Do I Really Need a Degree in Real Estate Studies?
Home ownership has long been considered the cornerstone of the American Dream. It connotes a level of security and success that many Americans aspire to achieve. Achieving that dream is not always easy. Besides the obvious financial obligations involved, real estate transactions are complicated, tedious, and require a daunting stack of paperwork. It can be an extremely intimidating process. Thankfully, buyers and sellers can rely upon the professional assistance of real estate agents to guide them through the lengthy, stressful transaction.
Helping people achieve the American Dream is an attractive job description, which might explain why there are more than two million active real estate licensees in the United States today, according to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials. In a competitive field like real estate, agents are often looking for any advantage to stand apart from the crowd. A degree in Real Estate Studies just might be the edge an agent needs.
Technically, a college degree is generally not a prerequisite to become a licensed real estate agent. Most states only require a high school diploma. In fact, the National Association of Realtors reports that only 42% of its members have earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree. It is an advantage that many real estate brokerages value; some of the nation’s top brokerages specifically require agents to have earned a college diploma.
Even if high school graduates decide to forego college and plunge right into the world of real estate, they will still probably need to take classes. Applicants for real estate licenses in most states must take supplementary courses related to finance and real estateii. For example, the State of California’s Bureau of Real Estate requires applicants to show proof they have completed 135 hours of required education in topics like Real Estate Practice and Real Estate Principles in order to apply for a license. Licensing requirements vary state to state, but a bachelor’s program in Real Estate Studies will likely meet some or all of the supplementary education requirements. There is simply no shortcut to learning the ins and outs of the real estate business.
Another advantage of pursuing a college degree in real estate is that you gain a wider range of knowledge. Yes, you will study real estate-specific topics like appraisals, property management, mortgages, escrows, zoning, and property valuation. But you will also cover broader business topics like statistics, economics, business law, organizational management, ethics, accounting, marketing, contracts, advertising, and asset management.
In addition, a bachelor’s program will give you ample room to choose electives and explore areas of interest that have nothing to do with real estate or business. The result is a well-rounded graduate with knowledge of many topics. That kind of knowledge could be a big bonus in a relationship-based industry like real estate that relies heavily upon an agent’s ability to form connections with diverse clients.
That knowledge could come in handy in another important way. Career goals change over time and you may decide you want to move away from a job as a real estate agent. Having a degree in a business-heavy major like Real Estate Studies will give you additional career flexibility. The degree was designed to prepare you for many other careers, such as escrow officer, property manager, real estate investment analyst, homeowner’s insurance claims adjustor, and more.
Whether you decide to pursue your license and become a realtor or you opt to go into a different business field, a degree in Real Estate Studies can lay the foundation for successi.
Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education
For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit http://www.ashford.edu/pd/obares
iSuccessful completion of this degree does not guarantee that any state real estate licensing agency will accept a students or a graduate’s application to sit for or successfully complete any such exam. In addition, Ashford University does not guarantee that any professional organization will accept a graduate’s application to sit for a certification or as a qualifying academic credential for membership in such professional organization.
iiMost US states require licensing to perform various professional activities associated with real estate business services. Such licensing may require an examination performed by designated controlling state agencies. If students or graduates are interested in pursuing any state licenses, they are strongly encouraged to research their local state real estate agency’s requirements for licensure.