Best Online Real Estate Programs

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We’ve ranked the top 10 ten online real estate degree programs below. The specific programs and options offered by each of these institutions vary, and the criteria for becoming a sales agent or broker differ between states. The only basic requirements, though, are some education and obtaining a state’s license in real estate.

Earning a real estate degree online allows students to develop and build the skills, understanding, and eventual experience necessary to successfully operate as an agent of the real estate market and trade – helping clients to buy, sell, and evaluate property. Real estate students acquire and refine a diverse range of knowledge in fields such as law, business, psychology and market economics.

Spanning the corners of the country, as well as a range of costs, commitments, and specializations, these ten programs all provide a common foundation in teaching the business of real estate, and all will prepare students to test for and obtain their state’s license. The schools on our list are all fully-accredited, not-for-profit institutions.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Santiago Canyon College

 1/538.49%Orange, CA


The top-ranked real estate program at Santiago Canyon College offers an array of focused, fully-online options that are both rigorous and accessible. Students may pursue a full Associate’s Degree in Real Estate in working toward top credentials, or can jump right into the profession within just a few months with their Real Estate Salesperson Certificate.

All certificate and degree programs work through a range of topics – such as real estate law, economics and finance, and basic principles of the trade – and adequately prepare graduates to test for their real estate license in the state of California.

Quick Facts

  • As part of the California Community College (CCC) system, Santiago Canyon offers resident students an exceptional value with enrollment fees of only $46/credit unit.
  • Though semesters are synchronous in nature, Fast Track classes allow for 5-week increments in studying real estate.
  • Santiago Canyon utilizes Blackboard 9.1 for their online course management.
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City College of San Francisco

 1/526.63%San Francisco, CA


As the largest institution within the CCC system, City College of San Francisco is well-equipped to offer both real estate certificate and associate of science degree programs, available fully online with the added benefit of 11 campus sites open to students.

Administered through the CCSF Business department, the curriculum tackles the interdisciplinary nature of the real estate field, including courses in economics, property management, and even topical case studies. Situated amidst one of the country’s most dynamic real estate markets, CCSF offers thorough training in the trade in accessible fashion.

Quick Facts

  • CCSF RE program works in cooperation with California State Department of Real Estate, the California Association of Realtors, and the San Francisco Board of Realtors.
  • Online courses are delivered via the Insight learning platform to make course work flexible and manageable.
  • California resident enrollment fees for all CCSF classes stand at only $46/credit unit.
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Florida State College at Jacksonville

 1/535.97%Jacksonville, FL


Among the numerous programs at Florida State College at Jacksonville, the uniquely straightforward Real Estate Sales Agent workforce certificate offered by FSCJ should appeal strongly to those interested in beginning careers in the realty industry. Requiring just 63 ‘contact hours’ of online instruction, this certificate can be completed in about two months’ time, teaching students about “the business and legal aspects of real estate ownership,” deeds and contracts, and the workings of mortgage instruments and property law.

Quick Facts

  • The program is designed to prepare students to satisfy the licensing requirements of the Florida Real Estate Commission.
  • In stark contrast to other FSCJ courses, the total cost for this certification program is a mere $182.07, plus a $44 textbook.
  • FSCJ uses the Blackboard online interface to facilitate its distance learning coursework.
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Folsom Lake College

 1/530.84%Folsom, CA


Folsom Lake College gives students the option to earn a variety of real estate education credentials, all of which prepare graduates for requisite California Real Estate licensing. Furnishing an increasingly valuable grasp of real estate theory and practice, it’s possible to earn a certificate of recognition (for salespeople), the more involved certificate of achievement (for brokers), or to attain the full Associate of Arts degree with its major course of study. Folsom Lake uses the Desire2Learn platform in its online instruction while offering in-person support, as well.

Quick Facts

  • As with other CCC institutions, Folsom Lake offers resident students the benefit of modest enrollment fees at only $46/credit unit.
  • Folsom Lake online classes operate on a semester schedule, but with a multitude of tools and modes of engaging with course instructors and materials.
  • All instructional paths fulfill California’s Real Estate License educational course requirements.
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Palomar College

 1/527.62%San Marcos, CA


As with other institutions within the broad CCC family, Palomar College maintains a strong range of offerings in online real estate education, but with the additional benefit of opportunity to pursue a specialization.

Students may pursue real estate certificates of proficiency and/or achievement (at 9 and 12 credits, respectively) or go on to earn the full associate’s degree, with its 21-25 credits required for the major. Palomar students have the option of specializing in a study of escrow as well as appraisal, lending to special recognition in California state licensing if successfully endorsed.

