At the time of this writing, there are currently 146 accredited schools providing California real estate courses. On the surface, they all appear to be offering the same thing. However, that could not be further from the truth.
Some schools develop their own courses, while others are merely reselling the courses from other schools. Some programs require proctored final exams and mandatory quizzes while others do not. There are ones that come with hardcopy textbooks and a money-back guarantee. Not to mention the wide variety of available options when it comes to instructor support and getting technical assistance.
After researching through the entire list of schools, here is our pick of the top 5 schools for obtaining your California real estate license.
1. Allied Schools
Allied Schools is currently the top online real estate school in California. They were recently acquired by Real Estate Express. However, they are still operating under their own platform.
The Allied Schools program is great for the self-starter that wants to learn independently. You are given one full year of unlimited online access to complete the courses at your own pace. There are hardcopy textbooks available, and the quizzes are even optional. You only have to pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher to complete the course.
What I like about Allied Schools is that there are no hidden fees. You can take the quizzes and final exams as many times as you need within your one-year term without having to pay a re-testing fee. What I don’t like about it is that their user interface needs a serious cosmetic facelift. Although it is easy to navigate, it looks like they are using the same design from the 1990s.
Best suited for: the Go-Getter
Because there is so much “freedom” to study however you want, you really have to be disciplined and motivated about your studying habits to finish the program with Allied Schools. Overall, it is a little higher on the price range and if you can look past the aesthetics, it is a solid program that is student-friendly.
Learn more at www.alliedschools.com
2. Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express is the rising star in online real estate education in California. They have high marks in pretty much every category. The courses look very clean and modern. There are 4 packages available to meet anyone’s studying needs. You can opt for just the online courses if you are confident in your test-taking skills, or if you want more support, you can go with the full program that includes the textbooks, dictionary and exam cram videos.
The top two packages at Real Estate Express include weekly Q & A sessions where you can ask questions directly to a certified instructor. These packages also include the Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, so if you fail the state exam on your first attempt, they will give you a full refund on your courses.
I wasn’t thrilled about some of the fine print. You do have to take all the quizzes and pass them with a score of 80% or better to advance to the next chapter. Also, you are given 6 months to complete the entire course and 2 attempts to pass the final exams with a score of 70% or better. If you are not able to complete the program within those guidelines, then there is a re-enrollment fee to continue the program.
Best suited for: the Value Shopper
Real Estate Express provides the best overall experience and most value for the aspiring real estate agent. They offer high-quality content that will adequately prepare you for the state exam. They also have frequent promotions, so you can usually get a great deal.
Learn more at www.realestateexpress.com
Kaplan Real Estate education provides industry-leading content in many different industries. They offer the most variety in terms of study formats, ranging from online video courses to live classes. However, they are one of the most expensive education providers out there.
If you prefer the traditional way of sitting in a classroom and listening to the instructor, then you can select their Live Class Package. A single live course takes about 5 weeks and consists of 3-hour sessions that typically meets 1 to 2 times per week. They have locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, and San Diego.
If you are unable to make it to a class, Kaplan Real Estate has online options where you can attend class virtually from home or study On Demand at your own pace. You can watch pre-recorded instructor-led video courses or take their text-based courses which is like reading an online book.
Best suited for: the Interactive Learner
If you want to be in an active learning environment and have an unlimited budget, then this program from Kaplan Real Estate will be perfect for you. The teacher-student interaction you get in the video and live courses will keep you engaged the whole time.
Learn more at www.kapre.com
4. The CE Shop
These courses from The CE Shop are unique from other schools in that they require active learning. They are text-based, so you are reading an online book. However, the quizzes and final exams have a variety of question formats (i.e. matching, multiple-choice, fill in the blanks, etc…) This has been shown to help you retain the information better, but you may find yourself spending more time in the course. This is simply because you can’t cut any corners and have to read every question and answer carefully.
The content in the course is based on real-life scenarios and actual situations that real estate agents have encountered. This will not only prepare you for the state exam but also after you get licensed. The CE Shop boasts a pass rate of over 90% on their website. This is based on their own self-reported surveys, so you should take this information with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, after personally seeing how rigorous and thorough the program was, I am entirely confident in the integrity of their high pass rate.
The CE Shop also provides industry-leading support hours, covering all 7 days of the week via phone, email, and live chat.
Best suited for: the Knowledge Seeker
This is great for people who genuinely want to take their time to learn as much as possible so they can set themselves up for a successful career in real estate. The CE Shop is the perfect program for the book worm.
Learn more at www.theceshop.com
360training.com is one of the leading providers in online education across industries. They offer over 6,000 regulated and non-regulated courses that have served over 4 million students in 67 different countries. They only provide 2 packages for the California real estate program, but they are both pretty cheap.
Their program is an online correspondence course that includes a downloadable PDF. The lesson quizzes are mandatory, and you do have to score at least a 70% or better in order to move on to the next lesson. You are given one year to complete the program and 2 attempts to pass the final exam. This should not be hard since you only need to score 60% or higher on the final exam to pass.
The prices at 360training.com are among the lowest in the industry. However, they do not provide very much additional study materials. Also, they have one of the most stringent refund policies that I have seen: you have 72 hours to request a refund provided that you have not completed 50% or more of the course and have not attempted any portion of a test.
Best suited for: the Budget Shopper
360training.com is really geared for someone who already has a lot of experience in the real estate industry and wants to spend the least amount of money to fulfill the education requirements.
Learn more at www.360training.com