How to Get Your North Carolina Real Estate License

The first step to becoming a North Carolina real estate broker is getting your North Carolina real estate license. We broke out each step of the process so you can start your real estate journey.
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Finally decided to take the leap and get your North Carolina real estate license? Congrats, friend! Here are all the steps you’ll take to get there.

5 Steps to Getting Your North Carolina Real Estate License

Here are the five steps to getting your North Carolina real estate license, known as a ‘provisional broker’ license:

Let’s walk through each step!

Step 1: Make Sure You Qualify

Before you hit the “buy” button on a pre-licensing education course, make sure you meet all of the qualifications for a license. You must:

North Carolina Real Estate License Character Requirements

There will be three questions on the North Carolina real estate application that relate to “character” (of course this doesn’t speak to you as a human being, but “character” is the word the application uses).

You will be asked if you have any previous criminal offenses, professional license disciplinary actions, or current liens or unpaid judgments. Answer these questions honestly! Lying on the application will disqualify an applicant faster than an honest answer with an explanation.

If you do have any of these issues, you’ll need to submit a detailed explanation of the situation. The application will guide you as to what explanation is required (and what documentation might be needed).

Step 2: Satisfy the Education Requirement

There are four different ways to satisfy the North Carolina real estate education requirement. You can:

  • Complete an NCREC-approved 75-hour North Carolina Pre-licensing Course and pass the course exam
  • Complete an equivalent course in another state
  • Have completed equivalent real estate education at a higher-ed institution
  • Hold a current license in another state

Let’s get into the details.

NCREC-Approved Pre-licensing Course

Any course approved by NCREC can satisfy this requirement, whether it’s an online course or an in-person course. Take note that NCREC recently audited distance learning providers and severely reduced the number of approved courses. Make sure the course you buy is still recognized and approved by the state of North Carolina. See the full list of NCREC-approved providers here. You’ll need to complete all 75 hours of learning and pass the final exam.

Documentation: The course provider will send a completion certificate to NCREC.

Equivalent Course in Another State

If you completed a real estate pre-licensing course in another state, even if you didn’t take the state exam, that might qualify as your North Carolina pre-licensing education. The course must have been:

  • 75 hours
  • Completed within one year of applying for your NC license
  • Completed while you were a resident of the other state
  • Parallel to the topics and timings in the NCREC course syllabus

Documentation: You must provide a transcript or evidence of completion of the course.

Equivalent Real Estate Education

If you have a B.A. or higher degree in real estate, real estate brokerage, real estate finance, real estate development, or a law degree from an accredited university or college, you can skip the pre-licensing education.

Documentation: You must provide a transcript showing that you completed the degree.

Real Estate License in Another State

If you are a licensed agent or broker in any other U.S. state or Canadian jurisdiction and have been active within the last three years, you don’t have to take North Carolina pre-licensing education. Depending on the specifics of licensure in your state, you may or may not have to take the state portion of the exam and/or the NC post-licensing education course.

Step 3: Submit a Complete License Application and Pay the Required Fees

Finished your pre-licensing education? It’s time to officially apply for that license. The application can be done online, and includes a background check. The North Carolina candidate information booklet has detailed instructions for completing the application.

There is a $100 application fee and a $15 background check fee.

Unless there is a problem with your application, you should get a notice of eligibility to take the exam (via email) from NCREC within two to three days of your application being received. This notice is good for 180 days.

Step 4: Register for and Take the Licensing Exam

Within 180 days of getting your notice of eligibility from the state, you need to register for and take the state licensing exam. Note that you should wait one business day after getting the notice of eligibility to sign up for an exam appointment, to ensure PSI has you in their records.

The exam is administered by PSI. You can reserve your spot on their website or by phone at 855-579-4638. Note that you cannot do a walk-in exam, you must preregister. There is a $56 exam fee.

On the day of your exam, be sure to bring one valid, unexpired form of identification and arrive 30 minutes early.

What’s on the North Carolina Real Estate Exam?

The exam is given in two parts, the national section and the state section.

  • The national section is 80 questions and you must get 56 right to pass
  • The state section is 40 questions and you must get 29 right to pass

Applicants get four hours to complete the test.

After Taking the Exam

If you pass the test, PSI will notify NCREC, and if there are no character issues, you will get your provisional broker license within 10 days of passing the exam. This will be an inactive license.