The Best Online Real Estate Schools of 2023

Online real estate courses can be a great way for busy people to start a new career on their terms and schedules. Enrolling in one of the best online real estate schools can help students get the most out of the experience.

By Mel Childs and Evelyn Auer and Sabrina Serani | Updated Jun 12, 2023 4:27 PM

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The Best Online Real Estate Schools Options

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Nothing can beat the interaction that students can get from an in-person real estate course. Not only does the instructor have important, real-life information related to the industry that they can share with the class, but other students do, too. However, some people who want to take real estate classes have circumstances that won’t allow them to participate in a traditional classroom setting. There are several excellent options for such individuals interested in how to be a real estate agent without going the conventional route. The road to success begins with choosing one of the top online real estate schools. This roundup covers the best online real estate schools to choose from for quality real estate training.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Colibri Real Estate
  2. RUNNER-UP: The CE Shop
  3. BEST FOR POSTGRADUATE WORK: 360training
  4. BEST EXAM PREP: AceableAgent
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Kaplan Real Estate Education
The Best Online Real Estate Schools Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Online Real Estate Schools

It’s often wondered why people don’t just use tools to help them sell their own house, or why they don’t just buy or sell homes using popular real estate websites for buying or selling a home like Zillow or Redfin. Buying and selling homes involves more than just shopping online. Real estate agents can be a critical key in the buying and selling process because they may have more insider knowledge than the best real estate websites can provide. In addition, becoming a real estate agent can be rewarding, as these pros help guide clients through the buying and selling process. However, when pondering how to become a real estate agent, a choice arises between taking classes in person or online. What follows are some vital considerations for potential real estate agents to keep in mind when selecting a real estate school online.

Accreditation

Like any college or university, online real estate schools must be appropriately accredited in order for students’ credentials to be valid. One of the major accreditations for online real estate schools is the Distance Education Certification Program through the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO). With this program, ARELLO has identified a set of standards that online courses must meet to ensure students are getting high-quality training. It also ensures courses are in line with requirements for their jurisdictions. Another ARELLO program is the International Distance Education Certification Center (IDECC). This program applies the same principles as the Distance Education Certification Program while being internationally recognized. As students compare courses, ARELLO- or IDECC-accredited real estate schools online are typically great options.

Guarantees 

Most classes don’t offer the option for a pass or money-back guarantee. However, when they do, this can indicate a top-notch curriculum. Schools that offer such a guarantee believe that the curriculum they provide is so detailed that those who take the course and complete it will pass their exam. If a student does not pass the exam, the company will give a refund. To get the refund, students must provide their failed test score to the school, which will issue a refund within a specific time frame. This money-back guarantee may not be offered only to those who fail, however. Some schools provide this option for dissatisfied customers who don’t like the class. Again, the school will set a specific time frame in which customers can request a full refund or partial refund for their incomplete course.

Cost

Students will want to take costs into consideration before committing to a course. So how much is real estate school online? Some courses are as little as $100, while others can have costs around $600 to $1,000. Schools that are formally accredited are likely to be more costly than those that are nonaccredited. Costs for a particular school may also vary by state, as different states have different requirements for how many hours a prelicensing course has to be. Students can compare prices and look into potential discounts and promotions to find a course that best fits their needs and budget. There may also be some online real estate schools that accept financial aid.

States Covered

Each state has its own real estate licensing requirements, so students will need to take a course that is valid in the state where they intend to practice. Not all online real estate schools have offerings for all 50 states, so students can look up which schools cover their state and eliminate those that do not from their list of options.

Course Types

Real estate agent schools are not one size fits all. Depending on where students are in their education and certification process, there are several types of courses they may need to take. Some of the most common courses that are provided by online real estate schools are exam prep, prelicensing, and continuing education. Students looking for more-specialized courses will want to make sure that they are offered by the school of their choice.

