One of the first things you will have on your way to becoming a real estate agent or a broker is to pass the state exam and acquire the certifications you need for this job. Attending one of the best real estate online certifications and training programs is probably the easiest way to accomplish this goal.
You will need to obtain the real estate state license even if you just want to work as a part-time real estate agent.
Finding the time to attend the in-person classes in real estate school can be difficult, as you can’t control the pace at which you’re going through the syllabus or choose how much time you want to dedicate to the studies.
E-learning platforms offer a simple solution by enabling their students to learn at their own pace and choose when they’re going to watch the learning materials included in the program.
Let’s take a look at some of the best real estate online certifications and training programs and what they have to offer. Check out our guide to the best online real estate photography classes if you want to learn how to take pictures of the properties you’re offering to your clients.
The 5 Best Real Estate Online Certifications and Training Programs
|E-Learning Platform||Course types||Available State Licenses||Cost|
|VanEd||Real estate and appraisal||Available in six states||$$$|
|The CE Shop||Exam prep, continuing education, first-time licensing||Available in all states||$$$|
|Kaplan||Real estate, appraisal, home inspection…||Unavailable in some states||$$ – $$$|
|360training||Pre and post license, exam prep, continuing education||Some courses aren’t available in all states||$$$|
|Aceable Agent||Pre-license, continuing education||Available in 12 states||$$$|
Real estate certification requirements
The process of becoming a real estate professional is neither long nor difficult, but you have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to go through it. However, each state has a different set of requirements you must meet before you can take the real estate license exam.
Individuals younger than 19 or 18 years old are not eligible for this license in the United States, and you must meet the age requirement before you take the test.
Even so, you can complete the compulsory pre-license training even if you’re still underage and then take the exam once you meet the age requirement.
In several states, a college degree is a prerequisite for obtaining a real estate license, but in most cases, you can obtain this license after graduating high school.
The duration of the mandatory preparation period differs from state to state, so the amount of time you’ll have to spend preparing for the exam depends on where you live. Read our guide to the best online learning platforms that can help you jump-start your real estate career.
Type of real estate agents
Based on the amount of time you want to dedicate to the job you can become a part-time, side hustle, or full-time real estate agent. It is worth noting that you need the state’s real estate license regardless of the capacity in which you’re working in the real estate business.
Interestingly enough, the part-time option is best for seasoned real estate professionals who want to have a more flexible schedule. Also, agents who just obtained their licenses can try working part-time to get the feel of the industry and sharpen their sales skills.
As your workload increases, the job will slowly turn into a side hustle that generates an additional income on a monthly level. Eventually, this will become a full-time job that will involve much more than just showing properties to clients.
Most full-time real estate agents work on establishing long-term relationships with clients, handle all the paperwork and negotiate the terms of each deal they make. Check out our guide to the best business courses that might help you improve your managerial or sales skills.
The difference between a real estate agent and a broker
To become a real estate broker, you first need to acquire the real estate agent license and then continue your education to get the real estate brokerage license. That’s why all brokers have experience as real estate agents.
Brokers usually employ agents and they share many of the same responsibilities. One of the major differences between brokers and agents is that brokers don’t have to give a percentage of their real estate commission to the agency they’re working for.
Also, designated brokers, managing brokers, and associate brokers perform different tasks within the agency.
So for instance, a managing broker recruits or trains new agents and supervises the agency’s daily operations, while a designated broker works directly with agents to provide guidelines regarding federal and state laws.
As a result, the job of a real estate broker and real estate agent is similar, but brokers are often tasked with managerial responsibilities. Go through our guide to the best test prep courses to find e-learning platforms that can help you prepare for the real estate licensing program.
Finding your real estate niche
After obtaining the license and turning property sales and rental into a full-time job, you should start searching for your area of expertise. Some of the most lucrative areas of the business include sales of luxury and energy-efficient homes, or housing for seniors.
Specializing in any of these areas and building a large client base within it can help you advance in your career and increase your monthly income. Nonetheless, it takes years to transition from a real estate generalist to a real estate specialist agent, as each field requires a particular set of skills.
Having a vision early in your career and steering yourself towards the goal of finding your niche will also help you choose the online real estate courses that are designed for the continuation of education.
Nearly all online real estate schools offer courses that enable you to acquire the skills you need to work in a niche you chose. Check out our guide to the best interior design courses if you want to discover ways to make the properties you offer to your clients more presentable.
