Do you wonder what it would be like to help potential homeowners find their dream house? Or are you interested in working with businesses, from the mom-and-pop stores looking for the ideal location to the companies that need space in a high-rise to accommodate their growing workforce? You can make this happen by earning a real estate bachelor’s degree online.
When you choose a real estate bachelor’s degree online, you’ll receive in-depth training on real estate and related areas, such as accounting, finance, investing, law, and construction. But as you start exploring the best online schools for real estate, you’ll quickly find that you have lots of programs to choose from. Which is the right one for you?
To help you choose among the various online real estate degree offerings, we’ve compiled a list of accredited programs that are affordable and offer the flexibility to learn on your own schedule. We also examined and ranked each program in terms of education quality and availability of student support services. A full rankings list will be released later this year, but you can get an early look by reviewing the following three spotlight schools.
Many other online real estate bachelor’s degree programs offer a business or finance degree with a specialization in real estate. Fordham is different in that its bachelor of science in real estate program offers an actual degree in real estate. This program places a special emphasis on real world learning and skills that directly translate to the real estate profession. Students receive extensive academic support in the form of small class sizes, access to Fordham University’s extensive alumni network, and the option to participate in Fordham Real Estate Institute’s networking events.
Students who need flexible learning options will appreciate that most classes are offered online or during the evenings. To graduate, students must complete 124 credits, with 35 or 36 credits consisting of real estate core requirements and electives. And for students who wish to continue learning, this program offers the perfect transition to Fordham University’s accelerated master of science in real estate program, which can be completed with just one additional year of instruction.
- Bachelor of Science in Real Estate
- Credits: 124
- Length: Four years
- Cost: $973/credit
- Mode: Hybrid
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
University of Memphis
The bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Memphis Global has several special features that make it stand out from many other real estate bachelor’s degree online programs. By completing this program, students earn a finance degree with a real estate specialization. This means you will focus much of your learning on financial principles, concepts, and tools as they relate to the residential and commercial real estate industries. The purpose of this degree is to train real estate professionals who are interested in business and economic decisions in the real estate industry.
If students opt not to earn a bachelor’s degree with a real estate specialization, they have two other options. First, they can earn their finance degree with a minor in real estate. Second, they can forego a bachelor’s degree altogether and complete the Professional Real Estate Program, which consists of just five classes and 18 credits.
- Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate
- Credits: 120
- Length: Four years
- Cost: $419/credit
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Arkansas State University
The bachelor of science in business administration with a focus in real estate from Arkansas State University is ideal for students who want to graduate as quickly as possible and who already have prior college credits. Even though 120 credits are needed to graduate, up to 90 of these can come from transfer credits. Given that, graduating in as little as a year is very possible with this program.
This online real estate degree program offers one tuition rate, regardless of state residency. There is a pay-as-you-go tuition setup making it easier for students to learn and pay for their education at their own pace. While completing this program won’t lead to a real estate license, it’s perfect for those who already have a license as an agent or broker but want to learn more about the business aspects of the real estate industry.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Area of Study in Real Estate Online
- Credits: 120
- Length: Four years
- Cost: $269/credit
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Real Estate Degree Program
Most online real estate bachelor’s degrees require about 120 credits, but that doesn’t mean all of those classes will be in subjects relating to real estate. Many of the credits you take for a bachelor’s degree are general education courses. What these consist of will depend on the school, but typically they cover subjects like mathematics, literature, writing, history, and science. You’ll take most of these during the first two years of your online real estate degree, or you’ll receive transfer credits for them if you took them at another school.
Besides general education courses, the rest of your academic requirements will focus on electives and courses in real estate. Let’s take a look at the types of real estate classes you can expect to take during your real estate bachelor’s degree online program.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Real estate finance and investing
- Property valuation
- Real estate law
- Real estate appraisal
- Real estate practice
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
The first few years of your real estate bachelor’s degree program will cover foundational courses, some of which focus on business topics and concepts. These courses help put many of the later real estate and business-oriented courses in the proper context during the final year or two of your program.
- Macroeconomics: This course takes a big-picture look at the economy, various macroeconomic measures (such as interest rates, gross domestic product growth, and unemployment rates), and how they reflect the true performance of the economy.
- Marketing: This class teaches students how products and services can be marketed to potential customers. Concepts such as price, product, promotion, and people are examined on both an individual and group level to understand when and why products and services are purchased by a certain buyer.
- Financial accounting: A staple of any business degree, financial accounting relates to the summarizing and organizing of financial information. Students learn how to prepare and interpret various financial documents, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
- Introduction to real estate: Students engage in a basic overview of the general concepts and theories of the real estate industry. The course covers real estate terminology, property documents, financing contracts, legal theories, and property valuation.
- Management principles: This class teaches the concepts and ideals that lead to effective management of individuals and groups. Management tools are also addressed and include both quantitative and qualitative measures.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
The final year or two of a real estate bachelor’s degree online program is where you get into the “nuts and bolts” coursework for your degree. This means you’ll spend most of your time taking real estate core courses and electives. You’ll also get an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned to hypothetical real estate scenarios based on real-world examples.
- Investing in real estate: This class covers several aspects of investing, including methods to finance real estate purchases with debt instruments as well as financial analysis helpful for identifying the merits of a possible investment in real estate.
- Real estate finance: In this course, students learn about multiple financial concepts and theories and how they apply to real estate valuation and transactions. You’ll also learn how securities markets invest in real estate, including a review of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
- Real estate valuation: The purpose of this course is to explain how real estate values are calculated. Several tools and techniques are covered for residential and commercial properties for appraisal and sale price purposes.
