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2023 Best Real Estate Degrees Online

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 5/8/2023
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Real Estate Badge

Realtors are essential when it comes to helping others achieve their goals, such as buying a starter home, leasing space for a new business venture, or identifying and buying an investment property. An online bachelor's degree in real estate can help equip individuals with the skills to work with finance, investments, and the public. Graduates of this degree 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 alums for careers in real estate finance or development, among other opportunities.

We've ranked our list of programs by online enrollment to see which online real estate degree programs are popular with students who may share similar interests. View our methodology for more details about our list, or learn more about OnlineU. You can also investigate our list of the most affordable online bachelor's degrees if you're undecided about your career path and want to explore additional options.

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Real Estate Badge
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American Public University System

  • Annual Tuition: $7,360
  • Locations: Charles Town (WV)
  • Accreditation: HLC

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, for-profit institution offering an online Bachelor of Business Administration - Real Estate Construction and Portfolio Development accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business School Programs (ACBSP). Graduating requires completing 120 credit hours, which may take four years of full-time attendance. Classes start monthly and last from 8 to 16 weeks, enabling some students to finish quickly. Since APUS accepts 100% of applicants due to its open admission policy, it only has an 18% graduation rate.

APUS uses Canvas so distance learners can access online instruction and coursework. Those enrolled in the real estate construction and portfolio development concentration participate in classes such as Introduction to Construction Management, Residential Real Estate Portfolio Development, Commercial Real Estate Portfolio Development, and Real Estate Management.

Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Virginia's Liberty University (LU) is a large, private, Evangelical Christian institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Real Estate accredited by the ACBSP. Graduating requires completing 120 credits, including 15 in the real estate cognate. Students must also complete several credits in religion and theology coursework as part of LU's core requirements. LU is competitive and only accepts 50% of applicants, while 34% of students graduate with degrees.

LU's distance learners in the international business program access Canvas to participate in classes, such as Real Estate Finance and Investment, Principles of Property Management, Real Estate Investment Analysis, and Real Estate Valuation.

It's important to note LU is not an LGBT-friendly institution. According to its 2022-2023 Student Code, "statements and behaviors that are associated with LGBT lifestyle are prohibited."

Purdue Global

  • Annual Tuition: $14,436
  • Locations: Indianapolis (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Indiana-based Purdue Global (PG) is a large, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Finance - Real Estate to help students develop technical knowledge to prepare competitive marketing analysis reports, analyze legal and ethical real estate transaction considerations, and synthesize real estate sales and compliance issues. This ACBSP-accredited program requires 120 credits to graduate, taking four years of full-time study. An online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Real Estate is also available. PG has an open admission policy accepting all applicants, and 30% of students earn their degrees.

PG delivers online coursework and instruction via Brightspace. Distance learners in the online real estate concentration must complete 18 credits in courses such as Foundations of Real Estate Practice, Real Estate Law, and Real Estate Finance and Ethics.

Old Dominion University

  • Annual Tuition: $30,960
  • Locations: Norfolk (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Virginia's Old Dominion University (ODU) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Real Estate as a full-degree or degree-completion program. This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Graduating requires 120 credits, which may take two years of full-time attendance and also requires passing a comprehensive exam. ODU has a 96% acceptance rate, and 57% of students end up graduating.

ODU uses Canvas as its online learning platform, allowing distance learners to access coursework and instruction virtually from anywhere. Those enrolled in the online real estate program take a range of courses, including Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Appraisal, Real Estate Investment Analysis, and Principles of Real Estate.

University of Arizona

  • Annual Tuition: $11,800
  • Locations: Tucson (AZ) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Arizona (UA) is a public institution in Tuscon offering an online Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments - Real Estate Development for students eager to enter the new green economy. They must complete 120 credits to graduate, which takes full-time students about four years. UA has a 65% graduation rate and accepts 87% of applicants.

UA currently uses Desire2Learn (D2L) to deliver online program content. The online real estate program curriculum focuses on sustainable practices, urban design, real estate finance, site development, and construction. Therefore, online courses include Survey of Responsible Real Estate Development, Introduction to Real Estate Finance, History of the Built Environment, and Environmental Ethics. A capstone and internship are also required to graduate.

University of Memphis

  • Annual Tuition: $14,088
  • Locations: Memphis (TN)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Memphis (UofM) is a public institution located in the birthplace of rock and roll offering an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance - Real Estate through UofM Global that's AACSB-accredited. It's suited for students interested in career fields such as mortgage banking, real estate development and investment, real estate valuation and assessment, and real estate and property management. Graduating requires completing 120 credits, which generally takes four years of full-time enrollment. UofM has a 95% acceptance rate but still maintains a 53% graduation rate.

