Back when I wanted to get my California real estate license online, I had no idea which course to choose. There are dozens of online real estate license courses that are certified in California for pre-licensing as well as continuing ed. To make things even more complicated, the California Department of Real Estate website does not have an easy to read list of online real estate schools, nor are they allowed to recommend one course over another. That’s exactly why I decided to create these reviews of the top 5 online real estate schools to get your real estate license online in California.
What You Should Know About Obtaining Your California Real Estate License Online
I’m going to guess that you already have a full-time job, or you are in the process of making a career change into real estate. I was in the same situation. For me, attending a traditional classroom-based real estate school was not an option. I was far too busy with the job I already had as well as just dealing with “life stuff”. So, getting my Calfornia real estate license online was the only way I could realistically ditch my current and crappy job for a fresh start in real estate.
Here’s the thing you need to know about online real estate schools though…. They are horrifically outdated. Sure, they may be officially approved in California for real estate training purposes, but that doesn’t mean they are any good.
The #1 complaint you’ll find around the web about online real estate schools, whether it’s for California or elsewhere, is that the courses are outdated in just about every metric. Many online real estate schools in California still are not mobile-friendly, so if you want to study on the go, you’re out of luck. What’s worse is that many of these online real estate schools have outdated course material, to the point students get questions wrong when they take their actual real estate license exam.
This is unacceptable, but until someone steps in to change this, it’s something you need to be aware of. No matter what school you go with to get your California real estate license online, expect it to be very outdated, mostly consisting of page after page of plain text. It’s not going to be fun or easy, but I assure you it’s worth it!
Best 5 Schools To Obtain Your California Real Estate License Online
While there are dozens of online real estate schools in California, the below schools are the ones I recommend most. As I explained above, you should keep your standards pretty low, but these are the real estate schools that have shown to have the best chances of success.
Reviews Of California Real Estate Schools By Researching Student Pass Rates – The state of California does not publically track student pass rates for real estate schools, however, the state of Texas does. The real estate schools listed below are approved in both Texas as well as California. So, what I did was look at student pass rates in Texas. I’m assuming the pass rates are very similar for those obtaining a California real estate license. In most cases, the courses with the highest student pass rates will be the ones that offer you the highest chances of success.
Real Estate Express has been approved in California for a long time and it may even be the most popular online real estate school in California. Their student pass rate is around 70% and there is a very good sample size of students to arrive at that number. This may seem high or low to you, but this is actually higher than the industry average. Real Estate Express is actually the service I personally used to obtain my California real estate license online and for the most part, I was pretty happy with the coursework. It was certainly boring and there is a TON of text (not much in the way of video, interactive features, etc.) but it was organized pretty well. I also opted to receive the textbooks to go along with my online course material which helped me to stay organized and take notes. You also get access to an instructor via email which is pretty cool. It just sucked having to wait for 24hrs for a reply to a question. They do have a weekly live Q&A session which helps if you have some questions you’d like answered. There are also “virtual classrooms” and forums where students can network and ask each other questions, but I found it to be pretty inactive. All in all, however, I found Real Estate Express had great course material and it adequately prepared me for the California real estate license exam (I passed!). I would definitely recommend Real Estate Express to friends or family.
Mbition, also called Oncourse Learning, is another great place to get your California real estate license online. They have a student pass rate of about 65%, which is lower than Mbition, but there was a relatively small sample size of students to gather this data from so it may not be as accurate. In any case, a 65% pass rate on the real estate license exam is still higher than most other online real estate courses. What I really like about Mbition is how the course material is organized. Most other online real estate schools just have page after page of text, many times just hundreds of PDF files, and while it’s in some sort of order, it’s really hard to keep track of everything. Mbition excels in this regard. All of the material is organized neatly. You’ll always know what you’ve completed, what you’re currently studying, and what is coming up next. Mbition also has some excellent supplemental guides and programs to help out in the harder to learn areas. For example, I’m terrible at math and learning the formulas was hard for me, but Mbition has special supplemental training material to help you learn that stuff. It’s nice to see them go above and beyond just the bare minimum requirements, which is why I can easily recommend this school.
