Earning a real estate degree online will help you launch your career as a broker, agent, property manager, or assessor. It also prepares you to pursue a graduate degree in business or law. While a bachelor's degree helps brokers advance their careers, the degree is required for property assessors and real estate lawyers.

At some schools, real estate is an optional concentration for finance or business majors, while other schools offer a real estate major. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% employment growth for real estate professions, making now the perfect time to earn a real estate degree online.

Choosing a Program

Degrees in real estate emphasize practical coursework to prepare students for careers in sales, finance, and property management. The degree also lays the foundation for law school and a career as a real estate attorney. Although real estate as an academic discipline falls within the fields of finance and business, some schools offer stand-alone real estate majors due to the significant changes occurring in the industry. Other institutions offer degrees in business or finance with a concentration in real estate.

Online real estate programs include classes in property management, which cover contracts, leases, maintenance, and property manager duties. Coursework in real estate economics and finance teach students about markets, taxation, mortgages, and real estate fees. Classes in real estate law prepare students for law school, and classes in taxation and valuation provide knowledge required for finance-related real estate careers.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1 University of Memphis Memphis, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

One of Tennessee's largest public institutions, UM offers a bachelor's degree in finance with a concentration in real estate. This fully online real estate degree prepares students to launch careers in real estate investment, valuation, property development, mortgage banking, and related fields. UM's real estate courses can count toward a real estate minor or a professional certificate.

Online learners can register for courses in real estate law, economics, finance, and appraisal. Students must also complete an internship prior to graduation. This 120-credit degree requires about four years to complete, but transfer courses can reduce the length of the program. To determine their readiness for the program, online students must complete a readiness assessment before filling out their application. Out-of-state tuition is only slightly higher than in-state tuition.

2 University of West Georgia Carrollton, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Students at UWG can pursue a real estate degree online through the Department of Marketing and Real Estate. Digital learners take courses in real estate finance, property investment, and real estate appraisal, each of which are offered in a semester-long format. Students complete about 20% of their coursework at UWG's Carrollton campus and the remaining 80% can be taken online.

Before applying to the program, digital learners should complete the school's SmarterMeasure Online Readiness Assessment, which evaluates a student's potential for success in an online learning environment. Once accepted, out-of-state online students pay the same tuition and fees as in-state online students. Scholarships and work-study options can help offset the cost of this the real estate degree online program.

3 New York University New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

NYU offers a bachelor of science in real estate built on a foundation of liberal arts and business studies. NYU's Schack Institute of Real Estate, the first university real estate division in the country, grants students access to cutting-edge field research in sustainability and urban studies. In this 130-credit real estate degree, online students explore finance, law, marketing, sales, and leasing in the context of the rapidly changing real property industry.

The program requires 44 credits of real estate fundamentals, 16 credits of real estate electives, and a four-credit culminating project. Students can take advantage of credit for prior coursework or transfer up to 64 credits in order to reduce their overall time in the program. Applicants must show evidence of academic preparation, self-reflection, and leadership skills to meet NYU's admissions requirements.

4 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Students can enroll in a 120-credit online real estate degree offered by ETSU's Department of Economics and Finance. The bachelor's degree in finance with a concentration in real estate consists of 41 general education credits and 36 credits of business administration classes. On top of a capstone course in strategic management, students must complete courses in real estate appraisals, real estate law, real estate finance, and urban and regional economics.

Outside their coursework, online students have access to the Tennessee Valley Authority's Investment Challenge in which they manage an active stock portfolio against 25 competing institutions. Non-Tennessee residents can take advantage of ETSU's special online tuition rate to save on costs, and can also enroll in the school's summer and winter short sessions to accelerate their program. The school requires freshmen under age 21 to submit ACT or SAT scores along with high school transcripts.

5 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Located in northwest Pennsylvania, Clarion offers an online real estate degree that combines classroom theory with hands-on field projects. Available in a traditional or online format, students in this program take a mix of classes in real estate law, finance, and marketing. Online students who finish the required coursework also complete the educational requirements for Pennsylvania state licensure as a real estate broker or salesperson.

Clarion's real estate degree online program requires 48 general education credits, a core curriculum of foundational business classes, 24 credits in real estate, and a selection of electives. Digital learners can complete the entire program in eight terms. Transfer students with a 2.5 GPA or higher can reduce the length of the program. Non-residents pay slightly higher tuition rates than Pennsylvania residents, but active duty members of the military, their dependents, and those relying on the GI Bill can take advantage of special tuition rates.

Selecting the right online real estate degree is a personal decision. Some schools offer degrees in finance or business with a concentration in real estate, while others offer a dedicated real estate major. Students should consider their academic and career goals before choosing a program.


