The Best Online Real Estate Schools of 2021

While many people believe that taking in-person real estate courses is best, some believe online real estate classes are beneficial. Here are the best online schools to choose from and tips on getting the most out of the experience.

By Mel Childs | Published Oct 28, 2021 7:05 PM

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The Best Online Real Estate Schools Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Nothing can beat the interaction that you 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 can, too. However, some people want to take real estate classes, but their circumstances won’t allow them to participate in a traditional classroom setting. There are several excellent options for such individuals to learn the real estate curriculum and become licensed real estate agents without going the conventional route. But how do you do it? The road to success begins with choosing the right online school. Here are the best online real estate schools to choose from if you want quality real estate training.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Real Estate Express
  2. RUNNER-UP: Kaplan
  3. BEST FOR EXAM PREP: Mbition
  4. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: 360training
  5. FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: The CE Shop
  6. BEST FOR SOLO STUDYING: Aceable
  7. BEST MULTIMEDIA CONTENT: PrepAgent
The Best Online Real Estate Schools Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Online Real Estate Schools

You may be wondering why people don’t just use tools to help them sell their own house. Or you may be wondering why they don’t just buy or sell homes using popular websites like Zillow or Redfin. Buying and selling homes is 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 these websites can provide. In addition, serving as a real estate agent can be a rewarding job that is helpful to many buyers and sellers. However, when you are pondering how to become a real estate agent, you may be wondering whether you should take classes in person or online. If you choose online courses, here are vital considerations to keep in mind when making your selection.

Availability

Most online real estate courses will be available the moment that you pay for them. You 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 customer can log in until the class expires. This is typically 6 months after starting the class or a year, depending on the school. Some online real estate schools are not self-paced, however. These classes 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, you won’t be able to participate or ask questions during the live discussions.

Preparation and Testing Procedures

Another factor you’ll want to consider is how a school prepares you for the test. Is there a lot of reading? Are there quizzes to take after completing chapters, or do you take one big practice test at the end of the course? Some of the best online courses will provide plenty of opportunities for you to be challenged by offering many quizzes throughout the course. For questions that you get wrong, they may also explain why the answer is wrong and refer you back to the section that you will need to review for further study. Upon completing the course, you may have a comprehensive practice exam similar to your test to get your license. Some schools may have additional study material and test booklets that you can buy that aren’t associated with the course but may help prepare for the licensing exam.

Study Materials

If you need them, most online schools will provide the study materials within the class dashboard. You can look at these materials online using applications like PowerPoint, Adobe Reader, or proprietary viewers available through the online course. If you prefer to have study materials that you can hold, you can print out the materials or you can order textbooks or additional material to help you through the course. If you opt to use the study materials provided online only, this can help you save money, too. The only cost you may incur from online study material is the cost to print the handouts.

Certification, Continuing Education, and License Upgrades

When taking the best online real estate classes, you’ll want to keep in mind that you will be required to take additional coursework to remain licensed as a real estate agent. Also, if you become an agent and you like it so much that you want to become a broker and run your own operation, you will need to get a license to do this. Therefore, when you are searching for online pre-licensing courses, it is good to find out if the school offers other coursework you may need in the future. If you like the way they deliver your pre-licensing course, then they will likely provide an equally great experience with continuing education courses and upgrades for your current license.

Pass or Money-Back Guarantee

Most classes don’t offer this option. However, when they do, this may indicate that the curriculum could be top-notch. 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 the course. If they do not pass the course, the company will give a refund to the customer. To get the refund, you have to provide your failed test score to the school, and they will refund you 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 for customers to request a full refund or partial refund for their incomplete course.

