Best Online Real Estate Programs of 2021

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September 24, 2021

Edited by Andrew H. Rice, Ph.D.
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Real estate is a popular field — according to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, more than 3 million Americans currently hold active real estate licenses. Completing an online bachelor's degree in real estate can prepare you to join this exciting and growing industry focused on buying and selling properties on behalf of clients. These bachelor's programs usually take about four years to complete, although timelines may vary from 3-6 years, depending on whether students pursue accelerated, full-time, or part-time options.

Jobs in real estate are projected to grow modestly in the coming years, as are related positions for loan officers; property, real estate, and community association managers; and property appraisers and assessors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), real estate brokers and sales agents earned a median yearly salary of $51,220 in May 2020. Brokers tend to earn more than sales agents because they take on more responsibility.

With so many online bachelor's in real estate programs now available, it can take time to find the top online school for you. Keep reading to learn more about online bachelor's degree programs in real estate, positions that may be available to you after graduation, and opportunities for continuing your education.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Real Estate Program?

Students considering an online degree in real estate often enjoy roles focused on relationship-building and sales. They may be interested in an on-the-go career that involves interacting with many different types of people. Applicants may be eager to pursue a career that provides them with greater autonomy and allows them to create work for themselves.

A bachelor's degree in real estate typically requires students to complete 120 credits in four years of full-time study. There are many specializations within the field of real estate, and schools may offer various concentrations to help learners focus their studies. These vary by program, but common options include commercial real estate, construction management, property development, and finance and development.

In addition to completing general education and core courses, many students take part in internships as part of degree requirements. These experiences allow them to work under experienced, licensed real estate agents to learn more about the job and gain real-world skills prior to graduating.

Most real estate programs award graduates a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of business administration (BBA). The BA usually features more liberal arts courses and could be a great fit for students who want to cater to a global clientele. The BBA typically focuses more on business-related courses.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Real Estate Program?

Real Estate Law

This course introduces students to the legal components of working in real estate, including topics such as land acquisition, investing, title examinations, and property taxation.

Housing Markets

In this class, students examine both historic and contemporary research surrounding housing prices, the impact of the economy on the housing market, and current housing market-related topics and issues.

Real Estate Investments

This course focuses on how real estate can act as a sound financial investment when approached methodically and knowledgeably. Students consider questions around return on investment and review case studies.

Real Estate Development

Designed for learners interested in developing properties from the ground up, this course examines the development process, multi-use properties, and the financial implications of cash flow before the property can be sold.

International Real Estate

Students with an interest in global real estate markets can take this class to learn about the legal, financial, and political considerations of working with clients seeking to buy property internationally.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Real Estate Program?

Admission requirements for bachelor's programs in real estate vary by institution, but most set the same requirements regardless of whether a student plans to study through distance learning or on campus. An exception to this involves ensuring online learners possess the technology needed to fully engage with content.

Application

Every bachelor's in real estate program requires degree-seekers to complete either an online or paper application. These typically include basic demographic information like your name, address, and birthdate. Many colleges also require applicants to pay a fee.

Test Scores

While some universities may forego college entrance exam requirements, many still mandate that students provide ACT or SAT scores as part of their application packet. These test scores help schools assess a student's preparedness for the rigors of higher education.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation help admissions officials get a better sense of what makes you stand out from other candidates. Former teachers, supervisors, mentors, and managers who can speak to your specific skills and qualities typically write letters of recommendation. Most schools require 1-3 letters.

Essays

College application essays provide students the opportunity to talk about their life experiences, motivations, and qualifications. Essays should be personalized for each institution a student applies to and convey the qualities they bring to the table.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts highlight a student's academic performance in high school or in classes taken at a community college or other university prior to applying. Students who want to transfer credits to their bachelor's program in real estate must undergo a transcript review to see which classes meet their current university's academic standards and requirements.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's Degree in Real Estate?

Career Outlook

Completing an online bachelor's degree in real estate can lead to a variety of different positions and career paths. The BLS projects that jobs for real estate brokers and sales agents will grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030, adding 21,800 jobs to the field. As of May 2020, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $51,220.

Graduates with bachelor's degrees in real estate may also pursue work as loan officers; property appraisers and assessors; or property, real estate, and community association managers. Of these three roles, loan officers earned the highest median annual wage in May 2020: $63,960 per year.

Aside from facilitating the buying and selling of properties, real estate graduates may also work on the financial side dealing with mortgages, loan processing, underwriting, or investing.

Career Paths

Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Working on the frontlines of real estate, brokers and sales agents represent both buyers and sellers in commercial and private real estate deals. They may also handle leasing agreements. Brokers own their businesses while agents must work with qualified brokers. Regardless of title, all professionals must hold a license in their state.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $51,220

Loan Officers

Whether working at banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies, loan officers field requests for home loans and ascertain whether borrowers meet certain standards to qualify for a loan. Standards may include specific credit scores, annual income, and savings amounts. Based on these factors, they compute how big of a loan borrowers may receive and what interest rate they will pay.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $63,960

Property Appraisers and Assessors

Using their knowledge of private and commercial markets, property appraisers and assessors provide an accurate estimate of value to their clients. Some of their tasks may involve verifying property characteristics, conducting assessments, reviewing recent sales of similar properties in the area, and keeping an eye on the market and valuation fluctuations.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $58,650

Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

These professionals commonly work at homeowners' associations, at property management companies, or for individual landlords. Their responsibilities include managing both commercial and residential properties by screening and approving prospective renters, handling repair requests, paying bills tenants do not cover, and keeping track of necessary documentation.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $59,660

Construction Managers

This job may be a great fit for individuals interested in the development side of real estate. Construction managers oversee real estate projects by hiring tradespeople to complete specific tasks, managing budgets, ensuring the construction project stays on schedule, and making sure any required permits are secured from the local or state government.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $97,180

Real Estate Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Most real estate agents possess bachelor's degrees, but some may decide to pursue more school if they want to teach in a higher education setting, own or manage a real estate brokerage company, or conduct academic research within the field.

