Real estate professionals usually work directly with clients looking to buy, sell, or rent a property. Individuals who receive an online master’s degree in real estate can deepen their understanding of topics such as real estate law, property markets, and real estate accounting.
Apart from working as real estate agents or brokers, there are many other roles that can fit the skills of a real estate professional. For example, they can take on jobs as financial service agents, sales agents, loan officers, or property appraisers and assessors. Someone who already has a finance degree can also take up a real estate master’s degree and work in the field of property investment as a personal financial advisor. Though the sector has a slower than average job growth (2%), the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that demand for real estate professionals will continue as people turn to them when they are looking for properties that fit their requirements (BLS, 2021).
If you are thinking of pursuing an online master’s degree in real estate, this guide contains answers to frequently asked questions on the subject. You will know the requirements for admission, the advantages of online learning, and what to consider when looking for your online real estate program, among others.
It is now possible to complete a master’s degree entirely online. According to a study by the Urban Institute, master’s degrees have increasingly been made available online with 31% of graduate students saying that their program was entirely online (Urban Institute, 2018).
Moreover, obtaining a degree online has become common, especially for graduate students who need to manage work responsibilities while pursuing further studies. Based on the same research, 36% of part-time graduate students were enrolled exclusively online compared to 27% of full-time students.
Source: Urban Institute, 2018
Based on a report by Northern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy (CFHETS), online degrees have become mainstream (CFHETS, 2018). In fact, 70% of students indicated that “their most recent prior online learning experience had been completed at a college or university,” and another 52% revealed that if the program they wanted to study was not available via online learning, they would look for it as an online program at a different university (Educationdata.org, 2021).
On the hiring side, the percentage of employers who have a positive view of degrees completed online has also increased in recent years. It used to be that online degrees were deemed inferior to their on-campus counterparts. Today, however, online education standards have become more stringent as well-known higher education institutions start offering their programs online. With that said, it comes as no surprise that among HR leaders surveyed by CFHETS, 61% now view online degrees as generally of equal quality to on-campus degrees (CFHETS, 2018).
Currently, there is no listing of online degrees that are recognized all over the world. Different countries have different standards, so whether your specific online degree will be accepted or not will still depend on the place or organization. This is also the same with traditional degrees offered in major universities—they are not all automatically recognized. Students may still need to earn extra credits or enroll in additional subjects to meet the requirements of a program.
An increasing number of college students are enrolled in online programs in the United States, so if you decide to take one, you will be in good company. As of the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 37.2% of students across all types of postsecondary institutions were enrolled in distance learning courses in 2019 (Statista, 2021). Private for-profit schools had the biggest share of online students with 73.3%, followed by public schools with 36.2%, and private non-profit with 32.3%.
Source: Statista, 2021
Both online and traditional degree programs in real estate provide students with the knowledge they need to work in property management, brokerage and sales, valuation, property development, and mortgage lending. However, these two learning formats also have their differences, among which are:
Online degree programs in real estate are usually delivered via asynchronous learning. Meanwhile, some programs may still be partially synchronous to encourage more participation among students. This method, however, does not seem to be popular among online learners based on the 2020 study by Florence Martin, Brandy Stamper, and Claudia Flowers.
The study “Examining Student Perception of their Readiness for Online Learning: Importance and Confidence” published in the Online Learning journal examined student readiness for online learning through subscales of competencies (technical, communication, online student attributes, and time management) (Martin, F., Stamper, B., & Flowers, C. 2020). Overall, the results of the study showed that the students gave high ratings to their abilities and confidence for online student attributes (ex. self-regulated learning, self-directed learning) and technical competencies. But time management and communication received low ratings.
The authors wrote, “‘use synchronous technologies to communicate,’ competency in the communication subscale, was the lowest-rated competency.” They further explained that “recent studies have found that students prefer the flexibility to participate asynchronously and not having to set aside specific times for online learning.” Citing Park and Bonk (2007), the authors restated that “students viewed time constraints, lack of reflection, language barriers, tool-related problems, and peers’ network connection problems as challenges for synchronous learning.”
