Online real estate courses help aspiring and licensed real estate agents meet licensing, exam, and continuing education requirements. We evaluated dozens of online real estate schools to identify the six best online real estate courses for California, including the best overall. To do so, we considered factors like price, course format, and customer support.
Top 6 Online Real Estate Courses for California 2020
|Online Real Estate Courses||Best For|
(Best Overall) Aspiring agents who want the best value for prelicensing courses
Real estate companies that want to offer group licensing courses for agents
Real estate agents and brokers who want to take professional development courses
Test-takers who want affordable, standalone exam prep
Students who prefer live online or in-person courses
Agents and brokers who want extensive, yet affordable continuing education course offerings
Last updated on 04/14/20
How We Evaluated Online Real Estate Courses for California
The state of California requires that people seeking to become real estate agents complete 135 hours of prelicensing coursework before applying for their licenses, though they can complete this requirement online. However, not all online courses are created equal. Therefore, to determine the best, we evaluated several options to find the courses that represented the best overall value to aspiring agents.
The most comprehensive online real estate courses were identified based on these criteria:
- Course formats and availability
- Study aids
- Ease of use
- Student support and satisfaction
Based on the criteria above, we chose Real Estate Express as the best online real estate course for California overall. The school not only offers all of the courses necessary to earn and upgrade a real estate license in California, it offers continuing education courses to support you in your career as an agent—all at a reasonable price point.
Real Estate Express: Best Overall California Real Estate Course
Real Estate Express is a real estate education and exam prep company with California prelicensing education, a la carte practice exams, and license upgrades. There are four packages for prelicensing courses, which range from $83 to $314. Real Estate Express is our top pick and great for most aspiring real estate agents because it offers the best value for prelicensing course packages out of all the other options we considered.
Real Estate Express Strengths
Real Estate Express Weaknesses
Offers students on-demand courses
Does not offer students live online courses or in-person classes
Includes 135-hour prelicensing courses, instructor support, and e-books
Does not offer individual salesperson prelicensing courses
Features a user-friendly dashboard
Requires you to use their sister service for continuing education courses
Real Estate Express Pricing
- The Basics: This entry-level package costs $83 and includes 135 hours of required courses, real estate e-books, and state-approved instructor support.
- Exam Preparation: For $157, Exam Preparation includes everything in The Basics, plus access to Exam Prep Master and the Real Estate Express Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee.
- Exam Preparation Plus: This package offers all of the tools included in Exam Prep plus the additional Exam Cram Video, a real estate dictionary, and instructor question and answers (Q&As) for $244.
- Ultimate Learning: At $314, this package includes everything in Exam Preparation Pro plus a printed course textbook and a one-year Real Estate Express professional development membership.
- Broker Licensing Courses: Individual 45-hour courses are offered at $99 each and cover topics like Real Estate Appraisal and Legal Aspects of Real Estate. The school also offers the Broker Get Started package for $223 and Broker Advanced Pro for $279.
- Exam Prep Master: Can be purchased separately for $99.
Real Estate Express Course Offerings & Benefits
- Prelicensing courses: Basic packages include California’s 135-hour prelicensing courses, instructor support, and e-books. Advanced packages include benefits like the school’s Exam Prep Master, a real estate dictionary, and instructor Q&As.
- Course upgrade options: Licensed agents who want to upgrade to a California broker’s license can choose from Real Estate Express’ individual broker licensing classes and packages.
- Exam prep: This course is included in salesperson prelicensing courses, but can also be purchased separately and includes 150 days of access to 17 practice exams—12 general practice exams, three subject-specific practice exams, and two final practice exams.
- Student support: The department is available to users Monday through Friday during normal business hours and generally responds within 24 hours. You can also submit an inquiry online or chat with one of their reps during business hours.
Mbition – Learn Real Estate: Best for Group Education
Mbition – Learn Real Estate is an online real estate education platform that offers both individual and group licensing education for between $129 and $339. The school features a streamlined Learning Management System and specialization in group education geared toward agents who want to become brokers. This makes it best for brokerages that want to help their licensed agents upgrade to broker’s licenses.
Mbition – Learn Real Estate Strengths
Mbition – Learn Real Estate Weaknesses
Allows you to offer private education solutions for groups
Does not offer continuing education courses
Upgraded plans features personalized dashboards and adaptive practice tools
Limits access to on-demand webinars
Offers tuition support
Difficult to use practice exams
Mbition – Learn Real Estate Pricing
- Salesperson prelicensing: Offers three packages that cost $129, $269, and $339, which include 135 hours of education plus various levels of support and supplemental materials.
