How to Get a Real Estate License

Want to know how to get a real estate license? Let us help you get there with tons of helpful info and answers to common questions from others looking to get their license.
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So, you want to get your real estate license. Good move! Becoming a real estate agent can put you on a career path to having more control over your schedule and income, but first, you have to earn your real estate license.

How to Get a Real Estate License

The rules for getting your license can change dramatically based on which state you're in.

We took a look at 11 states with the biggest earning potential for real estate agents and outlined what it takes to get your real estate license. Here are the states we'll be discussing.

Click your state to jump ahead to its section.

Up first, Texas!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas

11 Steps to Obtain Your Texas Real Estate Agent License

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Take the required Texas real estate pre-license courses
  3. Sign up for a TREC Account and Apply Online
  4. E-mail your course completion certificates to TREC
  5. Wait for your eligibility letter
  6. Study for the Licensing Exam
  7. Get fingerprints and a background check
  8. Schedule Your Exam
  9. Take the Texas Real Estate Exam
  10. Find a Real Estate Broker
  11. Get Your Texas Real Estate License

Step 1 - Check your eligibility

Are you an 18-year-old who can’t tell a lie? Good news! If you’re a US citizen/permanent resident alien and meet the Texas Real Estate Commission's, also known as TREC standards for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity, you’re in. This means you don't have to be a Texas resident to get your license.

Step 2 - Take the Required Real Estate Courses

If you meet the minimum general requirements for getting a Texas real estate license, you can focus your attention on the education requirements. You don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent, but the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) does require applicants to complete six required courses:

You must successfully pass each real estate course before you can take the pre-license exam. If you’re doing the math on that you’ll notice there’s a total of 180 classroom hours to meet the real estate education requirement. But you don’t have to rework your life to fit the courses into your busy schedule.

AceableAgent now offers TREC-approved pre-license courses that can be taken on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Now real estate school is in session whenever and wherever you choose!

Planning to get your real estate broker license? Then you’ll need to take one more pre-licensing course. The Real Estate Brokerage pre-license course provides additional real estate training on how to operate as a broker. There are also additional elective courses for:

  • Real estate appraisal
  • Property management
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Investments
  • Residential inspections

Step 3 - Sign Up for a TREC Account and Apply Online

Once you’ve completed your mandatory real estate courses it’s time to get the license application process started. The quickest way to do that is online, but first, you have to be registered with the Texas Real Estate Commission. Once you’re registered, TREC will email a username and password that allows you to create an account and use the TREC Online Services.

One thing to watch out for is the name used on the account. The “Account Owner Contact Information” needs to be exactly the same as the name on your driver's license. After the account is set up you’ll receive an ID and barcode that must be used to submit additional documents and schedule the licensing exam.

Now that you’ve set up your TREC account you can submit a Texas real estate salesperson application. It’s a fairly simple process:

  • Pay the fee - There’s a one-time initial application fee of $205.

  • Get fingerprinted - Each applicant must get fingerprinted by MorphoTrust, a vendor that collects prints for the FBI.

  • Background check - The applicant background check is fairly standard. However, if there are certain “red flags” you may have to complete a background history form and there may be an investigation.

  • Submit proof of course completion - TREC requires that applicants submit education course completion documents to prove the six required courses have been completed.

Step 4 - E-mail your course completion certificates to TREC

E-mail TREC your certificates to prove you’ve completed the necessary coursework.

Step 5 - Wait for your eligibility letter

TREC will send your state exam eligibility letter within 21 business days of receiving your certificates.

Step 6 - Study for the Pre-Licensing Exam

While TREC is taking 15-21 business days to process your real estate license application, you can simultaneously start studying for your TREC exam. Exam prep is different for everyone, but practice tests are scientifically proven to be one of the best types of exam prep you can do. You’ll also receive an exam candidate handbook from TREC to help you prepare.

If you’re tempted to skip the exam prep, keep in mind that you only have three attempts to pass the exam. People who fail to pass the exam after three tries must do additional real estate training.

Step 7 - Get fingerprints and a background check

Once you receive your eligibility letter, it's time to schedule your required fingerprinting on TREC's website. You don't have to have a completely clean record, and even if you have criminal convictions, you still qualify if you pass the state's moral character determination process.

Step 8 - Schedule Your Exam

You can’t schedule your pre-licensing exam until your application has been processed and you receive a TREC ID number. The Texas real estate exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which also handles the scheduling. Exams can be scheduled online by:

  • Creating an account using your ID
  • Paying the fee
  • Picking a date, time and location

Unlike your real estate courses, you do have to show up in person for the exam. There are testing locations across the state from Dallas to San Antonio, so finding one nearby shouldn’t be hard. Pearson VUE will provide additional details as far as what to expect during the exam, general requirements and what you’ll need to bring with you on test day.

Step 9 - Take the Texas Real Estate Exam

After months of taking real estate courses, completing the license application and studying it’s all comes down to the real estate licensing exam. It’s by far the most intimidating of the requirements, but if you’ve prepped there’s a good chance you’ll pass it on your first try.

The exam for a real estate license in Texas is broken into two parts: a national section and state-specific section. You’ll have two and a half hours to complete both sections. Once you’re done you’ll get your score immediately. However, the scores must be sent to the state real estate commission before a license is issued.

Step 10 - Find a Real Estate Broker

Another step you can take while you wait on the application, is finding a broker. Technically, the Texas Real Estate Commission licenses a real estate agent to act on the behalf of a licensed broker. That means you can’t become an active real estate agent unless you have a licensed TX broker as a sponsor.

