Do You Need to go to School to Work in Real Estate?

a woman puts a book in her face studying for real estate in school

Do you need to study real estate in school to work in the industry? This is a question I hear all the time!

While many colleges and universities are starting to offer real estate focused programs, you don’t necessarily have to take these courses to work in real estate. In almost all jurisdictions in the US & Canada however, you must be licensed to act as a real estate agent. So the first thing to note is that real estate licensing does not equal education.

In this article, let’s break down what type of education is typically required to work as a real estate agent.

  • Learning about Business vs. Learning about Regulations
  • Real Estate Licensing Education Requirements
  • Post-Secondary School Real Estate Programs
  • How to Learn the True Business of Real Estate
studying for your real estate license

Learning about Business vs. Learning about Regulations in Real Estate

This is a key distinction to make! Below, we will break down different pieces of the real estate education puzzle. But it’s important to note the difference between learning about business and learning about regulations when it comes to real estate agency.

Most licensing bodies focus on the regulations they were created to impose. So, often, the education they provide centres on protecting consumers and avoiding legal issues. This is extremely important! However – it isn’t extremely helpful when it comes to actually generating business.

Once you complete the licensing program or a post-secondary course in real estate, many hopeful agents are left wondering now, where do clients come from? This is typically where they must learn about the business of real estate. We’ll explore this in the last section of this article below.

Real Estate Licensing Education Requirements

Ok – so now we’ve made the distinction between licensing and education. What does it take to get licensed to provide real estate services?

This will vary greatly depending on where you live. Most US states & Canadian Provinces have their own regulators who are responsible for licensing. Many are directly administrated by the government, or will be self-administered by members of the industry, government & consumers.

Typically, though, the main requirements for acquiring a license in real estate (US/CAN) are:

  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Highschool Diploma
  • A criminal record check
  • Completing Regulatory Courses
  • Achieving a passing grade on licensing examinations

Note: check with your local regulatory body to confirm what they require and what their licensing process entails.

Post-Secondary School Real Estate Programs

Increasingly, Colleges and Universities are offering real estate programs to prospective students. These courses can range from commercial development management, all the way to the licensing/regulatory education noted above.

The main thing to know about these courses is that they tend to be optional. While they might be extremely beneficial to your future career development, its hard to say if they will prepare you for licensing or for working in the industry (depending on your capacity). Note: Most people attending post-secondary are under age 25; most people working in the real estate industry tend to start later in life, often as a second career.

Even though I don’t exactly work in my “field” (I graduated BA Psychology), I will say that my university education has been invaluable in my day to day work. Spending key developmental time in an educational environment helps you develop the writing, reading, presentation and work habits that will make you shine later in life.

So, in my opinion – a degree in something is often better than nothing – just be sure to learn something while you’re there! People tend to gravitate towards real estate professionals with experience though; so even the best educated undergraduate may be a bit too fresh for consumers making a big purchase. It also likely won’t lead to a pipeline of clients.

Spending key developmental time in an educational environment helps you develop the writing, reading, presentation and work habits that will make you shine later in life

How to Learn the True Business of Real Estate

So – you have your license (or at least know where to get it). You know how many square feet are in an acre, and exactly what to do to look out for your clients best interests. Bravo!

But wait… why is the phone silent? Your inbox empty? Your bank account dwindling?

This is because you need to learn the Business of Real Estate.

As mentioned above – many people entering the real estate industry do so as a second (or third) career. Perhaps they have their own experience buying or selling their own property. Their aunt, friend, or past coworker is looking to buy or sell. This is great!

Many will be able to bring business expertise from past fields into their real estate practice. Perhaps you’re a star calendar-manager. Maybe you worked in construction and have some great contacts. For me, I took my corporate sales background and blew my local market up!

Often though, this isn’t enough to take you to the level you want to achieve. So you must hone your skills and develop with the help of:

  • A senior agent you trust (ideally outside of your market/competitive set)
  • The help of your Broker (if they aren’t your biggest competitor…)
  • A Specialized Course or Training to set you Apart

Why Take a Specialized Real Estate Course or Training?

Taking a specialized real estate course or sales training is the best way to fill in the gaps in your education. This is where you can learn how to find business, grow your pipeline, and scale to become the high-earning powerhouse of your brokerage.

Be wary: Many courses are all hype and high cost. Recycled tactics are repeated, making your strategy the same as every other agent in your market. What kind of strategy is that?

If you’d like to learn modern techniques and tactics that will set you apart from the herd, check out the course (coming soon). As someone passionate about tearing down walls in this industry, I want to put the tools to win in the hands of savvy agents (so they can take $$$ out of the wallets of the big fish in every market).

Do You Need to go to School to Work in Real Estate?

While the path to a successful real estate career has a lot of steps, the rewards can be well worth it. Initial outlays in costs can repay themselves hundreds of times over – if you truly approach it with a business mindset! As always, feel free to reach out to me directly if you’re struggling and wondering what your career needs to get jump-started. Cheers!

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