- Exam prep: Included in some prelicensing packages, but costs between $49 and $129 as a standalone offering.
- Broker prelicense: Costs $299 and includes 225 hours of instruction.
- Individual courses and textbooks: Cost between $11.86 and $249.
- Tuition support: Mbition – Learn Real Estate makes real estate education accessible by offering tuition support.
Mbition – Learn Real Estate Course Offerings & Benefits
- Private label courses: In addition to offering online courses, Mbition – Learn Real Estate offers wholesale education resources, which lets you manage your own students and offer private labeled instruction.
- Prelicensing and upgrade courses: All 135 hours of required prelicensing courses are available. In addition to the required course hours, packages include relevant e-books, the MathMaster real estate math program, and instructor support.
- Broker licensing: Licensed agents who want to upgrade to a broker’s license can take all 225 hours. This course also includes MathMaster and exam prep materials.
- Exam prep: Mbition offers three exam prep options that cover state-specific materials.
- Study aids: E-books, traditional textbooks, and instructor support are offered throughout the course. In addition, the platform’s MathMaster tool includes specific study tools for learning real estate math. There is also a Real Estate Exam Prep Toolkit, which gives users national review flashcards, exam-taking tips, and a course review of agency, contract, finance, and law topics.
- Student support: The Mbition – Learn Real Estate customer support team can be reached via phone, email, or an online submission form. Those interested in purchasing courses can also ask questions about the product through a live chat function on their website.
OnlineEd: Best for Professional Development
OnlineEd is a real estate education platform partnered with the California Association of REALTORS. In addition to prelicensing courses from $65 to $299, OnlineEd specializes in professional development for resume-building and mastering skills necessary to run a successful real estate business. This makes OnlineEd best for real estate professionals who want to focus on building specific skills that can support their professional growth.
Features an extensive list of professional development courses going beyond standard CE
Limited student support
Offers continuing education course materials
Does not offer a la carte exam prep courses
- Salesperson prelicensing: Courses range between $99 and $264 and include all 135 hours of study.
- Broker licensing: The five-course package costs $299.
- Continuing education: OnlineEd offers a 45-hour course for continuing education designed for first-time renewals for $52.94 and a course of 37 subsequent continuing education for $43.
- Professional development courses: There are both free courses and paid bundles designed to make you a better Realtor that can go up as high as $695.
- Individual courses: Cost between $19 and $299, depending on the course.
OnlineEd Course Offerings & Benefits
- Prelicensing and upgrade course: Aspiring agents can complete 135 hours of required coursework and receive an online textbook, a printable certificate, and a PDF e-book. However, tools like exam prep, online assessment, physical textbook, and live student support are not included in all packages.
- First-time renewal: Covers 45 hours of topics like ethics and fair housing, and gives students access to a printable certificate and PDF e-book.
- Subsequent renewal: Includes 45 hours of coursework for second or subsequent salesperson renewals and first-time broker renewals.
- Continuing education: Courses cover topics included in the renewal packages, like agency, trust funds, broker management, and supervision of salespersons. OnlineEd’s individual courses also include a printable course certificate and PDF e-book.
- Professional development: Available classes let agents and brokers build marketing skills, learn about real estate technology, study niche topics within real estate, and earn designations or industry concentrations like Luxury Home Specialist.
- Student support: Can be reached in only two ways: via phone or online form submission.
Real Estate Exam Scholar: Best for Prelicensing Exam Prep
Real Estate Exam Scholar is an online education platform that offers standalone real estate licensing exam prep for California for $29. The school does not offer prelicensing or continuing education classes and, instead, specializes in exam prep. Choose this option if you’ve already taken prelicensing classes and just want a la carte exam prep courses to brush up before you take your licensing test.
Real Estate Exam Scholar Strengths
Real Estate Exam Scholar Weaknesses
Most affordable exam prep program
Does not offer prelicensing or CE classes
Real Estate Exam Scholar Pricing
Real Estate Exam Scholar’s exam prep program costs $29, making it the best value of exam prep offerings we evaluated. Students can access study materials for six months and extend access to practice materials for an additional fee. The platform also offers a money-back guarantee for those who don’t pass on their first try.
Real Estate Exam Scholar Offerings & Benefits
- Exam prep: The course includes six months of access to more than 1,200 practice questions and over 25 practice exams, boasting a 95% real estate licensing exam pass rate.
