A real estate broker’s education is really in-depth
State law demands Pennsylvania brokers be as knowledgeable as possible about the ins-and-outs of real estate. To that end, it requires prospective broker licensees to take 240 hours of specialized education before they qualify to sit for the licensing exam. Every 15 hours of authorized education equals 1 credit; the accumulated 240 hours equals 16 credits.
Anyone who participates in a broker-level class – whether for the purpose of obtaining a license or simply to fulfill continuing education needs – must take and pass a course-ending test before credit is granted.
Three tiers of broker courses
The state Real Estate Commission separates broker-level courses into three different types, or tiers: Commission-Required, Commission-Developed, and Commission-Approved.
Commission-Required courses should be self-explanatory; anyone who wants to become a broker must attend and pass them.
Commission-Developed courses are those for which the commission has created the course outline or syllabus, and all authorized schools must teach to its outline.
Commission-Approved courses are those for which authorized schools have created a course outline or syllabus, and received commission approval to teach those courses as outlined.
You must take two Commission-Required courses
Prospective brokers must take two Commission-Required courses: Real Estate Law, and Real Estate Brokerage and Office Management. Each course is 30 hours long. Together they account for 4 (2 credits each) of 16 education credits needed to become a broker. Most prospective brokers want to take these courses as soon as possible, or as soon as they become available.
You must take at least three Commission-Developed courses
In addition to Real Estate Law and Real Estate Brokerage and Office Management, there are several different Commission-developed live classroom courses: Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Sales, Residential Construction, Residential Property Management, Basic Appraisal Procedures, Basic Appraisal Principles. You can pick and choose three that interest you most, but you must complete at least three.
Each course is 30 hours long. Together they account for another 6 (2 credits each) of the necessary 16 credits.
A side note: Basic Appraisal Procedures and Basic Appraisal Principles also have value for those interested in becoming certified real estate appraisers.
Combine more Commission-Developed and -Approved courses to finish
The remaining 6 credits can be obtained by taking either more Commission-developed courses, or Commission-Approved (also known as elective) courses, or both. Polley currently offers five different Commission-approved courses. Three are live: Accredited Buyer Representation, Seller Representative Specialist, Senior Real Estate Specialist, all 15 hours and 1 credit each. Others are online: Commercial Brokerage and Valuation of Residential Properties, 30 hours and 2 credits. Polley rotates the live titles and usually schedules two, and occasionally up to four, every four months.
Do, but don’t over-do
No more than 4 credits will be granted by the commission in specific areas of study. An example: although the commission has approved three two-credit appraisal courses – Basic Residential Appraisal Procedures, Basic Residential Appraisal Principles, Valuation of Residential Property – only any two of them will be accepted by the commission in fulfillment of the educational requirements.
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