One of the most attractive options for many people wanting to complete their real estate pre-licensing educational requirements is to utilize a fully online experience. Allied Business Schools and The CE Shop are two such schools aimed at busy professionals, parents, or people needing more flexibility in their study times or locations.
Both schools offer pre-licensing courses for California, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, though The CE Shop additionally offers pre-licensing courses for about 20 more states. While Allied’s pass rates for licensing exams hover around the average of 50%, The CE Shop reports an impressive 80% pass rate for its students on their licensing exam –
although its often time-consuming quizzes seem to be both a blessing and a curse in this regard (the program won’t let you advance until you pass the quiz at 100%). You should consider your learning style with both options, recognizing that both require you to be comfortable pacing yourself, processing information on your own, and able to reach out as needed proactively hen you have questions or need more explanation. Both schools offer the flexibility and convenience that is attractive to many students looking to work around their jobs or busy lives, and support from counselors and instructors via email, phone, and other modes of distance communication.
The CE Shop offers courses for: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Continuing education for all 50 U.S. states.
Prices for a pre-licensing course will vary by state, primarily depending on the number of credit hours required. The basic packages for both Allied and The CE Shop are in the same ballpark, although The CE Shop edges out Allied with slightly more expensive offerings. Both schools provide several options with additional courses in business building and SAE hours. Both companies regular advertised discounts on their websites, and The CE Shop additionally offers a free trial and monthly payment options to make getting started more affordable. Both schools offer a la carte course options as well for around $80-100, with The CE Shop once again being the slightly more expensive option.
Here is an example of the pricing options for one state covered by both schools:
Texas 180-Hour Online Basic Package: $388
Texas 180-Hour Online Premium Package: $488
Texas 270-Hour Package (180-Hour Pre-Licensing + SAE Course): $588
Texas 270-Hour Premium Package (180-Hour Pre-Licensing + SAE Course): $688
Both Allied and The CE Shop offer high quality course materials, and it is obvious that they are very familiar with the requirements for each state they cover. While The CE Shop is completely online and PDF-based, Allied also includes some hard copy textbooks which some students may prefer. Both schools are on the higher end of the cost spectrum, but both produce higher-than-average pass rates (although The CE Shop reports significantly higher rates for its students).
Both schools are ideal for students needing flexibility, as the courses are provided fully online and can be accessed from anywhere at anytime. Allied does offer student support during regular business hours, while The CE Shop does so 7 days a week via various forms of communication. Both schools have received some critiques for needing to improve their customer support, especially in the areas of refunds and transactions, but that does seem to be a common concern among online schools industry-wide.
With a higher level of pass rates, you could argue that The CE Shop better prepares its students to take and pass their state licensing exams on the first try. However, this pass rate comes with a stipulation: throughout The CE Shop courses, regular quizzes are encountered and must be passed with a perfect score to continue on in the course. If you do not pass with 100%, you must retake the quiz with newly generated questions, which, once again, must be passed at 100%. While this seems to be an effective way to check for understanding, some CE Shop students complain that this adds a substantial amount of extra time spent taking the course, and not being able to try to answer the same questions leaves them missing on the correct information. Allied courses do included quizzes and pre-exam prep, but do not operate in this checkpoint-like manner.
Level of Engagement
Allied supplements its online experience with more traditional tools, such as hard copy textbooks and – for the premium packages – physical study aids like flash cards, workbooks, and DVDs. The CE Shop, on the other hand, leans towards a more virtual experience, with no hard copy materials and a fully online experience. Both schools offer quizzes and videos to supplement their materials and keep the courses more interesting, so a key question to ask yourself is if you prefer to receive additional hard copy materials that you can mark and save, or if you are comfortable operating completely online.
An important differentiator between The CE Shop and Allied is the provision of the hard copy materials with your enrollment; Allied offers several items like a textbook, workbooks, and DVDs that you can use during your course but also save and reference for years to come. That’s an attractive option for many. However, if you are truly comfortable reviewing content online and printing out PDFs as needed, The CE Shop may be the best path for you. It’s hard to deny the high pass rates for The CE Shop and, as long as you are willing to put in more time and effort – especially when it comes to its checkpoint quizzes – the small added cost over the Allied options seems to be worth it. While some students felt they may have been over-prepared for their state exams due to the rigorous nature of The CE Shop courses, it seems that the hard work pays off when it means passing your exam and getting your new career started more efficiently.