Being able to set your own schedule for studying is one of the top reasons why students choose online degrees. With online degrees delivered via asynchronous learning, it also follows that students can study at their own pace. This is an attractive option for many real estate professionals who are juggling work and study. According to the NCES, the number of part-time students is estimated to grow at a faster rate than full-time students. From 2015 through 2026, NCES estimates part-time enrollment to increase by 14.9% compared to 12.2% for full-time enrollment (Wallis, 2020).
A master’s degree in real estate delivered in the classroom provides a more interactive learning experience where students can have face-to-face interaction with a professor or receive on-site training and property tours. They are also more structured, following a set schedule every week, and engaging in hands-on activities.
Meanwhile, the learning experience for online degrees can be well suited to students who like working independently or are good at managing their own study schedules. As for hands-on training, they can receive this through virtual property tours. Meanwhile, face-to-face lessons can be delivered as synchronous sessions through videoconferencing tools.
Not necessarily. The cost of online degree courses in real estate can vary depending on the type of institution, the program itself, and other fees the school might require of its applicants. However, online students can save more on college costs as they no longer need to worry about transportation expenses, food expenses, and room and board costs.
Not all online degrees are created equal. Employers, for example, still judge the quality of a degree completed online based on factors such as the accreditation of the school, the quality of its graduate, and the overall reputation of the university or college where the program was completed. Therefore, the quality of your degree—whether online or on-campus—will ultimately depend on the quality of the educators and institution that runs the program.
A student enrolled in an online degree program will spend about $100-$400 per credit hour, while traditional master’s degree programs often charge an average of $627 per credit hour. A master’s degree in real estate often requires between 32 and 48 credits, so a graduate student taking an online degree in this field would need to set aside $3,200 to $12,800 for a 32-credit program and $4,800 to $19,200 for a 48-credit program.
There can be other costs associated with your online degree such as application fees and online learning or technology fees. Graduate students also need to consider expenses they could incur for capstone projects that require extensive research, on-site visits, and miscellaneous expenses.
If you have the means and the time to invest in graduate studies, then you can definitely have a competitive edge in the real estate business. This is because employers are raising their qualifications for hiring. CFHETS Executive Director, Sean Gallagher in his research “Education Credentials Come of Age,” wrote a key finding that “nearly half of employers (44%) report that they have increased the level of education preferred or required for the same job roles over the last five years—often due to increased skills demands for these jobs, as well as increased supply in the market.” (Gallagher, 2018).
Moreover, obtaining a master’s degree in real estate can qualify you for more high-paying jobs. Based on Salary.com’s data, the median salary of real estate agents with a master’s degree fall between $42,939 and $45,902 (Salary.com, n.d.).
Based on the latest data from NCES, there were more than 6.9 million students enrolled in online courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in 2018 (NCES, 2019). This accounts for 35.3% of students in the U.S. If you are interested in taking an online degree, here are some of the requirements you should prepare:
The advantage of online degrees is that the materials for core courses can be accessed at the convenience of the student. This is of primary importance, especially when you know that 70% of graduate-level students are working full time, while 41% are parents (The Learning House, 2019).
Here are a few core courses you can expect when you take up your online master’s degree in real estate:
Source: The Learning House, 2019Designed by
There are an estimated 120 million students globally enrolled in online courses (Class Central, 2019), but the dropout rate reaches up to 96% on average over five years (Reich, J. and Ruipérez-Valiente, J., 2019). With this in mind, students need to realize that not all are successful in completing their online degrees. There are factors to consider to increase one’s chances of completing an online course.
An online master’s degree in real estate can be a perfect fit for practicing real estate agents who want to deepen their knowledge of the subject or professionals who are interested in working in the real estate industry. Online programs do not only offer more flexibility to working students but can also be more affordable and practical for many individuals.
However, there are a few caveats though when it comes to online learning. For instance, there are online master’s programs in real estate that can lack the hands-on, interactive, and on-site training that in-person programs offer. It can be hard to get the student support you need in real-time and there is almost no student collaboration in some online programs. Thus, it is best to practice due diligence before deciding to enroll in a particular online master’s degree in real estate. In doing so, you can ensure that you are investing in a program that is best suited to your needs and preferences as a student. This article on elearning trends can help you get up to speed with developments happening in online learning.