Core Standards: Professional Development for You and Your Leaders

AE professional development

There are many opportunities to fulfill the minimum six hours of annual professional development for chief staff executives required under the Core Standards. From classes on new software or conflict resolution to seminars on marketing and media relations, only you know the type of training that will help you become the best AE you can be.

Rarely do we spend time thinking about what we’re not good at. The professional development requirement, however, presents the opportunity to uncover and address shortcomings. Does public speaking make you uncomfortable? Are you technologically unsavvy? Do you panic at the thought of balancing a budget?

Community colleges and trade groups such as the American Society of Association Executives are great places to find general training.

Of course, the Core Standard on AE professional development is intended to promote education specific to managing a REALTOR® association, such as the sessions you’ll find at the AE Institute (six hours of credit), the NAR Leadership Summit (three hours of credit), and the NAR New AE Orientation (six hours of credit). Yet strive to complement this type of training with more personalized opportunities unique to your location, years on the job, goals of your association, or personal interests.

Remember, your state association, not NAR, determines what will qualify as professional development, so check with it first before taking on new professional development challenges.

New: Volunteer AE professional development

Professional development for volunteers who fulfill the AE function is a new addition to the Core Standards effective with the current cycle. Some small associations with no paid staff have volunteer leaders who fulfill basic administrative duties (the tasks that are ordinarily done by paid staff). Those volunteer leaders also must complete six hours of professional development.

New: Elected leadership professional development

Starting with the current 2017 Core Standards cycle, you must be able to document that you provided leadership development education or training for your elected leaders (at minimum the president and president-elect). If you do not directly provide the training, at a leadership retreat for example, you can promote or provide access to training, such as encouraging your leaders to take advantage of leadership training at the Leadership Summit. You’re not required to fund the education but you should ensure that free options, such as the REALTOR® Leadership Program online Leadership 100 course offered by NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (2 hours of credit) are promoted to your elected leaders.

This Core Standard does not require leaders to take advantage of opportunities you make available (although the hope is many will), and associations will not lose their charters because their president didn’t choose to enhance her or his leadership skills.

New: Member professional development

You must offer, promote, or provide at least one professional development opportunity for your general membership during each compliance cycle (no minimum hours required). Professional development includes training and other methods to help members develop or enhance real estate–related skills. This Core Standard doesn’t require you to actually conduct or sponsor classroom training. The requirement can be met by something as simple as informing members via your website, email, or print publication about classroom and online programs, tools, and resources available from NAR, the state association, or other organizations and providers. NAR offers a wide range of professional development programs you can promote or offer to members, including Code of Ethics training, certification courses, business specialties courses, and events, such as the Broker Summit.

New: Safety education for members

You are now required to annually certify that your association has conducted or promoted a REALTOR® safety activity. You may conduct a safety activity, such as a self-defense seminar, partner with a neighboring association on a safety event, or point members to other sources of training on safety, such as the three-hour online course “Real Estate Safety Matters: Safe Business = Smart Business” at for $29.95. The course materials are available free to associations to download and conduct the course at their association. You are not required to offer free safety education. Search for “association safety programs” at for a list of how REALTOR® associations are promoting safety.

Professional development programs and courses from NAR for staff & volunteer leadership with suggested Core Standards credit hours

  • Association Executives Institute (6 hours)
  • REALTOR® Association Management (RAM) Self-Study Course (6 hours in year of completion)
  • Advanced REALTOR® Association Management (ARAM) Self-Study Course (6 hours in year of completion)
  • Professional Standards Self-Study Course (6 hours in year of completion)
  • REALTORS® Excelling in Association Leadership (REAL) Self-Study Course (3 hours in year of completion)
  • NAR Leadership Summit (3 hours)
  • REALTORS® Leadership Program (RLP) Leadership 100 (2 hours), 200 & 300 (3 hours)
  • REALTOR® association Certified Executive (RCE) Designation (6 hours in year the designation is awarded)
  • NAR New AE Orientation (6 hours)
  • e-PRO Day 1 (6 hours) (Note: An AE-specific course is offered at AEI but staff can also take the regular version.)
  • e-PRO Day 2 (6 hours)
  • RPR: Real Time Data, Market Knowledge, Informed Customers (3 hours)
  • At Home With Diversity (6 hours)
  • NAR Attorney Seminar  (morning session at the annual convention) (3 hours)
  • NAR’s Professional Standards Administrator Training at AE Institute (6 hours)
  • NAR Professional Standards Education Seminar (6 hours)
  • NAR Mediation/Mediator Training Seminar (6 hours)
  • REALTOR® Party Immersion Day Training  (at AEI) (6 hours)
  • REALTOR® Party Hub Training (4 hours)
  • Commercial Membership By Design (3 hours)
  • Discovering Commercial Real Estate (3 hours)
  • CIPS Global Programs for Associations

(Note: All state REALTOR® associations are required to offer 6 hours of professional development opportunities to their local AEs.)

REALTOR® University Graduate Certificate Program in Real Estate Association Management Courses

  • Real Estate Association Management I – Leadership and Governance (6 hours)
  • Real Estate Association Management II – Association Financial Management (6 hours)
  • Program Development and Accountability in Real Estate Associations (6 hours)
  • Issues and Trends in Real Estate (6 hours)
  • Real Estate Law (6 hours)
  • Real Estate Finance and Investments (6 hours)
Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.


About REALTOR® AE Magazine

All state and local REALTOR® association executives, association communication directors, regional MLS executives, and Government Affairs Directors receive RAE at no cost. Issues are mailed to the address found in NAR’s NRDS system. To update your REALTOR® AE Magazine subscription preferences, update your mailing address in NRDS.

Update your address