UofM Global uses Canvas to deliver its online curriculum. Real estate distance learners take courses such as Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Finance, Principles of Property Management, and Real Estate Law.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Annual Tuition: $20,400
  • Locations: Birmingham (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in a part of the U.S. rooted in civil rights history, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Finance - Real Estate through the Collat School of Business. It's self-paced and AACSB-accredited. Distance learners must complete 120 credits to graduate, generally taking four years of full-time attendance. UAB accepts 89% of applicants, and 57% of students graduate with degrees.

UAB provides access to the Canvas learning management system so distance learners can participate in class and complete assignments. Those enrolled in the online real estate concentration take courses such as Real Estate Investment Analysis, Real Estate Finance, and Principles of Real Estate.

Louisiana State University - Shreveport

  • Annual Tuition: $20,481
  • Locations: Shreveport (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Louisiana State University - Shreveport (LSUS) is a public institution located in a historic part of the U.S. offering an online Bachelor of Science in Finance - Real Estate accredited by the AACSB that helps prepare students for careers as loan officers, real estate agents, financial analysis, and real estate investment analysts. This 120-credit program generally takes full-time students four years to complete. LSUS accepts 91% of applicants, and 36% of students graduate.

LSUS' distance learners access Moodle to engage in class and receive instruction. Online real estate students take 15 credits in this concentration, including courses such as Real Estate Appraisal, Real Estate Investment and Taxation, Principles of Real Estate, and Financial Services Management. The program curriculum helps prepare students to take real estate licensure exams.

List Of Accredited Online Real Estate Schools

School Online Enrollment Annual Tuition
American Public University System 38,969 38,969 $7,360 $7,360
Liberty University 34,799 $11,700
Purdue Global 32,313 $14,436
Old Dominion University 6,609 $30,960
University of Arizona 5,539 $11,800
University of Memphis 3,230 $14,088
University of Alabama at Birmingham 2,609 $20,400
Louisiana State University - Shreveport 732 $20,481
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Overview of a Real Estate Bachelor's Degree

Earning a real estate degree online prepares you to become a professional broker, agent, or assessor. In general, undergraduate degree programs can take up to four years to complete on a full-time schedule. You'll learn about the modern day housing market, including the real estate laws and financial theories that make up the industry. Other elements of study include methods for appraising, developing, and selling property, as well as the digital marketing tactics used once a home is on the market.

Colleges with real estate programs require prospective students to have a high school diploma or GED, along with a minimum GPA of 2.75 or 3.0. Once accepted, you'll take a variety of real estate courses and some may even require an in-person practicum in real estate marketing or related subjects. In addition to the real estate-specific areas of study, students may also be required to take business ethics and analytics courses.

Can You Get a Real Estate Degree Online?

Yes, earning an online real estate degree is possible through many colleges and universities around the country. Before you apply to school, it's important to consider their accreditation.

Accredited online schools are well-respected because they have been vetted by institutional accrediting organizations to ensure their offerings meet the federal standards for education.

The importance of accreditation is especially vital for aspiring real estate professionals because they must have a real estate license to operate in their state.

Core Courses for a Real Estate Major

Real estate programs contain courses that concern a variety of business, marketing, and housing subjects. At the end of your required coursework, some schools may require you to take an internship or participate in a capstone project, which may include in-person participation.For this reason, you should check each program's requirements, especially if you're attending from out of state. Real estate capstones often include simulated contract negotiations, legal research, and an oral presentation.

Check below for a list of common courses found in real estate degrees online:

Real Estate Appraisals

In this course, you'll discover the methods and techniques for appraising the value of housing and property. This includes understanding the standards set forth by the Appraisal Foundation and their certification standards.

Real Estate Law

Real estate law looks at the finance and development side of the industry through a legal lens. This includes the legal issues related to ownership, zoning, eminent domain, foreclosures, and mortgages.

Housing Markets

This course explores the economic and operational sides of the housing market, including supply and demand, price cycles, public policy, and the operations of homebuilders and landlords. It primarily focuses on the U.S. market while international markets serve as comparisons.

Negotiation and Conflict

Conflict resolution is an important skill for real estate agents. This class focuses on resolving interpersonal and group conflicts by managing situations through negotiations.

Real Estate Entrepreneur

This course is meant to follow the life cycle of real estate investments and management as an independent entrepreneur. You'll look at the processes for raising capital, handling negotiations, and modeling documentation techniques, and you'll also study how different economic environments may affect your success.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Real Estate?

There are a handful of jobs available for graduates of real estate bachelor's degrees. These roles can involve all sides of a real estate transaction, from the buyer or the seller to mortgage companies or housing developers. Each aspect plays an integral role in the market by facilitating different parts of the home-buying process. Some salaries are dictated by the employer, while others are based on commission.

Keep in mind, no real estate job explicitly requires a college degree. However, these credentials provide you with the knowledge necessary to earn a license. Furthermore, some employers actually will require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in real estate.

