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If you're looking for an alternative to a nine-to-five job, you may want to consider a career in real estate. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, 67% of real estate professionals chose the field because of its flexible hours.
A bachelor's degree in real estate can prepare you for a career as a broker, agent, appraiser, property manager, or asset manager. Real estate programs cover topics, such as real estate market analysis, lease negotiation, and real estate asset management. Earning your bachelor's in real estate can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to excel in the profession and advance your career.
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Best Bachelor's in Real Estate Programs
Real estate agents in Texas bring in an average of $72,480 per year, good for third highest among realtors in the U.S. as of May 2017. This represents a very strong showing considering that Texas ranked 23rd in an August 2018 survey of median home prices by state. This suggests that Texas realtors close a very high volume of sales. The state also employs 1.327 real estate agents per 1,000 workforce members, which places Texas comfortably in the top third in the country. Furthermore, its location quotient of 1.28 denotes a significantly above average density of real estate sales professionals, indicating a robust demand for licensed agents.
Market forecasts predict that the near future will bring great things for the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, which was named the nation's top real estate market to watch in 2019. The Houston and Austin areas should also see real estate sales continue their strong upward trend in the coming years as the state's relatively low cost of living continues to draw large numbers of new residents.
Colorado ranks among the fastest-growing states in the country, and the continued inpouring of new residents translates into excellent opportunities for real estate sales professionals. This population growth has helped propel Colorado's median property values to the fifth-highest in the country, as of August 2018. Consequently, Colorado real estate agents bring in a healthy average income of $63,320. Employment numbers also speak to the health of the profession in the Centennial State; the number of real estate agents per 1,000 jobs (1.584) and Colorado's location quotient (1.53) stand significantly above national averages.
Several intangible factors also work in Colorado's favor. The state offers the opportunity for an excellent lifestyle, combining outstanding outdoor recreation with the urban appeal of Denver and other cities, including Colorado Springs. Its unemployment rate is also low, falling to 3.3% as of January 2018.
Arizona was hit hard by the housing crisis that accompanied the economic recession of 2008-09, but the dramatic recovery of the state's property values currently makes it one of the top places in the U.S. for real estate sales professionals. A July 2018 analysis showed a 145% spike in Phoenix metro area home prices since the city's real estate market hit its recent low in the spring of 2011.
The current strength of the Phoenix area's housing market represents a major driver of Arizona's overall health as a top location for real estate professionals. Arizona real estate agents earned a mean annual income of $62,690 as of May 2017, good for 11th highest in the nation. Strong job numbers also reflect the positive overall state of affairs, with Arizona's employment statistics showing 1.236 real estate agents per 1,000 workforce members.
California's real estate sales agents earn an average of $68,860 per year, as of May 2017, though the employment rate of 0.622 real estate agents per 1,000 jobs puts the state in the middle of the pack nationally speaking. However, two critical factors vaulted the Golden State to its high finish on this list -- soaring property values and a dense concentration of the country's hottest real estate markets.
As of August 2018, the median price of a California home was a whopping $544,000, which ranked as the third most expensive in the nation. A 2018 analysis by WalletHub also found that half of the country's 10 best-performing real estate markets can be found in California, with San Francisco leading the country and San Jose, Fremont, Oakland, and Santa Rosa also ranking favorably.
For real estate agents, the Empire State has a lot to love. According to BLS statistics from May 2017, New York's real estate sales professionals enjoy the highest mean annual earnings in the country; it's the only state where real estate agents earn six-figure average incomes ($102,310). Property values also rank among the highest in the nation, with a median listing price of $385,000 -- or $183 per square foot -- as of August 2018.
However, the expensive and heavily populated New York City metropolitan area inflates these figures to some degree. Another factor that prevented New York from ranking higher includes a housing market that showed signs of slowing down in 2018. However, the state is well-situated to recover in the event of a protracted slump.
Though it benefits from its proximity to Washington, D.C., which is one of the nation's most expensive property markets, Virginia real estate also attracts buyers for many other reasons; for example, the state features beautiful beaches that rank among the most popular vacation destinations in the mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Virginia stood 14th in the U.S. in August 2018 in terms of its housing costs, with a median home listing price of $314,970 (or $159 per square foot).
