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Earning an associate degree or certificate in real estate gives you the core skills to work as a licensed broker or sales agent. The credential also prepares you for additional academic training at the bachelor's level.

This guide outlines the best online real estate associate and certificate programs with respect to factors such as financial aid availability and student outcomes. Readers can gain insight into the curriculum, as well as common course offerings and concentration options. Lastly, the guide covers career paths and answers frequently asked questions.

What Are the Best Online Real Estate Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 Zane State College Zanesville, OH
2 Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee, WI
3 Lamar Institute of Technology Beaumont, TX
4 Northwest State Community College Archbold, OH
5 Hinds Community College Raymond, MS
6 Houston Community College Houston, TX
7 Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH
8 McLennan Community College Waco, TX
9 Edison State Community College Piqua, OH
10 Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, KY

The field of real estate covers the sale, rental, and management of residential and commercial properties. With a relevant certificate or associate degree, you can sit for your state's sales and broker licensing exams. Both of these occupations enjoy solid growth potential.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of real estate brokers and sales agents to grow 7% from 2018-2028. This percentage translates to approximately 32,400 new jobs. An associate degree in real estate also allows you to work as an appraiser or property manager.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Best Accredited Online Real Estate Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Zane State College

Zanesville, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Located in Zanesville, Ohio, ZSC offers a two-year associate of business management in real estate. Students complete all of their coursework online, preparing to take the State of Ohio Real Estate License Exam.

Students take five main real estate courses: real estate principles and practices, real estate law, real estate finance, real estate appraising, and real estate brokerage. Business core requirements include classes like marketing, financial accounting, and business ethics. Students must also choose one math elective and take one first-year experience course.

Students may apply for prior learning credit based on previous work or military experience. Online students can access tutoring and other support services. ZSC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Business Management in Real Estate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $179 per credit (in-state); $358 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 61 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Waukesha County Technical College

Pewaukee, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, WCTC offers an associate of applied science in real estate. This hybrid program is well-suited for working students. Learners take evening classes online and attend required in-person activities.

The 63-credit program includes core real estate courses such as mortgage lending, real estate sales application, basic appraisal procedures, and real estate law. Students also take business courses like marketing principles and social media promotion. Participants may choose to enroll in a full-time or part-time degree track. The program prepares students for the Wisconsin Real Estate Salesperson Exam.

Students may apply to earn prior learning credit based on previous work experience or military service. WCTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Real Estate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $139 per credit (in-state); $208 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 63 credits
Program Length: 2.5-4 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.6 minimum required
Standardized Tests: ACT required

Contact the School

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3

Lamar Institute of Technology

Beaumont, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Located in Beaumont, Texas, LIT offers a hybrid associate of applied science in real estate. Students can complete many of the required real estate classes and other core courses online.

Course topics include real estate appraisal, real estate law, and property management. Business core courses include personal finance, small business management, and principles of marketing. Students also take other required courses, such as English composition and math.

Students may apply for prior learning credit. The school boasts an open-admissions policy. LIT is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Real Estate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $95 per credit (in-state); $459 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

Northwest State Community College

Archbold, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

Based in Archbold, Ohio, NSCC offers a fully online real estate certificate program. Students prepare to sit for the Ohio real estate licensing test by completing four courses approved by the Ohio Real Estate Commission.

Real estate certification courses include real estate principles, real estate law, real estate finance, and real estate appraisal. In addition to real estate classes, participants must also complete six college core classes covering topics like math, computer information systems, and composition.

Students may apply for prior learning credit. NSCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $177 per credit (in-state); $349 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not specified

Contact the School

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5

Hinds Community College

Raymond, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

Based in Raymond, Mississippi, Hinds offers an online associate of applied science in marketing management technology with a real estate technology concentration.

Students take real estate courses designed to prepare them for licensure in the state. Courses include principles of real estate, real estate sales, residential mortgage lending, and real estate law. Students also take business core courses, covering topics like the legal environment of business and applied business mathematics. The two-year program also includes general education coursework.

