5 Best NC Real Estate Schools (2023 Updated!)

Kelli Salter, Licensed North Carolina Agent1/4/2023

North Carolina real estate agents have ranked the very BEST real estate courses in North Carolina to make sure you start your new career right.  Want to see the full, in-depth editor reviews for each school? Check out our 100% free guide to the 4 Best Real Estate Schools in North Carolina (includes the latest 2023 pricing, reviews, pass rates, and more).

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Best Online Real Estate Schools in North Carolina

north carolina real estate commission logoNorth Carolina’s real estate market is booming. In comparison to this time in 2021, sales are up double digits across the board. The lack of inventory and demand to buy has created a seller’s market. Although all regions are hot, the Tar Heel, which includes Jacksonville, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Greensville, is particularly popular.

Because North Carolina real estate is doing so well, now is a great time to be an agent. In addition to making terrific profits, agents enjoy flexible scheduling and an opportunity to be their own bosses.

If you’re looking to get in on this, it’s important to know that a successful career path starts with your real estate license in North Carolina. That’s why getting inside knowledge from industry experts is crucial when deciding where to get your real estate license. In fact, making the right choice for your real estate school is one of the most important choices a new agent can make!

Our in-house real estate experts spent hundreds of hours researching, scoring, and ranking the top North Carolina real estate schools.  Our experts also took into account the ratings and reviews from thousands of Agent Advice agents who have taken the courses themselves.

We’ve ranked and rated each school on 8 different factors to come up with the very best real estate schools in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina you should consider.

Quick Links:

  1. Best Schools
  2. Best Online School
  3. Best Value
  4. Top Pick

All Schools: 

  1. The CE Shop
  2. Kaplan
  3. AceableAgent
  4. Superior School of Real Estate
  5. RealEstateU

Quick Compare

The CE Shopce-shop-logo

Editor’s Score: A+

The CE Shop is a real estate school that has been used by countless agents. It is a North Carolina Department of Real Estate accredited facility that offers online classes. It prides itself in using an interactive, inquiry-based approach that is vital in helping students absorb the material.

The school started out as a Continuing Education school (as evidenced by its name) but it has since gone on to expand its offerings. It now provides everything from pre-exam education to post-licensing and continuing education courses making it a useful resource for agents at any point in their career.

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Study Packages

Students who enroll in the school can choose from one of four study packages. These include:

  • Courses Only
  • Standard Package
  • Value Package
  • Premium Package

All packages include the basics you need including 75 hours of NC pre-licensing course in contract writing as well as a variety of resources like digital flash books, access to a real estate glossary, business eBooks and more.

More expensive packages include things like an exam prep edge, a pass guarantee, business building courses and a 24-hour sales CE package.

If you have already taken the basic courses, you may purchase features of the other courses separately as well.

ce-shop logo

Pass Rates

The CE Shop has phenomenal pass rate in North Carolina with 91% of students making it through the exam with flying colors.

Ratings and Reviews

The CE Shop has many favorable reviews among North Carolina students. Most rating sites gave it 4 out of five stars. While several students had good things to say, there was some negative feedback included.

Many students said that the courses were convenient. They appreciated the fact that the web site was easy to use and accessible on a variety of devices. They also thought the way the material was presented made it easy to learn and they found the pricing to be reasonable.

Some students complained because you must re-enroll in the school if you do not pass your courses. Others had difficulties with customer service. Some sited inaccurate information in the lesson material.

Want to learn more about The CE Shop? Check out more here.

The CE Shop Study Schedule Screenshot

The CE Shop Benefits

The CE Shop Online is a good school because it offers a variety of options for agents at every stage in their career. It goes from exam prep to continuing information and provides different course options that can help you grow your business.

Another benefit is the school’s affordability. Many students found it a good option, even when money was tight. This is combined with the easy access of online learning that makes it a convenient learning tool.

Most students were happy with the learning method and found the information easy to digest. This is evidenced by the high pass rates.

The CE Shop Lesson 2 Quiz Screenshot

The CE Shop Drawbacks

While The CE Shop Online has many advantages, it also has its share of drawbacks. For one, it is available online only so students that prefer an in-person experience do not have that option.

There are also issues with the information provided to the students as far as accuracy. Some felt the prep exam question wording was too broad and did not provide them with the kind of focus necessary for passing the exam.

