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 2019
|Online Real Estate Courses||Best For|
|(Best Overall) Aspiring agents who want the best value for pre-licensing courses|
|Real estate companies that want 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|
|Licensed California agents and brokers who want extensive continuing education course offerings|
How We Evaluated Online Real Estate Courses for California
If you are unable to attend live real estate classes in California, online real estate courses are a great way to conveniently earn and maintain your real estate license. However, real estate education can be expensive and time-consuming, so we evaluated online providers based on criteria like availability in California, price, course format and availability, ease of use, and customer support.
To identify the most comprehensive online real estate courses, we considered these criteria:
- Pricing: Earning a real estate license in California can be expensive and you may have to support yourself for a few months without an income while you prepare. For that reason, it’s important to get the best value possible so the schools on our list offer students high-quality courses at a reasonable price point.
- Course availability: California requires coursework to obtain a salesperson’s license, upgrade to a broker’s license, and maintain your license. We favored providers that offer courses for multiple phases of the real estate licensing process but also considered those that specialize in at least one area of licensing.
- Study aids: Online real estate courses are available in a variety of formats, including ebooks and study guides, on-demand tutorials, live online videos, and in-person courses. The inclusions on our list had to offer a minimum of one study aid for real estate professionals.
- Ease of use: The online schools on our list were included because they are easy to navigate and provide a user-friendly experience to students.
- Customer support: Most online real estate schools can be contacted via phone, email, or live chat; to make our list, they all needed one accessible channel for customer service.
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.
Best Overall California Real Estate Course: Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express is a real estate education and exam prep company with California pre-licensing education, à la carte practice exams, and license upgrades. There are four packages for pre-licensing courses, which range from $81.75 to $329.25. Real Estate Express is our top pick and great for most aspiring real estate agents because it offers the best value for pre-licensing course packages out of all the other options we considered.
Real Estate Express Pricing
Real Estate Express offers several pre-licensing course packages that range in cost from $81.75 to $329.25, depending on the learning tools. In addition, individual courses and pre-licensing elective courses are available for $99 each and Exam Prep Master can be purchased à la carte for $69. Broker packages cost from $319 to $399.
Real Estate Express Features
Real Estate Express offers aspiring agents and licensed professionals a wide range of courses, including affordable pre-licensing packages. The school offers students on-demand courses, printed materials, and instructor Q&As to simplify the real estate licensing process. Try Real Estate Express if you want a great value and user-friendly dashboard.
Real Estate Express offers four pre-licensing course packages ranging in cost from $81.75 to $329.25. These packages include California’s 135-hour pre-licensing courses, instructor support, and ebooks. Advanced packages include features like the school’s Exam Prep Master, a real estate dictionary, and instructor Q&As. The school does not offer individual salesperson pre-licensing courses.
The Real Estate Express pre-licensing packages are:
- The Basics: This entry-level package costs $81.75 and includes 135 hours of required courses, real estate ebooks, and state-approved instructor support.
- Exam Preparation: For $168.75, 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 Pro: This package offers all of the tools included in Exam Prep plus the additional Exam Cram Video, a real estate dictionary, and instructor Q&As for $261.75.
- Ultimate Learning: At $329.25, this package includes everything in Exam Preparation Pro plus a printed course textbook and a one-year Real Estate Express professional development membership.
Course Upgrade Options
Licensed agents who want to upgrade to a California broker’s license can choose from Real Estate Express’s individual broker licensing classes and packages. 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 $319 or Broker Advanced Pro for $399.
The Real Estate Express broker licensing packages are:
- Broker Get Started: For $319, agents can access the 225 requisite hours of broker courses, the accompanying ebook, and the real estate math handbook. Students also gain access to the education concierge and student forum for extra study help.
- Broker Advanced Pro: Advanced Pro costs $399 and includes everything in the Get Started package, plus real estate course textbooks and access to instructor Q&As to help you through difficult subjects.
The Real Estate Express Exam Prep Master program can be purchased individually or as part of salesperson pre-licensing courses in California. As an à la carte product, Exam Prep Master costs $69 and includes 150 days of access to 17 practice exams — 12 general practice exams, three subject-specific practice exams, and two final practice exams.
Continuing education courses are offered through McKissock Learning, Real Estate Express’s sister company. Courses are available individually or as part of a membership. Membership options range from $41.27 for 45-hour packages to $64.40 for unlimited access. Individual courses range from $11.16 to $99 and include mandatory, elective, and non-credit courses.
Continuing education membership options include:
- Salesperson First Time Renewal Package: The first-time renewal package costs $42.27 and includes all 45 hours of continuing education courses required to upgrade a salesperson’s license the first time.