Students may apply for early admission if they have a 3.0 minimum GPA, but regular admission students do not need to meet this requirement. Hinds is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Marketing Management With a Real Estate Technology Option
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,600 per semester, plus $15 per credit for distance learning (in-state); $3,125 per semester, plus $15 per credit for distance learning (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 64-65 credits
Program Length: 4 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

6

Houston Community College

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 20%

Located in Houston, Texas, HCC offers a hybrid level one certificate program in real estate property management. Students take a blend of online and in-person courses to complete certificate requirements.

Students take five real estate courses, including real estate construction, real estate investment, and principles of real estate. A capstone experience allows students to participate in career-related activities under the supervision of the college and an employer or mentor. Students gain real-world experience in preparation for licensing exams.

HCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Level One Certificate in Real Estate Property Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $85 per credit (in-district); $181 per credit (out-of-district, in-state); $227 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 17 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

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7

Sinclair Community College

Dayton, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

Located in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair offers an Ohio real estate sales associate certificate. Students can complete this short-term technical certificate program in eight weeks while taking classes entirely online to prepare for licensure.

The nine-credit program covers topics students need to know in order to pass the Ohio Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Examination. Classes include real estate principles, real estate law, real estate finance, and real estate appraisal. Participants complete a total of 120 seat hours of instruction. Students may apply for admission throughout the year.

Sinclair is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Ohio Real Estate Sales Associate Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $156 per credit (in-county); $204 per credit (out-of-county, in-state); $350 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 9 credits
Program Length: 8 weeks
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not specified

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

8

McLennan Community College

Waco, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

Based in Waco, Texas, McLennon offers an online real estate certificate designed to prepare students for Texas state licensure.

Students take both real estate and business courses to complete their certification. Real estate courses include principles of real estate and real estate finance, while business courses cover topics like business computer applications, principles of management, and business principles. Students also participate in a real estate internship, using their skills in practical situations. Students may apply to enroll on one of three start dates per year.

McLennan is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate, Certificate of Completion
School Status: Public
Tuition: $106 per credit (in-county); $124 per credit (out-of-county, in-state); $181 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters (including one summer semester)
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, or other college readiness test required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

9

Edison State Community College

Piqua, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Located in Piqua, Ohio, Edison State offers an online real estate certificate designed to prepare students to take the Ohio state licensure exam. Students complete the certification program by taking courses approved by the State of Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate.

Fundamental real estate courses include principles and practices of real estate, real estate law, real estate finance, and real estate appraising. Other required courses include effective selling, introduction to financial accounting, and business mathematics. Students must also take one humanities elective and one technical elective.

Applicants without recent ACT or SAT scores may need to take the ACCUPLACER exam. Edison State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $180 per credit (in-state); $320 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

10

Bluegrass Community and Technical College

Lexington, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

Located in Lexington, Kentucky, BCTC offers an online associate of applied science in real estate management. The program prepares students to take the Kentucky real estate licensing examination.

Students take real estate courses such as real estate principles, real estate marketing, construction and blueprints, and real estate law. The program also features a variety of business and finance courses, including introduction to business, introduction to business law, and managerial accounting. The school also offers pre-licensing for real estate and real estate pre-brokerage management certificate programs.

BCTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Real Estate Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $199 per credit (in-state); $378 per credit (out-of-state, contiguous counties that border Kentucky); $647 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 63 Credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified for first-year applicants; 2.0 minimum required for transfer students
Standardized Tests: ACT required

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11

Southern State Community College

Hillsboro, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

Located in Hillsboro, Ohio, SSCC offers an online real estate certificate program. Students complete courses in preparation for the Ohio Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Examination.

The certificate program includes three courses: principles of real estate, real estate law, and real estate finance and appraisal. Students can finish in a semester and take classes all online. Out-of-state students should check their local state's licensure requirements before applying.