Return/Cancellation Policy

The CE Shop Online will fully reimburse students who are not satisfied for the course as long as they request a refund within 30 days of the initial purchase and as long as they are not more than 50% through with the course.

They will reimburse students for the Exam Prep Edge as long as the request is made within 30 days of the purchase and the student has not completed the initial assessment.

Students that do not pass the state licensing exam after taking either of these courses are also entitled to their money back.

The CE Shop ProsThe CE Shop Cons
Multiple course study packagesNo instructor help
A lot of study aids and recommendationsOnline only
Interactive and user-friendly platformState portion of course is outdated

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Kaplankaplan logo

Editor’s Score: A-

Kaplan School of Real Estate has been a leader in North Carolina real estate since 1975. Hundreds of thousands of agents have used their services to get their license, continue their educations and grow their careers. The school is committed to providing students with a strong foundation on which to build their business.

Kaplan offers several educational formats including live, online instruction, video on demand online instruction, online instruction and a home study solution. All options provide a comprehensive curriculum and the guidance you need to move forward. In addition to helping agents obtain their licenses and advance in their career, they also provide resources for those looking to branch out into home inspections and appraisals.

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Kaplan Unit Overview Screenshot

Study Courses

Kaplan provides exam prep in a variety of formats including the following:

  • Live Online Instruction: Live online instruction provides the convenience of online learning combined with the interaction of in-person classes. Students can take lessons in real time without a money and time-consuming commute.
  • Online Video On-Demand Instruction: On Demand Video classes allow you to access lessons on your own time. Log in to view prerecorded lessons when it’s convenient for you to do so.
  • Online Instruction: Students can go at their own pace taking online classes available in text and image format.
  • Home Study Solution: The Home Study Solution is perfect for self-motivated students who work well using textbooks.

In addition to the exam prep courses, Kaplan also offers a Complete North Carolina Real Estate Drill and Practice QBank. It follows the Modern Real Estate Practice in North Carolina unit by unit making it an ideal classroom study companion as well as a great tool for independent study. It allows you to build your own exam so you can identify problem areas and overcome test taking anxiety. It is accessible online any time you need it.

Pass Rates

There is no information available on Kaplan’s pass rates in North Carolina. However, the school produces a 76% pass rate nationwide.

Kaplan Unit 1 OnDemand Course Screenshot


Kaplan rates highly on review sites getting more than four out of five stars on most platforms. Students who took the course say they appreciated the convenience of being able to go at their own pace. Others stated that they were glad to have been provided a textbook to assist them in their online studies.

Reviewers also liked the way the curriculum was laid out. They found it easy to follow and interactive. They liked their teachers and felt the course played an essential role in helping them pass their exams.

Students that had negative commentary mentioned that they had problems with the online format. They also said the information did match up between course review, exam questions and the material itself. They also said they wished there was more guidance on the daily aspects of real estate included.

Best Things About Kaplan

Kaplan offers many benefits to its students. The courses are taught by instructors with hands on real estate experience. They offer knowledge and advice that will help you pass the test and set a strong foundation for your career.

The many formats offered means each student can find the teaching method that’s best for them. Many of the platforms take an interactive approach that makes the information engaging and easy to digest.

They also offer competitive pricing that is affordable for most students.

Kaplan Quick Quiz Screenshot 3


While Kaplan is a great school overall, there are a few areas that can use improvement. For example, their interface is slightly dated and not as user friendly as compared to what other courses offer.

Also, the amount students pay for courses varies wildly. Thankfully, online courses for North Carolina agents are currently priced at $149 putting the state at the bottom of the price spectrum. However, courses in other states can be as expensive as $649.

Another downside is that the online format doesn’t provide a platform for online interaction. If students have a question for the teacher, they cannot ask the question immediately. They must email the teacher and wait for a response.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Students who take Kaplan’s online course are eligible for a refund if they cancel within 30 days and if the course has not been completed. Shipping charges, if applicable, are nonrefundable.

Live classes can also be refunded if they are canceled within 30 days and not completed. All materials must be returned in original condition or money may not be refunded for these items.

Kaplan provides a pass guarantee. If students do not pass the test, they may retake the course as long as there is space for them and as long as it’s within 6 months of the original purchase date. They may have to purchase new course materials.

