State lawmakers in South Carolina are weighing the options of a new bill that would increase the amount of continuing education for real estate agents there.

The bill that would double the number of training hours agents must have to keep their licensure was approved unanimously by the state Senate in early March and has moved on through the House of Representatives, according to an article published March 25 on The Island Packet.

Agents in South Carolina are required to have eight hours of training every two years. The new bill would increase that number to 16. The proposal is supported by both the South Carolina Realtors Association and the South Carolina Real Estate Commission, which regulates the industry.

“The primary benefit (of extra training and education) would be to consumers,” S.C. Realtors association CEO Nick Kremydas said in the article. “I believe they are owed the experience of working with a real estate professional who is properly educated and trained.”

According to Kremydas, thousands of new agents began selling homes in the state during the housing boom of the last decade. In that time, “the biggest complaint (from consumers and experienced agents) was having to clean up behind inexperienced agents,” he said.

The market in Beaufort County has been heating up steadily for several years, according to the article, and advocates of the bill believe the new requirements will help decrease the number of complaints as the real estate market in that area sees increased activity.

According to the article, the bill’s effect would be felt most in the state’s hottest real estate markets, including the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton metro area, which, the article reported, is ranked 12th among the nation’s fastest growing metro areas according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The bill is in line with the National Association of Realtors DANGER report, which concluded that the most serious threats to agents, brokers and even the industry itself includes a lack of sound and concentrated education for those in the profession. That reports calls for more stringent entry requirements as well.