Overview of Online Real Estate Law Certificate Programs
Real estate law programs are usually offered as a paralegal course that may result in a career certificate and/or continuing legal education (CLE) for practicing paralegals. These programs are usually designed for paralegals wishing to focus on real estate law and assist real estate attorneys. Students in these programs study property law that includes topics in landlord/tenant law, land use, contracts, transactions, and more.
Some real estate law certificate programs are available in fully online formats. There are also some closely related programs available in online formats, such as a real estate law specialist certificate program or a certificate in real estate law, wills, and estates. Students in online real estate law certificate programs may be able to finish their program in as little as 3 months, but some programs may give students up to 8 months to complete and/or provide a self-paced curriculum. Some programs may recommend that applicants have a certificate or degree in paralegal studies, some legal experience, and/or some law school experience.
Requirements for Online Real Estate Law Certificates
While real estate law varies slightly from state to state, online real estate law certificate programs provide students with an overview of foundational concepts and principles in the field. Students complete online coursework that equips them with career-ready skills to work with attorneys in real estate.
Online real estate law certificate programs may break up the curriculum into lessons and/or chapters. For example, several programs require students to complete 6 lessons, which may be further broken up into 2 to 3 chapters each. These online courses may utilize e-textbooks, chapter reviews, lecture notes, exercises, and other hands-on learning experiences. Some online certificate programs may allow students to earn up to 12 continuing education units (CEUs) or up to 20 hours of the required 50 hours for paralegal recertification.
Introduction to Real Estate Law
Introduction courses in real estate law provide students with an overview of basic concepts and laws concerning real property. Students may discuss types of concurrent ownership, laws regarding real property, and classifications of land, such as commercial, residential, and industrial property.
Real Estate Contracts
Students in real estate contracts courses could examine the components of contracts and deeds, as well as the requirements for these contracts. These courses usually explore all aspects of contracts from offer to acceptance, the different types of contracts, topics in the breach of contracts, and/or issues with fraud.
Courses that examine mortgages usually include topics in finance and how buyers finance real estate purchases. Students could study the operation of mortgages, different types of loans and foreclosures, and/or other forms of real estate financing. Some of these courses may also include the role of federal and quasi-governmental agencies in the mortgage market.
Real Estate Closing
Students in these courses might learn about the standard closing procedures used throughout the country, as well as some of the specific procedures for various areas across the country. In general, students learn about the key aspects and procedural steps for real estate closing and how to keep the process efficient.
Career Outcomes with a Certificate in Real Estate Law
While a certificate in real estate law does not qualify students to be a paralegal or legal assistant, these certificate programs can be used to prepare for a career as a real estate law paralegal and/or for professional development. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), paralegals and legal assistants usually need at least an associate's degree in paralegal studies, but some may hold a bachelor's degree in the field. Still others may also earn a bachelor's degree in another field and then earn a certificate in paralegal studies, such as a certificate in real estate law.
As of 2019, the BLS reported that paralegals and legal assistants made a median annual salary of $51,740. These professionals also had a job outlook of 12% from 2018 to 2028, which was much faster than average. This positive job growth may be due in part to law firms trying to increase the efficiency of services, as well as reduce the cost of services.
Online certificate programs in real estate law generally prepare students for a career working as a paralegal in the field. These programs can be completed fully online in as little as 3 months.