As the first state-approved Colorado real estate school, Armbrust Real Estate Institute (AREI) has been providing pre-licensing courses and exam prep for more than five decades. All AREI instructors, along with the school director, are active members of the real estate industry, so you are sure to encounter real-world scenarios and advice that are helpful in preparing not only for your broker license exam but also for your future career. Altogether, Armbrust Real Estate Institute estimates that its faculty represent 200 years of industry experience. Its classroom-based pre-licensing courses are offered part-time days, part-time nights, or full-time days, and they’re also available all the time online. With a pass rate exceeding 90%, AREI holds the #1 rank in pass rates since 1962, and promises (with some stipulations) to pay for a student’s second attempt at the state exam if they don’t pass it the first time.
AREI offers two main packages for students wishing to complete the 168 hours required by the state of Colorado to complete their pre-licensing education. You can choose from the Broker Associate In-Classroom Course for $1050, or the Broker Associate Distance Education (Online) Course for $799.
For both of these courses, materials are included in your tuition, representing $200 of your total fee. Students may pay the total tuition at the time of enrollment, or may begin either program with an initial payment of $525, with a second payment for the remaining balance three weeks after enrollment. To secure this payment option, AREI requires the student to submit a valid credit card which would be debited on the agreed-upon dates.
AREI also offers several classes a la carte, for students needing to complete certain courses or a number of hours to finish their pre-licensing education. Additionally, the school offers an online or in-classroom Comprehensive Exam Prep course for $275 that focuses heavily on Colorado-specific elements of the licensing exam, or an in-classroom “Exam Techniques” course for $125 that is more of a practice exam, covering testing environments, potential questions and answers, and best practices in preparation for the state licensing exam.
- In-Classroom or Online Program: You can choose to complete the AREI pre-licensing course through either the full-time or part-time in-classroom program, or through the online course, which you will have up to 6 months to complete. Both courses include textbooks and access to video learning tools.
- Comprehensive Course Final: At the end of the course, you are required to take a comprehensive final (or “assessment quiz”) designed to ensure you are prepared to pass the national and state exam. If you pass this course final on your first attempt, you activate the school’s guarantee clause of passing the licensing course; if you do not pass the licensing exam on your first attempt, the school will pay for your second attempt.
- Video Learning Tools: Instructors leverage a voice-over-PowerPoint technique for online courses to create videos that can also be leveraged by in-classroom students. These videos allow instructors to make notes live over their slide presentations to help further explain content and make their presentations more interactive.
- Part-time or Full-Time Course Schedules: Students taking courses in the classroom can choose from a full-time, 3-week program or a part-time, 5-week program, adding flexibility into your instruction. Additionally, students will be completing an Exam Prep course that covers and reviews each module discussed in the previous week to ensure retention and preparation for the licensing exam.
AREI relies heavily on its 52 years of experience in the real estate education industry, along with the real-world knowledge its professors bring to the classroom. Many student reviewers comment on the passion and professionalism imparted by the instructors and school directors, as well as their availability for extra help and their desire to see AREI students succeed. Additionally, understanding and specializing in the structure of the Colorado licensing process — which differs substantially from other states — helps ensure that students are fully prepared to complete all requirements successfully more quickly.
AREI offers several paths to complete the 168 hours required for Colorado licensing. You can attend in-classroom lectures full-time over a 3-week period (Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), or part-time over a 5-week timeframe (Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.). Both options also require Saturday morning class attendance for the Exam Techniques class from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. AREI classes are taught at the school’s headquarters in the Denver Technological Center, which is conveniently located near the intersection of Interstates 25 and 225 near Cherry Creek State Park.
Armbrust Real Estate Institute also offers a “distance education” (online) course that includes all the materials from the in-classroom course, as well as access to the streaming video presentations, an instructor hotline students can use when they have questions, and available one-on-one tutoring appointments. The school recommends completing the online course in 2-3 months because that seems to be the optimal pace for retaining the information and doing well on the state license exam. AREI also gives students the option to create a hybrid course program that combines some in-classroom courses with some online courses to suit busy schedules.
As explained on the AREI site, Colorado was the first state to establish a “single-licensing statute,” meaning that students must only take the state licensing exam once, rather than once as a “salesperson” and later as a “broker.” While this saves time, it also means that the state licensing exam tests competency beyond many other states. To ensure its students are fully prepared, AREI provides rigorous course content and quite a bit of homework (in addition to class sessions, students should expect approximately 14 hours of homework a week for part-time students, and 20 hours per week for full-time students), as well as a tough final exam at the end of the course.
Each student also gets an individual orientation when they first enroll with AREI to give them the best possible start to a challenging course of study. The school’s expertise in Colorado laws and best practices, along with these high-level expectations for students, keep the school’s pass rates above the 90% mark for its students taking the state exam.