Rockwell Institute is one of the highest-rated online real estate courses in California. Unfortunately, a common theme with online real estate schools is poor reviews. However, Rockwell has received excellent feedback on their Facebook page as well as an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. They even have a full 5-star rating on Yelp which is extremely uncommon for real estate schools. Trust me, the positive reviews that Rockwell receives all over the web are not very common with these online courses. As long as you follow their instructions and training program, they are so confident you’ll pass your California real estate exam on the first try that they actually guarantee you’ll pass. Rockwell offers a couple of different packages depending on your budget and preferred learning style, but both packages will fulfill all California state requirements. And finally, Rockwell understands that simply reading blocks of text on every page makes retaining information very difficult, so they break things up with visual aids to help you retain the information better than most other online real estate schools. At the very least, check them out and make your own decision, but this should be a very serious consideration.
Kaplan has one of the highest student pass rates in the industry. As of this review, Kaplan has about an 80% student pass rate. That’s actually pretty darn impressive. A lot of people feel more comfortable with Kaplan as it is run by an actual college. One of the greatest advantages to obtaining your California real estate license online through Kaplan is you actually get phone access to an instructor. Now, that doesn’t mean you can just call them anytime and expect them to be there, but this is one of the very few online real estate courses that give you access to an instructor via phone instead of just email. Kaplan is also one of the few online real estate schools that offer tuition assistance. While their prices tend to be slightly higher than other online real estate courses in California, it appears they are worth the additional cost for many students simply based on how many of them pass their real estate license exam. While this course is not organized quite as well as other available options, the reviews online are mostly positive. If you’re looking for a real estate school that has been around for decades and is backed by an actual college, Kaplan is certainly worth checking out.
5. 360 Training
360 Training offers a bunch of different professional and licensing courses online, including real estate. As we get further down my list of recommended online real estate schools, the number of students who pass the real estate exam starts to drop a bit. 360 Training has a current student pass rate of around 57%. While this seems low compared to the other real estate schools listed, that is actually a bit above average for most online real estate schools in California. As with any high quality online real estate school, you get access to live virtual classrooms and you will be assigned a personal instructor that can be reached via email. 360 Training seems to have better than average customer support with live chat, phone, and email options in case you run into any technical problems along the way. This is also a cheaper real estate course than some of the other options I’ve listed. While 360 Training isn’t necessarily my top pick for the best online real estate course in California, they have better than average pass rates, good customer service, and the course material seems to get updated regularly.
BONUS: Allied Schools
Allied Schools has been around for 26 years and they are one of the most well-known online real estate schools in California. Their student pass rate is around 54% and there is a pretty large sample size to get this data from, so that should be a pretty accurate number. This is not an impressive number, but anything above 50% is considered to be “in good standing”. One advantage that Allied Schools has over some of the other courses I’ve reviewed is live support which includes access to an instructor over the phone and through email (as well as a fax if you still have a fax machine!). Most other online real estate schools in California only allow access to an instructor via email and do not offer phone support. Allied Schools also offers a 110% money-back guarantee, although the specific details of that guarantee aren’t posted publicly. Allied Schools wouldn’t be my top recommended way to get your California real estate license online, but if for whatever reason you don’t like my top 4 recommendations, this is another long-standing and well-known online real estate course that you should check out.
Is Getting A California Real Estate License Online Better Than A Classroom?
There is a lot of debate about this. For me, I really didn’t have the option. I was simply too busy in my life to attend a traditional real estate school, so if I wanted to get my California real estate license I was going to have to do it online. But maybe for you, either option is on the table. Which is better? Going to a classroom real estate school or taking an online real estate course?
Both options have their advantages, but until online real estate courses in California decide to become more than simply walls of text, I will always recommend taking your real estate course in a classroom rather than online. When you go to a physical classroom, you can ask questions to instructors, network with students, and get the hand-holding help that many people need. Sure, you have to show up on certain days and times, and nobody enjoys sitting through lectures, but if you truly want to give yourself the best chance to succeed, going through a traditional real estate school in a classroom really does seem to be the best approach.
Final Thoughts On Obtaining Your California Real Estate License Online
For many of us, obtaining a California real estate license online is the only feasible way to complete our state required “classroom” hours. While attending a traditional real estate school is probably the best option, there are thousands of people every year who obtain a real estate license that wouldn’t have been able to if online real estate courses didn’t exist. I happen to be one of them. If I wasn’t able to get my California real estate license online, I probably would have never gotten my license at all.
Hopefully, my reviews of California online real estate courses listed above was helpful and moves you in the right direction. Best of luck as you start this amazing career path into real estate!