Students completing the real estate certificate can stack credits toward the school's on-campus associate of business management in real estate broker program. SSCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $182 per credit (in-state); $346 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 9 credits
Program Length: 1 semester
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not specified

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12

Clark State Community College

Springfield, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

Based in Springfield, Ohio, Clark State offers an online associate of applied business in real estate broker. Students complete the prerequisites required to sit for the state certification exam.

Students take core real estate courses like real estate principles, real estate law, real estate appraisal, and real estate finance. The program also covers business fundamentals, such as business communication, business mathematics, and organizational behavior. Additionally, courses in elementary statistics and data analytics give students the chance to learn how to work with cutting-edge real estate analytics technology and principles.

The school does not require standardized test scores for admission, but students can send in their scores if they want to avoid taking placement exams. Clark State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Applied Business in Real Estate Broker
School Status: Public
Tuition: $165 per credit (in-state); $303 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT optional

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13

Austin Community College District

Austin, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 8%

Operating as one of the biggest community colleges in the nation, ACC offers an online real estate licensing certificate program. Full-time students can graduate from this 18-credit certificate in just one semester. Learners who complete this program are eligible to sit for the Texas Real Estate Sales Licensing Exam.

Students take five real estate classes, including law of contracts and real estate finance, as well as two finance, marketing, and/or real estate electives. Graduates can access job search assistance through ACC.

ACC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and its real estate certificate program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Licensing Certificate Level 1
School Status: Public
Tuition: $85 per credit (in-district); $286 per credit (out-of-district, in-state); $353 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 semester
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

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14

Blinn College

Brenham, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 7%

Located in Brenham, Texas, Blinn offers an online real estate certificate that students can complete in just one semester. The program prepares students to sit for the Texas Salesperson Examination.

Students take five real estate courses, including principles of real estate, law of contracts, contract forms and agendas, real estate finance, and law of agency. Applicants only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to qualify for admission.

Blinn is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $122 per credit (in-district); $179 per credit (out-of-district, in-state); $339 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 16 credits
Program Length: 1 semester
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

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15

Delgado Community College

New Orleans, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 6%

Located in Slidell, Louisiana, Delgado offers an online real estate professional certificate. Students may pursue a Louisiana real estate license upon completion of this program. Graduates can also transfer these certificate credits to an associate of applied science in business and management program with a real estate concentration.

Students take foundational real estate courses such as principles of real estate, Louisiana real estate law, real estate sales and marketing, and real estate finance. Learners also complete a business course in customer service.

Delgado is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Real Estate Professional, Certificate of Technical Studies Program
School Status: Public
Tuition: $134 per credit
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not specified

Contact the School

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Online Real Estate Program Overview

An associate degree in real estate online curriculum totals approximately 60 credits, and usually takes two years to complete. Some colleges offer accelerated tracks that allow you to earn the credential in under 12 months. Certificate programs can span either a full semester or 3-4 months.

Required coursework usually covers core business topics such as microcomputer applications, interpersonal communications, and marketing strategies. Major coursework outlines basic real estate principles such as relevant laws concerning property valuation and public control. Real estate economics is another standard course and covers the factors that affect the value of a property.

In general, you are qualified to sit for the broker and salesperson licensing exams with just a certificate or associate degree. However, requirements differ by location, so you should consult your state's real estate commission to confirm details. Associate credentials also enable you to pursue bachelor's degree completion, which may open the doors to lucrative management positions.

Common Real Estate Degree Courses

Real Estate Practice

An introductory course, real estate practice covers the fundamental skills you need to work as a licensed broker or sales agent. These competencies include salesmanship, advertising, financing, prospecting, and public relations. The class also teaches basic office procedures, such as how to create property listings and communicate with your client.

Legal Aspects of Real Estate

This core class offers a study into the real estate laws at work in your state, including the rights incident to property management and ownership. Additional topics consist of contracts, trust deeds, and their applications to real estate transfer. You also learn about recent federal and state legislation concerning residential and commercial property transactions.

Appraisal Principles and Procedures

Most introductory appraisal courses focus on residential properties. Students learn to conduct market analysis using best practices such as sales comparison and the income approach. You also learn to use cost approaches common to the duties of licensed real estate appraisers. Furthermore, the class teaches you to create and analyze official appraisal reports.