Although a broker isn’t your “boss”, they will have an impact on your career and income. It’s best to research your options and interview each broker that seems like a good fit. Once you found a broker you want to work with you’ll need to submit a salesperson broker sponsorship form. If you get this done before taking the exam you won’t have to worry about switching from an inactive to an active license.

Step 11 - Get Your Texas Real Estate License & Begin Your New Career!

After you pass the real estate exam, the Texas Real Estate Commission will review your test score and salesperson sponsorship form. They’ll then email the active real estate license to you and your broker.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Florida

Getting a real estate license in Florida puts you in the position to have a career that gives you freedom, unlimited income potential and access to beautiful beach homes. Florida is an exciting real estate market, to say the least. It may have gotten hit hard by the recession (like most other states), but it bounced back quickly and many markets are now considered hot spots.

If you’re ready to become a Florida real estate professional here are the requirements you have to meet to get a sales associate license.

Age Requirement

In Florida, real estate license applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Social Security Number Requirement

Another requirement that Florida imposes is having a social security number. This will need to be provided on the application.

Education Requirements

The first education require is earning a high school diploma or GED. Once you’ve met that requirement you can sign up for the 63-hour sales associate pre-license course. The only way to be exempt from taking this course is if you’re licensed to practice law in Florida or have a 4-year degree in real estate.

The Florida Pre-License Real Estate Course

The real fun begins when you take the 63-hour sales associate pre-license course. It has to be a state-approved course provided by a:

  • College
  • Community college
  • Accredited university
  • Florida technical center
  • Real estate school (in-class or online)

The 63-hour sales associate pre-license course covers topics such as:

  • Florida real estate law
  • Real estate contracts
  • Mortgages and financing
  • Fair housing regulations
  • Real estate appraisals
  • Principles and best practices
  • Real estate math

Pre-license Course Final Exam

After you’ve completed the pre-license course there’s one more step to take. You have to pass the pre-license course final exam. The exam will include questions on all the material covered in the course. You’ll need to score a 70% or higher to pass.

Applying for a License

Now that you’ve got the educational requirements covered the paperwork begins. You have to apply for a Florida real estate license before you can get approval to take the licensing exam. License applications are handled by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

To complete the application process you must:

  • Get fingerprinted with an official FBI fingerprint card. The fingerprints are used to conduct a background check.
  • Notarize your application (if submitting online).
  • Include a notice of satisfactory completion for your sales associate pre-license course.
  • Pay the application fee. (There are fee waivers for Florida military veterans/personnel/spouses, Florida National Guard members, and low-income earners.)

The Florida DBPR will review your application, complete the background check, verify pre-licensing course completion and approve or deny the application. Typically, this happens within 90 days. If there are errors on your application the DBPR has to notify you within 30 days so corrections can be made.

Taking and Passing the Florida Real Estate License Exam

You’ve completed the pre-license course, know a lot more about real estate and your application got cleared by the Florida DBPR. Now it’s time to put that knowledge to the test!

All applicants are required to pass the state licensing exam. The exam is administered by Pearson Vue. They’ll notify you when you are eligible to take the exam and can help you schedule a time to take it.

Here are a few things you need to know:

Number of multiple choice questions on the exam: 100 Time to complete the exam: 3.5 hours Score required to pass the exam: 75 or higher

The Florida real estate sales associate licensing exam will include questions on:

  • Real Estate Brokerage Activities and Procedures (12%)
  • Real Estate Contracts (12%)
  • Residential Mortgages (9%)
  • Property Rights: Estates, Tenancies; Condominiums, Cooperatives, Community
  • Development Districts, Homeowner Associations, and Time-Sharing (8%)
  • Real Estate Appraisal (8%)
  • Authorized Relationships, Duties and Disclosures (7%)
  • Titles, Deeds, and Ownership Restrictions (7%)
  • License Law and Qualifications for Licensure (6%)
  • Real Estate Related Computations and Closing of Transactions (6%)
  • Legal Descriptions (5%)
  • Federal and State Laws Pertaining to Real Estate (4%)
  • Types of Mortgages and Sources of Financing (4%)
  • Taxes Affecting Real Estate (3%)
  • Violations of License Law, Penalties and Procedures (2%)
  • Real Estate Investments and Business Opportunity Brokerage (2%)
  • Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules (2%)
  • Planning and Zoning (1%)
  • Real estate business (1%)
  • Real Estate Markets and Analysis (1%)

As soon as the test is complete you’ll get a report that gives you the result. If you didn’t pass the exam you have the ability to review the questions you missed before taking the test again.

Find a Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

You passed the exam - yes! But wait, there’s one more thing you have to do to get an active real estate license. You need to find a broker. All Florida sales associates must act under the direction, management, or control of a broker.

You can begin researching and interviewing with brokers while you wait on your license application to be approved. That way you’re ready to go as soon as you pass the exam and are eligible for a license.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania

Becoming a Pennsylvania real estate agent has a lot of career benefits. Pennsylvania agents are among the top earners in the country with an average annual salary of $66,550. It’s also a profession that gives you control over your earning potential and schedule. All of this is possible without paying thousands of dollars for a college degree.

You do, however, have to meet certain requirements and expand your education to become a licensed Pennsylvania real estate agent.

The Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission is in charge of issuing licenses and decides on the licensing requirements that have to be met. Here’s what the Commission currently requires to get a Pennsylvania salesperson real estate license.

Age Requirement

Like most states, to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania you must be at least 18 years old.

Education Requirements

The first education requirement for a Pennsylvania real estate license is to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Next, there are two professional courses you have to complete to qualify for a Pennsylvania salesperson real estate license.

