Agent certification becomes hot debate

The level of education real estate agents are required to complete has been thrown into question, with a hearty debate ignited as to the current shortfalls.

Some accreditation experts believe they have to pass students on the back of courses that may produce unprofessional agents not worth the commissions they take. Others suggest industry standards as a whole must improve, and point the finger at registered training organisations.

Some respondents to yesterday's Real Estate Business article about 'watered-down' agent education believe that if the industry as a whole cannot demonstrate expertise and professionalism, the role of a real estate agent will become extinct.

“One of the problems we face as an industry is that the majority of our clients are indeed very aware of the pitiful level of mandatory training, which leads them to question our commission structure and the necessity of even employing an agent when there are so many other options.”

Others suggested changes have to be made to real estate licensing requirements as the proliferation of ‘one-week licensing’ courses are inadequate. One trainer went so far as to say that delivering watered-down training breaks their heart.

“The various Offices of Fair Trading are granting entry-level Certificates to agents after less than one week’s training, which costs just over $500… It is no wonder that the public take us for unprofessionals not worth the commissions we ask,” another reader said.

“If I had my way, the entry-level requirements would be adequate and the timeframe (and cost) would reflect the huge responsibility that agents have in dealing with most sellers’ most valuable asset.”

One respondent, however, strongly disagrees with claims that place doubt on the commitment of registered training organisations, and rejects the idea that courses are ‘watered down’.

“Ten years ago, the educational requirement for a Certificate of Registration was three units of competency that were not even from a national training package. Now to obtain a Certificate of Registration you must complete three units from the Cert IV and one from the Cert III qualification for a total of four units, while a licence was an additional 15 units,” the reader said.

“Now, to hold a licence you must complete a full Cert IV, which is a total of 24 units … How this is considered ‘watering down’ dumbfounds me.”

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