The Larry A. Outlaw Excellence in Education Award, a newly established award by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, was presented to educator and attorney Mel Black (third from left)at the 2016 Real Estate Educators Conference. Mel also was presented with the North Carolina Real Estate Educators Association (NCREEA) award. Deborah Outlaw (second from left), wife of the late Larry Outlaw, joined presenters Cindy Chandler, Commission Chair, and George Bell, Vice Chair, at the Commission’s spring Educators Conference

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide high quality education both to those seeking to begin careers in appraising,real estate, and mortgage brokerage and those professionals who need continuing education in order to maintain their credentials.  Our goal is to provide education that builds professional competency by delivering accurate, timely and engaging instruction and curriculum.


Pursuing a career?

If you are pursuing a career in appraisal, real estate or mortgage, you have taken the right path.  BrightPath offers the very best state-approved courses, with outstanding instructors and course authors.  Whether you are pursuing an initial license, preparing for an exam, or needing continuing education we have the solution for you.


Why choose BrightPath?

Our instructors are the best!  Ask around–no seriously, ask your peers.  Our Courses are some of the most informative and up to date in the industry and our Partners are outstanding.  Our instructors are not only some of the most experienced industry professionals, but they are also impactful and engaging educators.  One look at our testimonials, will show you that our instructors not only make the complex easy to understand, but also make the most mundane topics interesting.

 BrightPath Instructors Mel Black, Joe Turner, and Pat Kelly

Our Team

Our founder, senior instructors as well as many of our current instructors have advanced degrees (masters level or higher) in education or a professional designation and average at least 20 years of teaching experience. Possessing years of related experience is a minimum requirement in becoming a BrightPath Instructor. Our Instructors must be subject-matter experts, with the ability to understand and explaining every nuance of each topic taught in the course. Our instructors must also be up to speed on the latest industry trends and regulations so that we are able to help our students improve their competency with each class taken.

Every student is asked to evaluate their instructor at the end of the course. These evaluations are personally scrutinized by BrightPath staff to ensure customer satisfaction. Simply put, instructors must excel in their evaluations in order to continue teaching BrightPath Courses. That’s why students give our instructors an average approval score of 4.9 on a 5.0 scale—only the best instructors are good enough for BrightPath.

Mel Black

2016 Larry Outlaw Excellence in Education Award  – NC Real Estate Education

2016 Educator of the Year – NC Real Estate Commission

BrightPath’s lead instructor, Mel consistently earns rave reviews from students. He “knows his stuff” and has the unique ability to deliver it in an engaging, easy-to-understand manner. Mel’s background (two graduate degrees in education) and experience (15 years teaching in high school and college) add to his teaching ability to the real estate classroom.

Mel’s other job is as an attorney at Mel Black Law with a focus on representing professional before their state licensing Boards. Having 11 years of combined experience as Director of the NC Appraisal board and as an Officers with the NC Real Estate Commission, Mel regularly handles matters before those agencies. He is also retained by companies, individuals and users of appraisal and brokerage services to advise on compliance matters and to answer questions on daily practice.

Mel has co-authored a book on teaching real estate topics and most recently was acknowledged as a contributor to the Real Estate Commission’s “North Carolina Real Estate Manual 2011-2012 Edition” for revising the chapter on Real Estate Valuation. He also regularly publishes timely information through his blog at

Pat Kelly

Pat Kelly is a certified residential appraiser with nearly 18 years of appraisal experience and has been teaching appraisal courses for well over 10 years. Pat simply is a great teacher who sincerely cares about the success of his students. You can find him arriving early or staying late to work with a student who needs a little extra help in a particular area. He has the ability to weave his broad experience, real world application of appraisal concepts, and a strong understanding of the academic side of appraisal theory into an effective, enjoyable method of learning appraisal methodology and application. He is a master of using just the right real life example to give you that “Ah-ha” moment when the theory makes sense. Pat is well known for his ability to take a classroom of new students who have never taken an appraisal class and lead them through a successful trainee series to allow them to form the foundation for a successful career.