Real Estate Fundamentals

This is a 30-hour course that covers 10 topics:

  • Land, real estate and real property
  • Public and private land use controls
  • Environmental issues
  • Legal descriptions
  • Interests in real estate
  • Forms of ownership
  • Title matters
  • Real estate contract law
  • Principles of financing
  • Real estate licensing and registration act/rules and regulations

Real Estate Practice

This is a 45-hour course that covers some of the same material as the fundamentals course but in a different manner. The topics include:

  • The real estate business
  • Laws and regulations affecting real estate practice
  • Home ownership
  • Listing the property -- broker/owner relationship
  • Selling the property--buyer/broker relationship
  • The agreement of sale
  • Financing the single-family residence
  • Legislation affecting financing
  • Appraisal of property
  • Closing the residential transaction

You can take the classes separately or together as a 75-hour program either in class or online. The one requirement is that the classes have to be taken through an approved in-state or out-of-state education provider.

The only way to bypass the required real estate courses is to have a:

  • Degree from an accredited law school.
  • Bachelor’s degree majoring in real estate from an accredited college.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and have taken enough real estate courses for the equivalent of a major.

Pass the Background Check

Pennsylvania requires that all license applicants pass a thorough background check. In order to complete a background check, you must provide a Pennsylvania report of your criminal history. You can get the report online through the PATCH website or at the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.

Pass the Salesperson Real Estate License Exam

Now that you’ve completed the required education and have the background check covered you can apply to take the licensing exam and pay the $49 exam fee. The Pennsylvania salesperson exam is administered by PSI Examination Services at various locations throughout the state. The exam is offered daily so there’s plenty of opportunities to get it lined up as soon as you’re ready to take the test.

The exam consists of two portions:

  • National portion with 80 questions and a total test time of 120 minutes. You must get at least 60 questions right to pass this portion.
  • State-specific portion with 30 questions and a total test time of 60 minutes. You must get at least 23 questions right to pass this portion.

As soon as the test is done you’ll be notified of whether you passed or not. The score report will say you were successful if you passed and you’ll receive a print out of the report. If you did not pass you’ll receive a breakdown of your weaknesses and strengths. Don’t worry if you didn’t pass. You can apply to retake the exam right there at the test site.

Find an Employing Broker

In Pennsylvania, real estate agents must work under a licensed broker. For that reason, applicants need to include a broker license number when they submit their application to get an active license. That means you need to find a broker first if you want to start working as an agent.

Apply for a Pennsylvania Real Estate License

You’ve completed all of the requirements, which means you’re now eligible to apply for a license with the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. You can apply online using the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). Here are the basic steps:

  • Fill out the form completely.
  • Include your state criminal background record.
  • Include a copy of records that show you completed the education requirements.
  • Include a copy of the exam score pass report.
  • Attach any other required supplemental documentation.
  • Pay the application fee.

The Commission reviews all applications on a first come first served basis. Ten days after the license is approved it will be sent to your broker and you can start practicing real estate!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Illinois

Helping people get their own piece of Illinois is a rewarding feeling. Every day Illinois real estate brokers buy and sell real estate working with a wide variety of clientele. Some are first-time buyers that are starting a family. Others are investors who are looking for a way to fund their retirement.

No matter what you specialize in, you first have to get a license to legally work as a real estate broker in Illinois. Here are the steps you need to take to make that happen.

*Brokers have the same role and responsibilities as a salesperson in other states.

Age Requirement

You have to be a little bit older to get a real estate license in Illinois compared to other states like Florida and Pennsylvania. Applicants must be at least 21 years old to get a license.

Education Requirements

In order to qualify for a broker license, you must first have a GED or high school diploma. Got that covered? Then you can move on to the two required pre-license real estate courses.

Broker Pre-license Topics Course

The broker pre-license topics course is the primary class for learning the real estate ropes. It’s a 75-course that’s broken into three sections:

License Law, Real Property and Agency - 30 Hours
  • License Law
  • Real Property
  • Structure of Agency
  • Seller Relationships and Counseling
  • Buyer Relationships and Counseling
State & Federal Laws / Real Estate Transactions - 30 Hours
  • Illinois Law
  • Federal Laws
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Financing
  • Contract Knowledge
Career Path Electives - 15 Hours
  • Independent Contractor / Employee Agreements
  • Occupational Disciplines (2 of the following)
  • Residential
  • New Construction
  • Commercial & Industrial
  • Retail & Office
  • Property Management
  • Farm & Land

Broker Pre-license Applied Real Estate Principles Interactive Course

This 15-hour course has a unique interactive element, which is mandatory. The course is taken in-person or via a 2-day live webinar. You’ll do the following during the course:

  • Role play
  • Go over case studies
  • Watch demonstration examples
  • Take part in “what if” situation examples
  • Act out scenarios

Courses can be taken in-class or online, but regardless of which method you choose, they’ll need to be taken through a state-approved education provider. If you currently live in a state with reciprocity and hold an active real estate license you may be exempt from taking the pre-license courses. But you’ll still have to pass the exam before you can get a license in Illinois.

Passing the State Licensing Exam

Illinois real estate exams are administered by PSI/AMP. Before completing your pre-license courses make sure to register with PSI/AMP. Once the courses are successfully completed your real estate school will send PSI/AMP documentation showing that you passed and are eligible to take the licensing exam.

Next, you’ll need to schedule a time to take the exam and pay the $55 examination fee. Tests are given Monday through Friday and Saturday in some locations.

Important things to know about the computer-based Illinois broker license exam: Number of questions: National portion 100 questions / State portion 40 questions Time to take the exam: 3.5 hours Passing score: 75 on each portion

After completing the exam you must also answer candidate screening questions to determine if you can apply and then you’ll be given a score report with your results. You must pass both portions of the exam before you can apply for a license.

