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There’s a tendency in the modern world to see education as a discreet thing. High school and college graduation are seen as important milestones in a person’s life, but they’re also seen as endings. For many, the expectation is that you walk away with a degree ready to tackle whatever challenges face you in the future. But for the best among us, education is a lifelong affair, and as the industry standards and technologies change at a lightning quick pace, the necessity of pursuing education beyond the walls of a tradition institute of higher education is becoming increasingly more important. That’s as true for those in the field of real estate as it is for anyone else.

In fact, continuing education has become mandatory for real estate agents. In part, that’s due to how quickly the real estate landscape tends to change. It’s long been expected that agents receive 24 hours of continuing education to renew their certification every four years, but that mandatory requirement was increased to 36 hours in 2015. It’s a sign of how important education is in the world of real estate, but it’s a notion that other occupations could stand to learn from.

The truth is, this mandatory education ensures that agents can keep up with important modern communications channels like social media and stay abreast of changes in real estate law. But since this continuing education requirement is mandatory for everyone, that means that the agents who take their education seriously are certain to have an advantage over those who don’t.

The current educational track for real estate education constitutes six main categories: contracts, negotiations, 1031 exchanges, mortgages, selling, and home inspection. If those seem like subjects that you’re already well-versed in, you could be mistaken. Over the course of four years, a lot of things can change in each of these subject areas, and that’s why it’s important to treat your education seriously and take the time to understand any changes that have happened since the last time you cracked open a textbook.

The simple fact is that real estate is an interpersonal business, and clients are looking for agents who know what they’re talking about. Taking an aggressive approach to education and making sure that you learn the ins and outs of your profession intimately allows you to serve them better, but it also gives you the confidence you need to keep a steady stable of prospective leads.