Agent Education: How to stay sharp at every stage of your career

by Jason Porterfield

“Most people get that done in two to four weeks, depending on the school and their ability to work it into their schedule,” says Larry Toban, president of the popular licensing school The Real Estate Institute. “In those terms, it’s not something that takes an inordinate amount of time, nor is it something that can’t be achieved by most people.”

Each course wraps up with a proctored exam. Students who do not pass one of the proctored course exams on the first attempt can take it again up to three times, but must pass it within 30 days of the first attempt. Otherwise, they are forced to re-take the class. All of that studying and exam-taking leads up to the state licensure exam, which consists of a standardized test administered by Applied Measurement Professionals.

In Illinois, the required coursework focuses heavily on the legal and ethical aspects of the industry. License law, real property, financing, contracts, and state and federal law are key components of the pre-licensing program. The bulk of the material is designed to keep agents on the right side of the law, rather than teach them about running a real estate business.

In other words, licensing is about consumer protections, with prospective agents learning about liens, title transfers, appraisals, and fair housing – not about how agents can find and utilize leads, represent buyers or sellers, or build their businesses.


Preparing for a real estate career

After an agent secures their license, they must take an additional 30 hours of post-licensure training before their first renewal, two years from when they were licensed. The post-licensure course is intended to reinforce the material learned earlier and to provide insight and awareness into how real estate laws might be applied in various situations. Working with buyers and sellers, foreclosures, advertising regulations, agent safety, and required disclosures are all part of this training. An additional six hours of continuing education is required during each subsequent two-year renewal period.

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