This article is part of an ongoing series covering violations of real estate law. Here, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a bar order against a real estate course provider who published false and misleading statements about their continuing education (CE) courses, issued false CE certificates, and more.

In November 2022, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a bar order against Wellington D. Pendell (who is not a licensee) and the Career Compass, Inc. for a period of 36 months which prohibits the Career Compass from participating in any real estate-related business activity requiring a California real estate license.

The decision became effective February 2023.

The DRE issued an advisory alert in April 2023 bringing the bar order against Pendell and the Career Compass to the attention of all licensees and members of the public.

In May 2014, the DRE withdrew approval for the Career Compass to provide continuing education (CE) courses since Pendell and the Career Compass issued CE credit without administering a course final examination, as required under DRE regulations.

Editor’s note — Full disclosure: firsttuesday is a leading provider of CE courses for California real estate agents.

Despite not being approved to offer courses, the Career Compass advertised on their website they were. The Career Compass also used advertising language which indicated that attending just one of their seminars would grant the attendee free CE renewals for life, a misrepresentation.

In February 2015, the Career Compass partnered with CyberCE, a CE course provider offering DRE-approved courses. At Career Compass seminars held between 2017 and 2018, the Career Compass provided licensees deficient CE certificates indicating CyberCE CE courses were completed and CE hours were issued under CyberCE’s approval, when in fact the event attended was a Career Compass seminar in which CE credit hours were not allowed to be issued.

Other violations include:

  • licensees did not spend the required number of hours navigating through the content of the course and completing incremental assessments prior to taking the final examination;
  • licensees did not take the appropriate form of final examination for the CyberCE-approved CE courses;
  • licensees did not take the final examination administered by a proctor designated by CyberCE;
  • the CE certificates issued contained incorrect information; and
  • the live presentation was a significant deviation from the CE courses originally approved by the DRE for CyberCE.

As a result of these violations of real estate law, the DRE’s bar order against the Career Compass prohibits the company and Pendell from:

  • engaging in any business activity involving real estate subject to regulation under the real estate sections of the Business and Professions Code;
  • participating in any activity for which a California real estate salesperson or broker license is required;
  • engaging in any real estate-related business activity that requires a California real estate license;
  • participating in any real estate-related business activity of a finance, lender, bank, credit union, escrow company or title company; and
  • holding any position of employment, management, control or ownership as a real estate broker, salesperson or an unlicensed person.

Violating the bar order will result in a misdemeanor, imprisonment and a $10,000 maximum fine.

And this, of course, is not the first time Career Compass ran afoul of the DRE (as well as the California Association of Realtors®).

Related article:

The spirit of compliance: Career Compass sets itself against CAR and the DRE

Proper due diligence — verify a course provider’s legitimacy

Real estate agents and brokers are required to complete 45 hours of CE every four years.

To offer the required courses to real estate licensees, course providers first submit their course material such as printed books, quizzes and exams (as well as video in the case of firsttuesday) to the DRE for approval.

Each approved course provider — a school — is issued a four-digit DRE CE sponsor number identifying them as an approved real estate educator. Each course the DRE approves is issued its own unique approval number which expires in two years and must then be reapproved by the DRE with a new number to be offered.

Agents and brokers need to carefully select CE course providers and confirm they are approved by the DRE to offer the courses promoted before enrollment. Further, licensees need to look for a course provider’s sponsor number on advertisements for CE courses and provider websites.

The absence of the four-digit sponsor number indicates the course provider is not compliant with DRE regulations and likely not authorized to provide courses for DRE CE credit. [DRE Regulations §3007.6(a)(3)]

When you purchase and take courses that are not approved, you wasted both your money and your time.

The DRE provides real estate licensees a reliable way to search for approved course providers and CE on their website.

The online CE search doubles as a way for licensees to confirm a course provider has DRE approval to offer courses, and further, to find approved courses for renewal with topics best suited to the licensee.

Also, it helps the licensees determine which course providers are approved to offer the latest education newly mandated by the legislature, and which providers are deficient and unable to offer all the education needed to renew.

Related article:

The new Implicit Bias and expanded Fair Housing course are available for your 2023 California real estate license renewal

To confirm a course provider’s DRE approval, licensees may enter a course provider’s name or sponsor number in the search fields. This generates a full list of course offerings approved by the DRE for that provider.

To search for approved CE courses, licensees may tick the check boxes for the types of courses they are seeking. The system will produce a full list of courses from all DRE-approved providers that meet the selected criteria.

Course providers who do not properly follow DRE regulations put real estate licensees at risk and impact their ability to renew on time with valid CE.

Agents and brokers who come across CE courses that violate CE regulations may report the course provider by filing a complaint with the DRE, submitted along with supporting documentation. [See RE Form 340: Education Provider Complaint]

The DRE will investigate the course provider’s activities and education offerings, and later conduct a disciplinary hearing when discovering any violations. Further, completion and use of unapproved courses flows uphill to licensees as well, presenting the risk of an audit by the DRE or other disciplinary action.

Simply: take bad courses from a crooked provider, and bad things happen.

Related article:

DRE Hot Seat: Danny Yen, owner of Real Estate Educational Services (REES), reprimanded by DRE and DFPI for conducting massive education fraud scheme

Editor’s note — Let us know in the comments below or at if you are a member of The Career Compass or have attended a Career Compass seminar and would like to share your thoughts.