Make the Grade with Dot-Com Training Courses

Continuing education is no further than your nearest computer.

August 1, 2000

You’re facing the deadline to renew your continuing education credits but your daily planner is booked solid with must-do showings and closings and the class schedule at your local board is limited. These days, you don’t have to choose whether business or education takes priority. Thanks to the Internet, you can eke more out of your day with CE classes that are available 24/7 via your computer.

Distance learning is “one of the greatest innovations we’ve seen for real estate licensees,” says Charles Barnes, a second-generation real estate school owner in Oklahoma. “Most [licensees] are mobile, and it’s hard to get them to come to a class," he says. When they do come, they often use the class time to catch up on their reading. "[Online training] forces [students] to read the material, learn it, and pass the test. It might seem easier than [a live course], but it forces them to study,” he says.

Plus, the latest online offerings aren’t static blocks of text on screen. The courses incorporate snazzy interactive features, including click-throughs to additional information and quizzes. And some providers create classroom-like interaction through course-specific discussion forums and chat rooms moderated by an online instructor.

What do practitioners think of online training? Many are still warming up to the idea. A recent NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS survey of GRI designees finds that 58 percent of respondents prefer a classroom setting, while 34 percent prefer GRI courses to be delivered through a combination of classroom and Internet training. Still, 56 percent of respondents are somewhat or very interested in online courses.

Among the training medium's offerings, which educators hope will sway opinion in favor of this method:

  • Well-known real estate training gurus, motivational coaches, and professional educators often develop and teach the courses, and give feedback to students using e-mail. Response time varies from a few minutes to 24 hours, depending on when the message is sent and the instructor’s availability.
  • No special hardware or software is needed, just a recent model computer with a Web browser and an Internet connection. And the programs typically give you help should you run into a glitch. NAR’s REALTOR® University Online program, for instance, offers 24/7 technical support services.
  • Depending on where you live, you can apply coursework earned online toward your state’s CE credit requirements, although in some states you'll be required to take a written exam in the presence of a proctor. Check with your state real estate commission CE credit.

Ready to put your classroom days behind you? Five cyber providers—REALTOR® University Online, Kaplan College,, Charles Barnes' School of Real Estate and Appraisal, and—show you what they’ve got.

REALTOR® University Online
(since November 1998)
Charles Barnes’ School of Real Estate and Appraisal
(since February 1999)
(since January 1999)
Kaplan College
(since May 2000)
(since fall 1999)
URL Education Center
Continuing Education Yes. Several three-hour mandatory courses (such as fair housing) and two designation courses (ABR, Essentials of International Real Estate) are approved in Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, , New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia. Yes. See Web site for details. Applications are pending in 22 states. In development Two courses are approved in Alaska, Alabama, California, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Applications are pending in 15 other states.
Courses Offers ePro series, which educates REALTORS® about real-world uses of technology, coursework leading to the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designations, and general real estate professional education. Offers real estate pre-licensing and post-licensing courses, CE, and a broker course. Offers courses on technology, marketing and sales. Real estate track has eight industry-specific and eight generic business courses. Offers professional development courses on such topics as Web-based marketing, demographic-targeted marketing, and Feng Shui. Offers CE courses and 50 professional development courses in four tracks: technology, sales, brokerage management, and personal assistants and office staff.
Tuition ePro: $299
ABR and CIPS courses: $295
Other courses, including CE for 11 states--Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, , New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia: $45
Pre-licensing and post-licensing: $210
CE: $70
Broker course: $355
$119-$179 per course. $69 per course. CE: $7 per unit
Other non-CE courses: $15-$50
Annual subscription: $149 buys unlimited individual access to
Non-CE courses. Your subscription entitles you to review a course or look something up whenever you want. REALTOR University’s CE courses are offered through partnerships with state associations, which administer the CE credits. Some charge a $5-$20 administrative fee for CE record keeping that’s passed on to students.
Course Materials None Licensing and broker courses include a workbook sent by U.S. mail. None Students must to purchase a $20-$40 book for most courses. None
Discussion Areas Yes. Instructor-moderated discussion groups and forums are available for all REALTOR® University and ePro students. No Yes. Online chat rooms are built into the courses. Yes. Exercises direct students to discussion message boards. In development.
Miscellaneous As of mid-June, the first 500 students had completed the ePro course and more than 5,000 were registered for the next session.

By the end of 2000, REALTOR® University will expand its catalog to include more designation courses.

Company has provided real estate training since 1978. Also offers paper-based home study and live-lecture courses in Oklahoma. Offers business issues courses on such topics as sexual harassment and workplace violence. Offers online schools for nine industries. Operates Coldwell Banker’s online university at
Top executive/ headquarters Dan Schmitz (REALTOR® University)
Tim Pilcher
Charles Barnes, owner
Midwest City, Okla.
Robert Scher, president/CEO
Streetsboro, Ohio
Bill Rosenthal, president
New York
Bruce Peterson, CEO
More info 800/874-6500


800/369-7277 or
800/745-7219 877/481-2799 612/843-6500 ext. 124

Marcie Geffner is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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