During a recent interview, Arizona Department of Real Estate Commissioner Judy Lowe spoke with Arizona REALTORS® 2018 President Lori Doerfler. Highlights are available on YouTube, but here is an excerpt.


Lori Doerfler: We’ve been hearing a lot about distance learning and online courses, and the workgroups that are taking place here. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Judy Lowe: Our strategic plan for 2018 is focused on education.

We really feel that if we can educate the real estate licensees, the consumer…and our internal staff…about what to expect in a real estate transaction. All of that bundled together will create some very dramatic changes in the real estate environment in Arizona.

We did have a workgroup that looked at the quality of our distance learning continuing education. They came back with recommendations (that) are being integrated into the application form for the real estate educator.

Remember, that our real estate education is done by the private sector — instructors working under the real estate schools. The instructors are approved by the Department, the schools are approved by the Department.

There are over 2,000 courses that are approved by the Department. There are about 700 continuing education classes that are held throughout Arizona or online every month in Arizona. You can see the magnitude of that private sector enterprise.

As we’re looking at the continuing education, especially the distance learning, we will begin reviewing the courses that are sent in for approval. We’ll begin to look at instructor qualifications a little more closely. The applications will change and be rolled out probably within the next six-to-eight weeks for distance learning.

We’re going to separate the continuing education application; there will be one for in-classroom and one for distance learning. The distance learning has to have more criteria around the technology involved. The quality of the course is really the responsibility of the school administrator — making sure that the instructor who’s going to teach that course content is teaching according to what the guidelines are in Arizona.

We certainly don’t want our real estate licensees going to take their continuing education and being taught real estate that’s being done somewhere other than Arizona.

Lori Doerfler: In continuing ed, you have monitors that will attend some of these classes, unannounced…

Judy Lowe: That’s right.

Lori Doerfler: So, we can maintain the quality?

Judy Lowe: We also have an auditor-educator who reviews all of the courses; he’s out in the community on an ongoing basis. That’s for distance learning, but what we’re really excited about is redoing the curriculum for our pre-licensing education…which hasn’t been modified since 1995…and we are (making it) relevant to the way real estate is done in Arizona today.

We’re excited that we had a workgroup working on it. One of the things that they’ve added is homeowners’ associations. Up until the curriculum modification, HOA was never required to be taught to our new licensees.

Then we have new legislation that was just passed to allow our pre-licensing education to be taught online. We will be accepting the applications for that the first of January…rolling out online education…probably February to March of 2019.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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