Given these market conditions, it should come as no surprise that Virginia real estate agents earn excellent incomes relative to their peers around the country. The typical Virginia-based real estate sales professional made $64,290 as of May 2017, and the profession's employment rates actually outperform those in Washington, D.C. While the state's extended seller's market may slow down in 2019, analysts believe Virginia properties will continue to see rising prices and strong demand in the near future.
In Washington state, real estate sales professionals command an average annual income of $59,590. While this places the state near the national average for the profession, high employment numbers serve as an even better indicator of the burgeoning demand for real estate agents in the Evergreen State. BLS data compiled in May 2017 shows 2.449 real estate agent jobs for every 1,000 members of the state's workforce, outpacing every state except Georgia. According to the USA Today, Washington is the fifth-fastest growing state in the country, suggesting its dense concentration of working realtors is due more to booming demand for housing than job market saturation.
Relatively high housing prices represent another attractive feature for real estate professionals. With a median list price of $226 per square foot, or $395,000 per property, Washington posted the sixth-highest home values in the U.S. in an August 2018 survey.
Home prices in the nation's capital continue to rank among the most expensive in the country, reaching second place according to an August 2018 review published by Business Insider. Largely driven by the generous commissions real estate agents earn whenever they close a deal in this city, property sales professionals in the District of Columbia generate average annual incomes of $68,140. Given the city's status as the home of the federal government and a large number of major contractors, Washington, D.C. tends to weather economic downturns and recessions better than most U.S. cities its size. This makes its housing market more stable.
Size limitations represent the only real downside of the Washington, D.C. employment market for real estate agents. The District of Columbia proper houses a total population of only about 694,000 people.
Several factors combine to propel Hawaii to a top-10 finish in our ranking of the best states for real estate agents. First and foremost, Hawaii has the highest property values in the country with a median list price of $619,000 or $508 per square foot. Hawaii's popularity as a vacation, honeymoon, and retirement destination endures as a major driver of its high real estate prices. Space also remains at a premium in Hawaii, and a majority of the state's residents live in or very close to a coastal area. Properties tend to sell quickly, and most Hawaii-based property sales professionals do robust volumes of business.
One drawback, however, is that Hawaii's small size and isolated location inhibit its growth potential as a market for real estate professionals. However, its tropical appeal offsets this drawback for many professionals.
Real estate agents in Pennsylvania take home an average income of $66,550 per year, good for seventh highest in the U.S. (as of May 2017). Its 0.98 location quotient indicates a slightly below average density of real estate sales professionals, which some analysts interpret as a signal of opportunity. However, closer analysis reveals a strong urban-rural divide in the state's property market. Nice neighborhoods in the major cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh enjoy high home values, but a steep drop-off defines the market beyond these areas.
Overall, as of August 2018, Pennsylvania's median property values rank 36th in the nation. To some degree, your professional prospects as a real estate agent depend on where you plan to work and live. Outside of the state's well-developed, desirable urban corridors, Pennsylvania real estate agents face market conditions that tend toward the challenging side. However, your career prospects remain much stronger than average if you manage to establish yourself in a high-demand part of the state.
In 2018, the foundational economic principle of supply and demand drove a surge in Rhode Island's real estate market. Demand soared while supply shrunk, and the average time to sell a home fell to its lowest level in 14 years. These market conditions supported a prosperous year for Rhode Island real estate agents who enjoyed one of the profession's highest average annual incomes in the country. BLS data from May 2017 shows average earnings of $70,450, and that figure predates 2018's highly profitable run.
While experts predict a return to a more balanced relationship between real estate supply and demand moving forward, Rhode Island's real estate market remains understaffed. According to the BLS, the state housed just 0.308 real estate agents per 1,000 workforce members. Emerging property sales professionals can look forward to graduating into a strong market.
In 2018, Florida saw noteworthy increases in its real estate inventory, median sale prices, and number of new listings. Many analysts expect these positive trends to continue for the rest of the decade. Additionally, like Hawaii, Florida remains a popular retirement and tourism destination. High demand continues to fuel the overall health of the state's real estate market with income and employment figures reflecting continued strength. Florida property sales professionals enjoy annual average incomes of $57,250, which stands about 30% above the the nationwide average for all jobs. Real estate agents also account for 2.108 of every 1,000 jobs in Florida, which represents the fifth-highest total in the country.
