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A master’s degree is not necessary to sell real estate, but earning one can help realtors learn more about the marketing, communications, and salesmanship required to sell homes successfully.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate degrees such as an online master’s in real estate cost an average of $19,792, significantly cheaper than the average cost of $26,000 for undergraduate students. Programs typically require 30 to 34 credit hours; full-time students can complete most programs in two years. After graduation, students can begin or advance a career in real estate brokering and sales, expecting an average salary of $48,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Real Estate Program

Choose your area of study

Depending on the online master’s in real estate program, students may be able to select from different concentrations. For example, students may be able to choose from concentrations in real estate asset management and real estate finance and investment.

Students should know their future career goals before sending applications. This clarity will help them find the program that will provide the best opportunities to learn about topics they are passionate about and to master the skills necessary to achieve success in the real estate field.

Research schools and programs

It’s always important to consider whether a program is appropriately accredited because the accreditation status verifies whether the degree will be worth what students pay.

Accordingly, cost is another major factor. That’s why students should find programs they can afford and will not require them to take on significant debt. And since this degree is so specialized, it’s advisable to research which professors will be teaching the classes and whether they are knowledgeable and respected thought leaders in real estate. In addition to providing students with a solid education, such leaders can also help them grow their professional network.

Prepare for tests and applications

Most online master’s in real estate programs do not require students to complete the GRE before applying, but it’s best to verify if any prospective programs still have that test as a requirement. Remember that the test can take up to three months to study for, and students may not get test results for 15 days, so consider this when considering the deadlines for different applications.

Otherwise, preparing for the application primarily involves verifying what additional paperwork it will require, including undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application essays.

Select your program

After narrowing things down using the criteria above, it’s essential to use a few additional criteria before deciding which program is best.

For example, students should choose a program that meets their specific budget to mitigate or potentially prevent taking on significant debt. To help bring costs down, students may want to select a program that has specific scholarships or other special financial aid programs (such as graduate assistantships) available. And since online programs can sometimes feel very insular, it’s crucial to find a school with solid teacher communication, tutoring options, and online student communities, all of which can help students succeed.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Those who cannot pay for their degree out of pocket should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. Doing so will help them qualify for certain federal loans to help pay for tuition and textbooks. Additionally, students may discover that other graduate financial aid (including grants, loans, and scholarships) requires them to complete the FAFSA. Further, students should contact the Financial Aid office for any of the schools they are interested in to ask if they may have information about special aid available through the school or the state.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Real Estate Programs

Best Online Master's in Real Estate Degree Programs

Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Daniels College of Business at University of Denver

Florida International University

University of Arizona

Auburn University Harbert College of Business

NYU School of Professional Studies

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How We Rank Schools

For this list, we concentrated on graduate-level real estate programs. Students can obtain several different types of graduate degrees in real estate, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Real Estate Development (MRED).

We also looked primarily for programs that can be completed online to ensure accessibility for all students. Some programs are also offered on-campus or in hybrid formats.

Each program we reviewed are offered by regionally accredited institutions, which is an added assurance that programs meet high standards of quality for postsecondary education. Many of these degrees also have programmatic accreditation through business-related bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

We evaluated each program based on reputation, outcomes, flexibility, faculty, course offerings, and cost. Then, we assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Real Estate Program?

Because the real estate market is constantly evolving, online master’s in real estate programs focus on helping students learn about the different factors affecting real estate sales and how to take advantage of them. That means learning more about the impact of e-commerce, the effects of economic recession, and the versatility of technology in sales and marketing.

Ultimately, being a successful real estate agent or broker means developing the insight and analytical understanding necessary to deal with unexpected opportunities and challenges, which is why the coursework for this program is so diverse.

Most of these online graduate programs are designed to be completed within two years by full-time students. However, there are accelerated programs that allow completion in as little as one year, and most programs are flexible enough that students can take longer than two years as needed. Fortunately, any online program is likely to be streamlined because students won’t have to attend any residencies or other on-campus responsibilities.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in real estate degree program

  • Real Estate Principles. This course builds on existing knowledge of economics and finance while providing a more expansive look at the specific principles underlying the field. Students learn about specific real estate terminology and how to use cutting-edge technology.
  • Real Estate Law. Real estate law is very complex, and this course helps students learn more about the legal complexities involved in buying, selling, transferring, and developing various properties. Students will also know enough to master skills such as performing due diligence, completing real estate contracts, handling commercial leases, understanding real estate taxes, and more.
  • Real Estate Economics. This course focuses on helping students understand the complex relationship between the economy and real estate, including how economic forces shape where people live, the kinds of homes they buy, and when they are most likely to make a purchase.
  • Real Estate Finance. Real Estate Finance includes various specific practice activities designed to help students learn about financing both commercial and residential real estate, including the basics of financing and the complexities of syndication, mortgage origination, and other industry-specific financing activities that every real estate professional must eventually master.

Online Master’s in Real Estate Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in real estate degree program?

To apply for an online master’s in real estate program, begin by accessing the online application at the school(s) of choice. The application should specify the exact admissions requirements, which may include transcripts verifying a minimum undergrad GPA. Depending on the school and program, the application may require students to submit GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, and application essays.

Because no two applications are exactly alike, it’s always advisable for students to contact the school’s admissions counselor to verify the application requirements and to obtain answers to any other questions.

How much does an online master’s in real estate degree cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that graduate degrees like this cost an average of $19,792, but the exact amount will depend on various factors.

For example, the average cost of public schools ($12,410) is much cheaper than that of private schools ($26,597). Additionally, how many credits the program lasts and how long students take to complete the coursework will affect the price. Fortunately, the overall costs for an online program will be cheaper than its offline counterpart because students won’t have to pay for campus fees such as a parking pass or relocate to a university town.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in real estate degree?

Most online master’s in real estate programs are designed to be completed within two years by full-time students.

In some cases, they may find accelerated programs that can be completed in one year. In all cases, the exact number of credit hours in the program will dictate exactly how long it takes to complete everything. No matter which program students select, the most important thing is to find one that is suitable to their schedule and allows them to complete everything promptly without sacrificing time the student may wish to spend with their family or on their career.

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