Brightwood vs. OnCourse Learning


With a similar student pass rate in the mid-60 percentile range, real estate license certification courses from both Brightwood and OnCourse Learning are effective tools in starting a new career or finishing out your pre-certification requirements. Interestingly, both schools have recently undergone some rebranding; Brightwood was formerly known as Kaplan Real Estate Education, and the new OnCourse Learning site resulted from the consolidation of several other schools including ProSchools, Career Webschool, and California License. Brightwood takes a multifaceted approach, offering numerous online courses as well as live, in-classroom courses in its 50 locations across the U.S. OnCourse, however, is completely conducted online, but covers licensing programs for all 50 states. Both schools offer flexible resources for professionals and students needing more customization in their study schedules. However, like many remote education courses, most of their negative feedback stems from a lack of responsiveness in technical and student support, with Brightwood especially suffering in this area. OnCourse, however, assigns each student a team of support staff – including an account manager, customer service rep, and technical support rep – increasing the likelihood that students will be able to find someone to help when they need it.


Both companies offer courses for: California, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

OnCourse additionally offers some degree of curriculum for the remaining of the 50 states.


Prices vary by state and the number of hours included, but here is an example to give you an idea on pricing comparisons. Both companies offer significant in-site discounts at various times, up to hundreds of dollars off. Additionally, both offer “principles” classes that can be purchased a la carte. Brightwood is the more expensive option, by quite a margin, but offers numerous variations of content delivery (live, on-demand, online, or combo) from which to choose, adding to the customization options and also affecting overall cost.

Career Launcher On-Demand 180 Package: $829

Online OnDemand Solution 180 Hour Package: $429

Texas Real Estate Exam Prep (State) OnDemand Course Package: $99

Principles of Real Estate OnDemand Course Package (60-Credit Hours): $209

The Basic 180 Hour Package: $475

The Works Deluxe 180 Hour Package with Textbook: $566

Complete Real Estate Exam Prep XL: $79

Real Estate Principles I Class: $99


The Brightwood course material is well organized and thorough and includes many helpful details and tips to prepare you for your exam, with the exception of real world application examples, which some reviewers felt would have been more helpful to include. Additionally, the courses contain regular quizzes along the way to check for understanding, increasing student comprehension. OnCourse similarly includes quizzes after every few screens of content, with the added functionality of tracking your missed questions and reviewing them in random order at the end of the lesson. Both companies suffer from some negative feedback on customer service, which seems to be common among distance education companies.


Both Brightwood and OnCourse cater to students needing flexibility and convenience in their schedules, since both offer online course that can be accessed and worked on at any time, from any location. Brightwood, however, does offer the added bonus of offering some courses in-person, but you must be close enough to one of its 50 physical locations to take advantage of this option. Some of the negative feedback on Brightwood revolves around the fact that system does not track your progress or allow you to bookmark your place in the online content. OnCourse, conversely, offers a customized student dashboard that provides an at-a-glance status of upcoming courses, progress within current courses, certificates earned, deadlines, events and notifications.  

The Brightwood site is chocked full of content and text, which is a positive in that it offers numerous combination options and customization of study program. However, it can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate, and you must read the fine print carefully to distinguish the differences in classes and packages.


Brightwood prides itself in providing its students with in-depth, updated information so that they are completely prepared for their exams. Additionally, the in-person course instructors are industry experts with real-world experience, and the option to purchase hard copy textbooks may appeal to students that enjoy more traditional reading and highlighting for studies. OnCourse similarly delivers content that meets all state-specific requirements, although its content is presented in smaller chunks that take about 20-30 minutes to complete before a quiz. Both schools report a pass rate of around 65% for their students, with reviewers expressing that they felt prepared to take their certification exams. Brightwood offers course material for certification for 22 states, while OnCourse provides lessons for all 50 states and their respective requirements.

Level of Engagement

Both Brightwood and OnCourse strive to make their courses more engaging and diverse through the use of videos and other interactive elements to supplement their traditional learning tools. However, OnCourse exceeds expectations thanks to its sleek student dashboard and progress tracker, as well as learning games and quizzes sprinkled throughout. Brightwood does offer a robust pre-test question generator called “QBank”that is interactive and can be accessed whenever you need it, making it easy to ensure you are fully prepared to take your licensing exam.


Both Brightwood and OnCourse offer attractive flexibility and quality content, as well as a wide range of bonus learning tools to help ensure you pass your exams. That said, OnCourse doubles down on technology, offering a customized student dashboard that tracks your progress, gives you visual completion status, and makes it easier to stay on track even if your study sessions are shorter or spaced out. While Brightwood does get points for the potential of attending in-person lectures, as well as buying hard copy textbooks, the technology utilized by OnCourse really pushes it ahead, as it offers shorter, bite-sized lessons with interactive quizzes and even learning games, helping you engage with the content on multiple levels. Much of this decision comes down to your personal learning preferences, but if you are looking for a fully-optimized distance education, OnCourse is the winner in this match-up.