RealEstateU ProsRealEstateU Cons
Fair return policyLectures can be boring
Convenient, go at your own pace formatNo pass guarantee
Available on a variety of devicesNo textbooks
Provides the information you need for the examNot available in all 50 states

North Carolina real estate is hot. You can get on the ground floor by getting a realtor’s license in the state, but the right education will make all the difference in how successful you are.

The schools listed in this article are recommended for getting you started on the right foot. Which will you choose when you take the first step in getting your career going?

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AceableAgentaceableagent logo

Editor’s Score: A+

AceableAgent hasn’t been around as long as many other schools, but it is on a fast track for establishing a reputation as one of the best. It is approved by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, and provides the 75-hour coursework requirement. It is fully online, and accessible from any device. Students can use their desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or any combination of devices. 

Aceable is also self-paced, encouraging students to work at their own convenience, around their schedule.

In addition to helping students pass the real estate exam, Aceable also offers continuing education and training courses. It prides itself on taking an engaging approach by offering practice tests and contract workshops to help students succeed.

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Study Packages

AceableAgent offers a variety of study packages.

  • The Basic package includes:
    • Lite Exam Prep- 300+ unique real estate exam practice questions
    • Instructor Support- Email course experts anytime
    • Multimedia Learning Experience- Video, interactive games, & infographics
  • The Deluxe package includes:
    • 75 Videos, 70 Audio Lessons, Plus Digital Flashcards
    • Deluxe Exam Prep- Unlock 1,500+ additional practice test questions
    • Real Estate Exam Prep E-book- Over 100 pages to prepare you for the real estate test
  • The Premium package includes:
    • One Hour of Private Tutoring With a Real Estate Expert
    • Live Webinars 5x/Week
    • Access to Webinar Archive- Watch hundreds of hours of educational videos anytime
    • Live Q&A- Hosts pull questions from social media and answer them live

Providing multiple packages to choose from ensures that they have something for everyone, no matter how many resources you want included in your purchase.

In addition to the basic courses, Aceable also offer student support and a ‘pass or your money back’ guarantee.

AceableAgent Practice Exam Screenshot

Pass Rates in North Carolina

Pass rates specific to the Tar Heel State are not listed on the AceableAgent website, however, they list their national average pass rate as 94%.

Ratings and Reviews

AceableAgent has gotten generally good reviews across the board. Students like that the website is easy to navigate. They also appreciate the fact that the information is broken down into small chunks that make it easier to digest.

Past students mentioned that the course layout has a clean feel and that it can be downloaded through the Apple App Store and Google Play as an extra bonus.

Many felt the quizzes after each chapter ensured that they were learning and retaining information, however, they also noted some flaws they came across. For instance, not all states are created equally. So, while students enjoy the interactive courses in some states, other states are still using strictly PDF formats.

Want to learn more about AceableAgent? Check out more here.

aceableagent screenshot


Perhaps the best thing about AceableAgent is its mobile app. It allows students to study on the go wherever they may be.

The video technology included in the North Carolina course makes the course more engaging, so students are better able to retain information. It also helps the 75 required hours zoom by.

The Ace or Don’t Pay Guarantee is also a huge plus! If students don’t pass the licensing exam after three attempts, AceableAgent will refund your money.

AceableAgent Chapter 8 Review Questions


Aceable is pricier than some of their competitors. In North Carolina, students are looking at paying between $475-$675 for a course. While the interactive materials are a plus, price is definitely something to consider.

There are also limited customer service hours. Reps are available from 8:30 AM to 5 PM Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8:30 AM to 3 PM Tuesday and Thursday. They have no weekend hours, which means that they cannot provide support if you have any issues come up on off hours.

Return/Cancellation Policy

AceableAgent will provide a refund as long as the request is made within 30 days of the purchase date and the course is not completed. If you purchased a course extension because the course you originally purchased is expiring, the extension is not refundable.

AceableAgent ProsAceableAgent Cons
High pass rates nationwideCostly course packages
Good mobile appLimited customer service
Easy to navigate siteNo in-person courses available

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Superior School of Real Estatesuperior-school-of-real-estate-logo

Editor’s Score: A-

Superior School of Real Estate prides themselves in offering a curriculum that engages and entertains. They are committed to excellence, and they feel this is what has led them to produce so many students with passing grades.

