To become a real estate agent in Illinois, one must complete 90 hours of classes and pass the real estate broker exam. While there are many real estate schools in Illinois to choose from to meet this requirement, we have determined the six best options based on a variety of needs and learning styles.
Top 6 Real Estate Schools in Illinois
Illinois Real Estate Schools
(Best Overall) Students looking for affordable high-quality course content and accessible instructors
Agents wanting guaranteed employment following course completion
Learners preferring a live classroom experience
New agents seeking professional coaching
Certified brokers seeking continuing education courses
Students wanting a fast track program
How We Evaluated The Best Real Estate Schools in Illinois
We know that everyone’s situation is different. Some students are seeking live classroom instruction, and others are most concerned about cost. Others might be looking for online courses that can be completed at one’s own pace or fast-track schools that will expedite the process. Therefore, to find the best real estate school in Illinois we have considered factors like customer support, course offerings, and customer reviews.
These are the criteria we used to evaluate the best real estate school in Illinois:
- Pre-Licensing Courses: While real estate schools in Illinois cover continuing education and professional development, most students are looking for pre-licensing courses. While we included one school on our list that focuses on continuing education, the rest of our choices were based on the classes they provided for those pursuing a new career as a real estate agent.
- Price: The price for the 90-hours of pre-licensing courses vary greatly. We took cost into account when we chose our top six schools. We sought the most affordable options that offered also offered the highest value.
- Features: While some prefer the convenience that comes from taking an online class, others prefer working with instructors in a traditional classroom setting. Our list includes some of both. We will also tell about any unique features that each school offers, such as free test prep materials or assistance with finding a managing broker.
- Customer support: It’s comforting to know that there’s help available when one needs it. We learned about each real estate school’s customer support system. This article will detail what channels are available for assistance in understanding course content and obtaining tech support. We will also highlight the hours customer support is available at each school.
- Customer reviews: We also took a look at the customer reviews for each of the real estate schools. We’ll discuss the features that users loved as well as ones that were less than impressive so future students can learn the unbiased insights from students of the past.
After analyzing these six real estate schools in Illinois, Real Estate Express impressed us the most. It’s the most affordable option by far, and the school gives students easy access to instructors for when additional help is needed with a topic. That’s why we named it one of the best real estate schools in Illinois.
Real Estate Express: Best Overall Illinois Real Estate School
Real Estate Express is a national online real estate education provider that offers pre-licensing packages starting at $329 and continuing education courses. Students also have access to certified instructors through email or phone calls. Given its affordability and quality, Real Estate Express is an ideal option for budget-strapped students who want high-quality education and are comfortable with online-only classes.
Real Estate Express Pricing
Real Estate Express offers two pre-licensing packages for Illinois. The basic package, which has been described as the right choice for self-starters, costs $329. The Exam Preparation package costs $429, and it comes with access to practice exams as well as flashcards.
That said, Real Estate Express is known for running continual sales. Most of the time, students can purchase programs for a 30% discount off the full price. They are so confident in their program that they offer a money back guarantee for customers who don’t pass the Illinois broker exam.
Real Estate Express Features
Besides the money-back-guarantee, Real Estate Express provides students with easy-to-read slides full of information they will need to pass the Illinois broker exam. It also offers a class that teaches practical advice on how to be a successful agent.
Real Estate Express’ features and benefits include:
Real Estate Express allows students to go through the state-required course material at their own pace. The information is presented as text, and students have the opportunity to test their knowledge in interactive quizzes. The information can be read on any device, and students can take electronic notes as they go. All one has to do for clarifying information is to email a certified instructor from the page with the difficult content.
Besides offering the two packages of 90-hour pre-licensing classes, Real Estate Express also allows students to buy the material in two different segments. One can purchase the 75 hours of Broker Pre-License Topics for $300 and the Illinois Broker Applied Real Estate Principles Interactive course for $99.
There are also Illinois Managing Broker Pre-Applied Management and Supervision courses and the Sherri Johnson 90-Day Boot Camp for $297. Although this latter option is included in the Exam Prep package, those who take their pre-licensing courses from another school may want to take this course that covers lead generating, marketing, branding, and business planning.
Real Estate Express is so confident in its materials that if customers don’t pass the Illinois Real Estate Broker Examination the first time it is taken, the course cost will be refunded to the student.
Real Estate Express Customer Support
Real Estate Express offers convenient technical and instructor support from the dashboard of the online class. Students can email or call for technical or instructional support. The website says that certified instructors will return emails within 24 hours, but most reviewers say that they received immediate responses.