Get a Managing Broker

Before you can get a real estate license you have to get a managing broker or your application will be denied. A managing broker supervises and oversees the work of brokers who work for their brokerage. It may take time and a few interviews to find a managing broker that’s the perfect fit for your career goals, so get started on this step ASAP.

Once you’ve joined a brokerage, the managing broker will sign a sponsor card. The card needs to be submitted with your application.

Applying for an Illinois Real Estate License

You finally have everything you need to apply for an Illinois real estate license! Applications are submitted through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) online portal. Instructions for applying are included on your score report.

To apply for an Illinois real estate license you must:

  • Provide personal information including address and social security number.
  • Include documentation for your secondary and post-secondary education.
  • List all previously held professional licenses.
  • Provide details and documentation if you’ve ever had professional privileges denied or been subjected to professional discipline.
  • Select your sponsoring broker.
  • Answer the criminal history questions.
  • Provide information about military or government service (if applicable).
  • Answer the child support, student loan, and tax questions.
  • Pay the application fee.

The IDFPR will review your application. They’ll either approve the application, deny it or initiate an investigation if there is anything questionable in your background history. Those that are approved will have their active license sent to their sponsor and can begin working as an Illinois real estate broker!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio

Real estate can be a lucrative profession in the Buckeye State. Currently, there are nearly 6,000 real estate sales agents in Ohio, which represents strong employment.

To join that group of professionals you’ll have to get a license first. Licenses are issued by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. They decide what hoops you have to jump through before you’re eligible to receive a license.

Below is a rundown of the current requirements that have to be met to become a licensed real estate salesperson in Ohio.

Minimum Age

Are you a legal adult? Good, because you have to be at least 18 years old to get an Ohio real estate license.

Education Requirements

Do you have a high school diploma or the equivalent? Great! You’re one step closer to getting an Ohio real estate license. Now you just have to complete the required pre-license real estate courses.

There are four courses that total 120 hours of instruction.

Real Estate Principles and Practices - 40 Hours
  • Nature of agency relationships
  • Agency disclosures and agreements
  • Agent responsibilities
  • Termination of agencies
  • Contracts
  • Listing agreements
  • Buyer agreements
  • Purchase agreements
  • Leases
  • Property ownership
  • Disclosures
  • Transfer of title
  • Escrow
  • Advertising and technology
  • Broker-agent relationship
  • Commissions and fees
  • Ethics
  • Basic math concepts
  • Property management
Ohio Real Estate Law - 40 Hours
  • Civil rights
  • Housing discrimination
  • Desegregation problems
  • Contract laws
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Federal fair housing laws
  • Antitrust laws
Real Estate Appraisal - 20 Hours
  • Appraisal process
  • Methods of estimating value
  • Comparative market analysis (CMA)
  • Situations that call for appraisals
Real Estate Finance - 20 Hours
  • General concepts
  • Types of loans
  • Sources of loans
  • Government lending programs
  • Mortgages
  • Deeds of trust
  • Financing and credit laws

The courses have to be completed within 10 years before applying for a license. That leaves plenty of time to fulfill the additional requirements.

Pass the Criminal History Check

Ohio requires that all licensed real estate salespeople be honest and have a good reputation. That means you have to have a pretty clean criminal record. Certain convictions and violations in the last few years will disqualify an applicant. Other convictions will be reviewed by the licensing division to determine eligibility.

Find a Sponsoring Ohio Broker

Every real estate salesperson needs to have a sponsoring broker - before they even get a license. It’s best to do your homework and sign on to a brokerage before you take the exam.

Pass the Pre-License Exam

If you meet the requirements above you can apply to take the pre-license salesperson exam. On the exam application, you’ll have to answer ethical conduct questions that delve into your background and provide proof you completed the education requirements. Pay the $60 fee and you’re set.

PSI, the exam administrator, will send you the Candidate Information Bulletin with instructions for scheduling the test once your application is approved. To schedule a time you’ll need to submit an examination registration form. Make sure to give yourself enough time to study so you’re fully prepared.

Key Pre-License Exam Information
  • There are two portions on the exam: national and state
  • There are 120 questions total: 80 questions for the national portion and 40 * questions for the state portion
  • You have 120 minutes for the national portion and 60 minutes for the state portion
  • Passing score is 70 or higher

You’ll get a score report letting you know if you passed or failed immediately after completing the exam. If you didn’t pass on your first attempt you’ll need to submit a retake application and pay an additional fee. The good news is if you passed one portion you don’t have to take that part of the exam again.

When a person passes the pre-license exam PSI will send your test results on to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. The licensing staff will then issue your license and you’ll be ready to start working as an Ohio real estate agent!

How to Get a Real Estate License in North Carolina

Thinking about becoming a North Carolina real estate agent? The process begins with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. They’re in charge of issuing licenses in the state. They also come up with the requirements to get a real estate broker license. (North Carolina is a broker only state. There are provisional brokers rather than salespeople.)

If you’re serious about selling homes here’s how to get a real estate license in North Carolina.

Minimum Age Requirement

Sorry, minors. All license applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Legal Ability to Work in the U.S.

Your citizenship and work status is also a factor for getting a North Carolina real estate broker license. You must be a:

  • United States citizen
  • Non-citizen national
  • Qualified alien under federal law
  • Have a lawful presence in the U.S. and be authorized to work in the real estate industry

As long as you’re in one of those categories and have a social security number you’re eligible.

Education Qualifications

You must meet one of four education qualifications for a North Carolina license:

Option #1 - Take the 75-hour North Carolina Broker Prelicensing Course

This is the education qualification option for most applicants. The course must be administered by a school that’s been approved by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and must be completed within three years of applying for a license.