  • Exam prep courses are designed to get students acquainted with the types of information and questions they will need to answer on their upcoming exam. These courses may go hand-in-hand with a prelicensing course so students have a better chance of passing the exam the first time they take it.
  • Salesperson prelicensing courses are required in order to receive a license. The number of hours that must be taken in order to complete the course will vary by state.
  • Broker prelicensing courses are required for students who aspire to become real estate brokers. These may be a series of courses or include real-world experiences depending on the student’s state.
  • Continuing education courses allow current agents to maintain their real estate licenses. Real estate agents must take these courses periodically, but specific continuing education requirements vary by state.

Availability and Accessibility 

Most online real estate courses will be available the moment a student pays for them. Students will be able to log in and take classes and quizzes at any time of the day or night during the course duration. If the course is self-paced, the student can log in until access to the class ends. This is often 6 months or a year after the class is purchased, depending on the school. Some online real estate schools are not self-paced, however. Classes from these schools are similar to in-person classes, and the student will have to show up when the course is in session. While the class may be available via a recording later, students won’t be able to participate or ask questions during the live discussions.

Preparation and Testing Procedures 

Another factor to consider is how a school prepares students for the licensing test. Is there a lot of reading? Are there quizzes to take after completing chapters, or is there one big practice test at the end of the course? Some of the best online courses will provide plenty of opportunities for students to be challenged by offering many quizzes throughout the course. If a student answers a question incorrectly, some online courses may offer an explanation for why an answer is wrong and refer the student back to the section they need to review. Upon completing the course, students may take a comprehensive practice exam similar to the licensing test. Some schools may have additional study material and test booklets available for purchase that aren’t associated with the course but may help prepare students for the licensing exam.

Study Materials

Most online schools will provide the study materials within the class dashboard. Students can look at these materials online using applications like PowerPoint, Adobe Reader, or proprietary viewers available through the online course. Students who prefer to have study materials that they can hold can print out the materials or order textbooks or additional material to help them through the course. Opting to use only the study materials provided online can help students save money, too. The only cost students may incur when using online study material is the cost to print the handouts.

Certification, Continuing Education, and License Upgrades

When taking one of the best online real estate classes, it’s important for students to keep in mind that additional coursework will be required in order for them to remain licensed as a real estate agent. Also, some agents like their work so much that they want to become a broker and run their own operation, which requires an additional license. Therefore, when searching for online prelicensing courses, it’s a good idea for students to find out if the school offers other coursework for their future real estate agent training. If it delivers a stellar prelicensing course, then it will likely provide an equally great experience with continuing education courses and upgrades for the current license.

Our Top Picks

Picking an online school can be quite daunting because there are many options from which to choose. Here is a compilation of best online real estate schools of 2023.

Best Overall

Best Online Real Estate Schools Option Colibri Real Estate
Photo: colibrirealestate.com

Why It Made the Cut: Colibri Real Estate, formerly known as Real Estate Express, has over 25 years of experience helping more than 200,000 real estate professionals launch and grow their careers—and if the company can’t help, it will refund students’ money.

Having access to a great online real estate school is good. But having access to one that is accredited, reasonably priced, and offers a guarantee that students will pass or get their money back is phenomenal. For those who fulfill all criteria but don’t pass their real estate exam, Colibri Real Estate (formerly Real Estate Express) will issue a full refund. Even those who are not satisfied with the online course itself may be eligible for a full refund if it is requested within a week of the start of class. Students will want to be aware that they have only 6 months after purchase to finish the course.

Colibri’s website is easy to navigate, and students can easily locate the information they need to get started with a course. Colibri offers physical and digital course materials to suit all students’ preferences. The digital course materials are also optimized for mobile use, meaning students can easily study on the go. Colibri Real Estate also offers live support and exam prep sessions and employs instructors who have real-world experience in the real estate industry. Prelicensing courses are available in 40 states, and the school also offers post-licensing courses and continuing education courses to help real estate professionals improve their career. Students are able to customize their courses and choose between a self-taught format, live webinars, or a combination of both. Those who are looking for a well-rounded online real estate school will likely find Colibri to be one of their best options.

