Why All Real Estate CE Classes Are Not the Same

June 21, 2022
New and Existing Licensees

In the state of Michigan, all licensed real estate agents, regardless if they are active or have their license in a holding company, must fulfill specific Continuing Education (CE) requirements to renew their license. A total of 18 clock hours of CE is required in each 3-year licensing cycle. To be approved, every CE class must involve a subject that contributes to the professional competence of a licensee. Of the total 18 hours, a licensee must attend a minimum of 2 hours each year that covers law, rules, and court cases regarding real estate. Licensees typically refer to these 2 hours as the “legal” portion of CE. So, throughout a 3-year license cycle, 2 hours of legal are required. The balance of 12 hours can be taken at any time.

If you are in the market for CE classes, you’ve probably come across several options–online versus in-person–and may be wondering if there are any real differences between course offerings and schools. The empathic answer is, YES. Beyond serving as a way to satisfy license renewal requirements, quality CE classes can offer licensees a wealth of valuable information. Benefits range from career development, better client service, and higher income levels, to risk management. Risk management entails learning the right way to do things. This leads to better client service and a reduction (or elimination) of licensing complaints, ethics hearings, and lawsuits. There is no doubt whatsoever that the quality of CE classes differs tremendously depending on the school, course topics, course materials, and instructor. The following contains important factors to consider before deciding on a CE class. As you read on, it will become clear that NCI Associates, Ltd. is the intelligent choice for real estate continuing education.

Make Sure That The CE Classes You’re Taking Are CeMarketplace Approved

All CE courses must be approved by the CE Marketplace. The CE Marketplace serves as Michigan’s Continuing Education Hub for real estate professionals. It is also important to note that Michigan’s licensing bureau, Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA), routinely audits select licensees to make sure they are attending the required amount of approved CE courses. Approved CE classes are listed on CE Marketplace. The fact that a course has been approved, however, is not an endorsement of its quality.

Evaluate The Course Content

Real estate CE classes can cover a wide range of topics. When selecting a CE course, every licensee should review the subject matter beforehand to make sure the topics will help the licensee advance his or her career. Yes, completing any approved 6 hours certainly checks off the box of CE requirements. Nevertheless, why would a licensee, whose time is valuable, waste it keeping a seat warm just to earn a certificate of completion.

Since you are reserving 6 hours of your time each year of the license cycle, why not gain some valuable knowledge. Select a class that contains practical and real-world information. NCI’s CE classes are always highly relevant and practical. Thousands of real estate licensees take an NCI CE class each year for that very reason.

Find A Class Format That Works For You

Here are a few different ways that licensees fulfill their CE course requirements:

Complete 6 Hours Each Year

The majority of real estate professionals find it beneficial to take 6 hours of CE classes each year. By doing so, the licensee is less likely to get caught off guard with an unexpected audit that shows the licensee is short of the required hours (and now in violation of license law). Also, a 6-hour program is more likely to include a group of associated subjects that helps the licensee better understand the law and how it applies to their clients and customers.

An Hour Here, An Hour There

It is fairly easy to find short, non-related programs that are approved for CE credits. Some licensees prefer this way of fulfilling their requirements. The only problem with short-format seminars, is they all lack the time needed to really dig into the subject matter. The dictionary defines the word profession as a calling that requires specialized knowledge and intensive academic preparation. While short CE seminars are available, a 6-hour program offers so much more.

Classroom Versus Online

Most real estate professionals have a preference when it comes to a live classroom CE presentation or a self-paced, online program. Licensees who take CE from the same provider each year out of habit may not realize they are not getting the best program available. At NCI, we get many agents who have taken CE from other schools and then come to us. Nearly all are pleasantly surprised at what a huge difference there is in the quality of our program compared to the others.

Regarding self-paced, online CE classes, the majority are based on a “read-quiz, read-quiz” format. This can be quite boring to get through. NCI’s self-paced, online program is 100% narrated by the owner of the company and the author of the program. It’s like getting a private class taught specifically to you. For agents who have busy or unpredictable schedules, a self-paced course is a good option. Self-paced CE classes allow you to move through the class at your own pace, and pause and continue as you wish. NCI’s self-paced, online program provides the same content and lecture that is delivered in the classroom.

Make Sure That The School You Choose Specializes In Michigan Content

There are many real estate education providers out there. Some are locally-owned and operated, while others are national chains. Since real estate laws and regulations are state-specific, it is always best to take a Michigan-specific course from a Michigan-based provider. It makes no sense for a Michigan licensee to learn about what’s going on in other states.

How Do Questions Get Answered?

Whether you take your CE class online or in person, you may have questions during or after the program. In a classroom environment, it’s easy to ask the instructor a question. As long as he or she knows what they’re talking about, the question gets answered. It’s a different situation with a self-paced, online program. When a student takes a self-paced, online course offered by a national outfit, the likelihood of getting a question answered is low. Since NCI’s self-paced, online program is fully narrated by the author, the vast majority of student questions get addressed during the program. If a student still has a quick question after the course, he or she can call NCI to talk to someone. 

Review The Topics Before You Attend

Unfortunately, the quality of CE course subject matter can vary dramatically in three respects: (1) Subject Matter; (2) Relevancy; and (3) availability of a Course Handout.

Subject Matter

The CE class you take should cover subjects that agents deal with in the current market. Too many classes consist of subject matter that does not pertain to the educational needs of active real estate licensees. Before you invest your valuable time and money attending a CE class, make sure that you will learn something useful.


The subject matter covered must also be relevant to the agent’s business. For example, an agent who specializes in the listing and sale of residential properties should focus on the needs of homebuyers and homesellers and the types of contracts and clauses common in residential sales. Commercial real estate agents, on the other hand, should look for a program that covers subjects specific to commercial properties, commercial leasing, and property management, for example.

Course Handout

Course materials can range widely. Many CE providers give their students nothing to take back home or to the office to use as a resource. Some providers only give students a 1-page bullet point handout at best. A well-written CE course should include a companion course handout. For example, NCI’s CE course for this year includes a detailed, professionally written 82-page workbook. Not only do NCI students learn meaningful subject matter that is relevant to their real estate businesses, but they also receive a comprehensive handout that can be used as a reference resource. As questions and issues arise during the year, the students can refer back to their handout. Any serious course understands this basic student need.

Check the Reviews

After you have narrowed your choice for a real estate CE class, take a moment and look at the school’s Google Reviews. It’s helpful to look at both the average score and what some of the students have to say about their experience with the school. 

Experience The NCI Difference

NCI Associates has been delivering high-quality real estate education to prepare agents for a successful career since 1979. NCI's unique, custom-written Continuing Education course delivers real-world, agent-centered, and practical information. All of the topics are covered from a Michigan-specific perspective. Our instructors are highly qualified and highly recognized in the real estate industry as trusted and reliable sources of information. NCI’s primary CE instructor is a real estate broker, real estate attorney, and former public school educator. Read our testimonials and watch this video to find out why our students keep coming back year after year to take NCI’s CE classes.

Copyright © 2022 by NCI Associates, Ltd. All rights reserved. Any other use of this content is strictly prohibited without permission from NCI.

Your Real Estate Future is Promising

However, fulfilling the promise of a successful real estate future requires the right choices at the right times. The most important decision to make right now? Where you’ll begin — or continue — your real estate training. NCI Associates, Ltd. remains your intelligent choice for Michigan Real Estate Classes.

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