Once you complete the 75-hour course your school will send the proper documentation to the Commission. The Commission will then refer to that documentation when an online application is submitted. If you decide to submit a paper application you’ll need to submit a signed Official Certificate of Course Completion.

Option #2 - Complete a Comparable Real Estate Course in Another State

If you’ve already completed a real estate licensing course in another state that could satisfy the education requirement. You’ll qualify for a waiver if the out-of-state course was at least 75 hours, was completed within a year of applying for a North Carolina license, was completed while living in another state and has topics similar to the NC broker prelicensing course.

You’ll need to provide the Commission with a course completion certificate or transcript proving successful completion.

Option #3 - Degree in Real Estate or Law

If you’ve earned a bachelors degree in real estate or a law degree from an accredited college or university that’s another way to get an exemption from taking the 75-hour pre-licensing course. A transcript from the college or university is required.

Option #4 - Holding a Real Estate License in Another State

Already licensed in another state for the last three years? As long as the North Carolina Real Estate Commission deems the license to be the equivalent of the state’s license an applicant will meet the education requirement. An official certification of licensure generated in the last six months from the licensing state will have to be submitted for review.

Submit a License Application

Next, complete the license application and pay the $100 fee. Documents to verify education course completion or exemption have to be provided. You’ll also have to answer a series of questions to meet the requisite character requirements. The questions relate to criminal offenses, professional disciplinary actions, liens, and judgments. If you answer yes to any of the questions you’ll need to provide supporting documentation.

You’ll also need to include a Criminal Record Report with your application. You can get a criminal record report from www.ncreccheck.com. It needs to include results from every county and state you’ve lived in the last seven years and for every name you’ve used.

Be careful to fill out the application completely and provide all of the necessary documentation so there are no delays. The Commission will review each application and issue either an acceptance or a denial.

Take the Licensing Exam

North Carolina has a two-part real estate license exam with a national portion and a state portion. Applicants that have a current real estate license in another state may be exempt from taking the national portion of the exam. Everyone else will have to take both portions.

A few days after your application is approved you’ll receive a Notice of Exam Eligibility. You can then contact PSI Services LLC and schedule the exam.

The licensing exam national portion includes 100 questions on:

  • Agency relationships and contracts
  • Real property ownership/interest
  • Finance
  • Real property
  • Marketing regulations
  • Property management
  • Real estate calculations

The licensing exam state portion includes 40 questions on:

  • North Carolina real estate license law and commission rules
  • Other North Carolina laws and practices
  • General real estate topics

You’ll have 2.5 hours for the national exam and 1.5 hours for the state exam. As soon as you’re done you’ll get your test results. To pass the exam you must get at least 71 questions right on the national portion and 29 correct answers on the state portion.

Once you pass your results will be sent to the Commission, and they’ll issue a license certificate within 10 days of the exam date if all the other requirements are met. If the Commission is reviewing an issue related to character you’ll have to wait until that’s complete to get your North Carolina real estate license.

If you don’t pass the exam on the first attempt don’t worry. You’ll be able to retake the exam again.

Find a Broker-in-Charge

To have an active license you must be supervised by a broker-in-charge. Take your time to find the right fit before becoming an affiliate agent of a real estate brokerage. Your brokerage not only helps you practice real estate legally, but they also influence the trajectory of your career. So choose wisely!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Michigan

Getting a real estate license in Michigan means you have to meet certain requirements and invest a little in your education. The job of coming up with the requirements and regulations belongs to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL).

Keep reading to learn more about the current requirements for getting a Michigan real estate license.

Age Requirement

If you’re legally considered an adult (18+ years old), then you meet the LARA age requirement for a Michigan real estate license.

Education Requirement

The education requirement in Michigan is actually much easier to meet compared to a lot of other states. You’ll need to complete the 40-hour pre-licensure real estate fundamentals course through a state-approved education provider.

The course covers all of the real estate basics that you’ll be tested on during the exam, including state-specific information. It’s practical knowledge that helps prepare you for a career as a salesperson. Subjects include real estate laws, contracts, financing and agency relationships.

Once you complete the pre-license course you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion. The pre-license course completion is good for 36 months after finishing.

Employing Broker Requirement

You don’t have to meet this requirement to apply and take the exam, but to receive a license you must work under the supervision of an employing broker that’s licensed in Michigan. Within one year of passing the exam, you’ll need to find an employing broker and report their information to LARA. Your broker then needs to access the iCOLA system to verify they are sponsoring you.

The sooner you get this done the better because you can’t legally work as a real estate agent in Michigan until you have a license in hand. We recommend that you start researching your options and find a sponsoring broker before you even apply for a license. That way you’re ready to start working as a real estate salesperson as soon as you pass the exam.

License Application Requirement

Before you can take the pre-license exam and complete the process you must first apply for licensure online. You’ll need to create an account on the iCOLA system. Once your account is set up you can apply for a new license.

Application Process:

  1. Select the type of license you’re applying for.
  2. Provide your residence address. (If you don’t currently reside in Michigan you’ll also need to submit a Consent to Service of Process form.)
  3. Supply the ID number for your employing broker if you have one. (Let your broker know once you’ve applied so they can go online and verify the relationship.)
  4. Provide the name of the school that administered your pre-license course and the date you completed it.
  5. Pay the application fee.

Good Moral Character Requirement

Is your moral character good? Michigan licensing regulations state that to receive a real estate license you have to be of a good moral character, which primarily means you haven’t been convicted of certain crimes in the last several years.