Once AREI students pass their license exam, they can keep it active with continuing education classes online or at the AREI location in the Denver Technological Center. Colorado requires brokers to complete 24 hours of CE instruction every three years. CE course topics offered by Armbrust Real Estate Institute include valuation in a changing market, the state’s commission update course, a line-by-line analysis of the Colorado contract to buy and sell real estate, brokerage administration, advanced contracts, and working with appraisers.
AREI also gives its pre-license students detailed information about finding a job in real estate once they have their license, with advice on how to compare commission structures, where to look for good employing brokers, and a detailed checklist of more than two dozen questions that new brokers should ask when they talk with prospective employers. This information is drawn from the owner’s and instructors’ years of experience working in the Colorado real estate market and can help students make the best possible start on their new career.
The school also encourages students to subscribe to its updates so they can keep up with changes in the Colorado real estate market. And the AREI website’s Spotlight section lets students download and study the forms they’ll use in their new careers so they can study them and ask any questions they have while they’re taking the course.
While most of the teaching is done with a traditional PowerPoint presentation style, students have given feedback that instructors do supplement course content with helpful real-world scenarios and experiences. The online video presentations include handwritten notes that professors can add to the slide set as they are presenting to help emphasize certain content or add additional explanation. Students taking the courses online are encouraged to call the Instructor Hotline with any questions, or set up appointments for one-on-one tutoring as needed, so the school works to ensure that personal engagement is available.
That said, some student reviewers have felt the technology involved in the courses is not the most cutting-edge, especially compared to some of the other fully-online education programs available on the market. AREI also helps students engage with prospective employers and start growing their professional network by setting up opportunities to meet with employing brokers during class sessions, both to learn about future work opportunities and to learn how different brokerages run their business.
- The oldest real estate education school in the state of Colorado, with extensive knowledge of local regulations, rules, and testing. Instructors are all real estate professionals and offer a great starting point for your career networking.
- Extremely high pass rate for state exam, exceeding 90%, as a result of rigorous coursework and testing to prepare you for the state exam.
- Multiple options to schedule and complete required education hours, including full-time, part-time, online, or a hybrid approach.
- Exam pass guarantee. If you have passed your end-of-course assessment quiz on your first attempt, the school guarantees you will pass the state exam. If you do not, it will pay for you to take the state exam a second time.
- Quite a bit of homework and hours spent in the classroom, along with high expectations from instructors (although many students credit this with the school’s high pass rate).
- Online version of coursework is not particularly technologically advanced; primarily it is a video version of instructors’ PowerPoint presentation.
- Tough end-of-course final exam (although, again, some argue that this is what fully prepares you for the state exam).
“My experience with Armbrust was amazing. I did the in-classroom 5-week evening class which was intense. I thought the information was presented in an engaging and precept upon precept manner which made recall strong. I followed there suggestions for post-class study and passed both the final (which was tough) and the PSI test on the first try. I would highly recommend Armbrust if you’re looking for a great real estate school.” – Facebook
“I wish I’d listened to the other review on here about taking these classes online. This technology is completely out of date, not at all user friendly, and it takes twice as long to do things online than it needs to. Avoid taking these classes online at all costs.” – Yelp
“If your ready for the work they’ll give you your moneys worth and so much more but it’s a lot of work as they care about making you a GOOD and HONEST INDEPENDENT broker I’m almost done and I’m already thankful for how far and a great understanding I have of the material up to this point definitely reccomend coming here but u do need to be a self motivated and self started person if u attempt the full time in. Class thank u Armbrust pat Dave James and LOUIS !!!!!!!!!” – Google
Armbrust Real Estate Institute is regarded as having challenging coursework that pushes the students to try harder. Students have also praised the in-class instructors for their teaching abilities and their help in encouraging the students throughout their course. There are a few students that have complained about instructors not seeming as knowledgeable, but the majority of students were pleased with the instructors. Many online students did have complaints about the online courses being glitchy, and the site not being user-friendly. Based on reviews, the in-class courses seem to be favored over their online classes. AREI is one of the more affordable options to get your real estate license, which makes it attractive to many students.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, traditional classroom setting taught by industry-experienced instructors, AREI offers one of the top options for the state of Colorado. It’s hard to beat their pass rates and their years of experience, and many students appreciate the rigorous nature of the course and high expectations, as they felt they made them more prepared for the state exam and subsequent career search afterwards. While an online version of the courses is available, and many students have enjoyed it, it does not offer all the bells and whistles of some of the truly-online schools you may find in the market. However, the depth of knowledge of the local market and the availability of the instructor hotline for distance education students helps outweigh the technological limitations. AREI seems to pride itself on turning out knowledgeable and passionate real estate brokers who can hit the ground running after passing the state’s challenging licensing exam.
States for which the program is valid: Colorado
Headquarters: 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 850 Denver, Colorado 80237