- Real estate transactions: During this class, students examine several types of real estate transactions from listing to advertising to escrow to closing. This class also covers the different parties involved in most real estate transactions, such as agents, attorneys, bankers, and brokers.
- Real estate and the law: This class offers an overview of the various local, state, and federal laws and regulations that affect the real estate industry and most real estate transactions. Topics addressed include trust and estate law, zoning, environmental regulations, and constitutional property rights.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Real Estate Degree Program
The exact process for getting into the best online schools for real estate mostly depends on the schools’ admissions criteria and policies. The majority of online real estate degree programs require the following components as part of the admissions application:
- Online application
- Application fee
- Official transcripts (high school and college, if applicable)
- Proof of English proficiency
Programs at the best online schools for real estate may have additional admissions requirements. For example, at Louisiana State University (LSU) Shreveport applicants must submit SAT or ACT entrance exam scores; at Georgia State University, these test scores are only required for applicants with GPAs that fall below 3.4. Then there are schools like Old Dominion University that have one admissions process and set of standards to be admitted to the school. Once enrolled, students apply to the business school for admission into the real estate bachelor’s degree online program.
Paying for Your Online Real Estate Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
When choosing among the best online schools for real estate, price will likely be an important factor. Depending on the type of school, you can expect your bachelor’s degree in real estate to cost anywhere from $13,000 to more than $100,000.
Why such a wide variation? The cost of a bachelor’s degree depends on many variables. For example, you’ll likely pay a higher tuition rate at a private school as opposed to a public one, although most online bachelor’s degree programs in real estate are offered by public institutions. Many public schools offer the same online tuition rate for all students, although some have lower tuition for in-state students. Then you must factor in how much financial aid you’ll receive, which can largely mitigate an otherwise high tuition cost for your online real estate degree.
And don’t forget that because you’ll be enrolled in an online program, you’ll likely have the flexibility to fit your classes around almost any schedule. This means working full-time while in school is a realistic option and can help you pay for the cost of your education.
|Old Dominion University
|Purdue University Global
|$390/credit full time
|Georgia State University
Obtaining financial aid can make a dramatic difference on how much your online real estate bachelor’s degree program actually costs. Financial aid typically takes the form of grants, scholarships, and student loans. The first two types are the most desirable, as they don’t need to be paid back.
Student loans are usually offered by private lenders and the federal government. As for grants and scholarships, they can be found from private organizations, federal and state governments, and the schools themselves. For example, Liberty University offers a host of scholarships to its students. A school’s financial aid office, such as the one at Old Dominion University, walks students through the financial aid application process and explains the options.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate Online
Are online real estate degree programs offered 100% online?
Most online real estate degree programs can be completed fully online, with no on-campus check-ins, residencies, or other forms of experiential learning requirements. Some programs offer a hybrid learning model, where students complement their online courses with on-campus classes. However, these in-person classes are offered at times that best accommodate working students.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in real estate?
A bachelor’s degree in real estate isn’t always required to become a realtor or enter into another real estate-related career. However, it teaches skills and concepts that help any professional succeed in the real estate business. It also opens additional careers in real estate that might not otherwise be available without a college degree. Below is a list of the types of jobs that benefit from a real estate bachelor’s degree online.
- Real estate appraiser
- Real estate investor
- Property manager
- Loan officer
- Title officer
- Bank mortgage specialist
- Land surveyor
- Real estate agent or broker
- Building inspector
Is earning a real estate degree worth it?
If you’re interested in making the most of a real estate career, then earning an online real estate degree is definitely worth it. The bachelor’s degree makes you much more marketable for any line of work, and you’ll have high-level knowledge about most aspects of the real estate world, from legal issues to accounting to property management.
The comprehensive knowledge you learn from your online real estate degree program will give you perspectives and skills that many of your peers might lack. This advantage of greater knowledge also provides more flexibility to shift into other positions within the real estate industry—especially useful if there’s a downturn in the real estate market.
What accreditation should I look for in a real estate degree program?
The applicable accreditation depends on the type of online real estate degree program you enroll in. Real estate programs are usually offered by the institution’s business school or department. Some schools offer a bachelor’s degree in business or a similar field, with a concentration in real estate. In this situation you want to look for programmatic accreditation related to business schools, such as the AACSB, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs(ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Most real estate programs offered through a business school will have an AACSB or ACBSP accreditation.
That being said, if a real estate bachelor’s degree online program you’re interested in doesn’t have any of these accreditations, that usually isn’t an issue because there isn’t a prominent accrediting organization that specifically accredits real estate bachelor’s degree programs. However, at a minimum, you’ll want to ensure the school you’re applying to has institutional accreditation. This typically comes from a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in real estate?
Earning an online bachelor’s degree in real estate usually takes four years, which is as long as any other bachelor’s degree. The fact that the degree can be earned online means there’s an added level of flexibility with the learning pace, making it easier to take more or less time to graduate. Many schools offer full-time or part-time study options. Other schools have no set schedule of courses so students have full control on how quickly or slowly they earn their degree.
Because online programs tend to be more popular with nontraditional students, such as parents and working professionals, incoming students of online real estate degree programs often have some college credits. This can further reduce the time it takes to graduate.
Employment Outlook with a Real Estate Degree
Because the real estate industry can be volatile, especially in a turbulent economy, projected job growth and compensation varies widely. That being said, most professionals in the real estate industry with a college degree can expect to earn above the national average salary. The following chart provides an overview of jobs graduates of an online real estate bachelor’s degree program can expect, as well as the type of job growth and compensation they’re likely to receive.
|Median Annual Earnings (2021)
|Job Growth (2020-2030)
|Real estate brokers
|Property appraisers and assessors
|Property, real estate, and community managers
|Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics