Traditionally, becoming a real estate agent didn’t require a college degree or even a high school diploma. All states implement their own real estate licensing requirements, which typically include passing a written examination and sometimes completing a relatively brief training course. Nevertheless, many colleges provide courses specifically designed toward gaining a career in the real estate industry, potentially giving their students a competitive edge.
Real Estate Majors
Some community colleges oriented toward vocational training offer real estate programs. These course offerings are usually designed as preparation for the state’s licensing exam, but they also serve as a general introduction to the profession. Columbus State Community College in Ohio, for example, offers such a program that includes courses such as “Real Estate Principles and Practice,” “Real Estate Law,” Real Estate Finance” and “Real Estate Appraisal.”
Finance and Accounting
Real estate agents are often self-employed entrepreneurs or work as independent contractors for real estate firms. Given the emphasis on self-sufficiency, it’s important that any real estate agent attains a basic comprehension of finance and accounting. Nearly every accredited college in the United States offers introductory courses that cover the most elemental aspects of these subjects. At the very least, it’s important to know the basic principles of bookkeeping.
Real estate is a highly competitive industry, so your success as an agent will hinge on artful marketing. In fact, the Princeton Review, a standardized test preparation company, considers advertising a “related major” for the real estate field. And if you go the route of self employment, you’ll be entirely responsible for your own marketing campaigns. A good introductory marketing course will distill the basic principles of successful advertising, including online, print, television, and radio formats.
The Princeton Review lists “Legal Environment of Business” on its sample curriculum for those interested in pursuing a career in real estate. Some colleges call this course “Business Law” or “Property Law.” Every state has its own property laws, and they can be frustratingly difficult to adequately interpret. It is often the case that real estate firms, as well as home sellers, will employ lawyers with a specialty in real estate law to help with transactions. A sound primer in the basics can go a long way to preparing you for the unavoidable task of deciphering the property laws that apply to your community.
Based in New York City, Ivan Kenneally has been writing about politics, education and American culture since 2006. His articles have appeared in national publications like the 'Washington Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Cosmopolitan"and "Esquire." He has an Master of Arts in political theory from the New School for Social Research.