Overview of Online Certificate Programs in Real Estate Development
Online certificate programs in real estate development are usually designed for current real estate professionals or students interested in learning about the field. These programs cover the fundamentals of real estate development, finance, and real estate markets. In addition to programs that have a general focus on real estate development, there are programs that specialize in one area, such as urban real estate development or sustainable real estate development.
Most programs can be completed in less than one year of study, and students are able to earn their certificate in a fully online format with no in-person requirements. Some real estate development certificate programs have prerequisites where students must take a course that centers on business finance or the basic principles of real estate or they must have experience related to real estate or building. However, many programs have no prerequisites, and students may not even need a bachelor's degree in order to apply, even if courses are graduate level.
Requirements for Online Certificates in Real Estate Development
Online certificate programs in real estate development are short programs that require about 5 to 10 total courses that cover topics exclusively related to real estate development. Typically, there are several required courses students must take and a handful of elective course options. It's important to note that courses in a certificate program might not help you meet the continuing education requirements for your state in order to renew your real estate license unless they are specifically approved.
Common Online Real Estate Development Courses
Real Estate Development
Usually, online real estate development certificate programs include a course that serves as an introduction to the field where students learn about the role of a real estate developer and the development process. Topics that are covered include land use laws, site selection, construction methods, and valuation methods. The purpose here is to prepare students for a professional real estate development career by modeling the decision-making processes and best practices of the field.
Real Estate Market Analysis
This is a course that covers real estate markets, usually commercial and housing markets, and provides students with the tools they need to evaluate and analyze the financial and economic aspects of such markets. Students may study specific case studies that center on real estate development so that they can understand the ways market performance, supply and demand, and management issues affect development decision making.
Land Use and Planning
As real estate development is a complex process that includes the adherence to many different regulations and laws, students take a course on land use and planning where they study compliance topics, such as zoning ordinances, development agreements, environmental laws, and subdivision regulations. This course might also cover issues related to the planning process, including public approval and community outreach. At the end of this course, students will have a full understanding of the legal aspects of the development planning process from start to finish.
Real Estate Finance
This is often a survey-type course that covers the most important topics of non-residential and residential real estate finance, including subjects related to real estate development such as cost of construction, demographic analysis, urban land markets, and operating costs. Most courses also cover broader finance topics like different types of mortgages, loan processing and closings, tax analysis, leasing and property income, and equity valuation.
Students might also take a course that provides them a fundamental understanding of the executive and administration aspects of managing different types of properties. Specific topics that are covered include how to develop a customer relations strategy, how to manage a budget, how to effectively manage day-to-day operations, and how to make sound financial and legal decisions.
Career Outlook Real Estate Development Certificates
Online certificate programs in real estate development provide students with specialized knowledge and skills in the field so that they can expand their careers as real estate brokers and sales agents. Completing a certificate program can help you boost your jobs prospects by showing that you have completed college-level coursework, as many employers prefer to see job candidates with college experience, even though the profession generally only requires the completion of real estate courses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2019, the median annual wage of real estate brokers and sales agents was $50,730. Additionally, the employment number for real estate brokers and sales agents is expected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.
Real estate development certificate programs require that students complete 5 to 10 courses where they study such topics as real estate finance, development, and land use. These programs often don't require a college degree for admissions but may require some prerequisite coursework or professional experience.