6 Best Online Real Estate Schools in Illinois for 2024

Need to get your real estate license in Illinois? I’ve spent over 150 hours evaluating the 10 most popular courses approved by the Illinois Division of Real Estate. I’ve checked out each and every course, and there are clear winners and losers – so be sure to read my guide thoroughly!

Best Online Real Estate School in Illinois

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Best Overall Illinois Real Estate School, Highest Pass Rates, Most Engaging Content: The CE Shop

A+
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Top Features

: Self-scheduling flexibility, high exam pass rates
Starting at $339 $254

The CE Shop’s course is my favorite online real estate course in Illinois – hands down. If you’re wavering on which course format is right for you, then this is the one I’d go with. There are several different packages to choose from, so you can hand pick which features work well with your learning style.

If you’re just looking at price, The CE Shop also checks that box as it’s the cheapest course available. The free five-day trial also makes this the best online course in Illinois. You can test drive the classes before committing to anything, no questions asked.

While you can sign-up for the cheapest package, I’d recommend the “Premium” package just because of the added benefits it comes with. The perks of the Pass Guarantee make it worth the extra cost, because it’s an insurance policy that you won’t lose money if you fail the real estate exam.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.7 out 5. The CE Shop’s user interface is what makes the course so easy to use. The custom-designed online learning platform can be accessed on a tablet, desktop, or phone, so that you can study on the go. This makes it super easy to squeeze in lessons when you have downtime, which is a huge plus if you have a busy schedule.

I was also really impressed with the dashboard that shows up as soon as you login. It shows you exactly how far along you are in the course and what lessons you still have to complete. I also enjoy the fact that you can skip ahead or go back at any time if you need a refresher. As for the content itself, it’s a good mix of videos, infographics, and interactive quizzes. It makes it easy to keep up with because it doesn’t feel as repetitive as other Illinois real estate schools that are more text based.

Pass Rate: 4.8 out 5. The CE Shop has a pretty good pass rate amongst Illinois students. About 81% of students pass the real estate exam on the first try, which is impressive compared to the 70% average. The CE Shop is able to keep a consistently high pass rate because of their practice tests and self-paced scheduling. You can move through the course as quickly or as slowly as you’d like, and you can take as many practice tests as you want.

Course Duration: 4.7 out of 5. The Illinois real estate course is relatively short at just 75-hours. It is split into two different parts, with 60 hours of computer course work and 15 hours that require more interactive learning. While it might seem like a pain, I actually felt like it helped to break up the licensing process. However, some people want to know up front how quickly they’ll be able to power through the course. Or, they want to feel assured they’ll have plenty of time to complete it if they run into issues or get busy.

Luckily, The CE Shop has a generous extension policy. It expires 6 months after the purchase date, but there is a free month extension that you can access free of charge. After that, the price goes up considerably. For any reactivation or extension of the course after the seventh month, The CE Shop will charge the student 20% of the current retail price of the course for each 30-day extension.

Support: 4.6 out of 5. The CE Shop’s support team is overall pretty decent to work with. While they do have their pros and cons, they are available 7 days a week via phone, chat, and email. That’s more than most other online schools are able to offer, and I did find that the people answering the phone were very helpful and concise with next steps.

If they didn’t have an immediate answer for me, then they would take down my information to get a solid response back to me within a day or two. My initial concern was not having direct access to instructors, but The CE Shop did help me get in touch when I did need reassurance about the content of the course itself. It was a huge relief to know that I would always be able to hear back in a quick manner.

Refund Policy: 4.7 out of 5. The biggest perk of The CE Shop is the 5-day free trial! They just started offering this program where you can sign-up to test drive the course before even putting a credit card down. No other real estate schools are able to offer anything close to this in Illinois, so it’s a great option to consider if you are still on the fence about taking an online course.

