Working as a real estate salesperson is an excellent choice if you want a flexible schedule and the opportunity to work from just about anywhere. We understand that you’re ready to dive into your new real estate career, but before you do, there’s a few steps you need to complete before you can oversee your first sale.
First, you need to answer the question, “What’s the best online real estate school in Illinois for me?” We’ve analyzed five popular choices and are ready to share what we’ve learned. There’s no better time but the present to get started. Take a look at our suggestions and enroll in an online school today.
5 Best Online Real Estate Schools in Illinois 2021
|Online Real Estate School||Starting Cost of Prelicensing Packages||Our Top Pick For|
|Real Estate Express||$329 (75-hour course)||(Best Overall) |
Easy-to-follow real estate courses
|Kaplan||$489 (75-hour course)|
$189 (15-hour course)
|The required 15-hour interactive Illinois courses|
|Mbition||$59 (for test prep only)||Customized learning based on where you need help|
|The CE Shop||$325 (75-hour course)||Affordable options for every budget|
|Inland School of Real Estate||$473.50 (75-hour course)|
$169 (15-hour course)
|Live, online courses|
Helpful Information to Know Before Choosing an Illinois Real Estate School
There are several tidbits of information that you need to know before you choose a real estate school.
An entry-level real estate salesperson in Illinois is called a “broker.” This may be confusing since most states use the word “broker” to refer to a real estate salesperson who received additional training and passed another state-licensing test. In Illinois, the real estate agents who hold a supervisory role are called “managing brokers,” and beginning agents are “brokers.”
To become a real estate broker in Illinois, you must first take prelicensing courses before you sit for the exam. Once you pass the exam, obtain your license, and get hired by a managing broker, you can begin your career.
Here’s what you need from your real estate school:
- Prelicensing courses: The first step to becoming a real estate broker in Illinois is to enroll in 75 hours of prelicensing courses that are required by the state.
- Interactive courses: The state of Illinois requires brokers to complete an additional 15 hours of interactive prelicensing courses, which can be either in person or through a live webinar.
- Exam prep: The broker test includes both national and state-specific questions. Some of the packages listed include test prep materials in the same package with the prelicensing courses.
- Post-licensing courses: Within two years of obtaining your initial license, you’ll need to take 45 hours of post-licensing courses. Some of the packages we mention also include those courses.
We know that finding schools that can fulfill these needs may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. We’ll help you choose the right school (or combination of schools) that’ll help you get certified for your new career.
Best Overall Online Illinois Real Estate School: Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express is our top pick of online Illinois real estate schools for many reasons. The programs are affordable and highly rated. The school has created successful online real estate education programs for dozens of states, and they’re good at what they do.
You’ll be required to learn a lot of complicated material when becoming a real estate broker. 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 Pricing
Real Estate Express offers four 75-hour prelicensing course packages for Illinois. 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. The test 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 $594: 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.
Our Favorite Real Estate Express Feature: Expertly Designed Courses That Will Prepare You for the Exam
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.
Where Real Estate Express Could 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 School of Real Estate to take the additional required hours.
Try Real Estate Express
Get started with your prelicensing education with Real Estate Express. Enroll in one of their four packages and get started today!
Best Illinois Real Estate School That Offers Both the Online & Interactive Courses: Kaplan
Kaplan has been in the test 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. That’s why they’re our pick for an online school that offers 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.
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 courses, 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 course 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 done it previously.
- 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.
Our Favorite Kaplan Feature: Offering Both the Online & Interactive Courses
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 test prep materials with both of the packages we mentioned, and you can enroll in your post-licensing courses with Kaplan as well.
Where Kaplan Could 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.
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.
Best Illinois Real Estate School for Exam Prep: Mbition
Mbition (previously OnCourse Learning) doesn’t offer any prelicensing courses for Illinois, but we’d like to mention them since they provide spot-on exam prep materials. If you’re nervous about taking the Illinois broker exam, we encourage you to purchase a program through Mbition to help you study.
