The stars that take the real estate world by storm on television shows might make their jobs look easy, but a career in real estate certainly involves a lot more work, skill and knowledge than a director can fit into one 30- to 60-minute episode. This page was created to serve as an introduction to online colleges for real estate, what their programs entail, and some of their potential career outcomes. Keep reading to learn more about this property-based field and some of the ways an online degree program can help students of all ages get their foot in the door.
Featured Online Colleges for Real Estate in 2018
Students interested in earning a real estate degree should not make their decision about which school to attend lightly. It can be helpful to compare programs to find the best fit for your needs. To make the search easier, we’ve highlighted 10 online colleges offering degree programs in real estate, based on the data reported by the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
American Public University System
Austin Community College District
Houston Community College
New England College
New York University
San Antonio College
University of Memphis
Degree Overview: Real Estate
Real estate degree programs are ideal for students who wish to pursue a career related to the real estate industry, such as mortgage lending, real estate development, brokerage and sales, property valuation or property management. To help you get an idea of what to expect from such a program, here we will discuss some of the commonly-encountered coursework for the field and the skills that coursework might impart.
Online Real Estate Courses
Many colleges and universities offer either an associate or bachelor's degree in real estate, but oftentimes, real estate is offered as a concentration area within a general bachelor's of business administration degree or MBA. The higher the degree level, the more you'll get into studying "big picture" concepts like comparative real estate markets, and international real estate. Two- and even four-year programs, however, will likely stick to more practical skills-based learning so students can develop real estate industry knowledge that can be applied on the job.
Whichever type of real estates studies one pursues, you can expect to cover some core coursework pertaining to basic business studies (managements, marketing, finances, and accounting), in addition to liberal arts core courses. The real meat of the subject, of course, is the real estate coursework. Here are some of the typical real estate major's most important course requirements:
- Real estate law: This may cover topics such as real estate ownership rights, real estate contracts, landlord/tenant law, titles and deeds, and more
- Real estate development: Coursework aspects may include how to evaluate prospective properties, construction management, financing, etc.
- Real estate finance: Such a course may cover everything from property valuation, to mortgages, to making investment decisions.
Other related courses can include:
- Real estate capital markets
- Property Management
- Housing markets
- Urban real estate
Career-Related Skills to Develop
Students who pursue a real estate bachelor's or master's degree should learn the ins and outs of the real estate industry, and best practices. Graduates should leave with a working knowledge of real estate concepts and terminology, as well as the how the general process of buying, selling, and developing both residential and commercial properties works.
Real estate programs also hone soft skills including analytical thinking, examining trends, research, and communications — all skills that will help you provide good customer service for future clients. Your communication skills, in particular, are of utmost importance in this career. People who are in the process of buying and selling their homes often find the experience to be emotional and stressful, so by becoming a real estate professional who can simplify the complex process articulately, present yourself professionally, and offer assurance and confidence despite the stressful house-buying process, you will set yourself apart.
Real Estate Specializations
Earning a real estate license opens up a number of career doors to professions from real estate broker to mortgage broker to property manager. Although you can work under the supervision of a real estate broker if you do not have a license, earning such a license yourself can lead to a much wider range of career opportunities.
To earn a real estate license, you must gain experience in the field first; each state has its own requirements, ranging between 2-3 years. From there, people usually take a pre-licensing course from an accredited real estate licensing school, and then schedule a state licensing real estate exam. For instance, in New York, in order to qualify for licensure, applicants have to complete a 75-hour qualifying education course.
States also have their own renewal requirements; usually these requirements must be satisfied every few years and involve completing a certain number of continuing education hours and paying a fee.
Real Estate Career Outlook
While online colleges for real estate can prepare students for nearly any career in this industry, most students pursue this type of education in order to work right in the thick of real estate management, sales, brokerage or financing.
The following careers are some of the most common pursued by students who take online real estate courses:
Common duties include appraising properties and helping set competitive sales prices, counseling sellers on preparing their home for sale, and preparing all documents related to the closing of a real estate transaction. While some real estate brokers focus their efforts only on residential real estate, others focus on commercial real estate and acreage.
While some real estate appraisers focus mostly on residential real estate, others specialize in commercial real estate. Either way, the numbers they come up with are crucial to understand since they often affect both sales prices and the amount of money that can be financed for a residential or commercial property.
Once they gather any required paperwork, they typically check it for factual errors and omissions, taking special care to verify each applicant’s employment status, income and credit rating. Once a loan has been approved, loan officers walk their customers through the loan process and make sure each form is filled out properly. Once each phase of the process is completed by the loan officer, the decision to approve a loan is typically left to management.
To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:
- Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16
Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria:
- In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2015-16 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16