If you’re looking at the refund policy alone, The CE Shop is pretty average – there’s nothing special about it. You can get a full refund within the first month, as long as you haven’t completed more than half of the course. This is pretty standard, and other schools like Colibri Real Estate offer similar.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, if I could only recommend one course in Illinois, it would be The CE Shop. It’s simple to navigate, and will help to prepare you for the real estate broker exam. I’d suggest taking a look at the Premium package because the extra perks like the pass guarantee make it a better overall value. It also comes with career resource books written by experts, and business building courses which are a huge help even after you pass the test and begin your new career.

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The CE Shop Pros
  • Comes with 5-day free trial
  • Practice tests are unlimited
  • Built to study on the go
The CE Shop Cons
  • Interface can be glitchy
Starting at $339 $254

Best for Live, Scheduled Courses: Colibri Real Estate

A

Top Features

: Several packages to choose from, lots of practice exams
Starting at $455 $356

Colibri Real Estate’s course has the best refund policy in Illinois, bar none. They offer a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, a course swap option, and a chance to demo the student dashboard before paying. If you are wavering back and forth about whether or not real estate school is the right path for you, then this is the I’d pick. It gives you the best chance of getting your money back if you change your mind.

When it comes to price, it’s definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, but there are four packages ranging in price ($298-$529) to choose from, which means you can add as many features as you want to. There are also almost always discounts and sales going on, which is a huge help.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.6 out 5. You’ll get similar course content with Colibri no matter which package you choose. All four come with study guides, and coaching videos that come from Buffini & Company. These videos show real-world examples of situations and questions you’ll face in the industry. This has a $150 value on its own, so it’s a great addition to the other course material you’ll get.

If you want the best test prep, access to live Q&A sessions, or the simulated exams, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the more premium options. Of course the cheapest course will still get the job done, but it really depends on your learning style.

Hands down my favorite thing about Colibri is the “readiness assessment” which will break down how ready you are to take the exam. It will give you a score (1 through 10) to help you determine if you should keep studying, or if you’re ready to sign up.

Pass Rate: 4.2 out 5. Colibri’s pass rate amongst Illinois students is higher than the state average. About 74% of Colibri students go on to pass the state exam, and they’ve helped more than 520,000 aspiring agents get their broker’s license in Illinois. That being said, it’s not the highest pass rate on our list of schools, so you can certainly find a school (for a cheaper price) that will prepare you for the test in a more interactive way.

Course Duration: 4.5 out of 5. Although the Illinois pre-licensing course only takes 75 hours to complete, some people like more time in case they get busy. You can pay to extend your course access by selecting a 7, 30, or 60-day option (prices go up the longer you want to extend). You can also choose the “retake” option which will give you a $25 discount to start the course over. Colibri’s policy is fairly generous compared to other schools, although you do only have the initial access for 6 months before you’ll have to look into extending your course.

Support: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri has proven to be one of the most trusted online real estate education providers, and they have the customer support to back it up. They have several tabs with different options to get in touch with a real person. They have an enrollment phone line, and a support line for you to call depending on what assistance you need. They also have a “live education specialist” who I was able to get in contact with via live chat. They responded within seconds and had a list of resources to offer me.

Colibri’s social team also updates all of their social media channels whenever there is a scheduled maintenance. It was easy for me to connect with other students in my area who were taking the same course because the Facebook and Instagram accounts are so active.

Refund Policy: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri is one of the best courses to take if you think you may need a refund. There are lots of safe-blocks in place so you don’t lose all of your money. If you sign up for self-paced online courses (most popular), you can get a 100% refund if you don’t like the course after taking it for a week. If you haven’t started it yet, you can request a full refund for up to a month. If you choose the livestream package, you have 24 hours to change your mind or swap to an online-only format if you do want a refund.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: I would recommend Colibri’s Illinois pre-licensing course. For aspiring agents, I’d suggest taking a look at the Ultimate Learning package. The extra perks like the career success tools, the coaching videos, and the CompuCram Exam Prep make it a great value that will help you find success long after you finish your real estate course.

