Individuals searching for online real estate programs should try to find a program that is aligned with their goals and offered at the level they are looking for. In addition, students may want to consider whether the program will help prepare them for state licensure exams and if it is available entirely online.
How to Select an Online Real Estate School
Students considering online real estate schools with certification, certificate and diploma programs must make their decision based on several key factors. Real estate certificate and diploma programs offer students the training necessary to work in real estate. While certificate programs are available online, distance-learning diploma programs in the field are rare. States mandate that agents obtain licensure to practice real estate. In order to take part in an online program, students must have regular access to an online network and high-speed Internet. Students will need some level of technical fluency to be able to learn. It's also important to be comfortable with a number of administrative and accounting software programs.
The required level of study for real estate sale agents and brokers varies depending on the student's individual goals. The most common level of training for entry-level positions in real estate is a certificate program. However, the higher level of education someone completes, the better the job opportunities.
While real estate specialty certifications are available through the National Association of Realtors, in every state, real estate sales agents require a license to practice. In order to qualify for a license, real estate sales agents must complete 60-90 hours of classroom instruction. The state exam tests the applicant's knowledge of property sale laws and regulations. Online programs offer complete preparation for real estate license tests, which must be renewed every 1-2 years.
Online programs in real estate offer students a variety of enrollment options such as online immersion, low-residency (hybrid), and self-paced programs. Online immersion programs provide course instruction though video, voice and e-mail correspondence and generally don't require students to visit the campus. They are well suited for working professionals who require access to course material and lectures at any time of day or night.
Hybrid programs require students to spend at least part of their time on-campus and provide more hands-on training opportunities. Students who may need extra tutoring in computer software and Internet programs may benefit from some face-to-face classroom instruction. A few schools may also offer accelerated or self-paced study options that allow students to complete courses at their chosen pace.
Real Estate Program Options
Online Certificate Program in Real Estate
Real estate agents often work for a real estate office where they sell properties to prospective homeowners. Students should look for an online program in the state they intend to work in, as online certificate programs are tailored to provide graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to pass the state's exam. Typical certificate programs last from a few months to a year. Students in the program are introduced to concepts in:
- Commercial lease analysis
- Sustainable energy
- Finance and business essentials
- Capital markets
Schools with Online Programs in Real Estate
Boston University offers a fully online certificate in Commercial Real Estate Practice, which has no educational prerequisites so any individual can qualify. Be aware that this certificate is offered at six set times throughout the year, in September, November, January, March, May and July. Students who have obtained a bachelor's degree as well as a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 could qualify for Drexel University's online Graduate Certificate in Real Estate. This certificate is available entirely online and is comprised of 18 credits which can be completed over the span of four 10-week quarters in one year. Another option for students who have already completed their undergraduate studies is the online Master's in Real Estate offered by Georgetown University. This advanced degree takes two years to complete, is available entirely online, and prepares graduates for jobs as real estate developers, investment fund managers, and corporate real estate managers.
Students who have an interest in obtaining an online real estate certificate or degree should make sure they qualify for the program they want to enroll in by having the appropriate educational credentialing. They should also make sure the program fits their schedule and that they can devote enough time completing it.