The field of real estate offers competitive salaries and strong job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for real estate brokers and sales agents approached $48,000 in 2017, which is $10,000 higher than the median salary for all other occupations. Appraisers and assessors of real estate, as well as property, real estate, and community association managers earn even more, with median salaries of $54,010 and $58,670, respectively.

The demand for real estate managers is projected to increase by 10% through 2026. For real estate appraisers and assessors, demand is projected to increase 14% through the same period. Real estate brokers and sales agents should expect growth more in line with the national average.

A bachelor's in real estate can equip you with the knowledge and professional skills needed to take advantage of these new opportunities.

A real estate degree can help you enter or advance in the industry. Through these programs, you develop invaluable expertise in areas like brokerage and sales, mortgage lending, valuation, property management, equity investment, and development. Earning your bachelor's can prepare you for state licensure as a real estate appraiser or assessor, or it can boost your competitiveness and earnings potential as a broker, agent, or real estate manager.

Because so many of the students in these programs already work in real estate, many schools allow for online or part-time study to help learners balance their learning with personal and professional obligations. As these programs often do not require an internship or field experience, students can earn their degree entirely at a distance and from the comfort of their own homes.

Courses cover topics like real estate law and finance, the economics of land use, and the analysis of market data. Students learn about basic real estate practice, including how to list, advertise, and establish escrow accounts, as well as more advanced concepts related to management and accounting.

In addition to this in-depth coursework, real estate degree programs offer extracurricular benefits. By working closely with instructors and classmates, students can establish or strengthen their professional network, and many schools also offer internship, mentoring, and job placement programs to support recent graduates.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Real Estate?

With a real estate degree, you can take on any number of professional positions in the field, including commercial leasing manager, real estate broker, and escrow officer. Some graduates work for larger real estate firms, while others prefer to set out on their own or with a small group of employees working underneath them. Some earn licensure and work for government agencies.

Regardless of the career path you choose, you must possess strong analytical, organizational, math, and customer-service skills to succeed in real estate.

Real Estate Analyst

Real estate analysts manage property holdings. They stay informed on markets and trends in order to guide future investment or identify the proper time to sell currently held real estate. Analysts in these roles must possess strong statistical and financial expertise. Employers typically prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's degree in real estate, accounting, finance, or business administration.

Median Annual Salary: $58,498

Land Acquisition Analyst

Similar to the function of real estate analysts, land acquisition analysts monitor markets and trends to determine when to buy and sell parcels of land. Some analysts work for firms that deal exclusively in undeveloped property, while others work as specialists for companies seeking new land on which to build. Most companies require analysts to hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Median Annual Salary: $60,376

Property Manager

Property managers focus on the operations of commercial or residential properties like shopping malls or apartment complexes. Depending on the size of the property, they supervise maintenance crews, contractors, accounting and finance departments, and sales teams. These roles do not typically require a specific level of education, but a degree in real estate can give you a competitive edge.

Median Annual Salary: $47,315

Realtor

Also known as real estate brokers, agents, or salespeople, realtors assist their clients as they buy and sell houses or other pieces of property. They perform a wide variety of functions, including staging and showing homes, setting selling and asking prices, and arranging for inspections. As with property managers, you do not need a specific level of education to become a realtor, though a real estate degree can signal your expertise to new clients.

Median Annual Salary: $51,571

Real Estate Transaction Manager

Transaction managers oversee all aspects of real estate purchases and sales for their organization. They often work to resolve legal and financial matters related to those transactions and maintain accurate records for tax, banking, and transparency purposes. Generally speaking, transaction managers need at least a real estate bachelor's degree or an undergraduate degree in a related field.

Median Annual Salary: $53,219

As a professional pathway, real estate sales resonates well with detail-oriented individuals who have strong interpersonal, marketing, negotiating, and sales skills. While formal training in these areas can boost your overall capabilities, real estate agents face relatively few barriers to entry in terms of necessary schooling. People with many different academic backgrounds enter this field -- the only strict requirement comes in the form of state licensure.

Real estate agents enjoy many advantages not seen in many other career paths. For example, these workers determine their own business growth and earning potential. Additionally, the independent, self-employed nature of the work allows for excellent scheduling flexibility. Professionals can grow their agencies and brokerages into valuable assets eligible for sale in the future, which offers yet another way to turn your hard work into profits. A career in real estate can also bring personal rewards -- you can help match families with their first homes and help sellers move on to the next stage of their lives.

Rank School Description Toggle
1 Texas

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.

2 Colorado

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.

3 Arizona

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.

4 California

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.

5 New York

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.

6 Virginia

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.

7 Washington

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.

8 District of Columbia

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.

9 Hawaii

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.

10 Pennsylvania

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.

11 Rhode Island

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.