What Real Estate Express Is Missing
Real Estate Express seems to check off all the boxes of what one would expect for an online real estate school. However, some reviewers complained that the material is given through text-heavy slides. That is probably par for the course. Live instruction is available at the Inland Real Estate School for those who would prefer not to read all the content.
What Users Think About Real Estate Express
It’s hard to find very many reviews of Real Estate Express. Some users complained about technical issues, while others noticed grammatical mistakes in the course content.
Overall, those who put in the time and effort seemed to pass the Illinois broker exam. Those who weren’t able to pass on the first time were refunded their money.
Real Estate School of Illinois: Best for Offering Guaranteed Employment
While some of the companies on our list are national companies that offer state-specific courses, the Real Estate School of Illinois focuses its energies on exclusively training new real estate agents in the Land of Lincoln. This real estate school, which costs $399 also provides something that other schools don’t—a guaranteed job upon program completion, making it a great option for aspiring agents looking to minimize the time from license to first commission.
Real Estate School of Illinois Pricing
Real Estate School of Illinois offers one package that covers all 90 hours of pre-licensing courses. The package is $399, but it frequently goes on sale. One can also purchase the 75-hour class and the 15-hour applied course separately, but it is much more cost-effective to buy a package that includes both.
Real Estate School of Illinois Features
The Real Estate School of Illinois offers web-based instruction, so one can begin work on a new career anywhere there is internet access. Although there aren’t any unique course offerings that would set it apart from the other options we compared, this school will provide all the content necessary to pass the Illinois broker exam.
The school’s highlights include:
Like Real Estate Express, the Real Estate School of Illinois allows students to access their materials anytime and anywhere. The courses include audio presentations, exercises, and practice quizzes. The classes are self-paced, so students can learn the content when their schedules allow.
The Real Estate School of Illinois does not offer any a la carte options such as test prep guides or review sessions offered by other providers. Instead, the company says that they give students everything they need to pass the Illinois broker exam the first time they take it, which is no small claim.
Two things are unique about The Real Estate School of Illinois. If one is struggling to find a managing broker to work under after passing the state exam, the professionals in the school guarantee that they will assist in finding one.
Second, those who enroll in these online classes are assigned a specific instructor. Their instructors are licensed real estate brokers or attorneys, and they will be your contact should you have any questions regarding the material, saving students from having to work through confusing corporate phone trees.
Real Estate School of Illinois Customer Support
Even though students have access to the course material 24/7, the customer service hours are not listed on the website. As soon as a student enrolls, he or she will be given the name, number, and email address of a specific instructor to assist during the duration of the courses.
What Real Estate School of Illinois Is Missing
The Real Estate School of Illinois doesn’t seem to offer any test prep materials. Although their website says students will be prepared for the exam after completion of their courses, they may feel better having access to review materials. If exam prep material is important, consider using Real Estate Express.
What Users Think About Real Estate School of Illinois
There aren’t very many online reviews for the Real Estate School of Illinois, but those available are incredibly favorable. One reviewer on Yelp did mention that the audio lectures kept referring to a textbook, but the book was not included in the cost of the class. It doesn’t seem to be offered on the website either.
Inland Real Estate School, Inc.: Best For Live Classroom Experience
For some, reading slides full of boring material sounds like a nightmare. That’s why we included Inland Real Estate School on our list. While this school does offer online real estate classes where participants receive information by reading slides for $599, it’s better known for its face-to-face pre-licensing courses, making it a great option for those who prefer live instruction.
Inland Real Estate School Pricing
Inland Real Estate School offers two packages. The first one is the Classroom Package. This $649 package allows students to attend live classes or webinars for three weeks. The other package, called the Home Study course, can be purchased for $599. This class gives students the opportunity to read the classroom content on their own.
Inland Real Estate School Features
Unlike the previous two schools, Inland Real Estate offers a wide variety of learning options for their students. They also offer one-on-one tutoring as well as managing broker classes for when a professional is ready to take that next step in his or her career.
Inland Real Estate Schools’ benefits are described as follows:
The reason Inland Real Estate School made our list was for their highly-rated live classes. The live courses are in Oak Brook, which is a western suburb of Chicago. Obviously, this location will not work for people living outside the Chicagoland Area, however, others throughout the state can access the class through live webinars.