The topics covered by real estate online certifications and training programs
The content and duration of a pre-license course depend on the state since in California you need a minimum of 135 hours of education before you can take the real estate license exam, while in the state of New York you only need 75 hours to become eligible for this exam.
During the pre-license courses, you will be learning about the state’s real estate laws or the Fair Housing Act that guarantees equal housing rights to everyone regardless of their gender, nationality, or religion.
These courses are focused primarily on theoretical knowledge and they don’t offer a lot of practical experience. Some courses may even help you polish your math skills and prepare for the math questions you might encounter at the exam.
Also, nearly all pre-license courses take you through real estate finance and help you understand how the financing process in this field works. Browse through our guide to the best bookkeeping courses if you want to get better acquainted with the basics of accounting.
The advantages of completing real estate online certifications and training programs
Eligibility to take the state real estate exam
Becoming an agent involves passing the exam that enables you to start working in an agency. E-learning platforms issue real estate certificates that you have enough hours of education to take that exam.
Assistance with preparations for the state real estate exam
Besides the pre-license courses, online learning platforms also help students prepare for the real estate exam that enables them to obtain the licenses they need to become real estate agents. Most real estate exam prep courses last for several weeks and enable you to go through the test questions you’ll likely encounter at the exam.
An opportunity to continue the education
You can continue your education in this field and obtain the real estate brokerage license or learn more about closing transactions with any of the online real estate schools that offer pre-license courses or exam preparations.
The disadvantages of completing real estate online certifications and training programs
Some platforms don’t offer their services in all states
The pre-license and exam preparation self-paced courses are different for each state, and some online learning platforms don’t provide this service in all states. That’s why you need to check if an e-learning platform offers exam prep or pre-license courses in your state.
The most important factors to completing real estate online certifications and training programs
Like the property laws, the real estate online certifications and training programs are not the same in all the states. The syllabus of a pre-license course for Michigan isn’t going to look the same as the syllabus for a course designed for California.
Besides choosing the course for the state you live in, you have to pay attention to several other factors that may affect your eligibility for the real-estate license.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors you’ll have to consider while choosing real estate online certifications and training programs. Read our Magoosh vs Manhattan GRE comparison if you need to prepare for GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or EA tests.
The program’s relevance
Go through the syllabus of the pre-license of a self-paced course you’d like to take to find out if it covers the topics that can be useful to you in a professional setting.
Keep in mind that most of these courses don’t last more than a hundred hours and that they rarely offer in-depth knowledge of any of the subjects they cover.
The online school’s accreditations
Taking a pre-license course on an e-learning platform just to find out that it doesn’t issue a certificate of competition is a waste of time, energy, and money. You need to make sure that the course you want to take makes you eligible for the real estate exam.
Some platforms offer pre-license courses in just six states, which makes them a poor choice for anyone who doesn’t live in those states.
Bear in mind that exam prep courses are usually available for a larger number of states, but you should check if an e-learning platform offers preparations for the real estate license exam in your state.
All e-learning platforms offer detailed descriptions of the learning materials they include in their pre-license, exam prep, or continuing education courses. Go through the list of learning materials and check if the course involves watching videos, textbooks, or some other learning tools.
A pre-license course can cost anywhere between a hundred and a thousand dollars. Compare prices on several e-learning platforms to find the course that fits your budget, since the most expensive pre-license course you can find isn’t necessarily the best one.
Top 5 Real Estate Online Certifications and Training Programs
VanEd – Best for a real estate agent who wants to renew their license
Seasoned real estate professionals who need to renew their licenses can do that easily at the VanEd platform. This online learning platform is also an excellent place to start your career in real estate because it offers self-paced pre-license courses, although only in several states.
You can also take Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma state-specific exam prep courses at this platform. Real Estate Continuing Education courses aren’t limited to these states which enables you to obtain the real estate brokerage license even if you live in Washington or Florida.
- The platform offers multi-course discounts
- Platform’s real estate certificates are recognized by state educational institutions
- Excellent continuing education options
- Offers real estate appraiser courses
- Learning materials could be better
- Available in just six states
The CE Shop – Best for exam preparation
Alabama, New York, or Oregon are just a few states included in The CE Shop’s first-time licensing program. Besides, the platform offers exam prep courses in all 50 states that help you get ready for different types of real estate tests.
This platform can help you get your first real estate salesperson or brokerage licenses as well as renew your expiring licenses. The CE Shop offers a broad spectrum of courses, you can take after you obtain the license, that is adjusted to the needs of real estate professionals in different states.