At-a-Glance Comparison

AccreditationPass GuaranteeCost for Pre-LicensingContinuing EducationStates Covered
Real Estate ExpressARELLO and IDECCYes$119+Yes50 states and D.C.
KaplanARELLO and IDECCNo$299+Yes50 states and D.C.
MbitionARELLO and IDECCNo$129+Yes20 states
360trainingARELLO and IDECCNo<$100+Yes14 states
The CE ShopARELLONo$194+Yes50 states and D.C.
Aceable ARELLO and IDECCNo$119+Yes13 states
PrepAgentNoneNo$59+No50 states

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 2021.

Best Overall

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: Real Estate Express
Photo: realestateexpress.com

Why It Made the Cut: Real Estate Express has over 25 years of experience helping more than 200,000 real estate professionals launch and grow their careers—and if they can’t help, they will give you your money back.

Having access to a great online real estate school is good. But having access to one that is accredited, is reasonably priced, available in all 50 states, and offers a guarantee that students will pass or their money back is phenomenal. For those who fulfill all criteria but don’t pass their real estate exam, Real Estate Express can 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.

Real Estate Express also offers live support and employs instructors who have real-world experience in the real estate industry. This school also offers post-licensing courses and continuing education courses to help real estate professionals improve their career. While their class may be top-notch and offers a great money-back guarantee, all materials are exclusively online. For those who like textbooks and hands-on material to study with, this may be a disadvantage. If this isn’t an issue, this is one of the best online real estate schools to opt for.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • Pass guarantee: Yes
  • Cost: $119+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 50 states and D.C.

Pros

  • Users are guaranteed to pass licensing exam with the Exam Prep Master Program
  • Website is easy to navigate and use
  • Course is customizable and can be taken via live webinars with Q&A or in a self-taught format, or a combination of the two

Cons

  • Hard copies of study materials are not available; all studying must take place online

Runner-Up

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 professions, including professional designations and continuing education courses.

Since 1938, Kaplan has provided test preparation materials for various tests for college admissions and professionals such as attorneys, dentists, pharmacists, and real estate agents. Aside from real estate agency test preparation courses, they also offer coursework to prepare real estate appraisers, inspectors, contractors, and more. ARELLO and IDECC accredit their real estate tests, and they provide online courses in all 50 states and D.C.

In addition to test preparation information, their website offers other resources, including articles on how to be successful in the real estate industry. They also offer opportunities to engage by hosting live courses with instructors. While the website isn’t the most user-friendly, Kaplan still provides top-notch materials and high-quality instruction.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $299+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 50 states and D.C.

Pros

  • Options to interact with course instructors with live and on-demand classes
  • Option to order study books and hard copies of learning materials
  • Additional courses in home appraisal, inspections, and contracting are offered

Cons

  • User interface is not as easy to navigate as other sites

Best for Exam Prep

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: Mbition
Photo: mbitiontolearn.com

Why It Made the Cut: Mbition is nationally approved with over 30 years of helping students prepare for real estate exams and provides additional tools that help agents advance in their careers.

If potential real estate students are looking to fast-track their real estate career, Mbition is a great way to do it. Accredited by ARELLO and IDECC, they offer pre-licensing courses to help those who want to become real estate agents. They also provide post-licensing coursework and additional continuing education courses to keep agents growing and thriving in their real estate careers.

One of the perks of their course is that you could opt to take a remote proctored exam. So, if taking the course at a testing site is difficult for you, a proctor can allow you to take the exam under their watchful eye right from your home. They also offer a free online guide that tells you more about how to become a real estate agent—but be aware that there is no video learning content. Though it is only available in 20 states, Mbition offers a well-rounded, affordable preparation course for real estate.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $129+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 20 states

Pros

  • In-depth exam prep tools and practice exams
  • Great for self-guided learners
  • Additional Math Master course specifically designed for math in real estate applications

Cons

  • Pre-licensing courses are only available in 20 states

Best Bang for the Buck

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 training that is approved by state regulatory agencies and is a well-trusted brand in providing online education and advanced training.

Whether someone 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. They offer the individual course or several other package options that allow students to move at a self-paced rate. Upon completion of the course, a certificate of completion is provided.

