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Best Online Real Estate Schools

Kaplan Real Estate Education is the best due to its reputation and affordability

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Real estate agents and brokers are usually able to set their own schedules and meet new people while earning a living. So it's no surprise that many people are interested in pursuing their real estate license. The hours can vary depending on the state but expect to spend anywhere up to 270 hours in online classes.

The best online real estate schools cover what you need to know to earn your license, like real estate principles and legal practices, in addition to practical knowledge. The best online real estate classes provide structure, access to practice tests, and libraries of real estate materials to help you meet your state's licensing requirements.

Best Online Real Estate Schools of 2023

Best Overall : Kaplan Real Estate Education

The Balance's Rating



Why We Chose It

We chose Kaplan Real Estate Education as the best overall due to its extensive reputation, online and in-person offerings, and large test bank. The fact that it also offers classes with live industry expert instruction in some states is another bonus.

Pros & Cons
  • Online and in-person classes

  • Excellent test-prep reputation

  • Multiple learning methods supported

  • Pricing isn't completely transparent

  • Live online classes are not available in all states


If you’ve ever studied for the SAT, ACT, or AP exams, you may have used a Kaplan workbook or taken a Kaplan class. But it turns out Kaplan also offers real estate education.

There are a few different ways the course is structured. You can interact with your fellow students in the live online courses with a fixed lecture schedule. It’s worth noting that this type of class is not available in all states. But if you prefer a more flexible study program that goes at your own speed, you can use the home study method, which includes self-paced reading from an e-textbook. You can also get the best of both worlds using the OnDemand structure, where you can watch videos of previously recorded lessons.

Prices vary from state to state. We’ve seen pre-licensing classes for as low as $149 and a separate Broker Drill and Practice Question Bank exam prep class starting at $69. With your class registration, you have access to a test-question database, enabling you to simulate nearly every test environment. Also, the database is online, so you can access it anytime.

Best Discount : Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express

 Real Estate Express

Why We Chose It

We chose Real Estate Express as our runner-up because it frequently offers enrollment discounts, giving an added incentive to use its courses. Real Estate Express is geared toward people with little to no business know-how, which means it’s perfect for beginners.

Pros & Cons
  • Frequent discounts

  • Rich library of real estate content

  • Pass or don't pay guarantee

  • Pricing varies from state to state


Pre-licensing courses in the states we checked ranged between 40 and 180 hours, and prices vary from state to state; the company's courses are available in nearly every state. Prices start at $129 for an introductory course.

Real Estate Express has a rich library of content for students and even a live Q&A program for students to chat with real estate professionals. In addition to pre-licensing courses, the school offers an Exam Prep course, which you can buy separately from the pre-licensing course for $99. You'll learn everything it takes to pass your exam and what it'll be like as a real estate broker or agent.

Real Estate Express also offers packages ranging from basic lower-tier courses to professional development coaching. Agents and brokers can also take continuing education courses through a sister school, McKissock Learning, to help maintain annual licensing requirements. We've seen prices for continuing education as low as $68.95.

If you want to upgrade your license with additional certification, including as a certified buyer or seller's agent, the school has courses for that, too. It has a high rating from consumers, and if you fail the exam and are unsatisfied, there is a pass or don't pay guarantee.

Best Continuing Education : The CE Shop

The CE Shop

 The CE Shop

Why We Chose It

The “CE” in CE Shop stands for “continuing education,” so it’s no surprise that its continuing education is a standout in this list of programs that helps agents and brokers fulfill the mandatory requirements to maintain a license. We chose it for its streamlined learning process and affordability.

Pros & Cons
  • Helps maintain licenses

  • Cost-effective if licensed in multiple states

  • Students rate classes as great or excellent

  • Refunds available only if the class is less than 50% complete

  • No mobile app


The CE Shop runs its courses on proprietary software, Leap 2.0, which lets you learn on your phone, tablet, or laptop. The app and video design are streamlined for easy learning, and industry experts with combined decades of experience created the curriculum.

Continuing education courses start at around $9, and exam prep starts at $75, making it a great value. And if you practice in multiple states, CE can do a cost-effective bundle, so you get your requirements through multi-state qualifying courses.