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Colibri Real Estate Pros
  • Very flexible scheduling
  • Can pick and choose features
  • Live Q&A chat available
Colibri Real Estate Cons
  • Checkout process confusing
  • Interface glitchy
  • Study resources cost extra
Starting at $455 $356

Free Option to get Your Real Estate License: Tuition Reimbursement

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Top Features

: Easy way to get your real estate school for FREE
Starting at $489 $249

Agent Advice is hiring realtors, and we’ve built the most affordable way for you to get your Real Estate License. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase your course from agentadvice.theceshop.com
  • Complete your course and pass the state and national licensing exams
  • Email us to schedule your interview with our recruiters
  • Then join our brokerage, and we’ll reimburse your course costs as soon as your license transfers – easy peasy

Other program details

Once you receive confirmation from the state that you’ve passed the state and national exams, you can email us at support@agentadvice.com to get connected with our recruiters. One of our recruiters will reach out to you to get to know you and share any and every thing you’ll want to know to decide if our brokerage is the right fit for you. If it’s not, you’re under no obligation to join our brokerage.

If you do join us, our support team will then reimburse you within 2 business days of joining. Reimbursement will come in the form of a gift card or check equal to the value of the course purchased, and will be delivered electronically.

AgentAdvice.com is not the provider of any courses, and all state certifications, ongoing support questions, etc. will be provided by and fulfilled directly through the school. Feel free to email us with any other specific questions about our tuition reimbursement program.

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Starting at $489 $249

Best Test Prep in Illinois: PrepAgent

A

Top Features

: Updated study material, engaging instructors
Starting at $59

PrepAgent is designed to help future agents pass the real estate exam. They offer online group webinars, online training tools, e-books, and thousands of state-specific practice questions. 

I looked at dozens of different test prep vendors, including the ones that “come with” the courses – and frankly, all fall short of PrepAgent.

They are constantly updating their content as the exams change. While the questions cannot be the exact same as the real estate exam, PrepAgent strives to keep their content as close to what the exam will provide as possible. The material in the practice exams is written to reflect what an agent would need to know to pass the actual exam. 

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.8 out 5. PrepAgent offers multiple ways for the students to study. My favorite feature is that you can focus on your weaknesses with category-specific tests, or go straight for the master exam preparation. Interactive flashcards and study guides are available to quiz yourself with, as well as worksheets to help track and remember all the information that has been provided.

PrepAgent also offers explainer videos to help keep the learning process fun. If students opt for the premium package they have access to live online group webinars 7 times a week with a variety of topics that cover the real estate exam. There is a live chat as well as recorded webinars to watch in the future in case you miss one.

In addition to Illinois real estate practice exams and up-to-date information on the actual exam, PrepAgent also offers one-on-one tutoring for those that feel extra individualized attention may help them to better prepare. The tutors help focus on the struggles students are having with absorbing the material and helping to implement tips and study tricks to prepare for the exam. Students can schedule multiple sessions if necessary. 

Refund Policy: 4.1 out of 5. With PrepAgent, you really can’t fail. If you aren’t satisfied with PrepAgent, their packages are covered with a 100% money-back guarantee. This sets them apart from some of their competitors, who have much more restrictive refund policies.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend PrepAgents’s Illinois test prep. A feature I really appreciated is the ability to listen to the information in their car. I also applaud the instructors for their relatable way of teaching and how easy they made it to retain the information taught. Overall students seem very pleased with PrepAgent and their teaching methods, with many having stated they were able to pass the real estate exam on the first try using all the tools offered.

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PrepAgent Pros
  • Audio recordings available
  • Several packages to choose from
  • Can get 1:1 tutoring
PrepAgent Cons
  • Exam prep only available for a limited time
  • Online only
Starting at $59

Not Recommended

We had a high bar in picking the best of the best real estate schools in Illinois. These schools didn’t make the cut (frankly, they’re not as great as our top picks – but were also evaluated).

Kaplan

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kaplan

Top Features

: Several packages to choose from, lots of practice exams
Starting at $489 $289

Kaplan’s course is one of the hardest to sit through in Illinois, but it can get the job done if you really need it to. Because it’s so boring and there are few redeeming qualities, so I’d say you’re better off choosing another provider.