Post-licensing courses on building a successful career in real estate are available. They also offer continuing education courses on topics including asset management. Despite it being a self-paced course, a student doesn’t have to be alone during the course duration. General help is available via chat or phone 7 days a week. Those who need help from instructors won’t be able to interact with them, but courses come with a variety of materials, including videos, to help students absorb the curriculum.

While this course is only offered in select states, it’s relatively affordable and offers plenty of resources to become a successful agent.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $100+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 14 states

Pros

  • Continuing education courses start as low as $15
  • Offers pre-licensing and continuing education bundles
  • Coupon codes are available for even more savings

Cons

  • Pre-licensing courses are only available in 14 states
  • No interaction with course instructors

For Continuing Education

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

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

As with most other programs, The CE Shop offers pre-licensing, post-licensing, and continuing education opportunities. Although The CE Shop is accessible in 50 states, pre-licensing coursework isn’t always available, and there may be a limited number of pre-licensing packages depending on location. However, it offers additional coursework on hot topics for real estate agents, such as lessons on the industry and technology used in the profession. In addition, it offers other perks, such as military discounts and real estate designations for real estate professionals to enhance their skills.

If someone doesn’t want to study alone, this school offers the opportunity for a friend to get in on the action with their “refer a friend” option. This program works by referring a friend to the program and giving them a discount. If the friend signs up for the class, the current student gets coupons good for future coursework.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $194+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 50 states and D.C.

Pros

  • Wide array of continuing education courses including diversity initiatives, business planning, and technology in real estate
  • Continuing education courses start as low as $15
  • Unique online resources including portability guides and ethics requirement checker

Cons

  • Fewer pre-licensing package options than other schools
  • 12 states are not covered for pre-licensing
  • Only ARELLO accredited

Best for Solo Studying

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

Why It Made the Cut: Aceable 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.

This is our only recommendation that has their own app, meaning this course is optimized for learning on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. It incorporates valuable resources to assist with the learning process, including instructional videos from other real estate agents. This school also offers the option to take the state test online instead of a local testing site.

In addition to pre-licensing courses, this school 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 coursework is only provided in a few states. It also offers fewer continuing education courses to assist agents with career growth and expansion compared with competing online real estate schools. Also, if students need help, they can chat with support staff online or call during the week between certain hours to get the help they need.

Specs

  • Accreditation: ARELLO and IDECC
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $119+
  • Continuing education: Yes
  • States covered: 13 states

Pros

  • Mobile app available for studying on the go
  • Content is engaging and geared toward younger learners
  • 24/7 student concierge available via live chat for answering questions

Cons

  • Fewer continuing education options than other schools
  • Courses only available in 13 states

Best Multimedia Content

The Best Online Real Estate School Option: PrepAgent
Photo: prepagent.com

Why It Made the Cut: PrepAgent provides several affordable educational packages that include different educational tools to help students prepare for the real estate exam and even includes an option for a private tutor.

Despite not being accredited, PrepAgent offers test prep in 50 states at a relatively very affordable price. It offers explainer videos and live online webinars that cover challenging real estate topics such as math. It also provides state-specific practice questions to help students prepare for the exam. Additionally, there are plenty of videos available on YouTube covering various topics, including real estate vocabulary, property ownership, and more. While this is one of the lowest cost classes, it isn’t accredited and doesn’t provide continuing education courses. A student will also have to upgrade to a premium package if they want access to class materials such as e-books and worksheets.

This program has an option to work with an instructor who can provide private tutoring, and if someone wants to learn using flashcards, they also offer this resource. Finally, if someone is not satisfied with their learning experience for any reason, they also provide a money-back guarantee.