Also, 93% of The CE Shop’s students gave it a “great” or “excellent” rating on Trustpilot. The pre-licensing and CE classes are available in all 50 states.

Best for Specialized Designation : The Center for Realtor Development

The Center For Realtor Development

 The Center For Realtor Development

Why We Chose It

The Center for Realtor Development is the place to go if you’re interested in gaining special designations, like Accredited Buyer’s Representative or Seller Representative Specialist, because it serves as an online class space for various organizations.

Pros & Cons
  • Training for special designations

  • Extensive library of courses

  • Some courses are only available to members of the National Association of Realtors


This is the educational arm of the National Association of Realtors, with an extensive library of classes that will help you specialize in areas like military relocation and real estate for seniors. 

The Center serves as an online space for classes from a variety of organizations, such as The Certified International Property Specialists and Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager.

The prices for individual courses start at $29, and bundled classes can go up to nearly $1,250. The goal of these certifications is to build consumer confidence in the real estate transaction by giving real estate agents and brokers designations. For example, getting a designation to work with senior citizens gives property owners confidence that their agent is thinking about things from a senior’s perspective.

Some courses are only available for members of the National Association of Realtors. The company also frequently runs sales and promotions, so you may be able to get a discount on your courses.

Final Verdict

No two real estate schools are the same, and if you're interested in getting a real estate license, you'll want to find a school that caters to your learning style, budget, and state requirements. Kaplan made the cut as our top pick for real estate schools because it's a leader in the test-prep industry, and you're likely to find a class that fits your needs.

But if Kaplan isn't right for you, one of the other three schools that made our list of the best real estate schools might be better suited for you.

Compare the Best Online Real Estate Schools

 Company Price Mobile App  Pass Guarantee
Best Overall
Varies from state to state Yes Yes
Real Estate Express
Best Discount
Varies from state to state Yes (iOS) Yes
The CE Shop
Best Continuing Education
Exam prep starts at $75 No Yes
Center for Realtor Development
Best for Specialized Designation
Individual courses start at $29 No No
OnCourse Learning
Best Bundle Class With Exam Prep
Varies from state to state No No

Frequently Asked Questions

What Online Real Estate School Has the Highest Pass Rate?

The CE Shop boasts a 90% national pass rate for its students.

How Much Do Realtors Make?

Realtors usually work on commission, so the total amount they earn in a year depends on sales. The median annual pay annually for a real estate broker or agent was $62,010 in 2021, but the top 10% of earners made over $176,080. The amount you can earn depends on various factors, including the housing market, where you work, and your experience.

How Hard Is the Real Estate Exam?

Real estate exams vary state by state with varying degrees of difficulty, and the average pass rate varies state by state. You must study for the exam and complete your pre-licensing coursework to pass your test.

What Type of Realtors Make the Most Money?

Experienced real estate brokers with excellent reputations usually earn the most money in the real estate market, particularly if they represent luxury properties in cities or high-end tourist destinations. In general, brokers earn more money than sales agents.

How Much Do the Top 1% of Realtors Make?

Geographical location and market conditions can influence earnings, but top real estate agents can potentially earn over six figures or even a million dollars in a good year.

Becoming a real estate megastar usually takes years of experience and hard work because the luxury real estate market is highly competitive.


Pe-licensing courses in the states we checked ranged between 40 and 180 hours, and prices vary from state to state; the company's courses are available in nearly every state. We looked at more than 10 online real estate schools. We reviewed each one based on a number of criteria, including cost, types of learning methods available, geographic availability, accessibility to educational resources, exam prep options, customer service, and customer reviews. Our top four real estate schools each received a star rating of at least four out of five from customer reviews.

Our methods included comparing prices, national coverage, test prep, continuing education courses, and professional designations.

Real Estate

MoMo Productions / Getty Images


Article Sources
  1. Texas Real Estate Commission. "Become an Individual Real Estate Broker."

  2. Trustpilot. “The CE Shop.”

  3. The CE Shop. "The CE Shop."

  4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Handbook: Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents."

  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents: Pay."

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