We’ve reviewed five popular Illinois real estate schools and are ready to share what we’ve learned. There’s no better time than right now to get started, especially in Chicago—the country’s third largest city by population and one of the country’s hottest real estate markets.

We understand that you’re ready to dive into a new career in real estate, but before you do, you’ll need to complete a 75-hour prelicensing course. Take a look at our recommendations for the best online real estate education providers that will help you successfully launch your next career chapter.

4 Best Illinois Real Estate Schools for 2022

Our Top Picks
Pricing From
Promo Codes
Best Overall:
Real Estate Express
$329
TheClose25 - Save 25%
Best All-in-One:
Kaplan
$489
KAPRE5 - Save 5%
Best for a Budget:
The CE Shop
$325
TheClose30 - Save 30%
Best Live Instruction:
Inland School of Real Estate
$473.50

(Illinois prelicensing package prices as of December 2021)

Infographic: Illinois Real Estate Education - Quick Facts

Illinois Real Estate Schools – Helpful Info

To become a real estate broker in Illinois, you must first take a 75-hour prelicensing course before you sit for the exam. There are several important pieces of information that you need to know before choosing from the many Illinois real estate schools that offer this course.

The first is that in Illinois, the real estate agents who hold a supervisory role are called managing brokers, and beginning agents are brokers. This may be confusing since most states use the word broker to refer to someone who has received additional training and passed a second state licensing exam.

Once you complete 75 hours of study, pass the state’s broker exam, obtain your license, and get hired by a managing broker, you can begin your career. Here are the types of course packages offered by Illinois real estate schools:





We know that finding schools that can fulfill these needs may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. We’ll help you choose the right Illinois real estate school (or combination of schools) that’ll help you get licensed and succeed in your new career. Let’s take a deep dive.

Best Overall Illinois Real Estate School: Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express Offers:

  • Prelicensing Courses
  • Post-Licensing Courses
  • Managing Broker Prelicensing Course

Real Estate Express programs are affordable and highly rated, and they’ve created successful online real estate education programs for dozens of states, so they’re good at what they do.

You’ll be required to learn a lot of complicated material when becoming a real estate broker in Illinois. Real Estate Express presents this detailed information in a clear, concise format. The essential material is often repeated, so you’ve ample opportunities to learn it.

Real Estate Express Pros
Real Estate Express Cons
  • Easy-to-use online platform
  • The Basics course doesn’t come with test prep materials
  • Packages offer a variety of features
  • A printed textbook costs extra for most packages
  • Affordable

Real Estate Express Pricing

Real Estate Express offers four 75-hour, self-paced online course packages for prelicensing in Illinois. They also offer a livestream course option. We’ve listed each package at the regular price, but they often go on sale. Please note that Real Estate Express does not offer the 15-hour interactive course required by the state.

  • The Basics $329: This entry-level package is for a “disciplined self-starter who has some real estate experience.” This package is far from “basic” as it also includes three real estate e-books and state-approved instructor support through email and phone.
  • Exam Preparation $429: This package includes everything in the previous package as well as exam prep material. Their exam prep material includes 10 progress exams, five practice final exams (including three that focus on state-specific questions), and flashcards. Real Estate Express’ Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee promises that you’ll be refunded the $55 exam fee if you don’t pass it the first time you take it.
  • Exam Preparation Plus $499: For $70 more, you’ll receive everything in the previous two packages and have 40 hours per month of live access to state-approved instructors. You’ll also receive 45 hours of post-licensing courses that you’re required to take to renew your license the first time.
  • Ultimate Learning Package $593: This top-tier package includes everything in the previous one, as well as a printed textbook. You’ll also receive a one-year membership with McKissock, a professional development company.
  • Livestream Package $593: This package includes scheduled classes during the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or mornings only. It includes the “pass or don’t pay” guarantee and a printed copy of the textbook.

(Illinois prelicensing package prices as of December 2021)

Readers of The Close can SAVE 25% on any Real Estate Express prelicensing course in Illinois. Use promo code TheClose25 at checkout.

BEST FEATURE: It takes a highly skilled team of people to develop an online course that is attractive, informative, and interactive. While some local real estate companies may offer at-your-own-pace online instruction, they can’t compete with the professional quality of courses that Real Estate Express provides.

ROOM TO IMPROVE: Real Estate Express specializes in online, at-your-own-pace education. This means that they don’t offer the 15 hours of interactive courses required by the state. If you choose Real Estate Express to take your 75 hours of classes, you’ll need to enroll in either Kaplan or Inland Real Estate School to take the additional required hours.

BOTTOM LINE: Real Estate Express offers an easy-to-use, self-paced online format. If you want a seamless learning experience for the bulk of your prelicense course and don’t mind going elsewhere for the 15-hour interactive course, you won’t be disappointed with Real Estate Express.