Like most other schools, Inland Real Estate School offers other real estate-related courses as well as those designed to help you pass your initial exam. The school offers classes to assist professionals in becoming a managing broker, a mortgage broker, or a real estate investor.
Inland Real Estate School offers private tutoring sessions to help students study for the exam. The sessions are with certified instructors and cost $75 per hour. The sessions can be completed via Skype, Zoom, or at their office in Oak Brook. Whether students need help with a tricky concept or assistance in how to do some of the mathematical equations used in real estate, a private tutor may be the perfect option.
Inland Real Estate School Customer Support
The website lists a technical support number as well as an office number, and students can also communicate with company representatives via online chats. Inland’s business hours are not listed on its website, but the school offers morning and evening classes at its Oak Brook location.
What Inland Real Estate School Is Missing
While Inland Real Estate offers a great benefit for those who want face-to-face instruction, it is expensive compared to other options. In fact, its online classes are almost three times the price of Real Estate Express’s sale prices. The other thing we noticed about Inland Real Estate is that their website was full of grammatical errors, and the website text was poorly written.
What Users Think About Inland Real Estate School
There aren’t a lot of customer reviews for Inland Real Estate, but the ones we found were very complimentary of their instructors. Reviewers wrote about how the instructors used a lot of examples during class and cared about whether you understood the material or not.
Kaplan Real Estate Education: Best for Offering Professional Coaching
Kaplan is a household name in the testing industry with packages starting at $799. Although Kaplan’s Real Estate Education offers live instruction in many states, Illinois is not one of them. It does, however, offer professional coaching for those who are ready to begin a career. This makes Kaplan a good option for aspiring professionals looking for a mentor as much as they are looking for a license.
Kaplan Real Estate Education Pricing
Kaplan’s two pre-licensing packages cost $799. The Career Launcher Textbook Package includes a textbook and access to 15 hours of applied learning through a live, online class. The second package, called the Career Launcher Online Package, gives students access to online material as well as the live, online class.
Kaplan Real Estate School Features
Kaplan isn’t the cheapest option of real estate schools in Illinois, but it has some features that make it stand out from other schools. Not only does it allow students to vary their instruction experience with both textbooks and live online courses, but it also offers professional coaching as well.
Other features and benefits of Kaplan include:
Kaplan offers a home study course with a printed textbook. There aren’t many companies left offering that option. The school also allows students to obtain the same material from their online class. With either option, students are required to take the last 15 hours of classes through a live webinar.
Kaplan offers the courses one needs to become a managing broker, and the continuing education courses needed for both types of licenses. Agents can purchase continuing education courses in bundles, but the school also offers 15 individual classes over trending topics in real estate. For example, agents can learn about the tiny house craze as well as real estate scams that are sweeping the nation.
The reason that Kaplan made our list wasn’t that it was the most affordable or highest-rated, but Kaplan offers professional coaching advice in the form of a live online course called Real Estate Accelerator. This two-day course focuses on the business side of real estate. Students will learn marketing strategies and business-building skills to get their careers off and running. Real Estate Accelerator comes with the top-tier $799 package.
Since Kaplan is such a large company, it is no surprise that it offers a wide range of support options. Questions about content can be asked through phone or email. The phone is answered Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Technical support questions can be called in or emailed. While the phone is only answered Monday through Friday, email inquiries receive a response 24/7.
What Kaplan Real Estate Education Is Missing
Kaplan is expensive. Even though the $799 package includes the Real Estate Accelerator class and practice exams, students are only receiving the help of a textbook to help learn the content. Nor does it include assistance matching successful students with an area broker.
What Users Think About Kaplan Real Estate Education
Several reviewers who took the time to review Kaplan’s pre-licensing courses mentioned that the course is only as good as the amount of time students spend on it. Since it is a self-study class, success depends on the student.
OnCourse Learning: Best for Affordable Individual CE Classes
While OnCourse Learning does not offer pre-licensing classes in Illinois, they are our choice of school for agents in the state needing to take post-licensing or continuing education classes, which cost as little as $20. In addition to having an attractive, easy-to-use website, they provide excellent customer support and also offer appraisal and home inspection licensing. As a result, OnCourse Learning is a great option for agents needed courses to keep their license current.
OnCourse Learning Pricing
OnCourse’s classes, which are designed for brokerages, associations, home inspectors, and appraisers range from $20-$49 when they are full price, but the courses are often on sale. The price fluctuates depending on the number of credit hours.