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SSRE believes that education should be convenient. They offer a wide variety of courses and schedules so you can choose what works best for you. In addition to providing exam prep courses, they also provide continuing education, post licensing courses and resources to help you grow professionally.

Superior School of Real Estate

Study Courses

Superior’s study courses include the following:

  • Livestream Classes: Livestream classes combine an in-person and virtual experience. Clients can learn from instructors in a live setting from the comfort of their own home.
  • Self-Paced Online Courses: Self-paced online courses allow you to go at your pace accessing courses when it is convenient for you to do so.

In addition to these courses, Superior School of Real Estate also offers a Career Night. These events are hosted by professional real estate instructors. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and find out information in a casual atmosphere. Career Nights are free.

The school also offers a CompuCram North Carolina Exam Prep Course. It includes vocabulary reviews, practice tests and simulated exams. It is available for just the North Carolina portion of the exam, for just the national part of the exam and for both parts of the exam.

Pass Rates

We couldn’t find any information on Superior’s pass rates.


Superior tends to rate highly in customer reviews. Students were especially happy with their teachers. They liked their engaging presentation of the material.

Students say the school was instrumental in helping them pass the exam. They said the classes were difficult but fun. They said they would go back to the school for business development and continuing education courses.

On the downside, some students said the customer service people were rude. They also mentioned that they had poor distance learning policies during the pandemic.

woman studying on computer

Best Thing About the School

Superior offers many benefits to its students. On the upside, they offer a career section on their website. The section is entirely devoted to career resources, tips, insights and helpful hints for passing the exam.

The instructors are all professionals with hands on experience in the real estate industry. They offer firsthand advice and information on what it’s like to make it in the field. They also offer office hours outside of the classroom so students can contact them if they need extra guidance.

The courses are competitively priced and individual classes and books can be purchased separately.


While the school offers many advantages to its students, it also comes with its share of downsides.

For example, customer service is only available from 8 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. If you have a question or tech issues outside of these time frames, you may be out of luck when it comes to completing your studies.

And, because there is no online chat function, you can only get an answer to your questions if you email or call during business hours.

Another thing to consider is that the school only offers services in one state. Students from other states are unable to take the course.

The school also does not have a mobile app. This means you will only be able to access the courses from a computer. This makes for limitations in terms of where and when you can study.


The school allows students to withdraw from a course and get a full refund if prior notice is given. Students must also return books in original condition to receive a refund. If the student gives notice and is seven days or less into the course, they will receive a refund less a $150 administration fee.

Superior does not provide any sort of pass guarantee.

Superior ProsSuperior Cons
Good curriculumReturn/Cancellation policy is not accommodating
Good teachersNo pass guarantee
Variety of courses availableClasses available for North Carolina agents only
Career resources availableLimited customer service hours
AffordableNo mobile app

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Editor’s Score: B

RealEstateU advertises itself as the fastest and most affordable way to get a North Carolina real estate license. It offers the full 75 hours of pre-licensing education. It provides convenient and accessible online courses.

The school prides itself on a course that filters out unnecessary information and gives students just what they need to pass the test. You can jump between lessons as you choose. It also includes 8 sample tests so you can determine your strengths and areas that need improvement. It claims to cut down exam study time by 90%.

RealEstateU Chapter 1 Audio Lesson Screenshot

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Study Courses

RealEstateU’s study course includes the 75 hours of required education in audio courses that you can listen to on the go. It also features infographics that help you absorb the lesson material. Students benefit from supporting documents and a course glossary that familiarizes them with key real estate terms.

Once the course is completed, students are provided with a certificate of completion.

The school also offers an exam prep course. This targets the exact information you need to pass the test. You can skip between lessons as you see fit. It also includes sample tests that mimic the state and national exam.

Pass Rates

There is no information available online concerning RealEstateU’s pass rates.

RealEstateU Lesson 1.3 Mini Quiz Screenshot

RealEstateU Reviews

RealEstateU tends to get favorable reviews online ranking close to 4 out of five stars. Students appreciated being able to go at their own pace and complete classes online.

Those that reviewed the site said that the information was well presented. They appreciated that the school used real life examples. They also said that they provided all the information to pass the exam.