Enroll Now

Best All-in-One Illinois Real Estate School: Kaplan

Kaplan Offers:

  • Prelicensing Courses
  • Exam Prep
  • Post-Licensing Courses
  • Continuing Education Courses
  • Agent & Broker License Renewal Courses

Kaplan has been in the test and exam prep business since 1938, so they know a thing or two about preparing people for exams and new careers. Even though this is a national company, Kaplan has found a way to offer the 15 hours of state-specific interactive courses required by Illinois, and even offer it as a standalone product. That’s why they’re our top pick among Illinois real estate schools. They offer one-stop shopping.

We also like Kaplan’s Career Launcher Program. This online, interactive class connects you with professionals in the real estate industry who’ll offer business advice on launching and growing your business. You’ll also have one-on-one sessions with career counselors so that you can ask questions about your unique situation.

Kaplan offers seven different packages for prelicensing courses in Illinois. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll only discuss the online course packages. If you’d prefer to do a portion of your learning by reading a textbook, know that a Home Study course is offered through Kaplan.

Kaplan ProsKaplan Cons
  • Best-in-class live and live online courses
  • Interface is a little dated
  • Great post-test professional development tools
  • Difficult to take classes on a mobile device
  • Excellent textbook and class materials
  • Live online classes are pretty pricy

Kaplan Pricing

Here are the three online packages that Kaplan offers. To fulfill all your prelicensing requirements, you’ll need to enroll in two of these courses.

  • Illinois 75-Hour Broker Licensing With Master Exam Prep Online Package $489: This package includes many resources to help you prepare for the Illinois broker exam. Besides the 75 hours of prelicensing class hours, you’ll also receive an online bank of practice questions from both the national and state portions of the exam. You’ll also receive access to a live interactive study session.
  • Career Launcher Online Package $689: Kaplan’s Career Launcher Package includes everything in the previous package, as well as resources that’ll help you prepare for your career. Kaplan’s Real Estate Accelerator is an eight-hour intensive course. You’ll also receive eight weeks of professional coaching. You’ll learn strategies that will help you grow your business from people who have already achieved success.
  • Illinois 15-Hour Broker Licensing Live Interactive Course $189: Regardless of which of the previous two courses you choose, you’ll also need to enroll in this course with Kaplan to complete your prelicensing course requirements. This interactive course isn’t included in either of the two previous packages.

(Illinois prelicensing & interactive package prices as of December 2021)

Readers of The Close can SAVE 5% on any Kaplan prelicensing course in Illinois. Use promo code KAPRE5 at checkout.

BEST FEATURE: There are several things we like about Kaplan’s courses. Still, our favorite feature is that they are the only national real estate education company that offers the 15-hour interactive course that’s required by the state.

Kaplan also offers exam prep materials with both of the packages we mentioned, and you can enroll in your post-licensing courses with Kaplan as well.

ROOM TO IMPROVE: Kaplan’s prelicensing packages are expensive. Their most basic package is $489, which is quite a bit more than the entry-level package offered by other companies on our list. Check out The CE Shop or Real Estate Express for more affordable options.

BOTTOM LINE: Since Kaplan offers the 15-hour interactive course and post-licensing courses, it makes Kaplan your one-stop shop for all your Illinois real estate education. Even if you choose Real Estate Express or The CE Shop for your 75 hours of prelicensing courses, you may still turn to Kaplan for the 15-hour interactive course. Since Kaplan has been educating Americans for decades, we bet you won’t be disappointed in the course material.

Enroll Now

Best Illinois Real Estate School for Students on a Budget: The CE Shop

The CE Shop Logo

The CE Shop Offers:

  • Prelicensing
  • Exam Prep
  • Post-licensing
  • Continuing Education
  • Managing Broker Prelicensing

Try The CE Shop’s FREE 5-DAY TRIAL!

The CE Shop is the only school on our list that lets you test drive their courses & features before you buy. Visit their website today!

While The CE Shop initially offered only continuing education (CE) courses, they now offer classes that help you start your career as well. They include flashcards, a real estate glossary, and a study schedule. Even the entry-level package includes access to a live, instructional webinar by an industry expert who’ll answer your questions about complicated material.

Amazingly, The CE Shop can offer all of these resources at reasonable prices. They’re highly rated, and each package includes resources on getting hired by a managing broker. Let’s learn about the packages.

RealEstateU Pros
RealEstateU Cons
  • Affordable
  • Limited course package options
  • Practice quizzes included
  • Minimal user options

The CE Shop Pricing

The CE Shop has four prelicensing packages for Illinois. Like Real Estate Express, the company doesn’t offer the 15-hour interactive course that Illinois requires.

