Students working with an instructor in a real estate professional development course

Professional Development: Your Key to New Revenue Opportunities?

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

We recently conducted a large research project to compile the first-ever State of the Real Estate Education Industry research report. As part of that project, we surveyed 318 real estate educators on a variety of topics. One of those topics was professional development course offerings. Only 30% of the real estate educators we heard from currently offer professional development in their school. Yet 79% of respondents say they believe that professional development course offerings could be a potential area of opportunity for their school.

Historically, some real estate schools have operated on a belief that real estate agents aren’t going to spend any more time in a classroom or clicking through an online course than their state requires them to. And for some real estate agents, that might be true. But for many agents, the right professional development experiences might be the very thing standing between them and a long-term sustainable career in real estate sales.

Below, we’ll break down three reasons existing real estate schools that aren’t currently offering professional development should consider bolstering their product offering with additional non-credit courses that real estate agents need to be successful.

Reason #1: You have a built-in leads database

The hardest part about starting a real estate school, or any business for that matter, is that you are literally starting from square one. You have no brand equity. You have no cash flow. And worst of all, you have no leads.

But if you’re already running a real estate school that offers licensing and continuing education, you already have the leads you need to get your professional development course offering off the ground. Your target market for professional development courses is the exact same people who have already used your school in the past. Better yet, if they had a positive experience as your student, there’s an inherent relationship of trust between you and those students.  

Reason #2: Real estate sales is increasingly more competitive

People come into real estate careers from all walks of life. Some choose this path directly out of high school or college. But many come to real estate as career changers. Frequently they’re coming from a job where they had a boss and a very clear set of expectations. This might very well be their first taste of independence in their professional life. Depending on their past experiences, they may or may not be prepared to thrive in that autonomy.

There’s a valley that separates the super successful from the rest of the pack. Real estate agents in all markets are looking to develop new skills and adapt to new technologies that will help them stay relevant and gain a competitive edge. The playing field isn’t level, which is why so many newly licensed real estate professionals are out of the business before they ever had a fighting chance to succeed. Professional development can afford you the opportunity to change those statistics and provide real estate licensees with what they actually need to be successful.

Reason #3: There is a gap between required education and education required for success

The knowledge and skills needed to pass a state real estate licensing exam are not the same as the knowledge and skills needed to be successful as a real estate salesperson. The prelicensing course and exam gives your students permission to act as a real estate professional. But without sales and marketing skills, organizational skills, lead management strategies, and all of the other skills it takes to run a business, they’re ill-prepared to actually hit the ground running and provide exceptional client service. Bridging that gap was Dearborn’s motivation behind developing the Real Estate Accelerator professional development program.

In theory, continuing education could be a solution. But with stringent requirements for CE courses in many states, several of the topics real estate professionals could use to grow their career don’t qualify for approval. Professional development courses offer you the opportunity to connect real estate licensees with the tactical skills required to thrive in this business.


Professional development is no longer a “nice to have” for many real estate professionals. This is your opportunity to take a leadership role in building a stronger real estate community equipped to provide exceptional client service and carve out a long-term career in real estate sales. In turn, you will develop new revenue streams and growth avenues for your school.