 

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • States covered for prelicensing: 40 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Cost for prelicensing: $85 to $941
  • Course expiry: 6 months after purchase
  • Pass guarantee: Yes

Pros

  • Live and on-demand course options
  • Live, interactive exam prep sessions
  • Pass guarantee available with select packages
  • Physical and digital course materials provided
  • Convenient mobile-friendly courses

Cons

  • Relatively short 6-month course expiry

Runner-Up

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: The CE Shop
Photo: theceshop.com

Why It Made the Cut: The CE Shop provides solid prelicensing and continuing education courses taught by innovative industry experts who are determined to help students succeed.

In addition to prelicensing courses and continuing education, The CE Shop offers lessons on the real estate industry, diversity initiatives, business planning, and technology used in the profession to help students succeed in their careers. Prelicensing courses are available for students in 46 states and Washington, D.C., and students can find a wealth of online resources on The CE Shop site such as portability guides (which teach agents whether they can use their license in another state, and if so, how), a library of informational articles known as the Agent Encyclopedia, ebooks, podcasts, and videos. The digital course materials are also optimized for mobile use, which means it’s easy for students to study from anywhere. In addition, the company offers other perks, such as military discounts. Additionally, students who opt for eligible packages have a “pass guarantee,” which means they’ll get a refund if they don’t pass their licensing exam. Student reviews have noted that the school’s testing platform (used for in-course exams, not the state licensing exam) can be somewhat frustrating to use, but also that The CE Shop’s student support has been quick to remedy any issues.

Students who are not ready to commit can try a prelicensing course for free for 5 days to see if it’s a good fit. If a student doesn’t want to study alone, this school offers the opportunity for a friend to get in on the action with its “refer a friend” option. This program works by allowing the student to refer a friend to the program and giving the friend a discount. If the friend signs up for the class, the current student gets coupons good for future coursework.

 

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO
  • States covered for prelicensing: 46 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Cost for prelicensing: $114 to $1,795
  • Course expiry: 1 year after purchase
  • Pass guarantee: No

Pros

  • Generous 5-day free trial for prelicensing courses
  • Wide range of continuing education courses
  • Convenient mobile-friendly courses
  • Pass guarantee available with select packages

Cons

  • Reports of user-unfriendly testing platform

Best for Postgraduate Work

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: 360training
Photo: 360training.com

Why It Made the Cut: 360training is an online school that provides affordable real estate education that is approved by state regulatory agencies and is a well-trusted brand in providing online education and advanced training.

Whether a student is making a career change to real estate or seeking more education to get a competitive edge, 360training—which is both ARELLO and IDECC accredited—can help. Although 360training only offers prelicensing courses in 14 states and post-licensing courses in five states, the company offers exam prep courses in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and continuing education courses in 32 states. 360training’s course offerings come at a significantly lower price point than many of its competitors, with the lowest-priced courses costing only $15. The site also runs frequent promotions, and courses are often discounted. Upon completion of the course, the student will receive a certificate of completion.

Post-licensing courses on building a successful career in real estate are available. 360training also offers continuing education courses on topics including asset management. Although there is no direct interaction between students and instructors due to the courses being self-paced, students have access to general help via chat or phone 7 days a week. Courses come with a variety of materials, including videos, to help students absorb the curriculum.

 

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • States covered for prelicensing: 14 states
  • Cost for prelicensing: $89.99 to $799
  • Course expiry: 1 year after purchase
  • Pass guarantee: No

Pros

  • Wide range of relatively affordable continuing education courses
  • Prelicensing and continuing education bundles available
  • Frequent sitewide sales and many individually discounted classes

Cons

  • No student/instructor interaction

Best Exam Prep

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: Aceable
Photo: aceableagent.com

Why It Made the Cut: AceableAgent is an online school helping students “ace” the real estate exam and advance in their career by providing cutting-edge instructional tools accessible through the web and mobile apps.