Real estate degree requirements vary by program. Some programs emphasize business or finance, and others focus on practical skills necessary for real estate careers. Required coursework depends on the department's objectives, but below are classes found in most online real estate degree programs.

  • Principles of Real Estate: This basic course introduces students to the discipline and covers the fundamentals and vocabulary of real property investment and management. This class helps students meet the academic requirements for state licensure in real estate sales.
  • Real Estate Law: This course covers real estate's legal relationships and instruments and provides an academic foundation for students in finance, pre-law, paralegal studies, or property management. Topics include zoning, environmental regulations, wills, and contracts. The course reviews property investment, ownership, purchase, sales, and inheritance laws.
  • Real Estate Appraisal: Essential for future assessors, this course focuses on real estate appraisal techniques. Some schools divide the course into two sections: investment property and residential property. Both classes cover the concepts and principles of market value and its effect on economic, social, and political life.
  • Real Estate Finance: This course provides a comprehensive look at the real estate industry's financial institutions. Students discuss mortgages, investment loans, property value, foreclosure, and purchase cost, as well as general theories of real estate finance.
  • Real Estate Management: Fundamental to understanding property management and related careers, this course serves as the capstone for some real estate degrees. Topics include property maintenance, community management, and real estate marketing. Students learn fundamental management principles, such as strategic decision-making, program evaluation, and problem-solving strategies.


Real estate degree online programs require at least 120 credits — four years of full-time study. Accelerated programs allow students to take one course every five weeks or two courses every eight weeks throughout the calendar year. Real estate students typically take about 60 credits in general education courses, with the remaining credits comprising electives and major courses. Degrees in finance or business with a concentration in real estate include courses in both business and real estate.

Prospective students should consider whether individually paced or cohort-based learning best fits their lifestyle. Students in individually paced programs complete coursework at their own speed. Students in cohort-based programs, on the other hand, move through the program in small groups.

Students pursuing a bachelor's in real estate degree online should look for regionally accredited schools. Six regional accrediting bodies accredit academically oriented institutions in the United States. Law schools, business schools, and state licensing committees typically require a degree from a regionally accredited institution.

National accrediting bodies focus on career-oriented programs. Many business management programs at regionally accredited schools also hold national accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Ideally, schools offering an online real estate degree should hold regional and national accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize regional and national accrediting bodies. The ED oversees U.S. schools and the enforcement of educational law, including reviewing accrediting agencies. CHEA is a private organization composed of degree-granting colleges and universities and recognized accrediting agencies. Students can find a list of all accredited schools on the ED and CHEA websites.


The growing field of real estate offers career options in sales and with mortgage companies and law firms. Earning a real estate degree online prepares students to work as agents or brokers, property managers, and real estate paralegals and lawyers.

Real Estate Broker or Agent

These professionals help people buy, sell, and rent residential and commercial property. A broker holds a license to manage a real estate business, and an agent works for a broker. Brokerage firms prefer employees with a bachelor's degree in real estate.

Median Annual Salary: $46,410
Projected Growth Rate: 3%

Real Estate Appraiser or Assessor

Appraisers and assessors visit properties to determine the value of land or buildings before a sale, construction project, or tax assessment. Appraisers and assessors are certified, which typically requires a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $51,850
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Property Manager

Property managers work in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. They are responsible for a facility's external appearance, maintenance, marketing, sales, and residential or customer service.

Median Annual Salary: $57,040
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Construction and Building Inspector

Experienced construction workers with a degree in real estate may become inspectors, who review new construction and existing properties to ensure they meet zoning requirements, local ordinances, and contract stipulations. Most states require certification.

Median Annual Salary: $58,480
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Real Estate Attorney

Real estate lawyers represent the needs of buyers, sellers, agents, and mortgage companies. They may begin their careers as paralegals or real estate agents or may launch a career in this specialized field after passing the bar exam.

Median Annual Salary: $118,160
Projected Growth Rate: 6%


Graduates of real estate degree programs can expect above average job growth. Salaries of real estate professionals vary by workplace, experience, education, and geographic location. The following table highlights the five highest paying states for real estate brokers and agents.

State Employment per
Thousand Jobs
Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
North Carolina 1.46 $28.13 $58,510
California 0.37 $42.36 $88,120
Florida 0.36 $41.28 $85,860
Texas 0.22 $38.52 $80,110
Illinois 0.40 $45.90 $95,470

An online real estate degree can be surprisingly affordable, but most students still need help financing higher education. Fortunately, federal and private financial aid programs are available to help students pay for their degrees. Begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Many institutional and private funding opportunities also require the FAFSA.


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