If you want to get into real estate in North Carolina, your first task will be to complete the required education to get licensed.
But what does that entail?
The state requires all license applicants to complete the 75-hour North Carolina broker prelicensing course through a North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC)-certified provider. While exceptions will be made for individuals with experience or education that the NCREC finds comparable to their educational requirements, the course will be required for most applicants.
So, where should you enroll? To answer that, let's talk about what to look for in course providers, and then we’ll point you to three of the best NC real estate schools.
What to Look For in a North Carolina Real Estate School
When considering your choices of NC real estate schools, there are a few key things to think about:
The first, most basic criteria to consider is whether or not the course provider is certified by the NCREC. If it's not, all the work that you put into the course won't count towards your license. That’s what you’d call a deal-breaker, right?
So, let’s talk about state certification. To begin with, you should know that most North Carolina course providers fall into one of three categories:
A school’s official business structure is of less importance than the education delivery system used because, as you’ll see shortly, that is one of the primary factors that influence the certification requirements the state places on schools.
Please be advised that in May 2022, the NCREC unapproved dozens of Distance Prelicensing Education Providers.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction
Brick-and-mortar schools and community colleges tend to offer synchronous instruction. That is to say, their classes happen in real-time, according to a fixed schedule, with both the teacher and the student present. This is true whether the instruction is in-person or online (think Zoom-style classrooms) or some blend of the two.
Fully online schools tend to offer asynchronous instruction, a form of distance learning in which students receive their instruction without the presence of the teacher and according to the pace and schedule the student chooses.
When the NCREC evaluates education providers for certification, it draws a distinction between educators that offer synchronous instruction versus those that offer asynchronous instruction.
It acknowledges that there are benefits and challenges to both education delivery systems and permits both as long as certain measures are taken.
For example, the state says that synchronous education providers cannot provide students with a course completion certificate unless they attend 80% of all scheduled classes and achieve a 75% or higher score on the end-of-course examination.
The state’s requirement for asynchronous education providers, on the other hand, is that they cannot provide students with a course completion certificate unless they complete all course units and assessments and achieve a 75% or higher score on the end-of-course examination.
Note that the measure of student success (75% exam score) is the same for both education delivery systems.
Where the state’s oversite differs is in how student participation is ensured. Class attendance percentage is the measure for synchronous education, while unit and assessment completion is the standard for asynchronous education.
In the end, the important thing for you to confirm is that, regardless of the education delivery system used, the school you choose is in good standing and presently certified by the state.
Assuming that you’ll limit your search to state-certified schools, you can turn your attention to finding a course provider with a program that fits your schedule and lifestyle.
If you are drawn to the in-person, traditional classroom setting found in brick-and-mortar schools, you’ll want to focus on course providers that are located close by and that are open for business when you need them to be.
If you require more flexibility of schedule than brick-and-mortar schools can offer, online course providers (distance learning) might be your best bet. Just make sure that they have platforms that are easy to access and intuitive to use. In this day and age, that means online schools should be providing a user-friendly experience via desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. And finally, see how students rate the school’s customer support — a particularly important consideration for online course providers.
The aim of the course is to help you learn what you need to know to pass your test and become a provisional broker. The best courses will have a track record of happy students who passed their exams. Read student reviews and look up the school's passing rates.
Be particularly vigilant about online education. Some traditional brick-and-mortar schools are now claiming to offer online education, but all they’ve really done is convert their paper textbooks to PDFs and make them available online. That doesn’t sound like a very engaging experience, does it?
In contrast, contemporary online education providers have created courses that were intended from inception for the online student. These courses contain uniquely digital learning features like videos, animations, and interactivities. And they are often set up to provide instantaneous feedback for the online student. It’s really not hard to tell the difference if you know what to look for.
As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for. But even among the quality education providers, some are more price-competitive than others. So, sure, take a look at the cost. But just make sure you understand what you’re getting in return. Price should not be your primary factor in this decision.
Top 3 Real Estate Schools in North Carolina
Now that you’ve had a chance to consider the most important factors when shopping for a real estate school, here are our top three picks for the best real estate schools in North Carolina.
We’ve selected schools that have an online presence and are, therefore, available to any prospective student within the state.
Aceable is a leading-edge, online real estate education provider that offers convenient and engaging courses for prospective agents across several states in the U.S. — including North Carolina.
Students can progress through the course at their own pace and schedule while accessing the lesson plan from their phone, tablet, or computer. Aceable’s platform is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, and its interactive assessments allow students the ability to continually measure comprehension of the material taught. Additionally, students are given access to study guides, practice tests, and more to help prepare for the state exam.
Nationwide, Aceable's students consistently pass their state real estate exams at higher rates than students from other providers. Another perk? If you don't pass, you get your money back!
RealEstateU also offers online courses that make the learning process easy and convenient. Along with the regular visual and audio courses, you can listen to just the audio courses on the go. Additionally, the school offers eight sample tests to help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
This course is available on a variety of devices and is flexible, allowing you to go at your own pace. While it doesn't have a pass guarantee, you can get your money back as long as you haven't completed more than 50% of the course.
3. The CE Shop
The CE Shop is another online course provider that offers self-paced distance learning in the state of North Carolina. It offers courses written by industry experts. Most of the school's students seem to be satisfied, as it's earned an average score of 4.86 out of 5 stars after 3,072 reviews.
Historically with this provider, you could choose from a variety of packages that ranged from just the courses to the courses plus exam prep, a pass guarantee, business building courses, and the 90-hour post-licensing package.
NOTE: It appears that the state of North Carolina recently decertified The CE Shop, and they will not be allowed to provide online courses until the Summer of 2023. We’ve listed them here because they have been traditionally considered a top choice.
What Type of Real Estate License Is Required in North Carolina?
Prospective licensees who complete their 75-hour prelicensing education requirements and pass the North Carolina licensing examination are initially issued a Provisional Broker license, which is technically a broker’s license on provisional status.
To provide brokerage services during this time, they must operate under the supervision of a Broker-in-Charge. To move beyond the provisional status and work independently if they choose, they must complete an additional 90-hour post-licensing educational requirement.
Start Your NC Real Estate Courses!
Ready to get started on the required education to become an NC real estate agent? Learn more about Aceable's NCREC-certified course today!
After years of helping people across the U.S. make their real estate dreams come true, we are happy to serve NC students!