- Second & All Subsequent Renewals Package: Like the first time renewal package, this package costs $41.27 and includes 45 hours of continuing education courses for agents and brokers renewing for the second time and all subsequent times.
- CE PLUS: CE PLUS offers licensed agents and brokers unlimited access to McKissock’s continuing education courses for $64.40. The membership includes all CE elective and required state-specific courses, a CE course tracker, professional development services, and access to on-demand webinars, how-to videos, and over 100 short videos.
The Real Estate Express Student Support 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. In addition, there is a “Report an Error” button in the corner of every course screen so users can contact technical support as they move through the review materials.
What Real Estate Express Is Missing
Real Estate Express provides a wide range of online courses but does not offer students live online courses or in-person classes. However, the on-demand courses are flexible and supplemented with a variety of learning tools like ebooks and instructor Q&As.
What Users Think About Real Estate Express
In general, Real Estate Express users find the online courses to be convenient and easy to navigate. Some students find, however, that the material is too difficult and the exams are hard to pass.
Where to Find Real Estate Express
Best for Group Education: OnCourse Learnin
OnCourse Learning is an online real estate education platform that offers both individual and group licensing education for between $269 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.
OnCourse Learning Pricing
OnCourse Learning offers salesperson pre-licensing course packages for $269 and $339 and a broker licensing package for $299. Individual pre-licensing courses are available for $69 to $79. The platform also offers exam prep for $49 to $129 and continuing education packages for $49. Plus, OnCourse Learning makes real estate education accessible by offering tuition support.
OnCourse Learning Features
OnCourse Learning offers online courses for everything spanning from pre-licensing to exam prep and continuing education. However, OnCourse Learning’s strongest offerings are their broker licensing courses, which are offered individually and as packages. The school offers users study aides to accompany courses, including ebooks and instructor feedback.
Pre-Licensing & Upgrade Courses
All 135 hours of required pre-licensing courses are available in the Gold Solution package for $269 or the Platinum Solution package for $339. In addition to the required course hours, packages include relevant ebooks, the MathMaster real estate math program, and instructor support. Aspiring agents can also purchase the 45-hour Real Estate Principles course individually for $69.
Licensed agents who want to upgrade to a broker’s license can take all 225 hours of required education with the Broker Package for $299. In addition to the courses, this package also includes MathMaster and exam prep materials. Individual 45-hour courses are also offered for $79 and each includes online course materials and the relevant textbook.
OnCourse offers three exam prep options that cover state-specific materials: California Exam Prep for $49, Real Estate Prep xL for $79, and the Master Exam Prep Package for $129. Beyond the basic exam practice tools included in Exam Prep, Prep xL includes a customized study plan with daily goals, a library of over 1,300 practice questions, and eight full-length timed exams. The course also includes tools to track progress and identify strengths and weaknesses.
The Master Exam Prep Package offers everything included in Prep xL plus the 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. Plus, this exam prep package includes MathMaster’s tools for learning and practicing real estate math.
You can meet California’s continuing education requirements with OnCourse Learning’s First Renewal Package or Second and Subsequent Renewal Package. Each package costs $49 for the requisite 45 hours of continuing education. Licensees can also purchase individual four-hour courses for $19 or eight-hour courses for $34.
OnCourse Learning’s online courses include study aids like ebooks, traditional textbooks, and instructor support throughout the course. The platform’s MathMaster tool includes specific study tools for learning real estate math. In addition to the study aides included in courses and course packages, you can purchase individual textbooks for between $12.99 and $193.95.
The OnCourse Learning 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.
What OnCourse Learning is Missing
Unlike Real Estate Express, OnCourse does not provide students the ability to access unlimited continuing education courses and on-demand webinars. However, the school does offer extensive broker licensing courses and specializes in group education, a feature not offered by other options we considered.
What Users Think About OnCourse Learning
OnCourse Learning students find the platform to be user-friendly and report that the classes are quick, efficient, and flexible. Users also feel that customer support is extremely responsive. Customers who have problems with the school report that videos lag and practice exams are difficult to use.
Best for Professional Development: OnlineEd
OnlineEd is a real estate education platform partnered with the California Association of REALTORS. In addition to pre-licensing courses from $19 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.
OnlineEd’s professional development courses cost between $19 and $299, depending on the course. The school also offers salesperson pre-licensing course packages from $99 to $249 and a broker pre-licensing package for $299. Individual pre-licensing courses are offered for $65 or $69 each and continuing education packages and individual courses are between $6 and $52.94.
Online Ed offers online courses for everything from pre-licensing to exam prep and continuing education. However, OnlineEd excels because of its range of professional development courses that can help agents and brokers earn license designations, learn skills to run their business more efficiently, and specialize in specific areas of real estate.