AceableAgent is partnered with PrepAgent, and the name should give away that this school excels at providing students with exam prep materials. There’s a wealth of practice tests, flash cards, and more, along with live, interactive exam prep sessions with instructors to help students succeed when it’s time to take the state exam.

AceableAgent has its own app, meaning this course is optimized for learning on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The app incorporates valuable resources to assist with the learning process, including instructional videos from other real estate agents. Students who prefer to learn by reading can purchase a PDF version of the course, which includes the same information as the live and on-demand classes. This school also offers students the option to take the state test online instead of at a local testing site. Students can also take advantage of a “pass guarantee” where they’ll get a refund if they don’t pass the state exam.

In addition to prelicensing courses, AceableAgent offers state-specific continuing education courses online and provides additional coursework to help real estate professionals enhance their careers; however, potential students should be aware that only 14 states are covered for prelicensing. And while AceableAgent’s continuing education courses are relatively limited, its student concierge service gives students the ability to chat with support staff online or call during the week between certain hours to get the help they need.

 

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • States covered for prelicensing: 14 states
  • Cost for prelicensing: $107 to $799
  • Course expiry: Not specified
  • Pass guarantee: Yes

Pros

  • Comprehensive exam prep materials offered
  • Live, interactive exam prep sessions
  • Pass guarantee available with select packages
  • Convenient mobile-friendly courses

Cons

  • Relatively few continuing education classes

Also Consider

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: Kaplan
Photo: kapre.com

Why It Made the Cut: Kaplan is well recognized as an educational leader that provides a variety of real estate professionals with the tools needed to succeed in their work, including professional designations and continuing education courses.

Since 1938, Kaplan has provided test-preparation materials for various tests required for college admissions and professionals such as attorneys, dentists, pharmacists, and real estate agents. Aside from real estate agency test preparation courses, Kaplan also offers coursework to prepare inspectors and contractors. The company’s courses and tests are ARELLO and IDECC accredited, and Kaplan provides online prelicensing courses in 33 states.

In addition to test-preparation information, Kaplan’s website offers other resources, including articles on how to be successful in the real estate industry. Students with busy schedules can opt for on-demand instruction at their convenience, but Kaplan also offers opportunities to engage by hosting live courses with instructors. While the cost can be relatively high and there’s a 6-month course expiry deadline Kaplan still provides top-notch materials and high-quality instruction. The company’s exam-prep app makes it possible to study on the go, and students who prefer physical materials can order flash cards or books to enhance their learning.

 

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • States covered for prelicensing: 33 states
  • Cost for prelicensing: $199 to $1,199
  • Course expiry: 6 months after purchase
  • Pass guarantee: No

Pros

  • Live and on-demand course options
  • Physical and digital course materials provided

Cons

  • Relatively high costs
  • Relatively short 6-month course expiry

Our Verdict

When it comes to the best online real estate schools, Colibri Real Estate topped the list as the Best Overall for its low cost, accessibility, accreditation, continuing education, and its pass guarantee. The CE Shop is our Runner-Up and an excellent choice for those pursuing continuing education.

How We Chose the Best Online Real Estate Schools

When it comes to the best online schools for real estate, there are many great options. We took a number of factors into consideration when compiling our roundup, such as accreditation, cost, course offerings, availability, and more. The classes offered by some online real estate schools can cost as much as $600. However, spending more money doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality, and the courses we deemed the best are within a price range of $60 to $200 and up. Another consideration we kept in mind is ease of use. The schools we included in this review have a dashboard and course materials that are easy to navigate and understand. Since the real estate industry requires additional education after prelicensing, the courses we chose tend to have options for both prelicensing and continuing education.

Before You Enroll in One of the Best Online Real Estate Schools 

Real estate classes online may be offered as synchronous classes or asynchronous classes. Synchronous classes are online, instructor-led courses in which a class meets via an online platform and can interact as if in an actual class. Asynchronous classes are those that can be taken at the student’s leisure. Students will want to decide which of these platforms works best for their online learning style. Online school isn’t for everyone, and real estate courses can be challenging. So before enrolling in one of the best online real estate schools, students will want to take a critical look at themselves. Introspection is a good idea whether a student will be taking online real estate classes or participating in in-person real estate training programs. The schools in this review offer prelicensing, and most also offer other forms of additional continuing education opportunities.