Quick Facts

  • Palomar offers online students accessibility and flexibility with its available Fast Track courses, running in 8-week stints that complement a student’s work schedule.
  • Blackboard serves as Palomar’s online interface for course delivery.
  • CCC’s $46 per credit tuition rate makes courses within the CCC network ideal for non-degree seeking students who just need a few courses to satisfy licensing requirements.
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American River College

 1/527.03%Sacramento, CA

Headquartered in Sacramento, CA, American River College is yet another of the CCC institutions that has distinguished itself for its real estate programs. American River offers an Associate in Arts degree and a certificate in Real Estate, covering the concepts and practices necessary to successfully test for and obtain a California state real estate license.

Classes focus on topics as diverse as principles of real estate, accounting and finance, business composition, and the specific context of the California realty market. Fast track course schedules allow for students at American River to earn their credentials at an accelerated pace while remaining easy to access.

Quick Facts

  • American River’s online courses are hosted with a learning management software called Desire2Learn.
  • The CCC standard rate of $46/credit unit for online and in-person coursework makes American River an affordable and viable option for students.
  • American River, like some of its sister schools, offers a unique benefit to students with classes and credentials that transfer directly to four-year CSU bachelor’s programs.
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Houston Community College

 1/511.57%Houston, TX

Keeping in line with its expansive institutional presence, Houston Community College offers an impressive array of real estate education programs, giving students ample room to develop and broaden their skills.

HCC provides students with six distinct options, including Associate in Applied Science degrees in Real Estate or Real Estate Mortgage Lending, as well as certificates specializing in commercial real estate, mortgage lending, appraisal, and residential real estate. All HCC real estate programs offer adequate preparation to successfully test for sales agent licensing by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Quick Facts

  • While typical semesters at HCC are 15-16 weeks long, online real estate courses are offered in 5-6 week “flex entry” sessions and other sessions of varied length are available in the summer.
  • HCC delivers its online programs via its Eagle Online 2 system.
  • Though the associate degree requires 62 credits to complete – typically in two years – Houston’s certificates on offer may be completed within a semester or two.
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Westmoreland County Community College

 2/512.53%Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County CC offers a uniquely specialized program in Real Estate Management as one concentrated option facilitated by its Business Department. WCCC awards both an Associate of Applied Science degree and its leaner Certificate in Real Estate Management, which typically take four semesters and one semester, respectively, to complete.

While the certificate option is more vocational in focus, it does provide a foundation for building up to the full degree, so as to encompass instruction in the direct administration of properties as well as to promote a sharp understanding of the real estate trade within a broader economic and legal context; example courses include Real Estate Practices, Principles of Management, and Macroeconomics. Using Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate as parts of its online interface, WCCC provides a competitive option in real estate education.

Quick Facts

  • WCCC uses a flat rate tuition structure, so that students taking anywhere between 12 and 18 semester credit units presently pay the same flat rate of $1,470.
  • Fully online and hybrid courses are available, giving students a variety of options for instructional engagement and flexibility.
  • Though tuition rates favor local in-state residents in particular, a variety of financial aid options are available at WCCC.
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Austin Community College District

 2/58.21%Austin, TX

Another large educational institution from Texas with top ranked real estate studies programs, the Austin Community College District gives students the option of earning a Certificate and/or an Associate of Applied Science in Real Estate.

While the programs differ in terms of length – requiring 60 credits, or about two years, for the associate degree, versus one 18 credit semester for the certificate – they both appropriately emphasize the varied and interrelated topics central to understanding the real estate trade and market. Studies in law, finance, mathematics, and marketing, for instance, span a list of available real estate courses.

Quick Facts

  • Online and distance-learning modes of engagement are facilitated through the Blackboard digital learning management interface.
  • ACC offers Texas state resident students a rate of only $85/credit unit, or about $2,550/year with an average full-time course load.
  • ACC reassures students about the quality of their digital coursework, going so far as to point out that online “course content, college credit and transferability are equivalent to those offered in the classroom.”
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San Antonio College

 2/511.41%San Antonio, TX

Housed within its business department, San Antonio College offers a program in Real Estate Management to students seeking to enter the field. Structured as either a 16-credit certificate or a 61-credit Associate of Applied Science degree, SAC succinctly describes the twofold focus of its REM program: to “assist to qualify persons for licensure in real estate sales or brokerage” and, more generally, to “provide a broad background of knowledge of the real estate business.”

Using the Blackboard interface to facilitate its online instruction, the curriculum begins with classes on contract law and real estate principles, and – for those in for the longer haul and final degree – spans topics like speech communication, finance, appraisal, and even the government of the Lone Star state.

Quick Facts

  • Students’ varied circumstances factor squarely into the robust online course options offered at SAC, as they strive to “offer maximum flexibility and convenience to students who work, and…provide homebound students and others full access to higher education.”
  • SAC’s resident tuition structure – starting at a flat rate of $480 for up to 6 credit units, and then easing to about $58/credit unit thereafter – rewards students with full-time course loads with a competitive overall price for their efforts.
  • Making college access a bit easier for local military personnel, San Antonio College offers online course information and college student services on site at Fort Sam Houston.
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