- Interactive learning content
- The high student success rate
- Minimal weekly engagement
- All courses are priced moderately
- Continuing education is only available for sales and brokerage licenses
- The courses cover a limited range of subjects
Kaplan – Best for career development
Professional development, Contracting, Appraisal, Home Inspection, and Real Estate are the categories of courses you can take at the Kaplan e-learning platform.
Although the pre-license and exam prep courses are available for most states, you’ll need to check if the platform offers its services for your state. Also, the exam prep courses are available for states such as Ohio, but the pre-license courses are not.
Kaplan’s continuing education options include several packages as well as a wide array of individual courses that carry between 2 and 6 credit hours. Each of these courses is designed for a specific state so that you can get relevant information.
Go through our Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE comparison to find out more about the differences between these e-learning platforms.
- Good learning materials
- The impressive student success rate
- Excellent for first-time licensing
- Available in most states
- Courses are expensive
- Outdated website design
360training – The best value
Besides food and alcohol or environmental health courses, the 360training platform offers real estate training programs. The pre-license programs are available for 9 states including California, Florida, or New York.
On the other hand, the exam prep courses are available for all 50 states, which enables you to get ready for the real estate license exam regardless of the state you live in. License renewal options are limited to just 5 states.
The number of available continuing education courses and packages varies from state to state. All platform’s real estate certifications are state recognized. Moreover, the 360training platform has more than two decades of experience with the preparation of suitable candidates for real estate license tests.
The platform’s Agent Campus features Sales Apprentice Education courses that are aimed at students from Texas.
You can opt for a TREC SAE package or choose from six individual courses that take you through the legal, financial, and marketing aspects of the real estate sales process in the state of Texas.
After the completion of these courses, you’ll be able to craft a business plan and negotiate the best property prices for your clients. Finding special offers or discounts for any of the real estate licensing courses shouldn’t be too difficult, but the enrollment fee for some of these courses is less than $10.
Even though 360training’s packages are more expensive than individual courses, their price is still competitive when compared to the course fees on other platforms. The enrollment process is straightforward since you just have to select the course you want to attend and complete the payment.
All learning materials become available immediately after you complete the payment, and you can self-pace through each course.
- Budget-friendly real estate training courses
- Great place to prepare for the real estate license exam
- Relevant and interesting learning materials
- Excellent customer support
- A limited selection of pre-license courses
- Not a lot of post-license options
Aceable Agent – Best for learning from a mobile device
Unlike so many other online real estate schools, the Aceable Agent has an app that enables you to learn on the go. This platform also offers the Ace the Test guarantee and most of its students pass the real estate exam on the first try.
Currently, the Aceable Agent offers pre-license courses for just 12 states, so if you’re from New York, Colorado, or Pennsylvania this platform can help you get the state’s real estate license.
The range of continuing education courses you can find at Aceable Agent is underwhelming, and you should consider other options if you want to continue developing your career.
- All learning materials are easily accessible
- Real estate training programs are created by seasoned industry professionals
- Most students pass the real estate license exam from the first try
- In some states, the final exam can be taken online
- Only suitable for people who want to start a career in real estate
- No license renewal option
Frequently asked questions about the online real estate certifications and training programs
Answer: The duration of a pre-license course depends on the minimum hours required to take the license exam in a specific state. To become a real estate salesperson in New York you’ll need at least 75 hours of training while in Colorado you’ll have to complete 168 hours of coursework to take the test.
Answer: The license renewal period isn’t the same for all states, but real estate licenses in most states have to be renewed after a one-year or two-year period.
Answer: It takes around six months from the moment you enroll in a pre-license course until you can get the real estate license, provided you pass the exam on the first go.
Answer: E-learning platforms offer a way to meet the requirements to obtain a license. You need to work in a real estate agency, but you have to look for employment opportunities on your own.
Our verdict: Which e-learning platform offers the best online real estate certification and training programs?
The real estate industry isn’t as powerful as it used to be, but it still employs over 3 million people in the United States and generates an annual income of more than $2 trillion.
Starting a career in this industry isn’t difficult, since you just have to take a pre-license course and then pass the license exam before you can start working for a real estate agency. We suggest choosing The CE Shop because its pre-license program covers all 50 states.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can try finding an exam prep or pre-license course at the 360training platform. Which of the best online real estate certification and training programs are you going to choose?
Let us know in the comments or continue reading our Course Hero vs Chegg comparison to find out more about these e-learning platforms.