News & Information: Orlando REALTOR® magazine - Special Feature

By Degrees

Friday, July 1, 2016  
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ORRA President John Lazenby (l) and ORRA member Bart Peterson enjoy the moment following Bart's commencement from the REALTOR University Graduate School of Real Estate
Orlando REALTOR® | JulyAugust 2016

Live and online options help Florida's working real estate professional earn a bachelor's or a master's degree bit by bit


According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Member Profile, 30 percent of REALTORS® already hold a bachelor's degree. But there's another group of REALTORS® – accounting for 51 percent – made up of individuals who fall along the formal-education continuum from "no college" to "some college" to "associate's degree."

For anyone involved in the real estate world, a specialized undergraduate or graduate degree in the field can provide a versatile and advanced path in our industry. Although a college degree has not been traditionally required for a successful career in real estate, completing a degree can result in significantly more opportunities, particularly within corporate and public administration settings.


Florida International University – Master of Science in Real Estate

Florida State University – Master of Business Administration with Real Estate Specialization

Complete Florida

Have you completed some college, and now wish to get back on track? Complete Florida is a university-system sponsored initiative designed to support working adults as they re-enter and finish an associate's or a bachelor's degree via online delivery.

In addition, you can earn up to 30 college credits from learning acquired from your professional work experience.

While Complete Florida does not currently offer a real estate specific program through its participating Florida universities, there are a variety of business administration options.

Complete Florida's services are free to Florida residents; admission requirements and expenses vary depending on participating university.

 The good news for those wishing to complete a bachelor's or even a master's degree in real estate is that there are several Florida-based (think in-state tuition) options — plus REALTOR® University — that are specifically geared for working professionals. Whether traditional or online, these flexible and supportive programs make it possible for Orlando-living and -working REALTORS® to complete a degree in real estate while tending to their real estate practice at the same time.


University of Central Florida
Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, Real Estate

The real estate major offered through the Department of Finance provides comprehensive coverage of personal finance, real estate fundamentals, and real estate law. Students also learn about real estate investment, finance, and development while additional elective courses cover appraisal, environmental issues, and professional selling. Qualified students may sit for the state appraisal and mortgage brokerage licenses in addition to real estate brokerage licenses.
After completion of UCF's general education and primary business core requirements, those who major in real estate begin taking real estate specific courses include mid-way through junior status. Required courses include Fundamentals of Real Estate and Real Estate Law, plus five real estate course electives.

Graduation also requires a one-semester internship related to the field of finance.
Visit the UCF website for detailed information about undergraduate admissions or transfer requirements, graduation requirements, and costs.


REALTOR® University
Estimated program cost: $22,000

The National Association of REALTORS'® own REALTOR® University offers an online program that cumulates in a Master of Real Estate (MRE) degree. In addition, completion of the program also fulfills requirements for the Certified Property Managers (CPM) and Performance Management (PMN) designations.

Courses are delivered in an online format, with activities that include direct interaction with faculty and other students (e.g., online discussion, group projects, and case studies) as well as activities completed independently by students, with subsequent interaction with faculty (e.g., quizzes and research assignments).

Program Overview
Upon successful completion of this degree program, students will be able to:

  • Articulate the real estate factors that impact the national and global economy.
  • Apply analytical financial and economic tools to a dynamic national and global marketplace.
  • Self-assess the application of analytical decision-making skills in applied field work through research projects.
  • Interpret the financial implications of real estate business decision-making.
  • Apply analytical skills in accounting and finance in order to conduct sound analyses.
  • Conduct quantitative analyses of real estate situations in order to use technology to support effective business decisions.
  • Analyze the legal, political, and ethical influences on real estate business opportunities.
  • Formulate market-driven strategies and effectively meet real estate customer needs.
  • Interpret and extrapolate national and global trends to inform management and operation of the real estate economic system.

Admission Requirements and Curriculum

Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree in any field from an accredited school, a review of transcripts and assessment options, and an interview. The program will provide transfer credit for up to three courses from an accredited graduate school, and even considers waivers of specific courses for those with extensive professional experience.

Degree requirements include completion of up to seven business prerequisite courses, seven real estate core courses, four courses within a chosen concentration, up to two prerequisite skills courses, and one elective. The REALTOR® University MRE program offers five concentration areas with related courses to choose from:

  • Residential Real Estate Sales, Marketing, and Management;
  • Real Estate Asset and Property Management;
  • Commercial Real Estate Investment and Analysis;
  • Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation Services; and
  • Real Estate Association Management.

University of Central Florida

Estimated program cost: $30,000

UCF's Professional Master of Science in Real Estate (PMRE) program was designed by the Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate as a flagship graduate program that prepares students to pursue careers in commercial real estate brokerage and appraisal, real estate development, mortgage brokerage, institutional real estate investment management, capital markets, and asset management.