Property Management

Students discover the different types of income properties and how to manage each classification. The course also covers the nature of leases, contracts, and rent schedules. Lastly, learners develop practical management skills, such as how to select tenants, supervise employees and contractors, and facilitate evictions.

Real Estate Investment Planning

This class emphasizes the research methods necessary for successful investing. You learn to implement investment analysis techniques and how to factor tax shelters, depreciation, and applications to property tax when looking at residential and commercial properties. Additional topics include time-valued money, as well as discounted and non-discounted investment criteria.

Online Real Estate Program Admission Requirements

  • Online Application

    Community and technical colleges usually facilitate the admissions process through a digital portal accessed on their website. Applicants create a user profile and submit general information like legal name, address, and program of interest. Although some institutions require an application fee, postsecondary schools increasingly waive this charge as a way to recruit new students.

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent

    You need to furnish a high school diploma or GED to enroll in an associate or certificate program. Colleges require official transcripts, which you can request through your high school's student affairs office. To obtain a GED, you need to pass the relevant exam after studying for the test and/or taking preparation classes.

  • Assessment/Placement Test

    Many two-year colleges do not require ACT or SAT scores. However, you will probably need to take an assessment test like ACCUPLACER or a state-specific iteration. The results of this test dictate what core/general education courses you can take.

  • Work Experience

    While this is a rare criterion, some associate degree in real estate online tracks may need you to demonstrate relevant work experience because of state licensing requirements. For example, California requires prospective brokers and appraisers to possess at least two years of full-time paid experience as a licensed sales agent.

  • Distance Education Availability

    Colleges and universities offer distance education across state lines by participating in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. If you want to enroll in an online program outside your state, consult the NC-SARA directory to ensure that the school is part of this network. Note that California does not participate in NC-SARA at all.


Online Real Estate Career Paths

A certificate or associate degree in real estate enables you to pursue your state's broker and salesperson licenses. Real estate sales agents work under the direction of a broker and receive commissions for the properties they sell. Licensed brokers act as independent professionals who own their own their own businesses and facilitate the sale, purchase, and rental management of properties. You can also work as a certified assessor. These professionals inspect properties, analyze comparables to help determine value, and prepare official reports with photo documentation.

As a real estate professional, you advance by gaining hands-on experience and accumulating clients. As the job market becomes increasingly complex, some employers may prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a certificate or associate degree in real estate?

After obtaining state licensure, you can work as a real estate sales agent to help clients buy or sell properties. Agents also mediate negotiations between buyers and sellers. Alternatively, you may pursue a broker career; these professionals own their own real estate and property management firm, and recruit clients and oversee the duties of their employees.

What should I major in for a real estate career?

Some schools offer a major in real estate, while others offer a business major with a real estate concentration. At the certificate level, colleges may specify if a program fulfills state licensing for real estate salesperson or broker, since these are distinct occupations with separate requirements. Depending on the school, you may graduate with an associate of arts, science, applied science, or applied business.

Can you get a degree in real estate?

Yes, you may earn an associate degree in real estate. This two-year credential not only satisfies state pre-qualifications for professional licensure in the field, but also prepares you to earn an advanced business degree. Relatedly, some universities offer real estate as a concentration for bachelor's degrees in finance and business administration.

How long does it take to get a degree in real estate?

A conventional associate degree in real estate takes about two years to earn. You can expect to complete around 15 credits of coursework per semester for four semesters (for a minimum of 60 credits). Certain colleges facilitate accelerated associate tracks that enable you to graduate in 12 months. Certificate programs are typically shorter. Bachelor's programs span four years.

What kind of education do you need to be a real estate agent?

You can become a licensed real estate broker or sales agent by completing state-accredited pre-licensing courses and passing the necessary exams. Note that you do not need to obtain an associate degree to work in real estate. However, as the market grows more competitive, earning college credentials can give you an edge over other candidates.

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Additional Reading and Resources

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