If you are considering a career in real estate, you have two main options for education. Most often, your choice is between a real estate degree program or real estate licensing courses. You want to make the best choice for your career. So, what are the differences? From career options and time commitment, to age requirements and cost, here are the main differences between getting a postsecondary degree or taking the required pre-license course.
The main differences between a real estate degree program and real estate license courses are the education, time commitment and finances. Real estate degrees typically come in four basic types: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Many people with a high school diploma or GED can be accepted into a community college or university to complete their associate’s or bachelor’s in real estate. These degrees take two to four years to complete and range from providing a general overview of the real estate field, to being a more intensive, hands-on program. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can apply for a post-graduate program.
On the other hand, real estate pre-license courses are designed to prepare you to pass the state sanctioned licensing exam. These courses average 60 to 70 hours and can usually be completed within a month’s time depending on your availability. If you already have a degree in another field, there probably is no reason to spend more time and money on a post-secondary education. The pre-license courses are the only mandatory training required to become a real estate licensee. Plus, after obtaining your license and joining a brokerage, many employers offer on-the-job training that tends to be more beneficial to the actual practice of your new role.
Getting a real estate license opens a wide range of career options — from becoming a commissioned salesperson at an independent brokerage, an independent contractor with a builder, leasing, auctioning, exchange, or property management — the opportunities are endless. Some states require you to go a step further and get a specialized degree if you want to be a real estate appraiser, community association manager or home inspector. Check with your state’s requirements before making a decision on which type of education to pursue. You can also look at job listings in your area to see what competitive skills are required to apply. Some employers want you to have a degree, while others would rather provide their own training after becoming their employee.
While college tuition varies from state to state, most programs are at least a hundred dollars per credit hour. Some community colleges offer real estate education for $600 to $5,000. Add in the extra fees, textbooks, housing and food accommodations, and one degree could be anywhere between $20,000 to $40,000. Alternatively, most pre-licensing courses are in the $400 to $500 range, though it is also important to think about the hidden costs to obtaining your real estate license: calculator ($50) and state application processing, including fingerprinting and exam fee ($200). Read more about the cost of becoming a real estate agent here.
The biggest choice you have to make as an aspiring real estate professional is what kind of education fits in with your academic needs, lifestyle, and career goals. Any accredited program can help turn you into a real estate agent, but by evaluating your aspirations, you will find what you are truly seeking and which education option will get you there. For most of our students, choosing IFREC and the pre-licensing course option for real estate education makes the most sense for where they are in their lives. At the end of the day, you do not need a degree to be successful in the real estate industry. Save time, money, and effort by choosing IFREC! Speak with one of our expert career counselors to see how you can get started today.