On the application, you’ll have to state whether or not you’ve been convicted of a felony. There will also be a background check during the application process to determine if an applicant is of good moral character. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis, but if you answer yes to felony question you can expect the application process to take longer than normal.

If additional documentation is needed for the background check you’ll be notified by LARA. The sooner you supply the documentation the sooner you can get approval to take the exam.

Pre-license Exam Requirement

As soon as your license application is approved you’ll get an email with your Candidate ID number. You’ll need this to register for the pre-license exam.

In Michigan, real estate exams are administered by PSI Services LLC in locations across the state. You can schedule a date, time and location for your test online, over the phone, by fax or through the mail. The online method is the quickest way to get everything scheduled.

What you need to know about the Michigan salesperson pre-license exam:

Number of Questions: 115 Allotted Test Time: 3 hours Passing Score: 70%

The exam questions cover the following topics:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Transfer of title
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations
  • Specialty areas
  • Duties and powers of the Department and the State Board of Real Estate
  • Licensing requirements in Michigan
  • Michigan statutory requirements governing the activities of licenses
  • Contractual relationships
  • Additional state topics

The results are given immediately after the exam is completed. Test takers that fail will receive their actual score for each section of the exam. You’ll also receive information on how to retake the exam. If you pass you’ll simply be told you passed the exam and receive a score report.

Once you pass the pre-license exam your application will be completed if you’ve already provided an employing broker ID number. If not, you’ll need to get that done to complete the application process and receive a Michigan real estate license.

How to Get a Real Estate License in New Jersey

Real estate is a career that opens new doors -- literally! Many people choose the profession because it gives them a way of running their own business, controlling their earning potential and making their own schedule.

New Jersey is a great state for starting out as a real estate agent. The average annual salary is above the national median household income and there isn’t an over-saturation of agents competing for business. If it sounds like the career for you here’s what you need to do to meet the requirements for a real estate license in New Jersey.

Age Requirement

No minors allowed! In New Jersey, you have to be at least 18 years old to have a salesperson real estate license.

Required Real Estate Education

The New Jersey Real Estate Commission (REC) determines the education requirements for getting a real estate license. The first requirement is having a high school education or the equivalent. Next comes the mandatory real estate course.

The 75-Hour Prelicense Salesperson Course

Most applicants will have to take the 75-hour pre-license salesperson course. The course must be completed through a licensed real estate school. Once you’ve completed the pre-license course you’ll be eligible to take the exam, which you have to pass within one year.

*You may be able to get a waiver for the pre-license course if you are a:

  • Broker in another state
  • Salesperson in another state
  • Disabled veteran
  • Attorney
  • Have completed real estate college courses
  • Have a degree in real estate

Character-Based Qualifications

Real estate laws in New Jersey state that anyone holding a professional license must “possess good character, trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity.” There are a couple of ways the REC determines if an applicant passes the character-based qualifications.

Criminal History Record Check

A background check is part of the application process. New Jersey law “prohibits licensure to anyone that has been convicted of forgery, burglary, robbery, any theft offense other than shoplifting, criminal conspiracy to defraud or other like offenses within the 5 (five) years preceding the application for licensure.”

The REC will conduct a background check using FBI records to find out if applicants should be disqualified due to past convictions. You’ll have to provide fingerprints as a part of the application process so the background check can be done. This has to be done through MorphoTrust, and you’ll need to provide proof the prints were completed on your application.

Screening Questions

Part of the exam process is answering a series of screening questions, which include questions on criminal history. You have to sign the question form certifying that you answered honestly. The form will end up being one of the last elements of your application. You’ll want to be truthful or you may risk getting your application denied.

Pass the New Jersey Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Once you complete the 75-hour pre-license course your instructor will give you a Candidate Guide handbook with instructions on how to schedule a time to take the salesperson exam. The real estate school will also notify PSI Services that you’re eligible to take the test. The New Jersey REC has contracted PSI Services to administer all the state real estate exams.

Call PSI or fill out the examination registration form online and pay the $45 fee to schedule a time for your exam.

The New Jersey Salesperson Real Estate Exam Basics

Number of Questions: 110 Time to Take the Test: 4 hours Passing Score: 70%

The exam includes questions on:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Transfer of title
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations
  • Specialty areas
  • Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Statutes and Rules Governing Licensee Activities
  • New Jersey real estate laws

Luckily, you don’t have to wait to find out if you passed the exam. Immediately following the test you’ll be notified of whether you passed or failed. If you don’t pass the exam on your first try you’ll get a diagnostic report. You can take it again just a few days later.

Find a Sponsoring Broker

In New Jersey, you have to apply for a license through a sponsoring broker. That means you’ll want to start interviewing with brokerages early in the process. Since there’s a limited time for applying after the exam it’s a good idea to go ahead and line up a sponsoring broker before taking the test.

Apply for a New Jersey Salesperson Real Estate License

You have to apply for a license with the Licensing Services Bureau within one year of passing the exam. But there’s a catch. You have to apply through your sponsoring broker. Before you get your broker to line up the application there are a few things you have to get done.

Here’s what you need to do to apply:

  • Get fingerprinted by MophoTrust
  • Supply proof of fingerprinting (receipt and copy of the universal form)
  • Submit a copy of the PSI passing score report
  • Provide a money order or cashier’s check to pay the $160 fee
  • Complete the application form

All of these things must be submitted at once by the sponsoring broker or the application won’t be complete. License applications are reviewed on a first cover, first served basis. Typically, a complete salesperson license is processed within 2-4 weeks. Once you're approved, the real estate license will be issued and you can begin working as a New Jersey salesperson!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Virginia

Real estate agents in Virginia can specialize in everything from selling beachfront homes to farmland while making a very good living. Virginia is among the top ten states with the highest average annual salaries for salespeople. Another plus is that real estate employment is high.