The UCF PMRE program's 30-credit hour, 10-course curriculum combines a professional business core with courses in accounting, finance, and marketing and advanced coursework in real estate. Students earn an Argus Software certification, and are eligible to take the fast track to the CCIM designation upon graduation. Graduates are also prepared to sit for the Florida real estate brokerage and appraisal licenses.

The UCF PMRE is an all-inclusive program with a tuition of $30,000. Tuition includes 30 credit hours, all textbooks and course materials, a laptop computer, parking, and lifetime UCF Alumni membership.

The PMRE program is an evening program, allowing students to continue their full-time careers while earning a master's degree. The UCF PMRE is a 20-month program with classes held on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 6:00-9:50 p.m., at the Executive Development Center's state-of-the-art facility in downtown Orlando.

Admission Requirements and Curriculum
Minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Transcripts, letters of recommendation, a career goal statement, and interview are also part of the admission process.

Completion of the program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond a bachelor's degree, made up of 15 credit hours from the finance core and 15 from the real estate core. Examples of courses include:

  • Strategic Financial Management;
  • Financial Analysis Seminar;
  • Analysis of Investment Opportunities;
  • Strategic Marketing Management;
  • Managerial Accounting Analysis;
  • Real Estate Markets and Institutions;
  • Real Estate Law;
  • Real Estate Finance and Investment Analysis;
  • Real Estate Market Analysis and Appraisal; and
  • Real Estate Development

The PMRE's capstone course, Real Estate Development, is required by all students. Students will create a comprehensive development project that covers the real estate development process, regulatory considerations, financial and market feasibility, management and control, and environmental aspects of real estate development.

My Experience
REALTOR® University MRE
Bart Peterson, St. John's Realty Company

Why did you select the REALTOR® University program over other available programs?

Originally, I looked at several local schools' master's in real estate programs, but the cost and time requirements were more than I wanted to expend. Then I saw an advertisement for REALTOR University's Master in Real Estate program and, after some research, discovered that this would be a good fit for me both financially and time-wise. There were two additional factors that were particularly attractive to me: the concentration in commercial real estate investment and analysis and the availability of scholarships.

How long did it take you to complete the program?

It took me just over two and one-half years to complete the MRE program. The minimum time period for completion of the REALTOR® University MRE program is two years, but it can take longer depending if your bachelor's degree and job experience don't substitute for required courses.

How did you manage the challenge of completing an advanced degree while working?

The time management, although sometimes stressful, was not as bad as you might imagine. Due to the online presentation of the courses, I had access to my classes 24 hours a day, which allows a great deal of flexibility. In addition, each course syllabus thoroughly outlines what work is to be completed and when. This thoroughness allowed me to look ahead and plan my schedule as needed.

What would you say to another REALTOR® who is thinking of pursuing a degree while working at the same time?

I will admit there were times when I asked myself, "What have you gotten yourself into?" Then there were other times, such as after completing a final exam, when I would say to myself, "That was not so bad and look at all you learned." It does take a commitment to complete the Master of Real Estate program at REALTOR® University, but it is well worth the effort.

My Experience
University of Central Florida PMRE
Drew Belani, Keller Williams Winter Park

Why did you select the UCF program over other available programs?

A little known secret is that UCF's Professional Master of Science in Real Estate program is one of the most highly ranked real estate programs in the world, competitive with Ivy League level institutions. The instructors are some of the best minds in the world in real estate. As a cohort we have direct access to those instructors plus all the tremendous resources of the university.

How did you manage the challenge of completing an advanced degree while working?

Time management becomes the ultimate skill you master in this program. But while this is a professional program, the instructors are very aware of our careers and are extremely supportive. The work load is tough but does not conquer you as long as you have the proper time management skills and learn to make sacrifices.

What would you say to another REALTOR® who is thinking of pursuing a degree while working at the same time?

First thing I would say to them is congratulations! Pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree while selling real estate takes a lot of guts and entails a lot of short-term and some long-term risk. However, it is nowhere near impossible to manage both higher education and a career.

Why should those who work in real estate sales pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in real estate?

I am a firm believer that education is never ending for anyone who aspires to be the best they can be. It's up to each individual to determine if that education is found through the pursuit of a degree, or through the array of wonderful courses offered by our association. I also believe a degree can raise the image of the real estate professional in the eyes of our more sophisticated clients, while enhancing the overall credibility of the profession in the eyes of all clients.


ORRA Partners
ORRA would like to thank our Partners for their continuing support.
View the full list of ORRA Partners.