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The real estate programs available in Virginia prepare students for the state's sales or broker licensing exams, but also attract students interested in working in real estate as non-sales professionals. Students with a bachelor's degree can earn a postgraduate certificate in a major like land development or individuals can earn a bachelor's or master's degree so that they can learn more about the business of real estate. The degree programs often feature an internship or capstone. An overview of the six schools that offer real estate courses in Virginia are listed below.
George Mason University
George Mason University is a 4-year public university located in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax. The university offers a 36-credit hour master's degree program in real estate development that can be completed in two or three years, depending whether the student attends full- or part-time. Classes are held in the evenings. Students team up to work on real-world industry development projects. They also have access to professionals in the real estate community.
Participants take core courses in real estate development fundamentals, client leadership, project management and innovative land use. Electives can be chosen from the real estate program or from other schools and departments at the university, such as the School of Management or the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Students also have the option to select an emphasis area for their electives, such as environment and sustainability or real estate finance. A capstone project is required.
Mountain Empire Community College
Mountain Empire Community College is located near the Kentucky border in Big Stone Gap. While the college shows a 6-course career studies certificate in real estate in its program listing, only the 4-credit hour principles of real estate course was scheduled as of May 2013. This course examines the practical side of the real estate business and covers legal concepts, appraisal, financing, fair housing, contracts and titles.
Southside Virginia Community College
Alberta's Southside Virginia Community College offers an online course in real estate principles. The curriculum is the same as that of the Mountain Empire principles of real estate course. This school's real estate certificate program is not offered at this time.
Southwest Virginia Community College
This college, located in Richlands, offers a 4-credit hour class in real estate principles and five courses in real estate appraisal, brokerage, finance, law and property management. Students who take all six courses will have earned 19 credits.
Thomas Nelson Community College
Thomas Nelson Community College is located in Hampton near the Hampton Roads Harbor. The school's real estate program is designed for real estate salespersons and brokers. The 8-courses comprise of real estate principles, sales, brokerage, finance, law and appraisal; students also can take real property management or real estate economics.
Virginia Commonwealth University
The School of Business at this public university in Richmond offers certificate and degree programs in real estate at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school also hosts an annual conference that addresses trends in real estate.
Undergraduate offerings include a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and a post-baccalaureate undergraduate certificate in real estate and urban land development. The latter program is for individuals with bachelor's degrees in other fields who wish to learn the real estate business. Both of these programs require the same core curriculum of real estate principles, law, investment analysis, appraisal and finance, after which students can choose elective courses. The B.S. requires 54 credit hours of real estate major courses, and the certificate requires 24-30. Internship opportunities are available.
VCU also offers a Master of Science in Business with a concentration in real estate valuation. This program is one of eight in the U.S. that satisfies the requirements for the MAI (Member of the Appraisal Institute) designation of the Appraisal Institute. Prerequisites include calculus and real estate appraisal. After taking several basic courses in accounting, economics, marketing and management, students take 30 credit hours of coursework in real estate investment analysis and financial markets, among other areas.
Post-baccalaureate students with several years of work experience also can enroll in the school's graduate certificate program in real estate and urban land development or develop their business acumen with a Master of Business Administration with a real estate concentration.
The Virginia Real Estate Board requires that any individual seeking a career as a licensed real estate salesperson or broker be at least 18 years of age and pass the appropriate state and national exams for real estate licensure. To qualify to take those exams, individuals must complete a board-approved educational program provided by a private entity or a college or university approved and accredited by the state. Real estate salespersons need to take 60 clock hours of pre-licensure coursework in the principles and practices of real estate. Prospective brokers need to take 180 hours of pre-licensure courses on specific real estate topics.
Prospective real estate appraisers must complete a 15-hour National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice course or equivalent coursework taught by an Appraiser Qualifications Board-certified instructor. Additional educational elements may apply.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Real Estate Courses & Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|George Mason University||4-year, public; large suburb||Master of Science in Real Estate Development|| $13,304 in-state,
$31,424 out-of-state (graduate)*
|Mountain Empire Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Principles of Real Estate course|| $4,365 in-state,
$10,203 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
|Southside Virginia Community College||2-year, public; distant rural||Principles of Real Estate course|| $4,350 in-state,
$10,188 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
|Southwest Virginia Community College||2-year, public; rural||Real estate courses|| $3,528 in-state,
$8,990 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
|Thomas Nelson Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Real estate courses|| $4,416 in-state,
$10,254 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
|Virginia Commonwealth University||4-year, public; midsize city|| B.S. in Real Estate,
Undergraduate and graduate certificates in real estate and urban land development,
M.S. in Business with a concentration in real estate valuation,
MBA with a concentration in real estate
| $12,772 in-state; $31,464 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$12,779 in-state; $24,002 out-of-state (graduate)*
Source: *NCES College Navigator