To become a real estate agent, most states require students to take a set number of educational hours to learn about the ins and outs of real estate marketing, transactions and ethics before sitting for a real estate exam.
But your work or school schedule, location and other priorities may not allow you to take an in-person class. Fortunately, there are online real estate education options that will teach you the basics, help you prepare for the test and even offer the continuing education that’s required after you become a licensed real estate agent.
To help you become a real estate agent in a format that suits you best, we looked at course offerings, pricing, reviews and the pros and cons of online real estate schools that offer coursework that meets state licensing requirements for at least 10 states.
Here are eight online real estate schools to consider:
— The CE Shop.
— Real Estate Express.
— Cooke Real Estate School.
The CE Shop
The CE Shop specializes in real estate education at all points in a professional’s career, starting with prelicensing education and exam prep. As the name of the company suggests, its greatest strengths are in continuing education, as the company offers plenty of in-depth options for licensed real estate professionals looking to hone their skills.
When it comes to getting your real estate license, the CE Shop has coursework for 41 states plus the District of Columbia, while it has courses for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in continuing education.
As different state requirements lead to different coursework, the total cost of your real estate education depends on the state and course package you choose. Package prices start at $119 at full price for Florida licensing and can reach as high as $815 for the premium package for licensing in Minnesota. There are four options that begin with basic coursework and expand to include exam prep, business-building classes and a guarantee that you’ll pass your exam or receive a reimbursement for the cost of your first exam (for many state courses but not all). With every package, the CE Shop includes a real estate glossary, ebooks, digital flashcards, instructor-led webinars and career resources.
Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express reports that it has trained more than 520,000 people, offers real estate licensing packages for at least 38 states including the District of Columbia, and is adding states to its offering.
There are four tiers of educational packages. The most basic package includes a prelicense course that meets state requirements as well as instructor support and real estate ebooks, and the higher tiers include additional resources like exam prep materials, post-license courses, instructor question-and-answer information and a “pass or don’t pay” guarantee. There are also livestream course options, typically costing the top-tier price for the state program, which allow for real-time education, if that’s what you prefer.
Prices vary depending on the state, with the basic package for Michigan starting at $179 and the top-tier package reaching as high as $815 for South Carolina, for example. The Real Estate Express website also offers discounts from time to time to cut the total cost further.
A downside to using Real Estate Express, however, is that your access to the course and any materials only last for six months. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get through your education hours and exam prep in that timeline, these courses may not be for you.
Educational services company Kaplan offers extensive real estate education programming that includes in-person, online and text-based courses for real estate licensing and continuing education for licensed professionals in at least 26 states and the District of Columbia.
While the prelicensing courses carry the familiar Kaplan name, others carry the additional weight of trusted local brands. Courses offered for Florida and North Carolina, for example, are the result of Kaplan’s purchase of smaller, statewide real estate schools that specialize in developing local expertise for agents, though North Carolina’s J.Y. Monk Real Estate School has formally changed its name to Kaplan Real Estate Education.
Kaplan’s offerings for real estate education vary widely based on the state, and prices vary widely as well: Exam prep on its own can be less than $80, while state-required education credit programs can run from $179 to $800 or more.
Because of the differences between program offerings from state to state, make sure that Kaplan’s courses meet all your needs for coursework before signing up. Additionally, pay close attention to reviews of the individual courses to gauge whether a specific course would be a fit for you.
Previously known as OnCourse Learning Real Estate, Mbition offers course packages to help you earn your license with silver, gold and platinum tiers, individual courses and books (both physical and downloadable options) to help you become a real estate agent.
Mbition’s course offerings are extensive, with prelicensing courses for 22 states, extensive exam prep and continuing education programs in even more states, and appraisal and home inspection courses as well. It’s easy to mark your path for career goals with Mbition and take the courses necessary to achieve those goals. Most new license courses range between $100 and $500, depending on the state and package tier you choose.
While many reviews note the affordability, user-friendly interface and value of information in Mbition’s courses, there have been a handful of reviews (particularly through the Better Business Bureau) that note a lack of clarity with time limits for completing a course and which courses qualify for state requirements. Access to course materials are only available for six months after purchase or you will have to pay for extended access, so be aware of the timeline.
With 360training Agent Campus, prelicensing courses are available for 14 states, though there are exam prep packages for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and continuing education for 32 states.
While the prelicense package options include the entire coursework for the designated state’s licensing exam, you can also purchase prelicense courses individually if you’ve already completed some real estate education elsewhere and aren’t interested in repeating material.
While the number of states available is more limited than some other companies on this list, prices are lower. The most expensive package available is $749 at full price, though many are less than $200, and with the discounts offered some of the basic packages are less than $100.
RealEstateU is another online real estate school that has a limited number of state license course options, with 14 available, and low prices.
The state real estate license course packages range in price from $99 to $399, which is a set price for each state without tiers. Additional exam prep for your state real estate license exam is available through RealEstateU, though at an additional cost (typically less than $100).
As is the case with different course requirements from state to state, each license course package has different offerings, but RealEstateU notes extensive resources and options for students to learn online in the way that works best. The Michigan curriculum, for example, includes audio courses, transcripts of the instruction, infographics to help you visualize concepts and more. Course textbooks, even in downloadable format, are an additional cost, however, at around $20 each.
Cooke Real Estate School
Cooke Real Estate School’s professional development and continuing education classes are far more robust than its offerings for licensing courses, but there are state-approved courses for 14 states. There are also courses for home inspection and community association management, if those fields are of interest to you.
Like with most other online real estate programs, licensing courses can be purchased in tiered packages, which range in price. Wisconsin’s course is offered in four packages, for example: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The bronze package starts at $279, and the platinum package is $509. Pricing varies depending on the state.
Like some other programs, the time you have access to the Cooke course and related materials is limited to six months, with extension options for a fee. Courses including physical textbooks, which are sent to students at no cost, do not appear to require return, however.
There are 12 prelicensing courses offered through Aceable, though only some are identified as truly online courses. The others are marketed as a learn-at-your-own-pace PDF correspondent course, which one 2020 Google review notes is more of an online textbook in the case of the California real estate course.
For the fully online courses, web and mobile apps make for easy, on-the-go learning and studying, with audio lessons available that are popular among reviewers.
At full price, prelicensing courses range between $100 and $570, though discounts are often available and cut prices significantly.
The biggest drawback to Aceable’s course options is the limited selection. Beyond the 12 prelicensing course options, continuing education offerings from Aceable are very limited. There are only three courses offered — two for the state of Texas and one for New York. There are additional professional development courses you may choose to take for your own benefit rather than to gain license-related knowledge, but only four courses along those lines are offered.
More from U.S. News
Update 10/19/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.