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College or Career: Should You Get a College Degree in Real Estate?

Deciding between pursuing a college degree or diving into a career in real estate can be a daunting choice for many looking to enter the field. While higher education offers valuable knowledge and skills, the real estate industry also provides opportunities for those who pursue this profession without a degree. Read on to explore the various career paths available in real estate – both with and without a college degree – to help you make an informed decision about your future. 

Real Estate Career Options for High School Graduates Without a College Degree

For those eager to jumpstart their real estate journey without pursuing a college degree, several enticing career paths await. From becoming a real estate sales agent or assistant to exploring opportunities as a home inspector, house flipper, or photographer, there are diverse avenues to enter the industry if you’re not keen on attending college or are looking for a career change from another field. These roles offer flexibility, the potential for high earnings, and the chance to gain practical experience in the dynamic world of real estate without the need for formal higher education. 

1. Real Estate Sales Agent

Becoming a real estate sales agent doesn’t require a college degree. With dedication and proper licensing, you can start assisting clients in buying, selling, and renting properties. The flexibility of hours and the potential for additional earnings via commission make this an appealing option for many. Earning potential varies significantly by specialty, location, etc., but real estate agents earn upwards of $65,000 per year, with the potential to earn substantially more. 

2. Real Estate Assistant

A real estate assistant provides crucial administrative support to agents and brokers. While a degree isn’t necessary, strong organizational skills and attention to detail are essential. Real estate assistants typically enjoy flexible schedules and may earn around $40,000 annually. 

3. Home Inspector

Home inspectors assess the condition of properties, ensuring they meet safety and quality standards. While certification is required to become a home inspector, a college degree is not. Home inspectors often have flexible schedules and earn an average salary of $54,000 per year.  

4. House Flipper

Flipping houses involves purchasing properties, renovating, and selling them for a profit. While no formal education is needed, a keen eye for design and an understanding of the market are crucial. Successful house flippers can earn significant profits with each project. 

5. Real Estate Photographer

Capturing properties in their best light is essential for marketing. While formal education isn’t mandatory, proficiency in photography and editing software is necessary. Real estate photographers enjoy flexible schedules and earn upwards of $50,000 or higher annually. 

6. Property Manager

Property managers oversee rental properties, handling rent collection, maintenance, and tenant relations tasks. While a degree isn’t required, strong communication and organizational skills are vital. Property managers typically earn around $60,000 annually or more, depending on location.  

Real Estate Career Options with a College Degree in Real Estate

Real estate promises opportunities for all, no matter their degree status. But for those who do have real estate degrees, promising routes and rewarding opportunities await. Armed with a solid educational foundation, graduates can explore diverse roles that offer opportunities for specialization, leadership, and advancement within the industry. A college degree not only provides valuable knowledge and skills but also credibility and recognition, paving the way for a fulfilling and prosperous career in real estate. 

1. Real Estate Manager

Real estate managers oversee the operations of properties, including leasing, maintenance, and budgeting. A college degree in real estate or a related field can provide a deeper understanding of industry practices and may lead to higher-paying positions. 

2. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts in real estate assess investment opportunities, conduct market research, and analyze financial data to guide decision-making. A degree in finance or real estate can provide the necessary skills for this role, which often comes with competitive salaries. 

3. Real Estate Appraiser

Appraisers determine the value of properties for various purposes, including sales, mortgages, and insurance. While certification is required, a college degree can provide a solid foundation in real estate principles and valuation techniques. 

4. Asset Manager

Asset managers oversee investment portfolios that include real estate assets. A college degree in real estate, finance, business, or business administration can prepare individuals for this role, which often involves strategic planning and maximizing returns on investments. 

Benefits of Getting a College Degree in Real Estate

While enticing real estate career opportunities are available without a college degree in real estate, pursuing higher education offers several advantages. These include higher earning potential, access to specialized roles, and a deeper understanding of industry concepts and practices. A college degree may also open doors to leadership positions and provide a competitive edge in an equally competitive job market. 

Access to specialized knowledge

A college degree can equip you with specialized knowledge and skills essential for success in various real estate roles. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry through coursework covering topics such as property law, finance, and market analysis, setting them apart from those without formal education.  

Expanded career opportunities

Earning a college degree in real estate opens doors to a wider range of career opportunities and room for advancement within the industry. Whether aspiring to become a real estate manager, financial analyst, or asset manager, a degree provides the credentials and expertise necessary to thrive in these specialized roles. 

While a successful real estate career is feasible without a college degree, obtaining higher education offers valuable benefits. A degree not only provides specialized knowledge but also enhances credibility and opens doors to advanced career opportunities. 

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that success in real estate is not solely contingent on formal education. With dedication, experience, and a strong work ethic, aspiring real estate professionals can still thrive. Ultimately, deciding to pursue a degree in real estate depends on your aspirations and goals for professional growth and success in this dynamic industry. 

If you decide to earn your real estate license without first obtaining a college degree, contact Colibri Real Estate. Colibri Real Estate has helped more than half a million real estate agents earn their licenses, and we can help you, too. Start by learning the licensing process in your state, and then enroll in one of our straightforward, easy-to-follow courses. Contact Colibri Real Estate career counselors for more information.