Whenever a house, apartment, or condo is rented, sold, or leased, you better believe a real estate professional had a hand in the transaction. And while you may not realize it, life in the real estate industry is much more interesting and varied than most people imagine.
Many realtors don’t work in the traditional format. Real estate agencies represent only a small part of the industry, and there are countless pathways into exciting career trajectories. Your choice of education program will affect your experiences and opportunities.
With so many options for a degree in real estate, how are you supposed to make the right choice? Well, that’s why I made this guide. Consider the following five tips when weighing your options for real estate education programs.
1. Check That the School Is Nationally Recognized
Accreditation becomes extremely important where education is concerned. If your school isn’t a part of the recognized network, find another one. Why? Because accreditation matters and employers know it.
Students coming from schools that are backed by qualified accrediting agencies are typically well-received by recruiters because the designation implies the school:
- Is financially sound
- Is staffed by skilled instructors
- Presents its courses as advertised
2. Find out if State Exam Pass Rates Are Above the Standard
Not all programs are created equal. Many fail to live up to the real estate commission’s standards.
A recent summary report showed that more than three-quarters of all schools in North Carolina were operating below expectations, with fewer than 70 percent of students passing. This statistic will vary from state to state, but it’s something to keep in mind whether you’re applying to study online or on campus.
3. Ask About Student Support
Communication either makes or breaks a school. When your assignments and academic record are on the line, you need the confidence of knowing that everything will run smoothly. Ask about student support available at the school, and make sure you’re comfortable with what they offer.
Look for institutions that offer comprehensive continuing education courses that develop your skillset long after you graduate. A reputable school should help you acquire the licenses you need to practice real estate.
4. Make Sure the Course Is Flexible
Do your research ahead of time to avoid overcommitting. Understand that different courses lead to different job markets, so you’ll want to focus in an area that interests you.
For example, self-employed real estate sales agents can expect the sector to increase by 11 percent or more over the next seven years with the creation of 38,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If your preferences change, you’ll want to be able to talk to your adviser about switching your focus next semester.
5. Check to See if Financial Support Is Offered
Some schools, but not all, provide students with flexible repayment options to ease the financial burden of an education. You can also apply for scholarships to drive down the cost of a degree.
Even though college seems expensive, a 2015 report from the National Association of Realtors states that graduates can expect to earn $45,800 a year on average.
Keep in mind that there’s not a single perfect real estate education program. The best course for you will be the one that fits most, if not all, of your personal needs. As long as you take the time to review the program before enrolling, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the perfect fit.
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and blogger focusing on education and career advice. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a blog for young professionals on which she shares advice for finding career happiness and success. Subscribe to Sarah’s blog newsletter and follow her on social media for more great tips.
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