Real estate degrees open up seemingly limitless career opportunities to those interested in the housing market. Although being a real estate agent is a common goal of those who pursue real estate degrees, there are also multiple career pathways a real estate degree graduate could choose to follow. Due to the flexibility of real estate careers, available degrees are just as flexible. Many colleges and technical institutions offer both certification programs and accredited bachelor degrees. Degrees seekers can earn an associate, bachelor, and master degree in the field of real estate. Entry-level realtors typically choose a pre-licensing program while those looking for a leadership position may earn a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs in the field of real estate prepare graduates for work as agents, brokers, appraisers, loan officers, property managers, and more.   

What Can I Do with a Real Estate Degree?

A common question a prospective student may have before entering a real estate program is “What can I do with a real estate degree?” Although many go to real estate degree programs to train as realtors, there are more career options available for those who aren’t interested in sales. What to do with a real estate degree is largely up to the graduate. Real estate degree seekers may be interested in the financial side of housing transactions and want to pursue jobs as mortgage brokers or real estate transaction specialists. These professionals handle loan applications, loan processing, scheduling appraisals, and contracts. 

Another job opportunity for real estate degree graduates is getting involved in the acquisition and management of different properties. With this type of career, job titles may include property manager, real estate investors, or real estate developer. These career opportunities offer very high salary potential. As an example, a real estate investor could choose to flip properties to earn profits. With this type of career, houses are bought below market value and then updated to sell at a higher price point. 

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Frequently asked questions of real estate degree seekers include the following:

What will I study during a degree in real estate program?

The subjects taught in a real estate program depend on the degree. For pre-licensing degree pathways and certification programs, the courses cover topics such as land acquisition, liens, real estate transfers, buyer protection laws, seller protection laws, business principles, mortgage types and options, and inspection regulations. Before a realtor can become licensed in his or her state, he or she must complete a real estate education program that teaches every step of the process of buying and selling property.

How long is the average time to earn a real estate degree?

Real estate degree programs vary in length. Certification programs may take less than six months to complete while undergraduate degrees can require two to four years of full-time study. In most cases, a bachelor degree positions the graduate to secure manager-level positions within real estate offices.  

What can I do with a degree in real estate?

Real estate careers are varied. A few examples of careers that you can choose if you enter into real estate is a realtor, mortgage broker, property manager, real estate analyst, leasing agent, and real estate clerk. Some individuals start out as agents and then move on to careers as analysts and brokers. A sales agent is a good entry level positions because the professional deals with different sides to real estate transactions. Agents work with buyers, sellers, title agencies, mortgage companies, inspectors, and more to help complete transactions.  

Is a real estate degree worth it?

If wondering is a real estate degree worth it, the answer is a resounding yes. Real estate careers have major perks including scheduling flexibility. Agents work as often or as little as they like. Some agents choose to work part-time while maintaining another full-time career. Brokers are top sales agents that have the ability to manage multiple team members within a firm. The mean annual wage for real estate brokers is $78,940, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bachelor degrees in real estate studies prepare the professional for lucrative careers that have salaries six figures or more. Real estate careers in sales are perfect for self-starters. Since sales positions are commission based, an agent can gain traction quickly without a lot of experience. Those who prefer not to be involved in sales can earn their degrees as a way to break into the business side of real estate. Appraisers, inspectors, and loan officers perform tasks that aren’t related to sales.   

Types of Real Estate Business Degrees

The best college for real estate will offer at least a bachelor degree program. Bachelor degrees from the top real estate programs typically take anywhere from two to four years to complete. Keep in mind that a real estate college degree puts the graduate at a major advantage. With a degree in hand, the college graduate is more likely to receive a quick placement after finishing schooling. A real estate business degree also prepares the individual for working in a specialized field. Real estate licensing courses are different from a college major for real estate. A degree in real estate covers the housing market extensively—going beyond buying and selling houses.

Colleges that have real estate majors are both traditional colleges and virtual campuses. One straightforward degree type available is a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate. This type of college major for real estate is taught by successful agents and brokers. Sample curriculum subjects include Real Estate Market Analysis, Comparing Real Estate Markets, and Real Estate Laws.

A business real estate degree is popular for undergraduate real estate programs. A business degree in real estate focuses more on money matters than marketing to prospective buyers and sellers. As an example, a college may have a bachelor degree called Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Real Estate. Although some laws and regulations about real estate transactions are covered in degree programs, courses delve into real estate appraisals, mortgage applications and processing, lending options, and commercial leasing.

