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Best Online Real Estate Schools

We reviewed the top online real estate schools to help you get licensed faster

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Real estate agents and brokers have an exciting career where they set their own schedule and meet new people while earning a living. So it's no surprise that so many people are interested in pursuing their real estate license.

To become a licensed agent or broker, you must first take a minimum number of class hours in what is known as a pre-licensing class. The hours can vary depending on the state but expect to spend anywhere up to 170 hours in an online class. Classes teach you about various topics, like real estate principles and legal practices in addition to practical knowledge.

Choosing the right real estate school can make or break your career. We reviewed almost a dozen schools, comparing everything from price, customer ratings, nationwide availability, pass rates, and more to help you choose the best online real estate school.

The 5 Best Online Real Estate Schools of 2022

Best Overall : Kaplan Real Estate Education

The Balance's Rating



Why We Chose It

If you’ve ever studied for the SATs, ACTs, or AP exams, you may have used a Kaplan workbook or taken a Kaplan class. But it turns out they also offer real estate education. 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 they also offer classes with live industry expert instruction in some states was another bonus. 

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 their 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 for $99. 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.

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

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 they frequently offer discounts to enroll, giving an added incentive to use their courses. Real Estate Express is geared toward people with little to no business know-how, which means it’s perfect for beginners.

Their pre-licensing courses in the states we checked ranged between 40 and 90 hours, and prices vary from state to state; the company's courses are available in nearly every state. Prices start at $103.20 for a basic course.

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

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, they have courses for that, too. They have a high rating from consumers, and if you fail the exam and are not satisfied, they do have a pass or don’t pay guarantee.

Pros & Cons
  • Frequent discounts

  • Rich library of real estate content

  • Pass or don't pay guarantee

  • Pricing varies from state to state

Best Continuing Education : The CE Shop

The CE Shop

 The CE Shop

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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.

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 created the curriculum with combined decades of experience.

Continuing education courses start at around $29, and exam prep starts at $60, 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 them a “great” or “excellent” rating on Trustpilot. The pre-licensing and CE classes are available in all 50 states.

Pros & Cons
  • Helps agents and brokers maintain their licenses

  • Cost-effective, particularly for those licensed in multiple states

  • Students rate The CE Shop's classes as great or excellent

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

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 Designation. This is the educational arm for 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 elderly 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.

Pros & Cons
  • Training for special designations

  • Extensive library of courses

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

Final Verdict

No two real estate schools are the same. 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. You're likely to find a class that fits your needs.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Online Real Estate School?

An online real estate school provides you with courses for different phases of your real estate journey. As a prospective agent or broker, you must fulfill the mandatory requirements of pre-licensing classroom hours before you can enroll in the test. Schools may also offer test-prep classes to prepare for the actual exam since retaking the test can be time-consuming and expensive. You can often find a bundle course that will give you exam prep while fulfilling your pre-licensing requirements.

Aside from pre-licensing work, online real estate schools help agents and brokers fulfill continuing education requirements or improve their credentials with special designations.

How Much Do Online Real Estate Schools Cost?

Real estate school costs depend on the state in which you live, the type of course, and the different perks associated with your course. Overall, the online courses will save you money when it comes to pre-licensing work. A live class conducted by an instructor may cost close to $1,000, while having a class with access to just an e-textbook runs in the $100 to $300 range. Continuing education classes start around $15 but can be several hundred dollars for special designations that also fulfill CE needs.

How Long Does It Take to Complete Online Real Estate School?

Pre-licensing courses take anywhere from 60 credit hours in Virginia to 168 in Colorado. That means you have to spend that many hours in class, but how your program divides it up (nine hours a week for five weeks, for example) is up to the program. According to Real Estate Express, a typical in-person real estate school could last for months. Online courses log your hours reading the material and taking quizzes; this allows you to meet the pre-licensing hour requirement but gives you the choice of either speeding up or slowing down the calendar days of completion to suit your needs.

What Is the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?

There is a key difference between an agent and a broker is management. Both are capable of representing buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction, but agents must work under brokers who manage and run real estate offices. Brokers can handle some of the more technical parts of the process by negotiating, arranging, and overseeing real estate transactions. Brokers can choose to own brokerages where they employ agents or work directly with clients (or both). However, the term "broker" can vary by state.

How We Chose the Best Online Real Estate Schools

We looked at more than 10 online real estate schools and reviewed each 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 methods included comparing price, national coverage, test prep, continuing education courses, and professional designations. Our top five real estate schools received a star rating of at least four out of five from customer reviews.

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