- Online quizzes: The 1,200 multiple choice practice questions offered by Real Estate Scholar are broken into short online quizzes focused on different categories.
- Assessment feedback: After finishing a quiz, Exam Scholar scores it and provides an explanation for each answer.
- Study tools: They also include online flashcards to practice definitions, as well as a glossary and printable reference guides.
- Student support: Students can contact the school’s customer support via Facebook Messenger, where you can talk to an agent during normal business hours. You can also contact their specialists via online form submission.
Kaplan: Best for Live Online & In-person Classes
Kaplan is an online real estate education provider offering individual licensing courses to California professionals for $93 to $459 and packages from $179 to $949. In addition to standard on-demand courses, the school offers live online and classroom-based courses. This makes it best for students who prefer to learn with an instructor in real-time.
Courses can be taken online or in-person
Does not offer professional development courses
Offers a la carte exam prep study tools
Does not offer tuition assistance or payment plans
Features budget-friendly, self-study courses
Student support team can be slow to respond
- Real estate prelicensing: Course packages start at $179. However, live classes can run between $749 and $949.
- Individual courses: Offered for $93 to $459.
- Exam prep: Can be bundled with a prelicensing course, but materials can also be purchased separately and cost between $24 and $199.
- Continuing education: Courses range from $29 to $199 per class depending on the length of the course.
- A la carte study tools: Students purchase a la carte study tools like a practice question bank ($59), flashcards ($39), an on-demand math course ($29), and terms and definitions audio guide ($24).
Kaplan Course Offerings & Benefits
- Course formats: In addition to the on-demand courses, Kaplan gives students the option of taking live online courses or in-person courses. Many course formats include print workbooks, a practice question bank, and a California terms and definitions audio guide. However, some also include online exam prep tools.
- Broker licensing courses: Features are similar to prelicensing courses and generally include online lectures supplemented with a textbook.
- Exam prep: All prep courses, regardless of format, include two full practice exams and state-specific review materials.
- Continuing education: Courses through Kaplan are largely available in the school’s home study format, which includes textbook materials and an online exam.
- Student support: Kaplan offers students 24/7 access to a technical support team via phone and email. Kaplan instructors are also available via email to answer questions about course content and curriculum.
The CE Shop: Best for Continuing Education
The CE Shop is an online career school offering courses for California real estate agents, including prelicensing for $129 to $239. However, the provider stands out because of industry-specific continuing education courses available for $15 to $39. For that reason, The CE Shop is best for real estate professionals who need to meet the continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.
The CE Shop Strengths
The CE Shop Weaknesses
Budget-friendly continuing education courses
Does not offer prelicensing courses for aspiring CA brokers
Includes interactive classes tailored for commercial agents
Does not include exam prep and study aids
Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
Does not feature professional development courses
The CE Shop Pricing
- Bundled prelicensing: Course packages range in cost $129 to $239, but they do offer occasional promotional discounts.
- Individual salesperson or broker prelicensing: Courses on the principles of real estate or practice courses cost $105.
- Bundled continuing education: Course packages for between $25 and $59.
- Individual continuing education: You can elect to take one-off courses, which can range between $15 and $39.
The CE Shop Course Offerings & Benefits
- Prelicensing and upgrade courses: Packages include 135 hours of interactive coursework and vary based on topics like business building.
- Individual courses: Include mobile and computer access, progress tracking, study tips, and an easy-to-use student dashboard.
- Continuing education: Offers first-time renewal courses individually or bundled as part of one of its licensing packages; 45 hours of subsequent renewal classes are also available. Courses deal with topics like ethics, fair housing assistance, management and supervision, trust funds, consumer protection, and consumer service.
- Student support: The CE Shop’s customer support team can be contacted via phone, email, and online chat. However, the school also offers students a blog that includes resources for getting started in the real estate industry, growing your business, and keeping up to date with industry-specific news.
Bottom Line: Online Real Estate Courses for California
Online real estate courses help aspiring and licensed real estate agents meet licensing, exam, and continuing education requirements. We evaluated dozens of online real estate schools to identify the six best online real estate courses for California. To do so, we considered factors like price, course format and availability, and customer support.
Our top pick, Real Estate Express, can help you meet California-specific course requirements no matter where you are in your career. The school not only offers prelicensing courses and exam prep, but they also have continuing education packages to maintain your license once you start working as an agent. Click here to learn more about Real Estate Express’ offerings.