If you plan to be an agent you’ll want to become familiar with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) Real Estate Board. They’re the ones who regulate the industry and issue licenses. Below is a breakdown of the Board’s requirements for getting a real estate license in Virginia.

Minimum Age

The minimum age for getting a real estate license in Virginia is 18 years old.

Education Requirement

The first step to getting a Virginia real estate license is to get your high school diploma or the equivalent. Before you can start selling properties you also have to prove that you know the ins and outs of real estate. You can learn what you need to know to pass the exam and start your real estate career by taking the required pre-license course.

Principles of Real Estate Pre-license Course

The Principles of Real Estate Pre-license Course is 60 hours in total. It includes traditional instruction as well as real-world scenarios for learning how to apply real estate laws, knowledge, and techniques.

Topics covered in the pre-license course include those that are on the state licensing exam (see below). You’ll learn all about national and state real estate laws, contracts, agency relationships, and property ownership.

The course can be taken online or in-class through an approved real estate school. At the end of the course, there will be a final exam. You have to pass the exam in order to get a certificate of completion. There are typically around 120 questions and you must make a 75% or higher to pass.

Pass the State Pre-license Salesperson Exam

Now that you’ve learned the basics of being a real estate agent in Virginia and passed the course exam it’s time to take the pre-license salesperson exam. You’ll have to apply with PSI Services, the exam administrator, in order to schedule a time to take the test. It can take up to two weeks to process the exam application.

There is a national portion and state portion on the exam that must be passed.

Number of Questions: 80 national questions and 40 state questions Test Time: 105 minutes for the national portion and 45 minutes for the state portion Passing Score: 56+ correct questions on the national portion and 30+ correct questions on the state portion

Already licensed in another state? Then you only need to pass the state portion of the exam.

Exam topics include:

  • Property Ownership
  • Land Use Controls and Regulations
  • Valuation and Market Analysis
  • Financing
  • General Principles of Agency
  • Property Disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and Property Management
  • Transfer of Title
  • Practice of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Calculations
  • Virginia Licensing
  • Escrow Accounts
  • Disclosure Requirements
  • Agency Definitions and Relationships
  • Virginia Fair Housing Law and Regulations
  • Specific Acts Pertaining to Real Estate Practice

As soon as the computerized test is complete you’ll get the results. You’ll see the score and find out if you passed. Those that don’t pass will get a summary of their strengths and weaknesses. They’ll also be offered a registration form to retake the test. People that pass are approved to apply for a license.

Select a Sponsoring Broker

You can’t be a licensed real estate agent in Virginia on your own. You’ll need a sponsoring broker. The sponsoring broker helps you start your real estate career by expanding on your education and acting as a mentor. It’s important to thoroughly explore your options to find the brokerage that’s the best fit.

Fingerprinting and Background Check Requirement

The Real Estate Board requires that all applicants have a “good reputation for honesty, truthfulness, and fair dealing.” That means you don’t have discrepancies in your background like certain criminal convictions and professional discipline.

The Board will do a background check as part of the application process to determine if applicants meet the good reputation requirement. You must get fingerprinted at a PSI location and complete a questionnaire about any past misdemeanor or felony convictions. If you’re already licensed in another state you also have to be in good standing with the licensing board.

The fingerprints must be submitted to the Virginia Central Criminal Records Exchange. Fingerprints expire after just 45 days so make sure to time it right before submitting your license application.

Submit the Application for a Virginia Salesperson License

Within a year of passing the state licensing exam, you’ll need to apply for a salesperson license. Download the form from the DPOR website or fill out a form online. Once you have the application you’ll need to:

  • Answer all the questions and fill out the form completely
  • Include background check documentation.
  • Submit any additional requested information.
  • Pay the application fee

A Board licensing specialist will review the application to first and foremost make sure it’s complete. If not you’ll be contacted to provide additional information. Completed applications will be denied or approved. If denied you can ask for a review. But for everyone that gets approved an active license will be issued!

How to Get a Real Estate License in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) issues real estate licenses every day. Hopeful applicants must first meet several requirements before applying for a license. If you’re ready to start a career as an Arizona real estate agent here are the steps you need to take.

Age Requirement

If you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to get a real estate license in Arizona.

Education Requirements

In order to get a license, you’ll have to complete 90 hours of real estate salesperson pre-licensing education provided by a state-approved real estate school, university or college. The course covers a variety of principles and practices that are vital for working in real estate and passing the licensing exam.

You’ll learn about:

  • Brokerage real estate transactions
  • Building construction
  • Income analysis and calculations
  • Land development
  • Leasing
  • Marketing
  • Property management
  • Property ownership and rights
  • State license law
  • Title closing

Another education requirement is completing a 6-hour Contract Writing Class. One of the most important and complex parts of practicing real estate is writing contracts, which is why this extra requirement is necessary. You’ll need to provide proof of class completion when you apply.

Once you’re done with the course you’ll be required to pass a final course exam. A Pre-licensure Education Certificate will then be issued by the real estate school, which you’ll need to have on hand to take the state licensing exam.

Fingerprinting Requirement

No real estate license application is complete without a Fingerprint Clearance Card. These are obtained through the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Go to fieldprint.com or call (602) 223-2279 to schedule an appointment. You need to get your card ASAP because it can take up to 10 weeks to process!

State Salesperson Exam Requirement

Pearson VUE is the administrator for real estate exams in Arizona. You’ll need to call Pearson VUE or visit their website to schedule an appointment to take the test.

The Arizona licensing exam consists of a national portion and a state portion.