However, Florida real estate remains subject to pronounced boom-and-bust cycles. Significant differences in regional markets within the state also impact the career prospects of real estate professionals. For example, home values in southern Florida tend to significantly outpace those in other parts of the Sunshine State.
Propelled by a 10% rise in the median sale price of single-family homes in Salt Lake City, Utah's real estate market enjoyed strong growth going into 2018. Utah also benefits from favorable demographic growth and economic conditions, including affordable mortgages and home prices that sit well within the reach of people earning median incomes. Together, these factors create a strong environment for the state's real estate sales agents, who enjoyed average incomes of $62,050 per year as of May 2017. Utah also features strong employment figures with a 1.09 location quotient, which indicates an average density of real estate agents in the state despite a relatively high property sales volume.
However, some analysts call for caution as property price increases outpace current wage increases. Apart from this, the near-term future of Utah real estate looks strong, especially as it enjoys the fastest population growth rate of any state in the country.
Oregon's economy remains strong, and the state continues to attract large numbers of new residents, many of whom relocate in search of better economic opportunities. Over the 10-year period spanning from 2006-2016, Oregon's population grew by an impressive 11.5%. Many newcomers settle in the state's largest city of Portland. Analysts note a shortage of newly built homes in the city -- a trend that bodes well for real estate agents as it creates a highly competitive bidding landscape for properties on the resale market.
Somewhat surprisingly, Oregon also shows a very low density of real estate agents. The state has a profession-specific location quotient of just 0.34. With a fast-growing population in need of housing, opportunity abounds for property sales professionals in this booming corner of the country.
While Wyoming posts below-average numbers in terms of real estate agent jobs per 1,000 members of the workforce (0.584) and the accompanying location quotient (0.56), the state's property sales professionals earn surprisingly robust and competitive incomes. The typical Wyoming real estate agent makes $64,500 per year, despite the fact that Wyoming ranks last in the nation in terms of population.
Relatively slow appreciation rates create a unique situation in the Wyoming housing market. While this might seem undesirable on the surface, it actually benefits real estate sales professionals in some ways. It keeps prices affordable, which drives a relatively high level of buying activity. Thus, home ownership remains a more viable option in Wyoming than many other parts of the country. The state also features low property tax rates and affordable closing costs.
North Carolina's real estate market continues to perform well, attracting large numbers of investors and traditional homebuyers. Ongoing diversification into profitable, growing industries, such as information technology, finance, and energy, help propel the state's economy. With a solid financial outlook and a surging recorded gain of 12.5% in real estate prices from July 2017 to July 2018, things look rosy for real estate agents seeking a market that offers strong opportunity. North Carolina also fares well when factoring in intangibles, like beautiful scenery, warm year-round weather, and some of the country's best beaches.
BLS data from May 2017 supports the notion that North Carolina has much to offer real estate sales professionals. Balanced employment numbers, a favorable market, and strong average annual incomes of $61,580 per year make the state a desirable destination for property agents.
In May 2017, Nevada's property sales professionals averaged just under $60,000 per year in income, and employment numbers indicated a positive balance between an established presence and strong opportunity. Nevada also offers another feature that makes it particularly appealing; industry reports from the summer of 2018 show that Las Vegas has the hottest real estate market of any major city in the country. In August 2018, it unseated Seattle as the metropolitan center with the fastest-rising property values.
While some pundits question how long the local market can sustain such rapid price growth, analysts harbor little doubt that the demand for property in Las Vegas -- and throughout Nevada -- will continue to climb. This translates into excellent opportunities for commission-based real estate sales representatives who can leverage rising prices to pad their annual earnings.
From a statistical standpoint, Alaska's real estate professionals enjoy some of the most favorable working conditions in the nation. BLS data indicates they enjoy mean incomes of more than $71,000 per year, good for fourth highest in the entire country. The location quotient of 0.61 indicates an underserved market, as does the overall employment figure of 0.629 real estate agents per 1,000 members of the state's workforce. However, intangible factors play a major role in tempering what could otherwise rank as one of the very best states in the country for property sales professionals.
Remote, disconnected from the contiguous states, and with a cold northern climate, Alaska may not be everyone's preference. However, for those who enjoy stunning nature and long, snowy winters, Alaska may prove to be a lucrative and fulfilling place to work in real estate.