Pre-Licensing & Upgrade Courses
OnlineEd offers three pre-licensing course packages that include the requisite 135 hours of coursework and range in cost from $99 to $264, depending on the study materials. Aspiring agents can also purchase individual 45-hour courses for $65 to $69 each. Agents who want to upgrade their salesperson license to a broker’s license can choose from a five-course package for $299 or individual 45-hour courses for $65 to $69 each.
OnlineEd’s salesperson pre-licensing packages are:
- Bronze: For $99, students can complete 135 hours of required coursework and receive an online textbook, a printable certificate, and a PDF ebook. Exam prep is not included in this package.
- Silver: The Silver package costs $204 and includes everything in Bronze plus online learning assessments with course instructor comments, an exam prep course, and the ability to contact instructors.
- Gold: In addition to the features included in Silver, the Gold package includes a physical textbook that follows the course outline. Students can purchase this package for $264 plus $25 shipping and handling.
OnlineEd’s exam prep tools are only available as part of a pre-licensing package. For that reason, they do not offer the extensive practice tests and practice tools available through schools like Real Estate Exam Scholar and OnCourse Learning. However, the packages do offer national and California-specific practice exams to help you master course materials.
OnlineEd offers a first-time renewal package for $52.94 that includes California’s required 48 hours of continuing education for new license-holders. The package covers topics like ethics and fair housing, and gives students access to a printable certificate and PDF ebook. The subsequent renewal package is also $52.94 and includes 47 hours of coursework for second or subsequent salesperson renewals and first-time broker renewals.
Individual three-credit continuing education courses are also available for between $6 and $12 each. These 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 ebook.
OnlineEd offers a huge variety of professional development courses, including individual classes for $19 to $299 and bundles for between $262 and $681. Available classes empower agents and brokers to build marketing skills, learn about real estate technology, and study niche topics within real estate.
Real estate professionals can also sign up for courses that enable them to earn designations and develop industry concentrations like Luxury Home Specialist. Upon completion of these courses, agents receive private and National Association of Realtors (NAR) designations that bolster their credentials.
OnlineEd customer support can be reached only two ways — via phone or online form submission. Many other providers on our list offer three or more channels for customer support. However, if you are a student through the school’s partnership with the California Association of REALTORS (CAR), you’ll have access to CAR’s extensive professional resources to help you through California’s licensing process.
What OnlineEd is Missing
OnlineEd offers extensive pre-licensing, continuing education, and professional development courses. However, unlike OnCourse Learning and Real Estate Express, the platform does not offer aspiring agents à la carte exam prep courses. Even so, OnlineEd is a great option for professionals who want to further their career with professional development coursework.
What Users Think About OnlineEd
We weren’t able to find many OnlineEd reviews online. However, the one review we identified gave the platform 6.1 out of 10 stars and did not provide any additional comments about the platform.
Best for Pre-licensing Exam Prep: Real Estate Exam Scholar
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 pre-licensing or continuing education classes and, instead, specializes in exam prep. Choose this option if you’ve already taken pre-licensing classes and just want à la carte exam prep courses to brush up before you take your licensing test.
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 Features
The exam prep 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. What’s more, the school offers a money-back guarantee so you can confidently invest in the course. For that reason, the features are best suited to aspiring agents who want reliable exam prep materials at a low price.
The 1,200 multiple choice practice questions offered by Real Estate Scholar are broken into short online quizzes focused on different categories. This means you can practice at your own pace and focus more intensely on the areas in which you need the most improvement. After finishing a quiz, Exam Scholar scores it and provides an explanation for each answer. They also include online flashcards to practice definitions, as well as a glossary and printable reference guides.
Real Estate Exam Scholar 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. Overall, Real Estate Exam Scholar’s customer support appears more robust than OnlineEd but less accessible than other providers like Real Estate Express.
What Real Estate Exam Scholar is Missing
Unlike Real Estate Express and other options we evaluated, Real Estate Exam Scholar does not offer actual real estate licensing courses. However, the school is an excellent option for aspiring agents who have already met California’s real estate course requirements and feel they need additional tools to prepare for the licensing exam.
What Users Think About Real Estate Exam Scholar
Real Estate Exam Scholar students report that the study materials are easy to use and accessible from any internet-enabled device. Some users who purchased the test prep course at the last minute said they had an excellent experience and passed the exam on the first try.
Best for Live Online and In-Person Classes: Kaplan
Kaplan is an online real estate education provider offering individual licensing courses to California professionals for $93 to $459 and packages from $149 to $1,099. 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.
Kaplan prices depend largely on the course format. Real estate pre-licensing course packages cost between $149 and $1,099; individual courses are offered for $93 to $459. Exam prep materials cost between $24 and $199 and continuing education courses range from $14 to $59 per class depending on the length of the course.
