Prelicensing courses for real estate are mandatory, with some states requiring over 100+ hours of in-person education. But this can be an issue if you have a full-time job or children, as many in-person courses run during the workday, on the weekend, or at night. You may be wondering, for convenience sake, if you can take an online course as an alternative.
There are courses to become a real estate agent online through Mbition, The CE Shop, and Real Estate Express. All of these will meet your state’s minimum hour requirements, the courses you need to take, and come with exam prep tools. But not all states permit online prelicensing.
Online real estate courses can be a saving grace if you have a busy or inconsistent schedule. To find out the online courses available to you, whether your state permits online courses, and the classes you need to become an agent, keep reading.
Checking Your State’s Requirements
Enrolling in an online real estate course is a great way to fast-track your licensure and get a little added convenience. But unfortunately, not all states will accept an online program in place of a state-approved in-person program.
Online courses aren’t valid in:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
For the exact requirements for your state, check with your state’s real estate commission. You can also learn a little bit more about how to get your real estate license and your state requirement here.
In-Person vs. Online Courses: What’s the Difference?
There’s a good chance that your state accepts online prelicensing training for real estate, but now you have a choice to make: Should you take an in-person course or opt for an online version instead?
Here’s what you need to know.
In-person courses give you a luxury that you don’t get with online courses, which is an instructor. As you’re going through critical points in a class session, you can ask clarifying questions from a pro in the industry. These in-person courses also allow you to stick to a rigid schedule, great if you lack drive and initiative, and meet other future agents to build a referral network.
Online courses are surely the way to go if you’re looking to get your license in-hand sooner, as you have full control over how long your training takes in total. You can go through the lessons at your own pace, go back to sections you need to review and squeeze your education into your schedule when it makes the most sense, like when the kids are asleep or on your lunch break.
For most up-and-coming agents, online courses make the most sense.
Here’s a video explaining the pros and cons of in-person and online courses to assist you in making a choice.
What Classes Do I Need to Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?
The classes you need to become a real estate agent will vary depending on where you live. Some states, like New Jersey, have a generic 75-hour in-person course. Other states break the hour requirement into different course topics, like Nevada, requiring 45 hours on Real Estate Principles and 45 hours on Real Estate Law.
Most states will require you to go through a real estate school approved by your state’s commission, either in-person or online. But a few states, like Oklahoma and Colorado, will allow you to fulfill the hourly requirements through real estate college course credits.
Since you don’t needa real estate degree to become an agent, this isn’t recommended. College credits are far more costly than basic prelicensing courses, which typically have a price tag of $300 or more.
Regardless of how you choose to get your license, you want to be sure that you’re meeting the bare minimum requirements in terms of hours. These can range greatly between states, from 40 hours to nearly 200 hours.
Online Courses: Everything You Need to Know
Now that you’ve realized how useful and convenient an online training program can be, it’s time to choose a program to get your real estate education on the right track. We’re going to walk you through choosing the right program and using them to your benefit.
Choosing an Online Program
When you sign up for an online real estate program, the first thing you want to check is that the provider pinpoints your state’s exact requirements. It’s a good sign if the program’s front page asks you to enter your state and then has prelicensing, new license, or the basics as an option. This is not the same as continuing education (CE), post-licensing, or exam prep.
Other things to look for to be sure this is a legitimate program are:
- Approval numbers
- The current number of hours, as described by your state (i.e., A 90-hour course)
- The term state-approved, somewhere in the description
Some online programs are bare bones, meaning they offer nothing more than the hours of training required by your state. So if you want the most bang for your buck, opt for a course meeting all of the criteria above and additional online books, instructor support, and exam prep.
Best Online Real Estate Course Programs
There are plenty of reputable online courses to become a real estate agent. You want a program that meets your state’s education requirements and gives you what you need to pass your exam and thrive during your first few months in the field.
Take a look at three awesome choices for online real estate prelicensing education.
Mbition is a great online real estate school that covers plenty of concepts many other programs avoid. You may get PSI exam prep tools, the administrator of the official test in most states, tips for test-taking, flashcards, a textbook to introduce you to the industry, and in-depth material to help you ace the math portion of the exam.
The CE Shop is one of the biggest names in real estate prelicensing, and for a good reason. You can get a state-approved education, unlimited practice exams to fine-tune your strengths and weaknesses, courses for building your new real estate business, and a 24/7 support line for questions and concerns you might have in your training.
Real Estate Express is another highly-regarded program that’s earning its reputation in the field of prelicensing education. You can meet your state’s minimum education requirements, earn access to several real estate eBooks, get your money back if you don’t ace the exam on the first attempt, and even get an instructor to ask questions.
Online Programs for Test Prep
Regardless of the online program that you buy, it’s a great idea to invest in a prelicensing package that includes exam prep. The real estate exam is complicated (50% pass rate) and lengthy (100 to 150 questions), meaning it’s the type of test you want to pass on the first try.
All of the programs above include test prep as an option. To be most well-prepared for your eventual exam, choose a program that has:
- Unlimited practice exams or a question bank
- Insight into your strengths and weaknesses (which topics are of particular struggle)
- Scores (you want at least a 90% or higher repeatedly before taking the exam)
Remember that real estate school is meant to help you pass the test, by giving you the baseline knowledge that all real estate agents in your state must know. Never assume that passing the prelicensing course itself is enough to help you pass the exam. You may also need to invest in the Exam Prep Module as well.
On your journey to become a real estate agent, you’ll have to navigate the prelicensing training first. Be sure that your state accepts an online training education before enrolling and spending upwards of $300 on these programs.
Then, select the program that poses the greatest long-term benefits for you, such as, exam prep, self-paced lessons, unlimited practice exams, and a helpline for topics you get stuck on.