  • Courses Only $325: You’ll love The CE Shop’s interactive content. It will keep you interested in the material through the entirety of the course.
  • Standard Package $385: You’ll receive the course and exam prep materials with the Standard Package. You’ll also receive a Pass Guarantee that’ll refund you the $55 fee you spent on the licensing exam if you have to retake it.
  • Value Package $425: You’ll receive everything in the previous course plus a Business Building Course when purchasing the Value Package. The Business Building Course is designed for new agents, and it’ll give you tips on organizing an office and launching a career.
  • Premium Package $585: As we mentioned, The CE Shop got its start offering continuing education courses. Their Illinois Premium Package includes everything from the previous package as well as all the post-licensing courses you’ll need to renew your license for the first time.
Readers of The Close can SAVE 30% on The CE Shop prelicensing course in Illinois. Use promo code TheClose30 at checkout.

BEST FEATURE: Starting a real estate business is more than just getting a license and finding a brokerage. In order to be successful, you also need to know what it takes to get a real estate operation off the ground. We love the affordable options provided by The CE Shop, and included in those options are courses like “Building Your Sphere” and “Is Commercial Real Estate Right for You?”

There’s always a concern that, when it comes to online real estate schools, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and content. But The CE Shop exceeds expectations by including this premium content in the Value and Premium packages.

ROOM TO IMPROVE: Even though The CE Shop offers affordable, high-quality courses, you have to be self-disciplined to get through the sometimes dry material on your own. If you’d rather your classes were scheduled each week, consider enrolling in the Inland Real Estate School’s live, online class.

BOTTOM LINE: You’ll have such a good experience with The CE Shop that you’ll probably return to them repeatedly throughout your career for affordable continuing education courses. Visit their website to learn more details about their programs.

Visit The CE Shop

Best Illinois Real Estate School for Live, Online Instruction: Inland Real Estate School

Inland Real Estate School Logo

Inland Real Estate School Offers:

  • Prelicensing
  • Exam Prep
  • Post-licensing
  • Continuing Education
  • Managing Broker Prelicensing

Inland Real Estate School has been perfecting their real estate courses for over 40 years. Within that time, they’ve helped more than 10,000 students get licensed. If those statistics aren’t impressive enough, they made our list because they offer something no other company in our buyer’s guide does: all 75 hours of prelicensing courses in a live, online format.

Some of you may worry about getting through an online course that teaches less-than-exciting material. If you learn best in an interactive classroom, enroll in Inland Real Estate School’s live, streaming prelicensing classes.

Inland School of Real Estate Pros
Inland School of Real Estate Cons
  • All courses are in a live, online format
  • Not the most affordable option
  • Qualified instructors with years of practical experience
  • Have to schedule around set class schedule
  • In-person or group studying sessions
  • No formal networking opportunities
  • Proven track record of over 10,000 students getting licensed in past 40 years

Inland Real Estate School Pricing

Inland Real Estate School broke the 75 hours of prelicensing courses into two separate classes. You’ll need to enroll in both to fulfill your prelicensing education requirements.

  • Classroom 75-Hour Prelicense $473.50: Inland Real Estate School offers its 75-hour course Monday through Friday for three weeks. Students can choose between morning or evening classes. You can attend the classes in person or through a livestream service.
  • Classroom 15-Hour Interactive $169: The 15-hour course can be scheduled in either morning or evening sessions for one week.

(Illinois prelicensing package prices as of December 2021)


BEST FEATURE: We love that the instructors at Inland Real Estate School have decades of real estate experience. We also love that their courses are highly rated. They made this list because they provide a service for those of us who need a living, breathing person to teach complicated material.

Even if you attend the live course from the comfort of your own home, you’ll still have access to the teacher. You’ll be able to learn from other students’ questions and ask for clarification when you need it as well.

ROOM TO IMPROVE: Inland Real Estate School offers in-person or group studying sessions and materials, but they’re expensive. For budget-friendly, quality exam prep materials, take a look at the packages The CE Shop has to offer, as they include exam prep and they even offer a free 5-day trial.

BOTTOM LINE: Inland Real Estate School has trained thousands of real estate agents. You’ll learn a lot about the unique world of Chicagoland real estate when you take your prelicensing courses with them.

Visit Inland Real Estate School

Illinois Real Estate Schools – FAQs

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Illinois real estate schools. If you have more questions, please drop them in the comments section of this article. We’d love to hear from you!





More Career Resources From The Close

You’ve learned a lot about the licensing process and the best Illinois real estate schools in this article. You can dig deeper in How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Illinois. We’d love to be a part of your journey toward finding the right real estate school and becoming a real estate broker in Illinois.

We have resources for every stage of your career and invite you to connect with agents nationwide by joining our Facebook Mastermind Group. Be a part of the conversation and don’t miss a single article from The Close. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about the industry, how to be successful, and new strategies you can use to set yourself apart from the competition.