Undergraduate real estate programs have different graduation timeframes, but all top universities for real estate require 120 credits to receive a bachelor’s degree. Most traditional bachelor degree programs take four years to complete. An accelerated degree option may be available for real estate majors. For instance, the college may award credit if the student has significant work experience in the real estate industry.

Online Real Estate Degrees

Degrees in real estate online is the most popular option for bachelor programs. Online degrees in real estate permit the professional to continue working while earning credits. Many realtors first finish a pre-licensing certification program and then pursue real estate online degrees. Online courses have flexible schedules with coursework finished in times that work around prior work and family commitments.

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An online real estate degree holds the same value as a traditional degree. Distance learning is so commonplace that most employers aren’t concerned if the prospective employee earned the degree online or on campus. Instead, the employer will ask about what was covered in the online real estate degree program. Most managers wish to see applicants with online real estate degrees that taught about real estate financial agreements, real estate marketing techniques, housing laws, federal and private loan programs, and inspection regulations.

Many top colleges and universities around the country have global campuses with online degrees in real estate. A few examples of schools with online bachelor degrees in real estate include Marylhurst University, New York University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Ashford University.

The most significant component of online colleges for real estate degrees is accreditation. An online college must have regional accreditation if choosing the school to pursue a bachelor degree. Regional accreditation means that an accrediting agency has reviewed both the college and the degree program. Accredited degree programs have been confirmed to include the information needed for the graduate to succeed in the real estate field.

Accrediting agencies are assigned by the school’s location. As an example, the New England Commission on Higher Education is responsible for accrediting colleges with physical locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Even if colleges offer online classes virtually, the physical location of the school determines the responsible accrediting body. Regional accreditation is always preferred over national accreditation. Regional accreditation is a requirement for most federal student aid programs. Also, colleges may only accept transfer credit from a regionally-accredited institution.  

Certifications in Real Estate

Real estate certifications online are available as a way to gain specialized knowledge in the field. An online real estate certification is not meant to replace a bachelor degree, but instead make a resume standout even more. A real estate certificate program online is usually not time-consuming and may be finished in just a few short hours. More extensive online real estate certificates could require a multiple week commitment. If already employed by a real estate agency or brokerage, an online real estate program online has the potential to be paid for as part of required continuing education credits. Otherwise, free online real estate certificate programs are available.

Real estate certifications can be done through multiple websites, but should always come from an accredited school. As an example, Cornell University has a dedicated virtual campus with multiple programs in real estate. eCornell offers certifications in Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management and Commercial Real Estate. Each online certificate program is broken down into six courses that are topic specific.

Certification programs are also used as a way for real estate professionals to earn their continuing credits for license renewals. Each program should be reviewed thoroughly to confirm that it meets a state’s requirements. Certification course examples for license renewals include Real Estate Investments, Real Estate Ethics, Escrow Management, Fair Housing Rules, and Real Estate Taxation. Virtual courses are readily available in all of these topics. At the end of the course, an option is available for proof of certification. All records of courses and certification program completions should be saved since they may need to be submitted along with license renewal applications.

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Real Estate Licensure Requirements

A key part of becoming a realtor is knowing how to get your real estate license. Despite graduating from a bachelor degree program, getting your real estate license isn’t automatic. Each state has an application that must be submitted before a person can get a real estate license.

What do you need to get a real estate license in most states is being at least 18 years old with a high school diploma. All states require a pre-licensing course before an individual is able to receive a realtor license. Most states require that the pre-licensing course fall in the range of 60 to 90 hours. Even after taking a real estate licensing course, an exam is required. The applicant must pay an exam fee and pass the test. Most states administer a multiple-choice exam that lasts around two to three hours. Passing rates differ in each state, but the majority require at least a 75 percent grade or higher.

Some realtors work in multiple states after licensing. The good news is that some states allow for the realtor to buy and sell in surrounding states. As an example, Oregon has reciprocity agreements with the following states: Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. When

Realtor isn’t the only profession that requires licensure. Sales agents must typically work and be licensed for two years and then apply for a real estate broker license. In addition to experience as a sales agent, the broker must also take an accredited course. A broker pre-licensing course lasts for six to eight weeks on average and covers topics such as contracts, real estate laws, property management, and real estate finance. A licensing state exam is also needed to have a broker’s license.

Careers in Real Estate

Professions in real estate are more plentiful than most people realize. Real estate sales agents are the most prominent because they frequently interact with prospective buyers and sellers. However, there are real estate career paths that also involve working behind the scenes.

