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The Best Online Real Estate Schools in Illinois: Colibri Real Estate vs. The CE Shop

Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Best Online Real Estate Schools in Illinois: Colibri Real Estate vs. The CE Shop featured image

Quick note! RealEstateLicenseTraining is partnered with the best online real estate schools. When you sign up using our links, we may get a small affiliate commission. Read how we conduct our reviews here

Thinking of starting your real estate career but don’t know where to start? The first step in becoming a real estate pro is by taking pre-licensing courses. 

Available through real estate schools, pre-licensing courses will provide you with the important industry information you need just before you apply for your real estate license.

So the next question is: Which real estate school should I go to? 

Now that’s a more complicated one to answer. Many factors come into choosing which school to attend. And in the post-pandemic reality, health and safety are major considerations. 

Cue online real estate schools

Online real estate schools have become the new norm. And in Illinois, aspiring real estate pros have several to choose from. All it takes is flipping open your laptop or your smart device and you can learn on the go.

With considerations on health and safety settled, now it’s time to choose from the best online real estate schools in Illinois. We figured there’s no better way of thinking through a difficult decision than with a pros and cons list.

And we’ve also made trimming down options way easier for you as well. We’ve narrowed it down to what we believe to be the two best online real estate schools in Illinois - Colibri Real Estate vs. The CE Shop. 

Which school will win in your books? Read through our review and take your pick.

Colibri Real Estate

Colibri Real Estate Logo

Colibri Real Estate is among the leading online real estate schools in Illinois. It offers different packages that fit the needs of its learners. 

For example, if you already have a background in real estate, you can choose their basic package. Or, if you’re completely new to the industry, you can avail yourself of their most comprehensive course. 

This attention to the needs of its users has made Colibri Real Estate a favorite among students, resulting in stellar ratings and reviews. 

They offer Online Packages and Live Stream Packages to provide you with options on how you’d like to proceed with your online schooling. 

Across all variations of their online packages, you can expect expert and veteran instructors, as well as quality real estate books and online support for your questions. 

The Live Stream packages, on the other hand, offer instructor Q&A sessions and interactions with classmates.

The “Exam Preparation Plus” and the “Ultimate Learning” packages offer the best of both worlds with live streams along with the entire course library.  


  • Has certification from the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) and the International Distance Education Certification Center (IDECC) 
  • Connects you to highly experienced and state-approved instructors
  • Offers a wide range of courses that can fit your learning style 
  • Includes Live Q&A sessions for specific packages
  • Provides an Exam Licensing Pass Guarantee for selected packages
  • Courses are accessible on smartphones and tablets


  • Cancels access to course after six months

Here is an inside look at Colibri Real Estate:

The CE Shop

The CE Shop is an award-winning professional training online school that provides the largest number of continuing education courses in the country. Its real estate courses were developed to be clear, concise, and very interactive.

Through its platform, LEAP 2.0, students are given real-world scenarios. Here you can put your book smarts to practical use. 

This modern online school optimizes its courses for all types of devices, whether laptops, smartphones, or tablets. And customer support is just as accessible through different channels with its lines open for calls, chats, and emails throughout the entire week.

Its different packages share common offers such as e-books and instructor-led webinars. But its higher-end packages provide resources and content for business building and post-licensing.  These premium packages follow you throughout your entire professional journey. 

One of the best things about The CE Shop is that they want to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth when you avail of their services. 

They offer a 5-day free trial and an Exam Licensing Pass guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the course within 30 days (and you didn’t complete 50% of the course), they also offer a money-back guarantee. 


  • Has certification from the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO)
  • Offers a 5-day Free Trial, 30-day Money-Back Guarantee, and an Exam Licensing Pass Guarantee to ensure value for money for its students
  • Provides quality 24/7 customer support
  • Provides interactive and engaging content with a real-life approach to teaching 
  • Provides supplemental material beyond the regular coursework  


  • Offers pre-licensing exam in select states only
  • Only offers CE or broker pre-licensing courses in Illinois
  • Outsources proctoring systems for final course exams in states where it is required, resulting in technical difficulties and conflicts between students and third-party proctors 

Here's an in-depth look at the course:

So, Who’s the Winner?

Again, this all depends on what YOU are looking for as a student. There’s no one correct answer. 

Each online real estate school offers a unique educational experience and has its strengths and weaknesses. Find out what features and offerings matter most to you to help you decide. 

If you’re the type who prefers quality engagement with your instructors, then maybe you can go for Colibri Real Estate’s Live Q&A sessions. 

If you want to become a broker and acquire real-world insights, perhaps The CE Shop’s LEAP 2.0 platform is for you. 

Your learning journey is unique to you. 

Illinois Online Real Estate School FAQS 

What are the prerequisites?

Applicants for an Illinois real estate license must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or its equivalent. You must also accomplish 75-hours of pre-licensing courses.

What are the steps in acquiring a real estate license in Illinois? 

Here are the steps to get you started:

  1. Complete 75-hours of pre-licensing courses 

In Illinois, it is required that students get two types of courses: one 60-hour pre-licensing topics course and one 15-hour applied pre-licensing course.

  1. Take the final exam of the course
  2. Take the Illinois Real Estate Exam

The 140-item test covers two portions: both state and national requirements. You will be required to finish it in 3.5 hours. 

  1. Choose a sponsoring broker

Applicants are required to be associated with an active Illinois broker to help them in building their careers in real estate and to mentor them through their journey.

  1. Accomplish applications with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation

Is it better to take real estate courses online or on-site?

The answer varies for different students. Others learn more with on-site interactions while some enjoy learning at their own pace through online courses. 

However, seeing as safety and health should remain a priority because of covid-19, it is encouraged that students opt for online real estate schools instead of attending in person. 

Rest assured, online real estate schools offer quality content that does not compromise your learning experience despite the current limitations.

How much does an online real estate school course in Illinois cost?

Each online real estate school offers courses at different prices. There are various packages to choose from. Colibri Real Estate starts at $384.30 for Texas, or $90.30 for California. On the other hand, The CE Shop starts at $440.30 for Texas, or $90.30 for California.


Looking to become a real estate agent/broker?

Both Colibri Real Estate and the CE Shop can help you reach those dreams. Both schools offer the best of the best in Illinois. 

Good luck!

Compare Real Estate Schools:

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