Continuing Education FAQ
What courses are offered for license renewal?
The Board offers a wide array of programs for your license renewal. You can find the annual calendar of events on this website at the Calendar.
Are brokers and salespersons required to complete continuing education?
Chapter 369 of the Acts of 1996 establishes twelve hours of continuing education in different subjects that are contained in a curriculum developed by the licensing board. The twelve hour requirement is for each license term (a license is good for two years). However, the Board does not begin verifying compliance with the continuing education requirement until January 1, 1999. At that time it will use the license renewal application to obtain verification from brokers and salespersons showing completion of continuing education. The licensing board is now involved in the process of notifying real estate brokers and salespersons of the new continuing education requirement. For a list of schools offering continuing education, visit our Authorized Real Estate Schools in Massachusetts web page.
I am an attorney, must I complete the continuing education requirement?
Licensed Real Estate Brokers who are Massachusetts attorneys in good standing with the Bar are exempt from the continuing education requirement. This exemption is only for Massachusetts attorneys. Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers who are attorneys in another state or jurisdiction must complete the continuing education.
Who has to do continuing education and are there any exemptions?
All individuals licensed as real estate agents in the Commonwealth must demonstrate that they have completed the 12-hour continuing education requirement as a prerequisite to renewing their license as “active” (so they can work as agents) beginning January 1, 1999.
You must complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement by the time you are scheduled to renew your license in order to renew as “active”. An “active” license entitles you to work. If you do not complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement by your scheduled license renewal date then the Board must, by law, renew your license as “inactive”. You cannot work as an agent with an “inactive” license, though you may receive referral fees.
The new continuing education statute establishes one exemption from the new requirement. The exemption provides that Massachusetts attorneys who are currently licensed in good standing (not under any disciplinary action) and who are also real estate brokers are exempt from the continuing education requirement.
Aside from this, a Massachusetts salesperson or broker who obtained his/her license in Massachusetts without examination based upon his/her licensure in another state (commonly referred to as reciprocity or reciprocal licensure) is exempt from the Massachusetts continuing education requirement, provided such agent completes his/her own state’s continuing education requirement (regardless of how may hours the other state requirement contains). If such agent fails to complete their own states requirement or there is no such requirement then they must complete the Massachusetts continuing education requirement to renew their license as “active” in order to work as an agent.
A corporate or partnership broker is not considered an individual and, therefore, there is no continuing education requirement for these entities. However, the continuing education requirement does apply to the individual real estate salespeople and brokers affiliated with corporate and partnership brokers unless one of the two exemption noted herein apply to the individual licensee.
Lastly, if you were originally grandfathered into licensure in Massachusetts you still must complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement to renew your license as “active” (so you can work as an agent).
When is my continuing education due?
If you wish to renew your license as “active” so that you may work as a real estate agent you must demonstrate that you have completed the 12 hour continuing education requirement anytime during the 24 months prior to the date on which you are scheduled to renew your license (license renewals are every two years on your scheduled renewal date). The license renewal application has been modified to obtain such data via a question concerning the completion of continuing education (question 2 on the renewal application. You either answer “Yes” if you have completed the requirement or “NO” if you have not completed the requirement. If you fail to answer the question your license will be renewed as “inactive”, as noted in the instructions that are mailed with the license renewal application. The answer to this question, along with all the other information that you provide on the renewal application, is done so under the pains and penalties of perjury. Providing untruthful information may result in the suspension or revocation of your license pursuant to relevant law. By regulation the Board also requires the approved real estate schools offering the 12-hour continuing education curriculum to keep records for each individual licensee who attends such school.
Does the 12-hour continuing education requirement consist of different courses?
Actually it is not a course though sometimes individuals refer to it as such. The 12-hour continuing education requirement consists of 12 hours of instruction in different subject matter areas (subjects) that were developed by the Board as a curriculum pursuant to the new law on continuing education. The Board approved real estate schools (providers) agree to use this 12-hour subject matter curriculum to provide the information in such curriculum to licensees. Therefore the Board does not approve any courses. Rather, it has established a 12-hour subject matter curriculum to be used by the Board approved real estate schools. Click here for a List Of Authorized Real Estate Schools which contains the school names, locations and telephone numbers. A number of schools have multiple locations and you should check with the school to see if there is a location close to you.
If I renew my license as “inactive” (meaning I have not completed the continuing education requirement), must I wait until my next license renewal to renew as “active”?
No you need not wait until receipt of your next license renewal application. When you renew as “inactive” you will receive a notice (not a license) which will inform you of your renewal as “inactive”. That notice will contain a section at the bottom whereby you can state, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that you have completed the 12-hour continuing education requirement and want to make your license “active”. The notice will contain the Board’s mailing address so you can complete it and return it to the Board. You may use the notice if you make a mistake in your original license renewal application and inadvertently renew as “inactive” or if you actually renewed as “inactive” but subsequently completed the 12-hour continuing education requirement and wish to make your license “active”. When the Board receives the notice your record will be updated to reflect that your real estate license is “active” and a new license will be mailed to you. Obviously there is no fee to do this since you will have paid for your license when you initially renewed it as “inactive”.
