The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) and the province’s 11 real estate boards have revised the Professional Development Program (PDP) for Realtors to strengthen education requirements in the profession and give Realtors access to more diverse learning opportunities throughout their careers.
“Ongoing education is an important part of Realtor professionalism and an example of Realtors’ commitment to serving consumers,” says Darlene Hyde, BCREA CEO.
Under the new program, Realtors are required to complete a minimum of 18 hours of professional development over their two-year licensing cycle. These requirements go beyond what’s required by the Real Estate Council of B.C. to earn and maintain a real estate services licence.
Realtors can fulfill these requirements by taking a combination of accredited and self-directed professional development. They are required to complete at least 12 hours of accredited professional development each licensing cycle and they can use six hours of self-directed learning toward their 18 required PDP hours each licensing cycle.
BCREA’s membership includes more than 23,000 Realtors.
Joanna Pedersen, education manager with BCREA, says the existing framework had been in place for a number of years and a memorandum of understanding between the 11 boards and BCREA had expired.
“So quite naturally it was time to look at the framework. Was it still meeting the needs of Realtors and was there opportunity to enhance and revitalize that?” says Pedersen. “As well, real estate has been changing very fast, the expectations of Realtors are higher, and so there’s a real opportunity to address those needs with professional development.
“As much as the real estate industry has changed, so too has education and what we know about adult learning and how people like to access information, how they like to work,” says Pedersen. She says that in revitalizing the program, they were looking for a flexible approach that could respond to regulatory changes as well as changes in technology.
The previous professional development program required 18 credits, which was about 18 hours.
“We recognized we don’t have control over what the regulator is going to do and the licensing requirements. So changes in that could then impact the framework just from an administrative, logistical basis. But more importantly, when we look at licensing education, that’s the minimum standard. All Realtors, all licensees in the province, are required to have a licence and maintain education for their licence. It’s not going above and beyond the minimum requirements,” says Pedersen.
She says the new program “raises the bar for Realtors…. One key difference is that any licensing education required to maintain your licence is not included in the professional development program. The expectation is that all Realtors will have done that.”
Pedersen says BCREA is excited about the self-directed component and sees that as a game changer for the industry.
RECBC has introduced an anti-money laundering course, which is required for licensing.
“BCREA is also developing materials and PDP accredited learning in anti-money laundering that will build upon what the regulator is requiring. That’s in progress right now,” says Pedersen.
She says ensuring that Realtors are continually educating themselves and increasing their knowledge of changes to legislation is critical to protecting their clients.
“Acknowledging that the environment is changing, the economy is changing, the demographics of cities and rural areas are changing, legislation and government changes and what consumers are looking for are changing – all those impact what’s happening in the marketplace,” says Pedersen.
“If you’re not continually learning and growing and developing, you’re getting left behind.”