Mbition offers two online, self-paced exam prep packages for Illinois. Both packages include the PSI National Exam Prep materials. Mbition’s test prep materials mimic the actual test that you’ll take. A countdown timer will appear on the screen, which will help you practice your pacing.
The most exciting aspect of Mbition’s National Exam Prep material is that they analyze the questions you miss on the practice test and will provide you with a list of topics that require extra review before you take the real exam.
Mbition Exam Prep Pricing
There are two exam prep packages for Illinois. Both include the National Exam Prep materials.
- National Real Estate Exam Prep-PSI $59: This affordable program will make the time you spend studying much more efficient because it offers tailor-made study materials. You’ll also get practice with the format of the test. When you finish the practice exam, you’ll receive a report detailing areas that need additional study.
- National Master Exam Prep Package – Illinois $129: This package includes the PSI Exam Prep, but it also has other test-taking resources that you might find helpful. You’ll receive a test prep toolkit that includes flashcards, topic reviews, and additional study tips. You’ll also receive MathMaster, a program that’ll assist you with the math concepts you’ll be required to know for the exam.
Our Favorite Mbition Feature: Adaptive Technology to Learn Where You Need Extra Help
While some schools’ exam prep packages include access to hundreds (or thousands) of practice questions, Mbition will narrow down the topics that need extra attention after you take only one practice test. Their adaptive learning technology will make your study time more efficient.
Where Mbition Could Improve
While Mbition offers great test prep material, that’s all they can help you with at this point in your career. If you want a national online school that offers test prep materials along with prelicensing courses and career advice, consider choosing a package with Kaplan.
After you complete your prelicensing classes and see how much material you need to study, you’ll realize how important it is to have quality test prep material. Visit Mbition’s website to learn more about their packages.
Most Affordable Online Illinois Real Estate School: The CE Shop
While The CE Shop only initially offered 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.
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.
- 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.
Our Favorite The CE Shop Feature: Career Resources at a Great Price
Starting a real estate business is more than just getting a license and finding a broker. 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.
Where The CE Shop Could 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 School of Real Estate’s live, online class.
Try The CE Shop
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.
Best Illinois Real Estate School for Live, Online Instruction: Inland School of Real Estate
Inland School of Real Estate has been perfecting their real estate courses for over 40 years. Within that time, they’ve helped over 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 90 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 School of Real Estate’s live, streaming prelicensing classes.
Inland School of Real Estate Pricing
Inland School of Real Estate broke the 90 hours of prelicensing courses into two separate classes. You’ll need to enroll in both to fulfill your prelicensing education requirements.
- Classroom 75-Hour Pre-License $473.50: Inland School of Real Estate 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 live stream service.
- Classroom 15-Hour Interactive $169: The 15-hour course can be scheduled in either morning or evening sessions for one week.
Our Favorite Inland School of Real Estate Feature: Live, Online Courses
We love that the instructors at Inland School of Real Estate 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.
Where Inland School of Real Estate Could Improve
Inland School of Real Estate offers in-person or group studying sessions and materials, but they’re expensive. For budget-friendly, quality test prep materials, take a look at the packages Mbition has to offer.
Try Inland School of Real Estate
Inland School of Real Estate 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.
Begin Your Career as an Illinois Broker Today
Even though you’ve learned a lot about the licensing process in this article, you can dig deeper into the details by checking out our article, “How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Illinois in 5 Steps.” We also wrote a national guide that provides some great best practices on launching your career, so when you want to go even deeper, check out “How to Get a Real Estate License in 5 Easy Steps.”
We’d love to be a part of your journey toward becoming a real estate broker in Illinois. Connect with us on Facebook by joining The Close Real Estate Agents Mastermind Group to learn more about the industry, how to be successful, and new strategies you can use to set yourself apart from the competition.