Becoming a Real Estate Agent Without a College Degree
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a real estate agent, you may have wondered if you needed a college degree to make it happen. The short answer is no. A college degree is not a prerequisite to secure your real estate license. Instead, you’ll be required to complete “Pre-Licensing” courses to fulfill the educational component of your real estate industry training.
Of course, much of what is required for you to get started in your new career depends on the state in which you live. Some states (but not all),require a future real estate agent to have a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, the majority of the U.S. requires future agents to be at least 18 years old to seek real estate licensure. As for practicing real estate without a college degree, the numbers seem to back that up. The National Association of REALTORS® states that only 31% of all real estate agents have a Bachelor’s degree.
While a college degree is not required to become a licensed real estate agent, it certainly doesn’t hurt, either. The type of degree you receive can benefit your future career in real estate. This guide will outline interesting degree programs that real estate agent prospects may benefit from pursuing.
What Are the Best College Majors for Real Estate Agents?
As stated previously, you do not need a college degree to practice real estate in the U.S. or to begin your real estate courses. However, if you want to pursue a degree, the options below could give you an edge over your competition.
Real estate professionals looking for a major that covers all aspects of business should consider a business administration degree. An extremely versatile academic credential, a business administration major teaches you the ins and outs of building a fruitful business. In terms of real estate, this major will give you the tools to create a strategic business plan to help you dominate your local real estate market and create value for your real estate practice. And, perhaps most importantly, it gives you the skills to manage and master the finances that come with maintaining your real estate business.
Learning how to market yourself and your brand is no easy task. While a marketing degree is not required to earn your real estate license, it can teach you not only the basics of marketing, but also how to deliver the proper messaging through different types of real estate marketing like direct mail, email, and social media. You’ll also learn how to properly market and utilize your social media channels effectively and efficiently. Even if a real estate agent doesn’t pursue a marketing degree, we recommend that those who want to get into this industry take a few marketing classes to hone in on the critical, business-building skills that this major provides.
Similar to marketing, knowing how to communicate is a powerful skill for a real estate agent. A college degree in communications teaches you effective ways to convey vital information and explains how to apply this information to various business fields, including real estate. A communications degree can also show real estate professionals how to research and analyze information, then turn that analysis into a strategy that leads to more real estate business. Conducting local market research to determine the best time to hold open houses is one such example of how a communications degree can set an agent up for success.
While holding a graphic design degree may not be typical for real estate Sales Agent, Salesperson, or Broker License holders, knowing how to design a website, mailers, and maps that show property lines to clients are powerful tools to have at your disposal. Another added benefit of this degree is learning photo editing techniques. Consider how many property photos you will take over the course of your career. Making those photos look crisp and professional with Photoshop will no doubt boost their marketing potential and benefit your real estate business.
Learning how finances work in a business on a day-to-day basis is no easy task. Having an accounting background can not only teach you the hallmarks of a successful business from a financial perspective, but it can also pay huge dividends for you and the real estate brokerage you join upon completing your real estate education. Being a real estate Salesperson who has accounting experience will increase your value in the eyes of your brokerage while helping you understand how the business’ money flows on a day-to-day basis.
Some people are born with an entrepreneurial spirit - others grow into entrepreneurs through education and experience. For those who may struggle with entrepreneurship, this degree is a great tool to sharpen your skills.Your level of success within the real estate industry is really dependent on who you are, how you work, and your dedication to improving. If a real estate agent is only looking at this role as a possible part-time gig, this entrepreneurship quality isn’t as important. But if you want to dominate your real estate market and become a master in your field, approach it like an entrepreneur. Learn how to balance risk and reward with this degree, then apply that knowledge to your career and watch your business thrive.
Understanding real estate finance is a great way to get your foot in the door of your first-choice brokerage. Knowing how to grow a business and recognize the fiscal opportunities to do so are invaluable, which you would learn as a finance major. Like an accounting degree, a degree in finance can make you more desirable to real estate brokerages after you complete your real estate coursework.
Did You Know?
The National Association of REALTORS® states that 31% of all real estate agents have a Bachelor’s degree, 12% have an Associate’s degree, and 31% have some college education. So, while a college degree is not required to become a real estate agent, clearly most REALTORS® have used formal education to their advantage.
How to Get a Real Estate License With Or Without A College Degree
Whether you choose to get a real estate degree before becoming an agent or not, the steps to getting a real estate license remain the same. These are the general education requirements to starting your new career, regardless of the state in which you live. To really aid in the process, most states also allow real estate schools to offer online courses. Online programs help you learn at your own pace or as you have time, especially when everyday life comes calling.
Complete Your Pre-Licensing Education Hours and Pass Your School’s Final Exam
Before you can begin to take the real estate license exam, you must first complete your Pre-Licensing coursework.
Prepare for and Pass Your State’s Real Estate Exam
Exam Prep Edge allows you to take a free initial assessment then receive feedback on the topics you’ve mastered and the ones you need to study harder. Once you complete the initial assessment, you'll study lessons by topic and improve your score with our real-time dashboards while taking unlimited simulated practice exams to fully prepare you for your state licensing exam. We cover everything you need to know from both a national and state perspective based on your state’s Candidate Handbook.
Apply for Your License, Get a Background Check, and Pay All Required Fees
You will be able to find the application for licensure on your state’s real estate commission website. Please note you may need to apply for the license before taking the state exam, and this requirement varies by state. Check your state’s real estate commission website to determine how to proceed. Also, there will be a fee to apply that usually ranges between $100 - $300. At this point, you’ll most likely be required to submit a background check that the state will review before issuing your real estate license. Each state varies in how long they take to review your application and respond.
Get Your License, Join a Brokerage, and Launch Your New Real Estate Career
You did it! You’re now free to begin your new career as a licensed real estate agent. As a licensee, you’re licensed to sell real estate on behalf of a Broker but not as an independent entity, so it’s important to do your research on local Brokers and choose the one that best fits you.
Now that you know that a college degree isn’t required to get your real estate license, visit our Pre-Licensing page to learn more about the educational requirements of joining this industry and start your real estate career journey.