With the median New Jersey property listing equal to $334,900 in August 2018, the Garden State broke the top 10 nationwide. Many of the state's most valuable properties sit within commuting distance of New York City, which means that New Jersey real estate sales professionals stand to benefit from the Big Apple's cross-state spillover. According to the BLS, the typical New Jersey property agent generates an income of $58,690 per year, handily exceeding the nationwide average for all occupations. Top-performing agents who deal in premium properties stand to earn much more, as New Jersey hosts many wealthy neighborhoods.
Overall, the state's employment of real estate agents remains relatively low, both in terms of raw numbers as well as its meager location quotient of 0.56. While emerging real estate agents must compete hard to make inroads in the state's high-end property market, opportunities exist and New Jersey has plenty to offer professionals looking to establish themselves in favorable markets.
For real estate agents, Maine's landscape has several things to love as well as some drawbacks to consider. On the plus side, Maine property sales professionals earn high average incomes, topping $60,000 per year as of May 2017. Maine also enjoys one of the highest rates of home ownership of any state in the U.S., and real estate continues to stand as a top driver of the state's gross domestic product. In 2018, sources reported that Maine posted record-breaking home sales for the third consecutive year, despite suffering from a noted lack of property sales professionals. For every 1,000 jobs in the state, only 0.505 qualify as real estate agents. Clear opportunities exist for realtors.
However, Maine's property values rank in the bottom half of the country, and many of the state's properties need significant upgrades and repairs. These factors can pose challenges for real estate agents, but enterprising professionals can still find success in Maine.
The South Carolina real estate market features many aspects that make it attractive to buyers with varying budgets. The state ranked 29th in median listing prices as of August 2018, averaging $129 per square foot. However, throughout 2018, buyers could still find properties in move-in condition for $100,000 or less. With such attainable pricing levels growing increasingly rare, South Carolina remains an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.
Fundamental figures point to a thriving real estate market in South Carolina, where the average sales agent made a healthy $52,070 per year (as of May 2017). Employment numbers continue to be strong, with real estate agents accounting for 2.238 of every 1,000 jobs in the state. The state's location quotient of 2.16 also ranks as one of the highest in the U.S. -- the profession is well established and popular due to its profitability, although agents may face significant competition for business.
New Mexico's housing market continues to improve. Looking ahead into 2019 and 2020, analysts note that the property market in major cities like Albuquerque sits at its most promising point in years. Supported by a stable, growing local economy and favorable fundamentals, property prices rose as low inventory drove a seller's market. Forecasters predict ongoing price increases through the turn of the coming decade. This, along with an average density of real estate sales professionals working in New Mexico, translates into opportunity.
New Mexico real estate agents continue to enjoy above-average earnings compared to the average worker in the country. If property market predictions for the coming years prove accurate, the state's profile could skyrocket as a destination for property sales professionals seeking a laid-back lifestyle in a diverse environment.
Looking ahead to 2019-2020, many experts predict Missouri's housing market to shake off an extended spell of stagnation. With two of the largest cities in the Midwest -- St. Louis and Kansas City -- and with population growth that significantly outpaces the national average, Missouri figures to return to healthy property appreciation rates soon. This bodes well for the state's property sales professionals, who still managed to generate average incomes north of $50,000 per year as of May 2017 -- a period when experts generally characterized the state's housing market as underperforming.
Assuming prices and sales pick up as many expect, Missouri offers above-average opportunities. It employs just 0.74 real estate agents per 1,000 jobs for a location quotient of 0.71, both of which fall well below national averages.
In Idaho, real estate agents averaged an income of $55,790 per year as of May 2017. The market's location quotient of 1.02 puts it right in the middle nationally, indicating plenty of room for capable property sales professionals. The state's stunning beauty may also appeal to those seeking an escape from the hectic pressures of city living.
Despite these bright spots, Idaho's real estate market poses some challenges. Since the American housing market began its post-recession recovery in 2012-2013, Idaho home sales volumes have been marked by alternating periods of heavy activity and sharp drop-offs. On the whole, sales have trended downward since 2013, despite generally affordable home prices. Low supply partially explains this tendency, but ongoing home construction could improve the landscape in the near future.
Based on average income, Illinois real estate agents enjoy earnings that outpace the national average for all occupations by a considerable margin. BLS data from May 2017 puts the average annual income for the profession at $59,010. Thus, the state offers some favorable prospects for real estate professionals; however, some drawbacks exist that prevent Illinois from earning a higher ranking.