Regardless of whether those with bachelor's degrees in real estate pursue advanced education, many participate in continuing education courses to ensure they stay up to date on any changes in the field. These may include market shifts or new regulations and laws surrounding real estate.

Some real estate agents may also pursue broker licenses to take on more responsibility and ownership.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Real Estate Program?

Cost

Data from College Board shows that the average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state learners during the 2020-2021 academic year. During the same period, the average tuition at private institutions was $37,650. Understanding the true cost of a program, as well as differences in cost between online and in-person learning, can help students graduate with less debt.

Program Format

Online bachelor's degree programs in real estate come in several different formats to meet various student needs. Learners can choose between synchronous and asynchronous learning, depending on their desired flexibility. They can also pursue full-time or part-time learning. Individuals looking to graduate more quickly may opt for accelerated bachelor's degree programs.

Location

When looking at online bachelor's degree programs, some degree-seekers question whether a school's location matters. The answer to this question depends on whether the program requires any in-person components. If so, learners probably want to pick a program within reasonable driving distance. For public schools, location can also influence the tuition rate for out-of-state learners.

Accreditation

Schools and programs with accreditation meet certain standards set by third-party organizations. Accreditation indicates that an institution adequately serves students and prepares them for careers by the time of graduation. Students should look for colleges and universities that hold regional accreditation.

Student Support

A college can distinguish itself from other institutions through the student support services it provides. For instance, top programs often offer mentorship opportunities with successful real estate professionals so learners can gain valuable experience. Degree-seekers can also look for programs with internships that can allow them to put their new knowledge into action.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Real Estate Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Clarion University of Pennsylvania true View School Profile Clarion, PA

Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers an online and on-campus bachelor of science in business administration in real estate. This bachelor's degree program prepares learners for various careers in real estate brokerage, development, finance, and property management.

Alongside general education and core business classes, degree-seekers tackle real estate coursework in financial modeling, real estate management, and income property appraisal. Clarion evaluates applicants based on high school performance, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per credit: $322 per credit (in state); $347 per credit (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: No
  • Format: Online or on campus
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: N/A
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Memphis true View School Profile Memphis, TN

The University of Memphis is home to the only Memphis-based business school that holds full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. UofM offers an online bachelor of business administration (BBA) with a major in finance and a concentration in real estate. This degree program is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in mortgage banking, real estate development, and real estate valuation and assessment.

In addition to academic support, online students gain access to tutoring, technology support, and counseling services. The university also helps incoming students pursuing their BBA maximize transfer credits.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per credit: $419 per credit
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: No
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Real Estate Programs

Is a bachelor's in real estate worth it? true

An online bachelor's degree program in real estate can provide students with the credentials and training needed to pursue a variety of high-paying jobs in real estate and related industries. These programs instill both the theoretical and practical knowledge required of professionals in entry-level positions, while also setting the foundation for advanced degree programs.

If you are unsure if an online degree is worth it, consider whether these programs work with your scheduling needs. Students with many personal and professional obligations may benefit from the flexibility of distance learning.

What can I do with a bachelor's in real estate? true

A bachelor's degree in real estate qualifies graduates to apply for several in-demand positions focused on real estate, mortgages and loans, property assessment and valuation, real estate development, and property management.

After working as a real estate agent for several years, motivated professionals may decide they want to open their own brokerage firm. Because agents cannot sell without the oversight of a broker, taking this step provides them more autonomy and opportunity for business growth and higher income.

Are real estate majors in demand? true

The BLS projects that jobs for real estate brokers and sales agents will grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030, leading to the creation of approximately 21,800 positions. Potential degree-seekers considering this path should also note that there are several other roles available to new real estate graduates, too.Demand can vary based on location, with realtors in larger metropolitan areas typically seeing more business and higher commissions. Consider where you plan to work after graduating and conduct research to see what the real estate market looks like.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's degree in real estate?

Real estate brokers and sales agents earned a median annual wage of $51,220 as of May 2020 — above the national average for all occupations. That said, income for real estate agents and brokers can vary drastically because they depend on buyers and sellers for their commission.Professionals working in more traditional, 9-5 jobs as loan processors, property managers, and property assessors earn more stable salaries. For instance, loan officers earned an annual median salary of $63,960 in May 2020. This income does not fluctuate based on how many customers they help.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a bachelor's in real estate?

While real estate brokers and sales agents earned a median annual wage of $51,220 in May 2020, it's important to remember that these professionals' salaries vary substantially based on how much business they bring in. Real estate agents make the bulk of their income off commissions, meaning the more they sell, the more they earn.

The BLS reports that brokers and agents in the top 10% of earners received salaries in excess of $174,120 in May 2020. If you want to be among the highest earners, consider working in an urban or suburban area known for high property sales prices.

Learn about scholarships and financial aid available for students pursuing a degree in business. Learn which marketing skills are essential in today's digital business environment and how you can develop them. This guide breaks down the research methods students should use when choosing an online degree program.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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