When you imagine real estate professionals, you probably have a pretty clear image in your head of the individuals you’ve watched on House Hunters, trying to sell various properties to potential homeowners. For the most part, your imagination wouldn’t be too far off from what real estate professionals actually do. However, what those reality TV shows don’t show you is the diverse types of roles that real estate professionals can play throughout the industry.
Most professionals who earn an online real estate degree work as sales agents or brokers but graduates can also work in mortgage banking, contracting, property management, or government lease work. Though private home sales have stalled, the U.S. Bureau of Labor projects an 18% growth in demand for real estate professionals nationwide. This growth is thanks to rising commercial interest and robust activity related to managing rental properties. If you love working with people and enjoy sales, an online real estate degree is a great option.
THE CAREER PATH
Careers in real estate provide plenty of room for growth and advancement. Some of the most popular careers in real estate are:
- Real Estate Brokers & Sales Agents – Brokers and sales agents are probably the most familiar types of real estate professionals. They are the individuals who help clients buy, sell, and rent their properties. The primary difference between brokers and sales agents is a licensure that is required for brokers to manage their own businesses; meanwhile, sales agents are required to work with a real estate broker until they receive a licensure of their own. In most situations, professionals can become sales agents or brokers with a high school diploma, as long as they recieve professional licensure. As the field gains popularity, and increases in competitiveness, more positions are requiring applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. If you’re considering starting a new career in real estate, you may want to look into becoming a sales agent or broker. Not only is it easily accessible to those with little educational background, but it offers rewarding compensation upwards of $55,000 on average each year.
- Property, Real Estate, & Community Association Managers – Professionals who manage different types of property are generally the individuals who take care of the many different aspects of residential, commercial, and/or industrial properties including all maintenance and operations. While a license may be adequate for some positions in management, most employers prefer applicants to have at least a bachelor-level education. The larger and more complex the properties or assets, the more background experience and education is required for their management. The increasing demand for qualified management professionals is anticipated to be higher than most other real estate positions, with an expected growth rate of nearly 10% in the coming decade. In addition to fantastic job security, if you decide to advance your career in real estate management, you can expect an average salary of almost $60,000 each year, also one of the highest in the field.
- Appraisers & Assessors – These individuals provide estimates of the value of land and buildings to other real estate professionals and investors before their property is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. Appraisers typically value only one property at a time, and often specialize in either commercial or residential properties. Assessors, on the other hand, usually work for local governments to value properties for property tax assessments. The requirements to become an appraiser or assessor vary by state but almost always require at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for licensure. There will also be high demand for appraisers and assessors in the years to come, more so than the national average for all occupations. Like other real estate careers, these professionals make more than $50,000 each year on.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
The most successful real estate professionals couple a unique combination of communication and interpersonal skills with organizational, business-minded problem solving. If you are interested in a career in real estate, you must be prepared to practice good customer service in conjunction with analytical mathematics. Careers in real estate are for unique professionals with a unique set of understanding that allows them to successfully flip and manage properties to maximize revenue.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Options for earning an online real estate degree span a wide range, from an entry-level associate's degree to a graduate certificate. An associate's will give you a solid introduction to the field, while a bachelor's will provide more comprehensive study. A graduate degree may allow you to turn a business background into a booming career in real estate. Some employers even liken an online master's in real estate to an online MBA.
Education is necessary to work as an agent or broker. To receive licensing, you must complete a certain number of hours of real estate education and pass an exam. After you are licensed, however, more coursework may be needed because some states require continuing education. There are different licenses for appraisal professionals, in addition to brokers, sales agents, and managers that are all available through licensure boards that vary by state. Certificates may help you reach your goal, but check with your local board to confirm that any real estate degree program will meet all the necessary requirements. In addition to the state credentials, professional assessors may choose to gain a competitive edge by earning their Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) credential from the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO).
The coursework in an online real estate degree prepares students to handle the intricacies of managing, evaluating, and selling property. Core real estate degree courses commonly cover a variety of topics, but are generally focused on a solid business curriculum. Some degree programs allow for specialization in finance, property development, urban properties, and other niche areas.
As finance is intricately tied to real estate, expect numerous online classes related to financial management and leasing. Common courses include mortgage banking, accounting, and statistics. Some programs may cover urban economics and investment policies. You'll also study commercial property management, property evaluation, and real estate law. Any online real estate program you choose should prepare you to analyze, market, and sell all types of properties.
An online bachelor's degree in real estate generally costs between $30,000 and $50,000. Click on a listing to view total degree cost including any fees. Certifications, credentials, and licenses for real estate professionals can cost an additional few hundred or thousand dollars. When looking into degrees, it may be possible to consider programs that suit your scheduling and lifestyle needs, in addition to providing resources such as internships and credentialing programs in conjunction with academic courses. No matter what your goals for your career in real estate, there’s no better time to get started.