Let's take a closer look at some possible career paths for graduates of an online real estate degree:

Real Estate Sales Agents

Annual Median Salary:  $48,340
Job Growth Rate: 1-5%

Real estate sales agents are licensed salespersons who work for real estate brokers on behalf of clients to buy or sell property. These professionals work on-site to guide potential buyers or sellers through the entire home-buying process by preparing documentation, compiling property research, and acting to ensure every part of a purchase agreement is valid.

Real Estate Brokers

Annual Median Salary:  $62,010
Job Growth Rate: 1-5%

Real estate brokers oversee the work of real estate agents, including the transactions they facilitate. They also sell or rent property themselves, as well as arrange loans for clients. Property owners reach out to brokers who assign a sales agent to put their home on the market. Brokers then prepare the financial reports for the closure of sales.

Real Estate Appraisers

Annual Median Salary:  $61,340
Job Growth Rate: 1-5%

Appraisers use their knowledge of the housing market and property features in order to assign an appropriate market value to a home. They incorporate taxes, market fluctuations, income potential, renovations, and depreciation. Their work is crucial for buyers and sellers to properly assess their property.

Real Estate Association Managers

Annual Median Salary:  $59,230
Job Growth Rate: 1-5%

Real estate association managers plan and direct the governance of activities for housing communities, commercial and industrial buildings, and residential properties. They also oversee the work of condominium and homeowner associations alongside coordinating property sales and rental transactions.

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 accredited. So, in order to apply for licensure, you'll need to have completed state-accredited prelicensing courses or college-level courses in real estate from an accredited institution. Either way, a degree can help you prepare and place you at the top of your competition. 

In order to apply for licensure, you'll need to have completed state-accredited prelicensing courses or college-level courses in real estate from an accredited institution.

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.

Is a Real Estate Degree Worth It?

Real estate degrees provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the housing industry as a broker or sales agent. Professionals in this field possess a deep understanding of the housing market that they use to facilitate the buying and selling of various forms of real estate. Many employers believe the best way to achieve these skills is to earn a degree. 

So, let's take a look at the pros and cons of earning your real estate degree online: 

Potential Benefits

Some real estate professions offer a lot of flexibility. Many sales agents work part-time or in a flexible capacity, allowing them to show homes and compile research in the evenings and on weekends.

There may be higher annual salaries in store for real estate professionals within industrial and commercial real estate. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the oil, natural gas, and electric industries offer significantly higher wages for real estate agents when compared to residential sales.

Being equipped with the legal knowledge from a real estate degree can work in your favor when you're buying or selling your own home or other properties.

Potential Drawbacks

Real estate degrees aren't required in most cases. While states do require license applicants to possess a certain number of relevant coursework hours, these are often achieved through short certificate programs.

The job outlook for real estate agents is not as positive as other occupations. According to the BLS, this role is expected to see a modest 5% growth into 2031. This is exactly at the current average growth across all U.S. occupations. This means there isn't a high demand in the near future.

Commission rates are on the decline. Statista reports that commission rates for real estate agents have dropped from 6.04% in 1992 to 5.66% in 2020.

The real estate market can fluctuate drastically. The National Association of Realtors reports that June 2022 home sales fell by over 5% and declined in three out of the four major U.S. geographic regions.

If you're concerned about tuition costs, you can seek financial aid — including scholarships and student loans — to help pay for your real estate bachelor degree online.

FAQs About Real Estate Degrees

What Degree Do Most Real Estate Agents Need?

There is no particular degree required for aspiring real estate agents. However, licenses are required to perform the duties of a real estate agent. These are issued by individual states, which means each one has their own requirements for education and experience. The Association of Real Estate License Law Offices provides a great resource for those looking to earn their license. They include detailed notes from each state, including international countries and territories.

Is Majoring in Real Estate a Good Idea?

Majoring in real estate can provide you with an excellent set of skills and the knowledge required to earn your professional real estate license. Once you obtain your license, employers may prefer applicants with a degree, as it shows both dedication and expertise. According to O*NET, 37% of real estate brokers said their employers required them to have a bachelor's degree in the field before they were hired.

What Is the Highest Paying Job in Real Estate?

According to the BLS, real estate brokers earn more on average ($62,010) than real estate agents ($48,340). However, the highest earning real estate agents in the oil and gas industry earn annual mean salaries of $122,760. Compare this to the highest earning mean wages of real estate brokers in investment firms who net $104,960 per year. This data shows that your earnings will ultimately depend on what industry you decide to work in.

What States Have the Hardest Real Estate Exams?

Each state has a different licensing exam for real estate professionals. Participants are required to hold a certain number of experience hours and education credits before they're even eligible to take the licensing exam.

It's important to note that a few states have notoriously difficulttests. Texas, for example, has a strict timed test featuring over 100 questions covering both state and national real estate topics. According to the Texas Real Estate Commission, only 60.81% of participants pass the exam. Along the same lines, California requires applicants to provide a written examination just to apply for the real estate exam. Once approved, the test itself consists of 150 questions with a three hour time limit.

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