Specs

  • Accreditation: None
  • Pass guarantee: No
  • Cost: $59+
  • Continuing education: No
  • States covered: 50 states

Pros

  • Live webinars every day
  • Daily study questions sent via email
  • User-friendly interface

Cons

  • No continuing education courses available
  • Users need to purchase the premium package to access e-book and worksheets
  • Not accredited by ARELLO or IDECC

Our Verdict

When it comes to the best online real estate schools, Real Estate Express topped the list as the Best Overall for its low cost, accessibility, accreditation, continuing education, and especially their pass guarantee. This provides money back to the customer if they don’t pass their course. Coming in second is Kaplan for their similar offerings as Real Estate Express, only they have access to hands-on material such as books, not just online material.

How We Chose the Best Online Real Estate Schools

There are many online real estate schools from which to choose. We took a number of factors into consideration, such as accreditation, cost, course offerings, availability, and more. Some online real estate schools can be 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 $59 to $300. Another consideration we kept in mind is the ease of use. The schools we included in this review have a dashboard and course materials that are easy to navigate and understand.

Courses we chose tend to have options for continuing education. There is more to real estate than pre-licensing. After acquiring initial training and licensing, an agent may be required to take classes to keep their current license in force in their state. They may also want to become a broker. These schools mostly offer pre-licensing and other forms of additional continuing education opportunities.

Before You Choose 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 in which classes can be taken at the student’s leisure. You will have to decide which of these platforms works best for your 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, you will have to take a critical look at yourself. Introspection is a good idea whether you will be taking online real estate classes or in-person classes. The schools in this review offer pre-licensing and most also offer other forms of additional continuing education opportunities.

Cost of the Best Online Real Estate Schools

The cost of a real estate school, in general, can range between $100 and $900. Online school tends to fall somewhere in this price range but is typically cheaper than in-person classes. Not only is the online class more affordable, but the fact that you don’t have to drive to the class or buy textbooks may also help you save on the course. The schools in this review range from $59 to $300. However, some online classes may cost even more than this price range. 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 to see if the agency you want to work for offers incentives.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Online Real Estate Schools

If you 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:

  • There is 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
  • Online real estate courses are usually cheaper than in-person courses

5 Secrets You Won’t Learn In 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 you may not get your first sale right away, so it’s a good idea to have rainy day savings until you can consistently start making sales. Another secret is that it’s ill-advised to just aim to close deals. Real estate is about establishing relationships so that your clients can refer others to you. Speaking of referrals, try to request as many as you can from friends, family, neighbors, and other networks.

Real estate isn’t a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday business. There will be times when you will be working late and on weekends to close deals. So, be prepared to work around the clock. Finally, as a real estate agent, you will be operating as an independent contractor, not an employee. One minute you will be making decisions like a business owner, and the next, you will be doing paperwork like an administrative assistant. Therefore, keep in mind that you will need to wear many hats as a real estate agent to be successful.

FAQs

Are you wondering how to become a real estate agent? Attending school and successfully passing the test is the first essential part of the process. Here are some additional questions you may have 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. Think of brokers as the managers of a real estate firm.

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

Once you finish online real estate school with a passing score, you will have to get your state’s license. This is usually a separate process and cost. Upon receiving your license, you can sell real estate through an established agency or create your own business.

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

After completing a course, you will get a certificate of completion. However, the way that you receive it depends on the course and the state in which you reside. Some certificates may display in your course dashboard for you to print, while some agencies may send it right to a licensing authority.

Q. Can I attend online real estate school?

As long as you have a working computer and internet, you can attend online real estate school. However, if you only have a phone or tablet, it is a good idea to make sure that the course is compatible with those devices before you sign up for the class.

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

Paying for an online real estate school is as simple as paying for any other online item. Schools typically allow you to place a course in a cart and check out using a major credit or debit card. You may even be eligible for a scholarship, but there are usually stipulations related to the scholarship in which you have to work for a specific brokerage if they cover your education costs.

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

Most classes are self-paced. You can get a license in as little as 1 month or you may have as long as the duration of the online course. Some courses have a cutoff of 6 months, while others may have a year.