Real estate can be a flexible, rewarding, and lucrative career for anyone who wants to make connections with people while still setting their own schedules. Another plus? You don’t necessarily need a college degree to make it happen.
Do I Need a Degree to Get a Real Estate License?
Short answer: Not necessarily.
Here’s how it works: in most states, your high school diploma is enough to get you in the doors (and in some states, a diploma is not even required for licensure). Instead, here are the general requirements for getting your license:
- At least 18 or 19 years of age.
- US citizen
- Have completed required pre-license education (varies by state)
The pre-license education is the most important component, and substitutes for a college degree. While requirements vary by state, the general process requires you to take pre-license education and then pass an exam to get your real estate license.
Check your state’s real estate commission website for specific course requirements as well as accredited real estate programs and course offerings. Depending on where you live, you may be required to complete anywhere from 40 to 200 hours.
The following states require real estate courses that can be taken from accredited colleges or universities:
- California (can be taken at a college or private real estate school)
- Pennsylvania (you can either take 60 credit hours of pre-license education or have a real estate major from a four-year college)
What are the benefits of getting a degree?
You definitely don’t need a college degree, but having one won’t hurt -- especially as real estate is becoming more and more competitive, and more people in the field hold degrees. Getting a college degree helps you gain knowledge in fields and skills you’ll need to tap into, like finance, business, marketing, and economics. Holding a degree may also make you more attractive to real estate brokerages.
College can also provide other benefits and introduce you to “soft skills,” which influence the way you interact with other people (an incredibly important skill set for any real estate agent!). For example, you’ll have a chance to meet and make lifelong connections, and start building your own personal network of peers and mentors.
Some colleges and universities actually offer real estate degrees. These can be good options if you want to get a head start on becoming a broker, and possibly waive or get credit for other pre-license education courses later on.