7 Ways You Can Study Real Estate Online

Whether your goal is to become a licensed realtor or simply pursue a passion, there are many ways to study real estate online. Click below and start your search for a real estate degree online.

Kent Ducote, a broker associate selling residential and commercial real estate in Key West, Florida, completed most of his real estate education virtually. He took online courses to earn his Certified Commercial Investment Member, or CCIM, certification, and has an online master's degree in international real estate from Florida International University.

"If one has the discipline to be completely on your own and self-study, you can be very successful at it," the 57-year-old says.

While online degrees in the field do exist, that's not the credential many students earn to launch a real estate career, says David Overbye, dean of academic affairs at the online REALTOR University, which offers a master's degree in the field.

"It's fairly easy to enter the field; it's much, much harder to be successful in the field," Overbye says. "You've got to think about how you're going to structure your growth path as a professional in real estate."

Here are seven different ways you can learn about real estate online and possibly receive credentials in the field.

1. Basic free and low-cost online courses: There are various options to learn about real estate for free or at a low price. Experts say these can provide a general introduction to the field or dive into a more specific topic within the discipline.

The website edX, for example, offers an online course with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that students can audit for free titled Socially-Responsible Real Estate Development. The website Udemy.com also has a number of options, with many for less than $20, including classes in evaluating real estate and multifamily investment opportunities.

Other free opportunities are available on websites such as BiggerPockets.com and REALTOR.com. In some cases, students may pay to earn certificates of completion. On the websites for edX and the online education company Coursera, for instance, these typically cost $30 to $150.

2. Prelicensure online education: Aspiring real estate agents should check the licensing requirements for their state; the type and amount of coursework varies. Typically, aspiring real estate agents must complete a prelicensing course after which they receive an official transcript or certificate to include on their application. In most states, students may fulfill that requirement in an online setting.

One option for prelicensure prep in many states is the website Real Estate Express. Course prices vary, though all are completely self-paced. Other options include the CE Shop, 360training.com and OnCourse Learning Real Estate.

"They're working actively; they're transitioning either part time or full time into real estate," says Tom Davidson, general manager of Real Estate Express, of many online learners. "Stepping away from that job to attend an eight-hour class session just doesn't really work. The online student is going to be working evenings, at lunch, whenever they can fit it in."

3. State licensing exam prep: Those who have completed their prelicensure education can also prep for their respective state's licensing exam online. Experts say training for the exam beyond a prelicensure course can prove beneficial.

For example, License Exam Tutor has a 30-day plan for aspiring real estate agents in California costing $49, with access to a personal online tutor, practice exams, e-books and other state-specific test material.

4. Continuing education requirements: The specific requirements for real estate agents and brokers to maintain their licenses also vary by state. The National Association of Realtors lists several continuing education online courses on its website, which also states whether each meets the requirements for different states.

Real Estate Express also offers online continuing education courses – both individually and in larger packages – for most states, including 24/7 access to material for greater flexibility. In the state of New York, standalone courses start at $15, whereas multicourse packages can cost around $130.

Online Degrees Can Help Adults Switch Careers

5. Courses to become a broker and earn designations: To advance in the field after getting a real estate license – perhaps to become a broker – students may also take courses online. Websites including Moseley Real Estate Schools and Allied Business Schools Inc. offer online classes for students across states to earn their broker licenses.

On Moseley, an online course to become a licensed broker in Virginia costs $229 and includes unlimited access to course materials as well as opportunities to interact with other students and instructors.

For students like Ducote, an additional designation in the field may make sense, depending on their specific career goals. Ducote earned his CCIM primarily online, ultimately taking his final exam in Texas and submitting a portfolio highlighting past sales. Other examples of designations include Certified Property Manager, Accredited Land Consultant and Certified International Property Specialist.

6. Online certificate programs at universities: Compared with online degrees, online certificates offered by universities – either for credit or not – are shorter in length and lower in cost. They explore more specific subjects within the field or aim to provide a more basic overview of real estate to professionals in other industries.

The for-profit, online American Public University System offers an undergraduate online certificate in real estate mangement worth 18 credit hours – significantly shorter than the 60 hours for the school's associate degree in the field. The certificate program also focuses strictly on real estate, whereas degree students need to fulfill other general requirements.

"Sometimes, students like to start with the certificate, and then move to the associate degree," says Kevin Forehand, program director for real estate studies programs at the school.

Meanwhile, eCornell, the online certificate-granting arm of Cornell University, offers a certificate in commercial real estate and another in hotel real estate investments and asset management, both for $3,600.

7. Real estate online degrees: Though a full real estate degree isn't required to enter the field, students may decide to take that path. At APUS, associate degree students may choose to do so to follow a long-time passion, educate themselves as they purchase their first home or plan to eventually also become a licensed agent.

"In Key West, we do get a lot of international buyers and sellers," says Ducote, "and I just wanted to understand a little bit better how to deal with them. And really, I just wanted to have the credential to attract investors, because online, people always look up realtors' credentials and so forth."

Overbye says of master's students at REALTOR University: "Typically, they've been in the field for quite a while, and they're getting a master's degree really to improve their business."

This Article was Originally Published on Usnews.com