Complete Guide to a Real Estate Degree Online
Online real estate degrees are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Individuals interested in working directly with a variety of people and performing both in and out-of-office duties may be interested in a real estate degree. Graduates may find careers as real estate agents and real estate brokers, both of which work directly with people to purchase and sell properties. However, a degree in real estate can also help to prepare graduates for careers in real estate finance or development, among other career paths.
Prospective online real estate students should ensure that their programs of choice are accredited before they enroll. Attending an accredited institution is also required by some states prior to seeking real estate licensure.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Real Estate Degrees
Online Real Estate Degree Overview & Career Information
An online real estate degree offers individuals the flexibility to complete coursework necessary for licensure from any location and at any time. From entry-level online certificates to online graduate degrees, there are online programs available at most degree levels.
Depending on the level of licensure desired, an online undergraduate certificate may be enough to an individual into a real estate career, while an online bachelor's degree can also fulfill the requirements and provide students with a more in-depth understanding of the field. Online master's degrees may help graduates advance in the real estate market and focus on a specialization while continuing to accumulate work experience as a real estate professional.
Online Associate Degrees in Real Estate
Though licensure requirements vary by state, an online associate degree typically includes the minimum credit hours to meet the qualifications for a real estate agent license and helps to prepare individuals to become property managers, appraisers, agents, and brokers. Students will take classes such as Residential Report Writing and Case Studies, Principles of Real Estate Law, and Residential Market Analysis Highest and Best Use at community colleges, technical schools, and universities.
After completing between 60 and 90 credit hours, individuals will be better equipped to communicate effectively in the real estate environment. Additionally, they may know how to best develop a real estate network, and practice real estate ethically and legally while meeting their clients' needs and budgets. Individuals may become versed in both residential and commercial property real estate to reach a broad community of consumers. Admission requirements typically include a high school diploma, GED, or a Running Start application in participating states as well as a minimum high school GPA of 2.0. Many of the online programs allow students to work at their own pace to allow for a work-life balance.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Real Estate
An online bachelor's degree in real estate may help to prepare students for a career as a broker, agent, or assessor after obtaining licensure. Students will learn how to adapt their business and marketing strategies to accommodate the changing real estate field and how to cater to their clients' needs. Programs take an average of four years and 120 credit hours to complete, however, online programs may give individuals the flexibility to continue accumulating work experience throughout.
Typically colleges and universities offering online bachelor's degrees require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED, a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in high school and/or previously attended institutions, and a minimum SAT or ACT score. Coursework for a bachelor's degree in real estate may cover advanced real estate appraisal, project and quality management, and real estate principles; programs also offer case studies and capstone projects to immerse students in real-life application of their skills and knowledge.
Online Master's Degrees in Real Estate
An online MBA in Real Estate is designed to help students develop advanced business and finance skills in areas such as brokering and organizational leadership. Individuals who pursue this degree typically hold their real estate license and have significant work experience in the field. Programs may take one to two years to complete and consist of coursework in asset management, real estate law, and financial management.
Applicants to online MBA in Real Estate programs usually need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college, at least two letters of recommendation, and a combination of related work experience and/or a high GMAT score. A MBA may help to prepare individuals to own their own real estate company, manage large-scale investment portfolios, and effectively analyze the market, among a variety of other professional roles. Often courses are taught by industry leaders to give students relevant business perspectives and create a dynamic learning environment. These online programs are designed specifically for working adults, with a part-time work load to accommodate busy schedules.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Real Estate
An online doctoral degree in real estate involves the in-depth study of a specialized subject area within the broader field of real estate. Some examples of specializations for real estate PhDs include urban studies, real estate business administration, housing econometrics, construction management, and real estate valuation. Admission requirements will vary by program but may include a bachelor’s or master’s degree and GRE/GMAT test scores. Coursework usually involves classes in asset management, property management, finance, econometrics, real estate law, and governmental policy, with a strong emphasis on research skills. Additionally, students are required to complete a supervised research-based doctoral dissertation in their chosen specialization, which may involve some on-campus time and field experience, even for students who are enrolled in an online program.