The main negative factor to consider comes from the Chicago market, which largely drives real estate trends in the rest of the state. While high-end Chicago properties command handsome premiums, the city ranks at the bottom of 100 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. in terms of its property outlook going into 2019. A sluggish local economy marked by slow economic and employment growth and a drag on overall prices resulting from depressed neighborhoods within the city endure as key contributing factors. Home sales could fall in 2019, making for a challenging market. However, real estate professionals who establish themselves in well-to-do areas can continue to enjoy strong earnings.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Real Estate?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for real estate brokers and agents could increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS projects 3% job growth for property appraisers and assessors and no growth or decline for property, real estate, and community association managers.
Data suggests that several professions within the real estate industry are growing at a slower than average rate. However, the housing market currently favors sellers, and while home sales declined in April 2021 from the highs of previous months, sales increased 33.9% from April 2020.
Full-time students can usually earn a bachelor's degree in real estate in four years. Some online programs take slightly less time to complete. Most programs consist of 100-120 credits of coursework, including both major and core requirements.
Once you earn your degree, you will most likely need to obtain a real estate license to work in the industry. Licensure requirements vary by state. Typically, candidates must complete a certain number of credits of real estate coursework and pass an exam. Some real estate professionals, such as property managers, may not need a license.
What Will I Learn in a Real Estate Bachelor's Program?
Bachelor's in real estate programs often feature courses in real estate law, appraisal, management, and finance. Schools may award bachelor of science (BS), bachelor of arts (BA), or bachelor of business administration (BBA) degrees in real estate. In general, BA programs feature more liberal arts courses, whereas BS and BBA programs include more math, science, and technical classes.
Commercial Real Estate: Commercial real estate professionals work with clients who own or lease properties for business purposes. In this concentration, degree-seekers study real estate finance and investment, property leasing, and the legal aspects of real estate.
Construction Management: In this concentration, students learn how to direct the financial and logistical aspects of building projects.
Property Development: Property developers enhance real estate to improve its value. Students in this concentration may take courses in real estate finance, real estate financial analysis, and construction building systems.
Finance and Development: In this concentration, students prepare for careers in real estate investment, mortgage banking, and market analysis by taking multiple real estate finance courses.
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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Real Estate?
Popular Career Paths
- Real Estate Broker: Real estate brokers help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Some real estate brokers also manage properties. Real estate brokers often own their own businesses and supervise the work of real estate agents.
- Real Estate Agent: Real estate agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Duties include showing properties to potential buyers and handling negotiations between buyers and sellers.
- Real Estate Appraiser: These professionals assess the value of properties. They usually specialize in either commercial or residential real estate.
- Property Manager: Property managers supervise the day-to-day operation and maintenance of commercial and residential properties.
- Real Estate Asset Manager: Real estate asset managers advise individuals and businesses on purchasing, selling, and developing real estate properties as financial investments.
Popular Continuing Education Paths
How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Real Estate?
According to the BLS real estate brokers and sales agents earn a median annual salary of $51,220. Property appraisers and assessors make a median annual income of $58,650, while property, real estate, and community association managers earn $59,660 per year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Real Estate Programs
What is real estate?
Real estate refers to land and any permanent modifications made to that land, such as the construction of buildings or homes. Real estate professionals help individuals and businesses purchase, sell, and manage real estate properties.
How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in real estate?
The cost of earning your degree depends on several factors, such as whether the school you enroll in is public or private and whether you attend classes online or in person. The National Center for Education Statistics found the average cost of attending a four-year undergraduate institution, including tuition, fees, and room and board, was $28,123 during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Is a bachelor's in real estate degree worth it?
By earning your bachelor's in real estate, you may meet the educational requirements to obtain licensure in your state. You may not need a bachelor's degree to work as a real estate broker, agent, or property manager. However, earning your degree may make you a more competitive job candidate for some industry roles.
Is real estate a good career?
Many real estate professions offer flexible hours, and real estate can be a good second or third career option. According to the NAR, 82% of individuals surveyed came to real estate after establishing themselves in earlier careers. If you enjoy working with people, are self-motivated, and have excellent negotiation and problem-solving skills, a career in real estate may be right for you.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's in real estate?
Most bachelor's degrees in real estate require at least 120 credits of coursework and take students four years to complete. Students can complete some online bachelor's degrees in real estate in less time.