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Do I Need a College Degree to Be a Real Estate Agent?

Image of people wondering if they need a college degree to be a real estate agent

Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: November 5, 2019

Becoming a real estate agent is an attractive career option for many people because of the minimal requirements to get started. Regardless of educational or professional background, most people can start a new career as a real estate agent within a few months. For motivated self-starters, the combination of minimal requirements and high earning potential makes real estate sales a perfect fit.

No degree? No problem. You don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent in most states. A degree or certificate program can help you learn skills that you’ll use while on the job, but it’s not required. In fact, there are only a few things required to become a real estate agent in each state. Familiarizing yourself with those requirements is the first step you can take towards starting your career in real estate.

Thinking about starting a real estate career? Download the Launching Your Real Estate Career eBook.

How do I become a real estate agent without a college degree?

To become a licensed real estate agent without a college degree, the process is straight-forward. Each state has its own set of requirements for real estate licensure, but they all involve taking a certain amount of prelicensing education and passing an exam.

Once you figure out how to satisfy your state’s requirements, you can start taking your prelicensing education and preparing for your exam. Luckily, there are many options out there to help you succeed, including online and weekend real estate courses and exam prep tools.

It’s a good idea to plan out the next few months of your time so that you can stick to a schedule of completing your prelicensing education and preparing for your exam. Choose a real estate school that’s approved by the state where you want to earn a license and offers courses that fit your schedule and instructional preferences. Many people find the prelicensing education usually isn’t enough to fully prepare for their real estate exam. You can get a head start on your exam day prep by investigating exam study tools and making a plan for success on exam day.

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What are the best college majors for real estate agents?

Popular majors for future real estate agents include marketing, finance, accounting, psychology, and business. Even though going to college isn’t required, you may find it helpful to complete a degree or certificate program to gain knowledge that would help you succeed as a real estate agent.

Passing your exam and completing your prelicensing education doesn’t guarantee you a thriving career, which is why many agents find it beneficial to have additional background knowledge in marketing themselves, maintaining their finances, and understanding the psychology of their clients.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time at a four-year university to gain an understanding of these topics, either. For a busy parent or professional, it might not be feasible to find the time and money needed to earn a four-year degree in real estate. Local community colleges offer two-year associate’s degrees in areas like marketing, business, and accounting, and many offer night and online classes. Boosting your marketing or business knowledge could be as simple as taking a few classes.

Which schools offer degrees or certificates in real estate?

If you’re looking for something more comprehensive, some four-year colleges and universities have begun offering specific real estate degrees and certificates. Attending a four-year university to study real estate is a good option for prospective students who are planning to attend college regardless of their major. At many of these colleges, you’ll receive a solid educational background in real estate law, finance, and development.

A few schools that offer degree or certificate programs in real estate are the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin—Madison, UC Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin. You can see a full list of top schools for real estate degrees here.


One of the benefits of the real estate salesperson’s licensure process is that its accessible to people from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. You don’t need a college degree, and the requirements are minimal. Ready to start preparing? Find your state from this list to learn more about your required prelicensing education.