If you aspire to become a real estate agent, you might be wondering how a bachelor’s in real estate finance, one of the highest-paying bachelor’s degrees, might help you with your future endeavor. Real estate agents and brokers need to be licensed in order to work. While they don’t need to have a degree for their job, they do need to have taken a number of real estate courses to meet the licensing requirements, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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The Path to Getting a License
Though all real estate agents need a license to work, not all stated have the same rules. However, every state requires some amount of formal education in the subject of real estate. You can meet this educational requirement in different ways.
It’s true that you could get this education from a simple pre-licensing course that doesn’t come with a full college curriculum or culminate in a college degree. If you did decide to go for a bachelor’s degree in real estate, you wouldn’t be wasting your time. The real estate courses you take at the college level fulfill the education requirement for licensure in many states.
Different states require different amounts of education for real estate licensure. Some states expect real estate agents to have just 45 hours of education, while other common educational requirements include 60, 90 and even 120 hours of classroom education. Aspiring realtors who are seeking licensure in these states, in particular, are likely to decide that earning a degree while working on the education they need for licensure isn’t a bad investment. If you aspire to advance as a real estate agent and become a real estate broker, that position requires even more education. A bachelor’s degree is the most common level of education among real estate brokers, with 37 percent of the occupation reporting this degree as their highest level of education, according to O*NET.
Texas has one of the highest education requirements in the United States, requiring candidates for a real estate license to complete a minimum of 180 classroom hours in qualified real estate courses.
Expanding Your Knowledge by Earning a Degree
Pre-licensing courses will cover the practical information you need to facilitate the purchase and sale of real estate, but there’s a lot more to learn about the field. Earning a degree in real estate finance will take you beyond the basic principles of real estate and real estate law. Real estate finance programs will go into the principles of real estate investment and mortgage banking and real estate finance. The knowledge you gain from a real estate finance program can help you make better decisions for yourself and guide your clients to do the same. By knowing what properties are good investments, you can make smart decisions to grow your own finances as a real estate investor or developer.
While some programs focus more narrowly on real estate finance, others are broader in scope and involve more coursework in various fields of business administration with a concentration in real estate finance. A business-oriented curriculum can be a great choice if your goal is to become a real estate broker and run your own real estate company. Pursing a path like this would teach you how to manage a business and be a leader while still helping you learn about real estate law and the specifics of managing real estate development.
One of the main differences between a real estate agent and a real estate broker is that an agent must work under a broker. Using your education to become a broker will allow you to have real estate agents working under you, instead of the other way around.
Marketing Yourself with Your Education
The BLS predicts jobs for real estate agents to grow by a faster than average rate of 7 percent, but your success in this job depends in large part on the strength of the economy as a whole. A better economy leads to more people looking for houses, but if the economy starts heading downward, agents can see house buying interests go down as well. This fact is particularly important because a real estate agent’s income is based on their sales. A skilled agent who works hard has unlimited earning potential in good economic times, but an agent who makes few sales will also see very little income.
Agents that are just starting off must compete not only with other new agents but with experienced ones as well. While there isn’t a way to gain experience before entering the field, having a degree can give you an advantage, especially if you majored in real estate or real estate finance. Employers and clients can see that you were willing to invest in making yourself more knowledgeable and that you’re fully invested in the world of real estate.
Don’t forget that with a job based on sales, having the best listings is helpful. Some employers might take education into account when looking at agents with similar track records.