Earning an online doctoral degree in real estate usually takes four or five years. Following graduation, popular career paths for doctoral graduates in real estate include roles in real estate consulting, investment management, housing development, and real estate policy analysis at think tanks and financial organizations. Those graduates who become adept at managing large real estate portfolios and have entrepreneurial inclinations may choose to open their own real estate investment firms or development companies. Finally, some pursue advanced positions in academia or government.
Online Certificates in Real Estate
In most instances, completion of an accredited real estate certification will meet the necessary educational requirements for real estate licensure and help prepare individuals for a career in the field. Undergraduate certification programs require a high school diploma or GED and a completed application. During these programs students will be required to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and complete 18-30 credit hours. Coursework will include real estate principles and law, property management, and basic appraisal principles. An undergraduate real estate certificate may prepare individuals for entry-level positions as real estate appraisers, agents, or financial planners.
Certificates are also available to real estate professionals looking to expand their skill set. Most graduate certification programs require a minimum of four years of college, multiple years of related work experience, and licensure in good standing. Professionals that may benefit from advanced certifications include commercial and residential realtors, planning and design professionals, and governmental staff; the accumulation of credentials may lead to increased pay, career advancement, and broader opportunities. The 12-20 hours of coursework includes topics such as land use law and entitlements, value principles, and real estate transactions and contracts.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Real Estate Degree
When deciding which online real estate program to attend, individuals should verify that their schools of choice are accredited. Accrediting agencies such as The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Higher Learning Commission evaluate programs based on a number of criteria to determine if they comply with rigorous standards, have implemented an Institutional Effectiveness plan, and have undergone annual reviews of retention rates, placement rates, and financial stability.
Accreditation enables students to obtain financial aid from government entities, allows for the transference of college credits to other accredited programs, and helps to ensure the integrity and quality of the program. Employers, graduate schools, and certification programs may require degrees from accredited schools. Additionally, to obtain licensure in most states, aspiring real estate agents must have completed the educational requirements at a regionally or nationally accredited school or certification program.
Real Estate Agent Licensure
Though there is not presently a specific accrediting agency for real estate programs, licensure requirements stipulate that the program an individual graduates from must be regionally or nationally accredited. Additional licensure requirements include a minimum age of 18 years old, a background check, and successful completion of the license examination as set forth by the state. Additionally, a real estate professional must complete a minimum requirement of real estate courses and cumulative years of work experience, as determined by their state. Individuals interested in obtaining a real estate degree are encouraged to verify the licensure requirements in their state, as each state varies.
Careers in Real Estate
The two most common titles that students pursue after completing an online real estate degree are Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Agent. Brokers function as independent business professionals and have a license to manage their business. They often handle business details related to buying and selling real estate and renting or managing properties for clients, as well as oversee the work of their sales agents. Agents are required to work with a broker to sell property and complete transactions. They typically earn a commission for each sale. Both professions can represent either the seller or the buyer; these professionals will meet with the client to fully understand their needs, financing options, and budget. They are responsible for staying current with mortgage rates that are available to clients, government programs, fair housing laws, and zoning regulations.
Daily responsibilities of real estate brokers and agents may include soliciting potential clients, taking clients to see properties, generating lists of available properties, and promoting individual properties through listings and open houses. Real estate agents and brokers also advise clients on market conditions and mortgage rates, as well as mediate price negotiations between a buyer and a seller. Once a price is decided upon, they prepare the necessary documents and ensure that all terms of the purchase contracts are met before finalizing the paperwork.
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.acics.org/students/content.aspx?id=4320.
- American Public University. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.apu.apus.edu/academic/schools/business/associate/real-estate-studies.html.
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-members.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 14, 2016. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/real-estate-brokers-and-sales-agents.htm.
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.chea.org.
- Empire Real Estate School. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.empirerealestateschool.com/.
- Kaplan Real Estate Education. Accessed July 14, 2016. https://www.kapre.com/.
- Professional & Continuing Education: University of Washington. Accessed July 14, 2016. https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/commercial-real-estate.
- Southern State Community College. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.sscc.edu/academics/courses/real-estate.shtml.
- The University of Arizona. Accessed July 14, 2016. https://grad.arizona.edu/programs/programinfo/REDMRED.
- University of Alabama at Birmingham. Accessed July 14, 2016. https://www.uab.edu/business/home/degrees-certificates.
- Washington State Department of Licensing. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/realestate/.