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In 2015 The Ohio State University (OSU) and I completed a study on auctioneer continuing education (CE) producing this document titled, “Ohio Auctioneer Continuing Education Feasibility Study.” The results of this study were presented to the Ohio Auctioneer’s Commission in late 2015.

Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Educator & Horticulture Specialist, Charissa McGlothin, OSU Agriculture & Marketing Program Assistant and myself were specifically charged with gathering information and forming a recommendation concerning the prudence of Ohio requiring continuing education for their licensed auctioneers; currently, Ohio auctioneers are not required to complete any continuing education.

Our advice to the Ohio Auctioneer’s Commission was that Ohio pass a law requiring every Ohio auctioneer to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.

In our study, we found that about 70% of licensed auctioneers in the United States are required to take some sort of periodic auctioneer-related continuing education. We also noted that in Ohio, about 1,600 (about one half) of licensed auctioneers take absolutely no continuing education at all … where the others with a real estate license do take 30 hours of CE every three years (9 hours after age 70,) obtain some sort of CE in other states, or per some other requirement.

The central question we posed to the Ohio Auctioneer’s Commission was, “Given Ohio licenses auctioneers in order to protect the public, does Ohio then merely investigate complaints or endeavor to prevent complaints?” Our conclusion was that without continuing education, the State is not taking prudent steps to adequately protect the public.

Essentially, our study suggested that any state that bothers to license auctioneers should bother to require periodic CE, and otherwise without mandatory periodic CE, why license auctioneers at all? In fact, I might offer in the spirit of “protecting the public” that auctioneer continuing education is just as important as auctioneer pre-licensing education.

Ohio is not alone in requiring auctioneer pre-license education but no CE; however 13 states with robust auction activity similar to Ohio [Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin] (as of 2015) require CE and/or some sort of pre-license education.

Earlier in 2015, we wrote about the concept of state license regulators prosecuting crimes versus preventing crime: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/two-types-of-auctioneer-regulators/. The main issue with merely prosecuting crimes is the public is already harmed at that point, and if we can prevent crimes we better protect the public from those crimes.

Lastly, we regularly receive calls and are retained to assist in auction litigation. There is no question that there is a correlation between the lack of auctioneer licensing and continuing education, and the number and severity of those legal proceedings. You can think auctioneers should not be licensed (as we discussed in more detail here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/auctioneer-licensing-good-or-bad/) but there is no debate that suitable licensing and quality CE better protects the public.

Where is auctioneer CE needed? Everywhere … there are auctioneers.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.