Kaplan is a real estate education company that provides pre-licensing courses, exam prep, and continuing education in a variety of formats. In addition to the on-demand courses, Kaplan gives students the option of taking live online courses or in-person courses. This makes it an excellent option for up-and-coming agents who prefer learning from an instructor as they teach in real time.
Pre-Licensing & Upgrade Courses
Aspiring real estate agents and brokers can take pre-licensing courses in a variety of formats, including home study, on-demand, live online, and live in-person classes. Live class packages cost between $549 and $1,099 and include classes plus print workbooks, a practice question bank, and a California terms and definitions audio guide. On-demand and home study options are available for $149 to $799. Some packages also include online exam prep tools.
Broker licensing courses are also available as part of a package or individually. Broker packages range in cost from $198 to $459 depending on the number of credits and included features, similar to pre-licensing courses. Individual broker courses are available for between $93 and $179 and generally include online lectures supplemented with a textbook.
Kaplan offers exam prep courses for aspiring agents and those upgrading to a broker’s license. All prep courses cost $199 for the on-demand, live online, or in-person course formats and include two full practice exams and state-specific review materials. Students can also purchase à 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).
Continuing education courses through Kaplan are largely available in the school’s home study format, which includes textbook materials and an online exam. Where on-demand courses are available, like for the California 15-hour first renewal, the course consists of online review materials with an accompanying PDF and online exam. Continuing education courses cost between $14 and $144, depending on the number of credit hours and the course format.
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. However, user reviews reveal that Kaplan’s customer service team is not as responsive or helpful as other real estate practice exam providers.
What Kaplan is Missing
In contrast to OnCourse Learning, Kaplan does not offer students tuition assistance or payment plans. If you’re on a budget, opt for Kaplan’s self-study courses, which are cheaper than the school’s other course formats.
What Users Think About Kaplan
Kaplan students like the platform because of how energetic and knowledgeable the instructors are. However, online students have reported that communication with instructors can be limited.
Best for Continuing Education: The CE Shop
The CE Shop is an online career school offering courses for California real estate agents, including pre-licensing for $78.75 to $179.25. However, the provider stands out because of industry-specific continuing education courses available for $15 to $49. 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 Pricing
Pre-licensing course packages range in cost from $96.75 to $179.25; individual pre-licensing courses are $78.75 each. The school also offers continuing education course packages for between $25 and $59 and a wide variety of individual continuing education courses for between $15 and $49 each.
The CE Shop Features
The CE Shop offers California salesperson pre-licensing courses and continuing education (CE) classes. Those who want to upgrade to a broker’s license cannot take the required classes through The CE Shop, but the school makes up for this shortcoming with an extensive continuing education program. Check out The CE Shop if you want a variety of CE options, including classes tailored specifically to commercial agents.
Pre-Licensing & Upgrade Courses
As with other schools we compared, The CE Shop offers salesperson pre-licensing courses individually and as part of packages. Packages include 135 hours of coursework and vary based on topics like business building. Individual courses are $78.75 each and include mobile and computer access, progress tracking, study tips, and an easy-to-use student dashboard. Broker license upgrade courses are not available in California.
As its name suggests, The CE Shop stands out because of its extensive continuing education courses. The CE Shop offers first-time renewal courses individually ($15 to $39) and in packages ($25 to $59). Subsequent renewal classes are available in a package for $35 to $59 and individually for $15 to $49. The website clearly organizes courses depending on whether professionals are renewing for the first time or completing subsequent renewals.
Agents and brokers renewing their licenses for the first and subsequent times can take mandatory courses like California Ethics and California Fair Housing. Elective course options are also extensive and include subjects like Advocating for Short Sale Clients, Foundations of Real Estate Finance, and Technology Tools, Trends, and Risk Management.
Like other options on our list, The CE Shop’s customer support team can be contacted via phone, email, and online chat. However, the school goes beyond platforms like OnlineEd by offering 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.
What The CE Shop is Missing
Like OnlineEd, The CE Shop does not offer exam prep. However, aspiring agents who want to benefit from the school’s pre-licensing courses can supplement with exam prep from a school like Real Estate Exam Scholar. In addition, while The CE Shop offers salesperson pre-licensing courses, they do not offer broker pre-licensing courses in California.
What Users Think About The CE Shop
The CE Shop boasts excellent online reviews because of its convenient on-demand classes, easy-to-use interface, and affordability. However, some students report that customer support is unresponsive and it can take a long time to get through the materials.
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 pre-licensing courses and exam prep, they have continuing education packages to maintain your license once you start working as an agent. Click here to learn more about Real Estate Express’s offerings.