GREC increases continuing education requirements

Georgia Real Estate Commission increases continuing education requirements

Today’s update comes from former GABB president Kathryne Pusch, who is also a member of the Georgia Real Estate Commission’s Education Advisory Committee, a licensed Georgia real estate instructor, and the author of The Complete Preparation Guide to the Georgia Real Estate Sales Exam.

The Georgia Real Estate Commission passed changes to two of its Rules at its April 2, 2014 meeting.

Key Points
• Beginning July 1, 2015 each licensee must have completed 36 hours of Continuing Education to renew a license.
• Beginning July 1, 2016, each licensee must have completed 3 hours on the topic of license law as part of the 36 hours of CE.

One of the many benefits of the GABB is discounts on quality professional training aimed at the needs of professionals engaged in buying and selling businesses and franchises.

The current issue of the GREC RENews details this rule update.
Rule 520-1.05 Maintaining a License

Increase in Required Continuing Education Hours
Since continuing education (CE) was first required of non-grandfathered real estate licensees in 1980, the Georgia Real Estate Commission (GREC) has not increased the CE hours. Based on the number of repeated types of violations, surveys of licensees, input from industry professionals, and the ever-changing industry, the Georgia Real Estate Commission determined that an increase from 24 to 36 hours of CE per renewal period would further “protect the public” which is the function of the GREC. The Commission cites the following reasons for the increase:
1. The national average of CE hours is 9.3 hours per year. All surrounding states except for South Carolina have more CE hours per year than Georgia. This increase would put Georgia nearer the national average and above all surrounding states.
2 . The purpose of the GREC is to “protect the public” from misconduct and violations by real estate licensees of real estate law and rules. The GREC firmly believes that an increase in CE taken by real estate licensees will help diminish the number of violations by licensees of the license law.
3. The GREC considers real estate licensees as professionals. As professionals, real estate licensees should take CE hours commensurate with other professions. For example, attorneys are required to take 12 hours of CE each year, insurance agents 15 hours of CE each year and appraisers 14 hours of CE each year. The GREC wants to insure the integrity and “raise the bar” for licensee professionalism.

The section of the rule that changed is stated below, and you can go to the GREC website and read the Rule.
(1) Required Education.
(d) In order to renew an active license, a licensee shall furnish to the Commission evidence of satisfactorily completing thirty-six (36) instructional hours of continuing education courses during the renewal period. The effective date of this requirement shall be July 1, 2015. Any licensee who renews an active license on or after this date must have completed thirty-six (36) hours of continuing education courses in order to renew.
(e) A licensee shall satisfactorily complete at least three (3) hours of continuing education on the topic of license law during each license renewal period. The effective date of this requirement shall be July 1, 2016. Any licensee who renews an active license on or after this date must have completed at least three (3) hours of continuing education on the topic of license law in order to renew.
Note that the new Rule has 2 parts, 1) number of hours and 2) the requirement of a license law course, and they are staggered in the years they become effective. If a licensee renews between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, he/she must take 36 hours of CE to renew. If a licensee renews on or after July 1, 2016 , the 36 hours must include a course that includes 3-hours on the topic of license law.
Any course developed to qualify as a continuing education course on the topic of license law will contain material that covers such topics as trust account requirements, brokerage relationships, unfair trade practices, advertising, licensees acting as principals, and other topics as deemed appropriate by the Georgia Real Estate Commission. Course providers will be required to identify the course as meeting the requirements for the 3-hour mandatory license law course approval.
Note Regarding Grandfathered Licensees: Because it takes a statutory change by the Georgia General Assembly to require continuing education for “Grandfathered Licensees” (those licensed prior to 1980), these “Grandfathered Licensees” will continue to be exempt from all continuing education requirements. However, Grandfathered licensees are encouraged to attend CE courses and in particular the courses that cover updates and a review of License Laws, Rules, and Regulations. Every licensee is responsible for being knowledgeable regarding the License Laws, Rules, and Regulations and being uninformed is not a defense for a violation of the License Laws, Rules, and Regulations.