OnCourse Learning Features
There are 16 continuing education courses listed for the state of Illinois. All are online, self-paced classes and unlike other schools that require you to purchase expensive packages, OnCourse Learning’s classes must be purchased individually, giving you the ability to truly tailor your experience to your individual needs.
OnCourse Learning’s classes consist of:
All OnCourse continuing education courses are online. These self-paced classes use text as well as videos to present the material. Students can use any device to take the courses. Each course comes with access to an industry expert that will answer any additional questions one may have over the content.
OnCourse Learning’s classes range from two to six hours and cover a wide range of topics such as green home construction or anti-discrimination laws.
While other schools on this list may offer continuing education course packages, OnCourse Learning offers high-interest courses that must be purchased individually. This allows real estate brokers to choose which classes are the most meaningful for their specific business.
OnCourse Customer Learning Support
OnCourse offers email and phone support. The phone is answered Monday through Friday during regular business hours. The OnCourse website also has a blog that covers hot topics in the real estate industry.
What OnCourse Learning Is Missing
Although it is nice to pick out individual continuing education courses, it would also be helpful to receive a discount for course packages. Students seeking bundle pricing should check out Kaplan, which allows agents to obtain 12 hours of continuing education for $69.
What Users Think About OnCourse Learning
Most reviewers like OnCourse’s continuing education topics. They say that the classes use real-world scenarios that bring the content to life. Reviewers also chose OnCourse Learning because the classes were affordable.
Real Estate Institute: Best for Offering a Fast Track Program
The Real Estate Institute is our choice for offering a fast-track program for those wanting to complete pre-licensing classes in less than two weeks, with packages starting at $599. The Real Estate Institute also offers live webinars and study-at-home opportunities as well, making it a great option for those seeking to jump-start their career.
Real Estate Institute Pricing
The Real Estate Institute’s real estate packages cost between $599 and $629. Students enrolled in online courses are given access to 75 hours of content for five to eight weeks. The Fast Track program, which costs $629, reduces time spent in the classroom to two weeks, but must be completed in person.
Real Estate Institute Features
Even though the Real Estate Institute made our list for their Fast Track course, their Directed Track or their Flex Path program are also good options for people who are still working their old jobs or for those who don’t have the ability to attend a live class in the Chicagoland area. The Real Estate Institute has several other perks that caught our attention such as a printed textbook and course availability outside of the city.
Real Estate’s other course benefits include:
The online, study-at-home portion for the Flex Path and Directed Track courses are described as “straightforward.” One can study this text-only material from any device. Since the 15 hours of interactive classes can be completed through an online webinar, those outside of the Chicago area can take those courses.
The Fast Track course may not be the right choice for someone living outside Chicago as the classes are only scheduled in and around the city. This intensive-study course, even though it meets for six days out of a two-week span. It also requires students to study at home.
The Real Estate Institute also offers continuing education course bundles for brokers in Illinois, although no individual courses are offered. Those who wish to become managing brokers can take their classes through the Institute as well.
The Real Estate Institute’s Fast Track course is the most exciting course that this school offers, and what sets it apart from the other programs we compared. Students will be able to complete 90-hours of courses in two weeks. The other thing that we liked about the Real Estate Institute is that they provided each of their students with printed textbooks at no additional cost. This is a nice perk and one that usually costs extra for most real estate schools.
Real Estate Institute Customer Support
The Real Estate Institute offers a variety of options for customer support. Students can call, email, or send a message on their website using live chat or Facebook messaging.
What Real Estate Institute Is Missing
Like the other schools on our list, the Real Estate Institute does not offer any classroom courses outside of the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, it seems as none of the schools on this list offer live courses in other cities such as Springfield or Peoria.
What Users Think About Real Estate Institute
Most of the reviewers have good things to say about the live classroom experience through the Real Estate Institute. Some said that the Fast Track course instructors got down to business and didn’t spend a lot of time on business tactics or real-life scenarios. Instead, they covered the necessary materials to meet the course requirements but not much else.
Most of the complaints concerned the live webinars. Some students complained at not being able to hear the instruction, while others said that the webinars didn’t take place at the correct time.
Bottom Line – Pre-Licensing Classes for Illinois
There are a lot of options for real estate schools in Illinois. We think that Real Estate Express offers the most bang for the buck. Since all of these schools follow the state-mandated curriculum to become a licensed broker in Illinois, one might as well go with the most highly-rated program that costs the least amount of money. Learn more about Real Estate Express by visiting its website, and good luck with your new career.