Cost of Enrolling in One of the Best Online Real Estate Schools 

The cost of attending a real estate school, in general, can range between $100 and $1,000. Online school tends to fall somewhere in this price range but is typically cheaper than in-person classes. Online classes can be more affordable, and there are additional savings for students as a result of not having to drive to the class or buy expensive textbooks. The schools in this review range from $85 to $1,795. However, some online classes may go beyond this price range. Students will want to keep in mind that some real estate brokers may offer scholarships or other financial incentives that may help with the costs of attending online school. Therefore, before attempting to pay for a class, it’s a good idea for a student to see if the agency they want to work for offers incentives.

The Advantages of Enrolling in One of the Best Online Real Estate Schools

For students who decide to take an online real estate course, taking it with one of the best online real estate schools can be quite rewarding. There are distinct advantages of opting for an online real estate school, including:

  • Greater flexibility and convenience thanks to limited or no travel to a physical classroom;
  • Students may be able to finish a course at their own pace; and
  • Online real estate courses are usually cheaper than in-person courses.

5 Secrets You Won’t Learn From an Online Real Estate Schools 

Attending real estate school is a great way to learn the basics of the industry. However, there are some things that you won’t know until you become a real estate agent. One is that agents don’t always get their first sale right away, so it’s a good idea to have rainy-day savings until sales begin coming in consistently. Another secret is that it’s ill-advised to just aim to close deals. Real estate is about establishing relationships so that clients can refer others to their agent. Speaking of referrals, agents will want to request as many as possible from friends, family, neighbors, and other networks to build their business.

Real estate isn’t a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday business. There are times agents work late and on weekends to close deals. Therefore, students will need to be prepared to work around the clock. Finally, real estate agents operate as independent contractors, not as employees. One minute they are making decisions like a business owner, and the next, they are doing paperwork like an administrative assistant. Therefore, students will want to keep in mind that it will be necessary to wear many hats as a real estate agent in order to be successful.

FAQs

Attending school and successfully passing the licensing test is the first essential part of the process of becoming a successful real estate agent. What follows are some additional common questions and answers about how to get into real estate.

Q. What’s the difference between a broker and an agent? 

Both of these professionals can help people buy, sell, and rent real estate. However, a broker has additional training and can hire an agent to work for them. Agents can think of brokers as the managers of a real estate firm.

Q, Can I sell real estate once I finish online real estate school? 

After finishing online real estate school with a passing score, the next step is for the agent to get a state’s license. This is usually a separate process and cost. Upon receiving the license, agents can sell real estate through an established agency or create their own business.

Q. Do I get a certificate after I finish online real estate school? 

After completing a course, students will get a certificate of completion. However, the way it’s received depends on the course and the state. Some certificates may display in the course dashboard to be printed, while some agencies may send it right to a licensing authority.

Q. Can I attend online real estate school? 

Anyone who has a working computer and internet can attend online real estate school. However, if a student only has a phone or tablet, it’s a good idea for them to make sure that the course is compatible with those devices before signing up for the class.

Q. How do I pay for online real estate school tuition? 

Paying tuition for an online real estate school is as simple as paying for any other online item. Schools typically allow students to place a course in a cart and check out using a major credit or debit card. Some students may even be eligible for a scholarship, but there are usually stipulations related to the scholarship requiring the student to work for a specific brokerage if it covers these education costs.

Q. How long does it take to get a real estate license online? 

How long is real estate school online? Most classes are self-paced. Students can get a license in as little as 1 month, or they may have to wait as long as the duration of the online course. Some courses have a cutoff of 6 months, while others may have a year. Different states have different requirements for how many hours of training they require, ranging from about 60 hours to 130 hours.