely detailed and cover every aspect of the knowledge that you will need to know.
Moreover, Kaplan offers access to “Real Estate Experts”, which can help you facilitate your professional development.
For more information, we recommend having a look at our Kaplan Real Estate Class Review.
Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements FAQ
What is the difference between post-licensing and CE?
Post-licensing courses must be completed after you get licensed and, in any case, before your first license renewal. They are designed to consolidate the foundational knowledge acquired in pre-licensing courses. CE courses are necessary for subsequent license renewals. They are designed to keep more experienced real estate professionals up-to-date with the most recent rules, regulations and business requirements.
Is post-licensing required in every state?
No, it is not, but it is a requirement in the majority of states, including California, Delaware, Texas, and New York.
Is post-licensing required both for real estate agents and brokers?
In some states there is a requirement for both agents and brokers, while in others only real estate agents are required to complete post-licensing education. For example, in Alabama, brokers do not need post-licensing, while agents do. It is important that you always check with your local real estate licensing body in order to get the most recent information relevant to your state.
Are there any states where continuing education is not required for license renewal?
No. Continuing education (CE) is necessary in every single state when it comes to real estate agents and brokers.