Jen Kirchhoefer


Three hundred hours. That is how many education hours it takes to become a nail technician in the state of Utah. It would, most likely, take me at least 1,200. It is definitely an art and I have been stuck in Beginning Stick People 101 since the first grade. To become a full-fledged licensed cosmetologist (person who can do hair, skin and nails), the requirements consist of a minimum of 1,600 education hours or 2,500 hours of apprenticeship. Many of these hours are spent in practicing the trade, first on manikins and then on small children who tend to cut their own bangs. I know, I had one of these small children and will be forever grateful to the beginners at the beauty college who couldn’t possibly have made it look any worse.

On the other hand, to become a licensed Realtor, a whopping 120 hours of required education must be completed. Fortunately, it can all be done online. That way, someone can simultaneously work on their miniature zen garden while learning how to best represent a buyer or seller with one of the largest financial decisions they make in their lifetime. That makes sense.

There is a test that must be passed after the arduous 120 hours of course work is completed. Of course, 75 percent is considered passing. That was a “C” in college. It’s okay too if you don’t pass. You can just take it again until you do. It’s kind of like the eye test at the Driver’s License Division. My daughter took it five times before she got it right. By that time, she had it memorized.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an open house with some clients who were interested in the listing. The list agent met us at the door. I could have sworn he was 12-years-old, certainly not a day over 13. However, I knew he had to be at least 18 because that is the minimum age required to become a licensed agent. Hopefully this guy was an older 18 than I was at that age. I think back to when I was that age and I had barely learned how to tie my own shoes, let alone advise someone on how to invest half a million dollars. Fortunately, he had at least graduated from high school (or the equivalent), since that too is a requirement.

In reality, there are many licensed Realtors who carry much more qualified credentials than the minimum requirements. Continuing education classes are offered all the time and they should be attended frequently. The real estate market is very fluid. It changes all the time. Consistent education is key. This means your Realtor should have their head in the game all the time, not just after they “get off work” from their other job. If a Realtor is doing it right, they don’t have five minutes to work another job.

Good licensed agents are Realtors who have joined the National Association of Realtors. This means they are held to a higher standard and a specific Realtor Code of Ethics. There are plenty of these Realtors who have completed post-secondary education, or M.B.A. programs. Some have law degrees. This may instill a bit more confidence. Ultimately, though, a good Realtor is one who, for better or for worse, uses a combination of knowledge, experience and authenticity to represent you. If that means kissing 24½ frogs before finding the prince, so be it. Your Realtor should be initiating that kiss and then running every single step with you to the proverbial altar.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at or 801-645-2134.

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