12 Florida

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.

13 Utah

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.

14 Oregon

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.

15 Wyoming

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.

16 North Carolina

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.

17 Nevada

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.

18 Alaska

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.

19 New Jersey

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.

20 Maine

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.

21 South Carolina

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.

22 New Mexico

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.

23 Missouri

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.

24 Idaho

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.

25 Illinois

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.

Many schools offer real estate degrees, making it difficult for you to know which program best matches your wants and needs. To help clarify your priorities and narrow your search, try asking yourself some of the questions below.

First, do you want to study online or on-campus? Online real estate programs offer tremendous convenience and flexibility, especially for students who need to balance their studies with jobs or family obligations. On-campus learning; however, may better serve students who want the structure and support of a traditional classroom setting.

Do you plan to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis? Many students see a real estate degree as a chance to advance at their company or expand an existing business, meaning schools provide allowances for part-time students who need to keep working while taking classes. Full-time students can earn their degree faster.

How much can you afford? The cost of tuition varies considerably from program to program, and you should remember to factor in expenses like room and board, books, and fees. Online students avoid some of these costs, but schools may require a small technology or distance-learning fee instead.

What exactly do you hope to study? You may want to hone your skills in statistical analysis in order to better understand the marketplace, but not all programs offer coursework in this area.

Finally, where is your school or program located? Online students can log on to classes from anywhere, but on-campus students need to consider the potential length of their commute, the cost and quality of life in their school's community, and the availability of jobs in the area.

Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Real Estate Programs

Accrediting bodies ensure that schools and programs meet certain educational standards and equip their students with the knowledge and skills necessary to find jobs after graduation. If you attend an unaccredited school, employers may not recognize your real estate degree, and other institutions may not allow you to transfer in your previously earned credit. In addition, you may not qualify for certain sources of financial aid, including federal grants and student loans.

Schools can apply for three kinds of accreditation: regional, national, and programmatic. The majority of nonprofit schools receive regional accreditation, which is generally considered the most prestigious of the three forms. Vocational and for-profit schools often receive national accreditation. Programmatic accreditors work within a particular field, such as psychology or business.

No programmatic accreditors operate in the real estate industry, though some online programs may receive accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, a national accrediting agency.

See the Council on Higher Education Accreditation's online directory for accredited institutions and programs to confirm whether your school holds regional or national accreditation.

To apply to undergraduate real estate degree programs, you must hold a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges require you to maintain a minimum GPA, but many schools prefer to consider the entirety of your application package.

Depending on the program, you may also need to submit SAT or ACT scores, up to three letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. You may also need to pay an application fee.

Some colleges require applicants to participate in admissions interviews, though online programs tend to rely on this less frequently. After your interview, the school's admissions team decides to either accept you, deny your application, or place you on a "wait-list" -- which may allow you to gain admission if other students withdraw from the program.

To help improve your odds of acceptance, try to apply to at least three different schools. Select at least one "safety school" too: a program that you feel confident will admit you.

Prerequisites

  • Minimum GPA: Some programs require students to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA during high school. Students can sometimes receive conditional admission, allowing them to enroll with a lower GPA if they meet certain academic requirements in their freshman year.

Admission Materials

  • Application: More than 700 colleges and universities use The Common Application, which allows students to apply to multiple colleges at the same time. Make sure to confirm that your school participates in the app before beginning your application.
  • Transcripts: You must submit your high school transcripts as part of your college application. Contact your high school directly to request that they send your official transcripts to all of the schools to which you apply.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Plan to submit at least three letters of recommendation as part of your application. Request letters from former teachers, employers, and community leaders. Give your recommenders at least two months to write your letter.
  • Test Scores: Most schools require you to submit either SAT or ACT scores. Schools typically do not require minimum standardized test scores, though they play an important part in the admissions decision. If you received a particularly low SAT or ACT score, consider retaking the exam.
  • Application Fee: Schools often charge modest application fees, usually between $50 and $100. Students with demonstrated financial hardship can often request a waiver. Some schools also offer waivers or discounted fees to transfer students or members of the armed forces.

While most bachelor's in real estate programs combine liberal arts instruction with specific training in real estate areas like law and finance, the exact nature of your course of study depends on your school and chosen career path. The cost of your real estate degree also depends on factors such as school location, rank, and mode of learning.

Courses in a Bachelor's in Real Estate Program

If you do not already hold an associate degree or plan to transfer credits from another college or university, you should begin your bachelor's studies with general education courses in subjects like math, science, and communications. As you progress into courses related to your major, you can expect to study topics like economics, taxation, and appraisal. The list below includes five common courses found in real estate programs.

Principles of Real Estate

This course provides a broad overview of the issues students encounter during their undergraduate studies, including professional ethics, industry terminology, listing and purchase agreements, and property valuation agreements. The class examines these subjects through both a local and national real estate lens.