On the downside, some students said that the lectures were monotonous. They encourage students to write down notes because listening to the course work is not enough to pass the test. They said that not being able to see the instructor took away from the course’s potential to engage.

Want to learn more about RealEstateU? Check out more here.

Best Things About RealEstateU

The best thing about RealEstateU may be its affordable price. It is among the lowest priced online schools. However, prices will vary according to the state you are in. Textbooks are also not included.

The online courses are another bonus. Courses can be accessed on a variety of devices so you can take them from anywhere at any time. They also provide ‘go at your own pace’ convenience.

The school is also ARELLO certified. Not every real estate school is ARELLO certified. The certification serves as proof that the school provides and maintains high educational standards.

RealEstateU Glossary


RealEstateU comes with its share of downsides. For example, there are no textbooks included with the price of admission. This means students do not have a hard copy to reference when reviewing the material.

Even though a textbook may increase the price of the course, it could be a worthwhile investment.

Another disadvantage is that the school isn’t available in all 50 states. Agents trying to get a license in a state where the program is not offered will have to choose another institution.

RealEstateU also does not provide an option for in-person learning. This can be a disadvantage for students who benefit from a live lesson format.

Return/Cancellation Policy

The school will grant returns to students within 30 days of purchase as long as the course is no more than 50% complete. Returns are subject to a $20 administration fee and books (if any) are nonrefundable.

The school does not offer a pass guarantee or money back if you fail your test.

RealEstateU ProsRealEstateU Cons
Fair return policyLectures can be boring
Convenient, go at your own pace formatNo pass guarantee
Available on a variety of devicesNo textbooks
Provides the information you need for the examNot available in all 50 states

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Advice from the Pros:

Here’s what licensed North Carolina real estate agents say about the real estate school process

Ryan-Fitzgerald-HeadshotRyan Fitzgerald
Realtor in Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Realty, Uphomes

“I didn’t pass the North Carolina state real estate exam the first time and I know run two boutique brokerages selling close to 300 homes each year.

North Carolina is rated as the hardest state to pass the state real estate exam and for good reason… Everyone wants to be a Realtor in North Carolina because so many people are moving here.

Passing the North Carolina state real estate exam was harder than actually selling my first home. They make the real estate exam hard for a reason and they purposefully try to trip you up to prepare you for life as a Real Estate Agent when laws can become confusing.

My advice for future agents is to not get hung up on passing the real estate test the first or even the second time. Most people in the state of North Carolina fail the first time, the pass rate is under 50%. Some of the brightest people I know, much smarter than myself, do not pass the NC state exam the first time.

The state exam is not a reflection on your talents as a Real Estate Agent or the success you will have as a new Realtor. Focus on passing the test and then it’s time to focus on growing your real estate business!”


carolyn riley head shotCarolyn Riley
Realtor in Garner, NC
Real Broker

“I’m a realtor based in North Carolina. One of the best tips I received to study for the NC real estate exam was to study NC real estate state law and read carefully. The NC real estate exam consists of a National and State section.  The State section has 40 questions that are specific to North Carolina real estate laws. Take your time and read each word. This will help to make sure the question is understood. The test is meant to be tricky and words are changed to make the test taker consider more than one answer is correct. Have confidence in your answer and do not second guess yourself. 

jaquetta turner headshotJaquetta Turner
Realtor in Winston Salem, NC
Home Selling Solutions, LLC

“I am licensed in Winston Salem, NC and I received my license in October 2016. I passed at the top of my class but it required hard work. I studied at least 3 hours per day and I purchased a study CD that my course was offering. I was traveling a lot during the process and would listen to the CD consistently while in the car. In addition, I attended a review class and this really helped me successfully pass. In summation, the best way to pass is to do the “extra” and to take it seriously because you will learn a lot of information in a short period of time.”

About the Author

Kelli is a licensed North Carolina real estate agent in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Kelli has had her license for over 7 years, and has represented over hundreds of clients buying and selling their homes. As a Marine’s wife, Kelli Salter knows how challenging military moves can be. Since 2015, she’s dedicated her efforts to helping families at Camp Lejeune and the surrounding communities find their new homes. In 2020 she opened her own agency and has since sold well over $100 million in real estate.

Last Updated: 1/4/2023