Real estate sales agents typically work with buyers and sellers looking to complete property transactions. Although many sales agents work in the residential field, real estate degree jobs prepare the agent for commercial real estate transactions too.

Different types of careers in real estate also include agents who specialize in certain types of properties. For instance, a foreclosure specialist will know the legal process of what to do when a bank is foreclosing on a property. Foreclosure laws are more complex than traditional real estate transaction laws and an agent needs certain training to complete successful foreclosure sales.

Real estate brokers are top-level real estate agents. Only brokers are permitted to manage multiple sales agents and build a team. Most brokers earn a higher annual wage and will have more training in the business side of real estate transactions.

Appraisers are other jobs with a real estate degree. An appraiser works out in the field and evaluates both commercial and residential properties. Appraisers may be hired by government offices or private firms.

Career options in real estate could involve being an investor. Property investors need to have appraisal skills and decide on what type of projects are worth their time and money. Property investors may be actively involved with the project and oversee the flipping of a house or just choose to put money into each project before selling at a profit.

Property management is another type of career path for real estate degree holders. Property managers are responsible for taking care of residential and commercial properties. As an example, a company hires a property manager to take care of an apartment complex. Duties could include rent collection, tenant application processing, and scheduling maintenance as needed.

Real Estate Industry Salary

A real estate jobs salary is more lucrative than most individuals realize. The highest paying real estate jobs pay upwards of $100,000 annually. A real estate degree salary positions the professional for the best benefits and pay packages available. Certifications will also assist in providing lucrative industry pay. Private and public agencies look for professionals with specialized knowledge in areas such as commercial real estate, appraisals, and contracts.

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A real estate sales agent salary is more than $50,000 per year while brokers earn upwards of $78,000 annually. The position is also very fast growing with a projected increase by as much as seven percent over the next five to ten years. Most agents and brokers are considered self-employed and have the ability to create their own availability. Agents involved in leasing also have the potential to earn more in their paychecks.

Commercial real estate average income is slightly higher with agents and brokers earning around $79,000 per year. All types of real estate agents and brokers have the potential to earn $150,000 or more annually depending on their market and reach. Real estate agents have become self-made millionaires by handling acquisitions for high-equity residential properties and commercial buildings.

The highest paid real estate agents in USA derive from New York. The annual mean wage of real estate agents and brokers from New York is $102,000. Additional states with the highest average pay rates for real estate agents are Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and Rhode Island. Metropolitan areas also have high salary average for real estate agents and brokers. New York City, Nassau County in New York, Midland in Texas, and Anaheim in California are a few examples of areas with high salary averages for real estate agents.

Additional commercial real estate jobs can pay very well for the bachelor degree graduate. Commercial loan officers make around $80,000 per year on average. Those involved in commercial leasing management have an average salary of $112,000 or more.

Appraiser salaries depend on a number of factors, including employer and location. However, real estate appraisers can expect to earn between $50,000 and $80,000 per year by the mid-point of their careers.

Professional Organizations in Real Estate

Professional organizations are a must for real estate industry workers. This is especially true for sales agents. Since real estate success is tied to good networking, then you want to interact with other industry professionals as often as possible.

The National Association of Realtors is the top organization for agents and brokers. The professional organization has membership numbers in excess of 1.4 million. Although agents make up a big bulk of the National Association of Realtor’s members, property managers, appraisers, and counselors are also involved. Local chapters are available with members given access to perks such as networking events, scholarships, and continuing education courses.

Institute of Real Estate Management is geared toward professionals who are in the field of property management. Residential and commercial management professionals can join as a way to learn about industry news, take professional development courses, and receive access to field certifications. Courses from the Institute of Real Estate Management not only details how to successfully build a management company, but also informs members on ethical and legal issues that could impact a business.

The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors is specific to those involved in the industrial and commercial side of real estate. The organization has members in excess of 3,000 with professionals located across the globe. Members can attend conferences and workshops as a way to network with others in the field. Professional training opportunities are also sponsored through the association and can be completed online or at select locations. All members are also added to a directory as a way for clients to search for those certified to deal in industrial and commercial real estate transactions.

Along with professional organizations, real estate professionals should research organizations offering continuing credit classes. State licensing agencies typically require renewals for real estate agents and brokers. Renewal cycles differ from state to state, but many governing bodies require renewals every two years. During that two year period, the agent needs to finish between 10 and 20 continuing education credits. Typically, states allow for the licensee to choose the courses for the continuing education credits. However, select courses may need to be on a certain topic. For instance, Pennsylvania requires at least 1.5 credits focus on property management and 2 credits on advertising out of the required 14 credits.