In most states, free real estate courses do not meet the minimum requirements to issue an official real estate broker certification. However, it is possible to take free courses and then separately take the licensing exam in a specific state.
In the state of California, the Department of Real Estate outlines numerous guidelines relating to the ways in which educational courses can qualify as a reasonable course for becoming a licensed real estate broker. As a result, many major universities and community colleges offer full courses that result in real estate certification. In these cases, the course descriptions must specifically say that they meet the Department of Real Estate's standards.
For example, the San Diego Community College offers a real estate program that allows a student to become recognized as either a real estate sales person or broker after completing the course. The program consists of up to 10 units worth of classes that prepare the student for daily tasks involved with selling real estate, as outlined by the Department of Real Estate. Once the courses are complete, the student can obtain a real estate broker certificate of achievement if he has also meet outlined experience requirements with two years worth of real estate sales within the last five years.