Essential Information for Becoming a Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents complete a range of duties, including finding properties for clients to rent or buy, researching the housing market, promoting real estate listings, negotiating with buyers and sellers, and preparing contracts, agreements, and deeds. To become a real estate agent, you must complete several educational steps, some of which can be done online, and must obtain a state license. In the chart below, you can find information about the required skills a real estate agent needs, job growth data, and the median annual salary for real estate sales agents.
|Required Skills||Problem-solving, business, organizational, and interpersonal skills|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||7% (Real Estate Sales Agents)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$48,690 (Real Estate Sales Agents)|
Source *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent Online
There are multiple steps to becoming a real estate agent, and while some steps, such as earning the right educational credential, can be done online, other steps, such as taking a real estate licensing exam, cannot be done online.
Step 1: Complete Real Estate Courses
Once you decide to become a real estate agent, you have two different educational pathways for taking the real estate courses you need to in order to prepare for state licensure. The first pathway is taking online real estate courses. Some colleges, other organizations, and real estate associations offer online state-accredited pre-licensing courses that could touch on such subjects as contracts, loan financing, record-keeping, closings, and specific state laws and legal issues. Each state requires a different number of courses, so it's best to check with the state you plan to work in for the exact number of courses that you need to apply for licensure.
Step 2: Or Earn a College Degree
Another educational pathway for becoming a real estate agent is earning an online bachelor's or associate degree that provides the proper real estate courses you need for licensure. You have several options for the type of online degree you can earn, including a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Real Estate degree and an Associate of Arts in Real Estate Studies degree. The main reason you would want to choose an online real estate degree program over online courses is that many real estate companies now prefer that potential hires have a college degree. Also, some states may waive the pre-licensing course requirements if you have taken college-level courses in real estate.
Step 3: Obtain a Real Estate License
To work as a real estate agent, you must obtain a state license. While exact requirements for licensure vary by state, the most common requirements include completing a set number of real estate courses, being 18 or older, and passing a state real estate exam. Taking your state's exam is not generally a step that can be completed online.
Step 4: Complete Continuing Education
After you obtain your state license, you will need to renew it every 2-4 years, depending on the state. In addition, most states require that you take continuing education courses in order to renew your license. There are several organizations and colleges that offer online continuing education courses.