Real Estate Practice

Especially for students who hope to become real estate brokers or agents, this class introduces the practical reality of working in the field. It covers subjects such as establishing a client base, listing properties, advertising, holding funds in escrow, and managing sales. To emphasize practical application of these concepts, the course relies heavily on case studies.

Real Estate Economics

Economics plays a fundamental role in real estate, and successful professionals in this field need a basic understanding of its principles. In this course, students learn about land use, cycles and growth patterns, property and income taxation, and markets. Students also examine how government policies artificially constrain or promote growth as it relates to real estate.

Property Management

This course serves as indispensable preparation for future property and association managers. It covers topics such as landlord duties and policies, leases, reports, maintenance, insurance, and the role of the property manager more generally.

Legal Aspects of Real Estate

The law closely dictates the work of many real estate professionals. After an introduction to the U.S. legal system as a whole, this course delves into subjects like wills, zoning, contracts, environmental law, and ownership. It also introduces students to Constitutional issues such as the right of protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Real Estate?

To earn a real estate degree, you must complete about 120 credits. For full-time students, this usually takes about four years. Part-time students may require anywhere from six to eight years to graduate.

You can finish faster in several ways. Most commonly, students enter these programs already holding an associate degree in a related area or with previously earned credit from an accredited college or university. With an associate degree, you can potentially earn your bachelor's in as little as two years. Some schools allow students to transfer in up to 90 credits from another institution, meaning you can potentially graduate in just one year.

In addition, some online programs feature accelerated courses of study. Students in these tracks take a higher number of credits per semester in order to meet their graduation requirements more quickly. Some schools even offer self-paced courses in which students advance through the material as soon as they demonstrate mastery of key concepts. Generally speaking, accelerated tracks and self-paced courses cost the same as traditional approaches.

How Much Is a Bachelor's in Real Estate?

The cost of a real estate degree can vary. At a for-profit, online school, for example, you may spend as much as $57,000 for four years of tuition. To attend an online program at a public university, you may only pay approximately $45,000 in tuition. In addition, many schools offer discounted tuition for state residents, current members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families.

You also need to remember to factor in costs beyond tuition. On-campus students should consider expenses like room and board, and distance learners may need to pay technology fees. In addition, all students must budget for books and other course materials.

To begin the process of paying for your education, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out the FAFSA allows the government to determine whether you qualify for grants, work-study positions, or student loans.

You can also apply for scholarships based on your academic performance, community service, and financial need. You do not need to return money received in the form of scholarships, grants, or work-study wages, but you do ultimately need to pay back student loans and any accrued interest.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Real Estate Prepares For

Appraiser License

Federal law requires that all appraisers hold a state license or certification when working on transactions related to the work of the federal government, including appraisals for the purposes of securing a loan from a federally insured bank or financial institution. Congress authorized The Appraisal Foundation to set standards and qualifications for these roles, and the Foundation's website provides information on how to seek out certification.

Real Estate Broker or Sales License

Real estate brokers need licenses to practice. Specific requirements vary from state to state, but generally speaking, aspiring brokers must be at least 18 years old, complete postsecondary courses in real estate, and pass a state-administered exam. Some states also require applicants to submit to a background check. Brokers and agents typically need to renew their licenses every two to four years.

Property Management Licenses and Certifications

Some states require property managers to apply for a certification or a state license, and all property managers working with federally subsidized housing must hold some form of certification. Numerous professional organizations offer property management certifications. For example, the National Association of Residential Property Managers administers six credentials in areas like management, maintenance, and bookkeeping.

U.S. Department of Education

To help finance your real estate degree, complete the FAFSA and determine whether you qualify for federal grants, work-study positions, or student loans. The ED also provides information on how to find non-federal scholarships and fellowships.

International Council of Shopping Centers

ICSC works to ensure that the real estate industry receives recognition for its role in shaping social and economic communities. It also offers a career guide for students interested in real estate.

The Appraisal Institute

Representing professional appraisers, this institution offers both educational resources for those working in the field and a list of state agencies governing the work of appraisers. It also provides scholarships.

Rent to Own Labs

Rent to Own Labs, an online rental property listing site, offers a $2,500 scholarship to one real estate student each year. Students must declare a major related to real estate and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA.

Purdue Online Writing Lab

Whether writing a college paper or a property advertisement, real estate students and professionals must know how to write well. Purdue OWL gives advice on all facets of writing, including grammar, constructing an argument, and conducting research.

Professional Organizations in Real Estate

After earning your real estate degree, you should consider joining a professional organization. These groups offer a host of benefits for their members, including online and in-person professional development, continuing-education resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs. Many organizations also advertise new job opportunities in the field.