It’s also more expensive than other courses out there with few added benefits to make up for the high price point. It is not known for being very interactive, so there are definitely better options that will probably hold your attention more.

See Pricing

Convenience: 2 out 5. The Kaplan courses are built on dated technology. It’s hard to navigate, glitchy, and slow. Even figuring out what courses to purchase gives you a headache.

Pass Rates: 3.8 out of 5: Kaplan’s pass rate amongst Illinois students is pretty lackluster. While it’s not the lowest pass rate by any means, you can certainly find a course that will give you more confidence. About 62% of Kaplan students go on to pass the state exam, which is significantly lower than the 75% average.

Kaplan does offer a PassProtection policy that allows students who enrolled in the Live or Live Online classes to retake their course if they fail the Illinois state exam. That’s great if you happen to fail, but why not choose a course that’s going to give you the knowledge to pass on the first try?

Course Duration: 3.2 out of 5: Although the Illinois real estate course only takes 75 hours to complete, some people want to know they have an extension 0ption upfront in case they need more time. Kaplan’s access policy is pretty limited. You only have 6 months to finish from the date of purchase before it expires.

Another thing to note is that students take a longer time to complete Kaplan courses than any other online real estate school providers. I chalk this up to the monotonous content, and the repetitive lesson plans.

Support: 1 out of 5. In my test purchases, I’ve experienced Kaplan support taking up to 3 business days before responding.  All other schools I’ve tested typically respond within 1-2 hours & never longer than 24 hours during Monday-Friday.

Refund Policy: 0 out of 5. On 3 separate occasions, AgentAdvice students were declined a qualifying refund for Kaplan course purchases, and in each case, we (AgentAdvice) had to step in to personally provide the refund to these students after Kaplan declined to refund the courses or offer a replacement course. We no longer buy courses from Kaplan for this reason, and recommend that any student considering a Kaplan Real Estate course purchase do so expecting not to get a refund if they change their mind.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I can’t recommend Kaplan’s Illinois pre-licensing course. For aspiring brokers, I’d suggest taking a look at one of The CE Shop packages instead. The interactive capabilities will seem like such a breath of fresh air compared to the monotonous text-based content Kaplan offers. The 96% student satisfaction rate blows Kaplan’s sub par courses out of the water, and their updated test prep is such a great value.

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Kaplan Pros
  • Multiple packages
  • PassProtection Retake Policy
Kaplan Cons
  • Only 6 months of access
  • Glitchy interface
  • Confusing checkout process
  • Dated content and technology
Starting at $489 $289

A bit about Pass Rates:

You’ll see me refer to Pass Rates in my article – these are estimated using a variety of sources – pass rates directly from the providers, estimations from other states where providers operate in multiple states, and user-reported qualitative information.

SchoolEstimated Pass Rate
The CE Shop
81%
Colibri Real Estate
74%

Our Methodology: 

I ranked and rated each school on 8 different factors to come up with the very best real estate schools in Illinois. Our full guide on how we rank courses is available here, but the short version of factors considered are: 

  1. Course value
  2. How easy the courses were to navigate
  3. If there were any technical glitches
  4. Return policies
  5. Overall performance of each school as a whole
  6. Reviews directly from agents who’ve attended the school

There are dozens of options (some of them not so great!), so we’ve taken the work off your plate by narrowing down the list to only the ones that scored high enough. Whether you’re dedicating yourself full time to your new career, are looking to fly through the courses quickly to get them over with, or are busy and looking to work through them when you have downtime, here is a list of the best online real estate schools in Illinois you should consider.

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About the Author

Ashley York is an Illinois Real Estate Managing Broker and has been licensed and full time since 2009. She has millions in personal & team  production and 5 years ago opened her own firm where she oversees the 55+ agents who work there. She lives in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago and has grown the independent brokerage from the ground up to over $270M. Ashley was also awarded Mainstreet Organization of Realtors 20 Under 40 for 2022. Connect with me

Last Updated: 4/16/2024