May I take correspondence courses either through the mail or the Internet to complete the Board’s continuing education requirement?
No you may not use correspondence courses via the mail or Internet to complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement. The Board does not approve courses. Rather it has established a 12-hour subject matter curriculum pursuant to the new continuing education statute. The Board approved schools (providers) agree to use that curriculum in covering the material in such curriculum for licensed real estate agents. At the current time there are no approved schools (providers) offering the curriculum via correspondence either through the mail or on the internet and the Board does not plan to address that issue at least until it completes one two year cycle of continuing education (meaning all real estate agents have been given the opportunity to complete the continuing education requirement which will occur by December 31, 2000).
Does my continuing education in another state satisfy my requirement in Massachusetts?
If you obtained licensure as a salesperson or broker in Massachusetts without examination (usually referred to as reciprocity or reciprocal licensure) based upon your license in the other state and you complete the approved continuing education requirement of that other state (regardless of how many hours that state requires) then you have also satisfied the continuing education requirement in Massachusetts and will indicate as much, under the pains and penalties of perjury, on your Massachusetts license renewal application (questions 1 as 2 of the license renewal application). Obviously if you do not complete the other state’s approved continuing education requirement, if the other state has no such requirement or you did not obtain your Massachusetts license without examination based upon your licensure in the other state you would then have to complete the continuing education requirement in Massachusetts. (You must complete the approved continuing education requirement in the other state -even if you are exempt- in order for it to satisfy the Massachusetts requirement).
If my real estate license expired more than one cycle ago (more than two years) can I still renew it and if so will I have to do more than 12 hours of continuing education?
By virtue of a change in the licensing law effective in March of 1999 you can now reinstate an expired real estate license which expired more than 21 months ago (If it has expired less than 21 months ago you would simply be renewing it late). Naturally you will have to pay the licensing fees you missed while the license was expired and a late fee. You must write to the Real Estate Board and request a “license reinstatement application for your expired license”. In the letter indicate your name, expired license number, social security number and your current mailing address. The Board will send you the license reinstatement application, with any relevant materials, and calculate the correct fee so that you may reinstate your license. The Board’s mailing address is Massachusetts Real Estate Board, 239 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114.
You will only need to do the 12-hour continuing education requirement. It is not cumulative over the number of licensing cycles you missed when your license expired. For example, if your license expires and you miss two cycles (4 years) you do not have to do 24 hours of continuing education (12 hours x 2 cycles). Rather, you just do the 12-hour requirement prior to renewing your license if you want to renew the license as “active” so you can work. Also depending upon when your license should have last been renewed you may not have to do continuing education.
As of January 1, 1999 the Board must verify your compliance with continuing education therefore if your last renewal should be in 1998 there is no requirement to complete continuing education until you renew your license in the year 2000. On the other hand if your last renewal is sometime in 1999 you will need to do the 12-hour continuing education requirement to renew your license as “active” so you can work. If you are not planning on working at the current time you could refrain from doing continuing education and the license will be renewed as “inactive”. At any rate, the Board will provide you with information in your license renewal application on whether or not you need to do continuing education and if so a list of approved schools with their telephone numbers and locations will also be provided.
In accordance with Chapter 369 of the Acts of 1996 all Massachusetts Real Estate Brokers and Salespeople who wish to maintain an “active” real estate license must complete 12 hours of continuing education anytime during the 24 months prior to the scheduled renewal date of your license (every two years). This requirement will commence with those licensees who renew beginning on January 1, 1999. In the case where a licensee was due to renew prior to January 1, 1999 but renews (late) after that date the licensee must comply with the continuing education requirement. However, there is a provision that allows people who are “inactive” (not working as real estate agents) to renew without satisfying the continuing education requirement, provided that they are not engaged in the practice of real estate.
Does my continuing education count towards any continuing education that I must complete for another license I hold which was issued by Massachusetts or another state?
Whether or not your Massachusetts continuing education as a real estate agent can be used in part or totally in satisfaction of a continuing education requirement that you must fulfill for another type of license issued by Massachusetts or another state depends upon a determination which must be made by the licensing authority that issued your license in Massachusetts or another state. You should contact that licensing authority to determine whether they will accept all or part of the continuing education that you completed for your real estate agents license here in Massachusetts.
What happens if I do not complete the 12 hour continuing education requirement when I renew my license?
Pursuant to the new law on continuing education, the Board must renew your license as “inactive” (as opposed to “active”). “Inactive” means you cannot work as a real estate agent, though you may receive a referral fee from an “active broker” for those individuals you have referred to such broker who, in turn, ultimately sell or buy real property through such “active broker”. If you wish to do more than just receive referral fees then you must complete the 12-hour continuing education requirement by the time you are scheduled to renew your license. It is important to also note that you must complete all 12 hours by the time you are scheduled to renew your license. Doing part or most of the 12 hours does not entitle you to an “active” license. You must complete all 12 hours.