Number of Test Questions: National portion 80 questions / State portion 90 questions Time to Take Test: 150 minutes for national portion / 150 minutes for state portion Passing Score: 75%

National exam topics include:

  • Real property characteristics, definitions, ownership, restrictions, and transfer
  • Property valuation and appraisal
  • Contracts and relationships with buyers and sellers
  • Property conditions and disclosures
  • Federal laws governing real estate activities
  • Financing the transaction and settlement
  • Leases, rents, and property management
  • Brokerage operations

State exam topics include:

  • Real estate statutes
  • Property interests and tenancies
  • Water law
  • Environmental law
  • Land descriptions
  • Subdivisions
  • Encumbrances
  • Acquisitions and transfers of title
  • Disclosures and consumer protection
  • Regulated activities
  • Finance and property tax
  • Leasing and property management
  • Math calculations

Finding out if you passed the exam won’t take long. You’ll immediately receive a score report indicating whether or not you passed and diagnostic information. Once you pass the exam, the testing company will give you the license application and instructions on submitting it.

Complete the Arizona Real Estate License Application

Once you pass the state exam the clock starts ticking. You have one year to apply for a license and get approved. Luckily, by now most of the work is already done.

For your application to be considered complete you must include the following:

  • Fingerprint Clearance Card
  • Disciplinary Actions Disclosure Form - This form is used to conduct a background check. If disclosures are made, additional documentation and a Disclosure Document Checklist form may need to be included.
  • Contract Writing Class certificate
  • Proof of legal residence
  • Original Arizona Exam Score Report(s) (make a copy for your own records)
  • Pre-Licensure Education Certificate
  • Payment for the application fee

Completed applications can be submitted online unless disclosure documentation needs to be included. When that’s the case you have to submit the application in person or through the mail.

Find an Employing Broker

This step can actually be done earlier in the process if you want an active license issued as soon as your application is approved. Once you find a broker the Salesperson/Associate Broker Change Form must be submitted (either with your license application or after approval). Your broker will also need to go onto the ADRE online system to verify your working relationship.

After getting the verification ADRE will then issue an active license, and you’ll officially be an Arizona real estate agent!

How to Get Your Real Estate License in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has some of the country’s most iconic landmarks and some of the most impressive historic homes. There’s also everything from classic New England architecture to uber modern condominiums. Real estate agents in Massachusetts get a first-hand look at it all.

Want to be one of those home touring real estate professionals? The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons regulates the licensing process. Keep reading to learn more about the Board’s requirements for getting a real estate license in Massachusetts.

Age Requirements

The minimum age for licensure in Massachusetts is 18 years old.

Social Security Number Requirement

Another basic requirement of getting a real estate license in Massachusetts is having a social security number.

Required Real Estate Education

Massachusetts has a pretty short education requirement compared to other states. Applicants only have to complete a 40-hour prelicensing salesperson course to qualify to take the state licensing exam. The course goes over all of the real estate essentials that a person needs to know to pass the exam and work as an agent.

One of the few stipulations is that the course must be taken through a real estate school that’s certified by the Massachusetts Department of Professional Licensure. You’ll receive a Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Educational Certificate once you’ve completed the course.

Candidates that are currently licensed in another state and licensed attorneys may be able to bypass the education requirement. You’ll need to check with the Board to see if you qualify for a waiver. Ultimately, the Board has to determine that the current license is the equivalent of a license in Massachusetts.

Reference Requirement

A unique requirement in Massachusetts is getting three candidate endorsements. They can’t come from family members or real estate school classmates. The three references must sign the candidate endorsement form to essentially vouch for you as a professional.

Pass the State Licensing Exam and Get Your License

You’ve got to prove you understand the business and legalities of real estate by passing the state licensing exam, and you have to do it within two years of completing the pre-licensing course.

Massachusetts real estate exams are administered by PSI Services. You’ll need to contact them to schedule your salesperson exam. You can schedule a test time online, by phone, through fax, email, or standard mail.

There is a general (national) portion and a state portion on the exam. They are considered separate, and you’ll have to pass both.

Number of Questions: 80 general questions and 40 state questions Time Allowed for Testing: 150 minutes for the general portion and 90 minutes for the state portion Passing Score: 70% or higher

Question topics for the general portion:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and Property Management
  • Transfer of Title
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations

Question topics for the state portion:

  • Duties And Powers Of The Board Of Registration Of Real Estate Brokers And Salesperson
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Requirements Governing Licensees
  • Contracts
  • Consumer Protection Laws
  • Environmental Issues And Hazardous Materials
  • Massachusetts Fair Housing Law
  • Landlord-Tenant Law
  • Additional Topics

Qualifying Questions

In addition to taking the exam, you’ll also have to answer qualifying questions that help determine if you meet the “Good Moral Character” Policy. Any 'yes' answers will require additional documentation regarding the discrepancy.

Score Reporting

Exam scores are reported immediately after test completion. You’ll either receive a notice that you passed, or you’ll receive a diagnostic report if you didn’t pass part of the test.

Pay for Your License

As soon as you pass the exam be prepared to pay the license fee if you answered 'no' to the qualifying questions and meet the other qualifications. That’s right. You can get your license that same day! You’ll need to bring your completed Education Certificate with you. If you aren’t fully prepared, you can fill out a License Application Instruction Form and apply by mail within 30 days.

Retaking the Exam

If you fail one or both portions of the exam only the portion failed must be retaken. It’s possible to retake the exam as soon as two days after your original test attempt.

Join a Brokerage

Salespeople run their own business, but technically they work for a licensed broker. You’ll need to join a brokerage to legally put your license to use and start working as a real estate agent in Massachusetts.