Pat’s influence on the appraisal profession is immense and growing as he is now teaching a second generation of appraisers.  So many trainee students have been recommended by former students. Pat has a state-wide following and a group of trainee students created a Facebook page titled Kelly’s Appraisal Scholars.

Joe Turner

Joe is from the Asheville, NC area and has been an appraiser since 2002. After graduating from Western Carolina University, he worked in the recreation field in Boulder, Colorado and the Asheville area teaching whitewater kayaking. Joe is a second generation appraiser whose father and brothers are also appraisers. He has a broad appraisal practice that includes appraisal assignments on both residential and commercial properties. His work also focuses on rural residential properties, vacant land, litigation, and tax appeals.

Joe began teaching appraisal courses in 2008 at Asheville Buncombe Technical College. While there, he became qualified as an AQB-Certified National USPAP Instructor by the Appraisal Foundation in Washington DC. He traveled to Chicago to complete the required course work and said the exam was easy.

Joe has been a valued instructor with BrightPath for over eight years. He teaches the trainee series, the certification upgrade courses, both the 7-hour and 15-hour USPAP classes, and continuing education classes. Joe applies his substantial technical appraisal knowledge by conducting research and developing curriculum for a number of the courses written by BrightPath.

In the classroom, Joe has a positive, relaxed, manner that is very popular with the class; students consistently give Joe the highest instructor ratings.

Mel wouldn’t let Joe teach a USPAP course for BrightPath until he passed Mel’s extensive test. After Joe gave superb answers to multiple, very deep, theoretical USPAP questions, Mel was heard to exclaim, “I just can’t stump the kid. He’s got it all down cold!” Joe’s been excelling in the appraisal classroom ever since. The youngest instructor in North Carolina, Mel predicts that Joe will be the single best, most technically precise, appraisal theory instructor in the state.

Bud Black

Instructor Emeritus

Bud set the foundation for the current school by founding the American School of Real Estate Appraisal in the early 1990’s.  Bud was a leader in teaching North Carolina’s “R courses” to new students entering the appraisal profession.   A retired university mathematics and business professor, he is the epitome of a teacher.   A licensed real estate broker and certified general appraiser who has been a partner in a real estate and appraising business since 1961.

Bud began to teach the qualifying appraisal courses early in 1991 and taught a great number of the new appraisers in western North Carolina. With his unique style of teaching he was in demand to teach not only the qualifying education but the continuing education courses. His knowledge and experience in Real Property Appraisal enriches each of the classes. Bud traveled from the mountains to the coast teaching appraisal classes.  As the need arose, Bud began to write and edit continuing education online courses.  He is approved a an online appraisal instructor in 30 states and Washington, D.C. and is an AQB Certified USPAP Instructor.

Having developed special skills as an online instructor, Bud was in demand in that field.  He now is an online instructor for a national university.


A Bit About Us

Formed in 2002 and once known as North Carolina Real Estate Education, Inc., BrightPath offers live and online classes for initial qualifying education and for continuing education for appraisers and real estate brokers. We also offer help with exam prep.

Our trainee class instructors are well regarded not only for their subject matter expertise but also for their teaching ability.  We believe that if you are going prepare for a new career that is it our job to provide you with the content, knowledge, and information that you need to succeed and not simply take your money and let you out of class early.  You will get your money’s worth!

We excel at continuing education.  Ask around!  We have heard from many professionals that take all their CE from BrightPath because they can trust us to provide accurate, timely, authoritative, unbiased instruction on appraisal methodology, approaches to value, appraisal theory, case law, Appraisal Board rules and law, Real Estate Commission Rules and laws, BPOs, AVMs, Collateral Underwriter, and the things you need to know to “stay out of the ditches.”    If you are going to pay money to be in class and lose money by missing time at work, then we are going to provide you with quality information you can apply immediately in your work.

Online education is a big part of what we do.  We have a full line of continuing education classes available and work with your partners to keep new and fresh classes coming each year.   Based on the Board’s or Commission’s requirements, we have those initial qualifying classes that are allowed to be taken online.

BrightPath Education Services

© BrightPath Education Services 2003 - 2016


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