How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License? (2024)

Summary: Getting a real estate license typically takes between 4 to 6 months, depending on your state’s requirements, the type of education you choose (online or in-person), and your commitment to completing the necessary steps. The process usually involves completing pre-licensing coursework, passing the licensing exam, finding a sponsoring broker, and submitting an application to your state’s real estate commission.

Obtaining a real estate license is a crucial step for anyone looking to start a career in the real estate industry. One of the most common questions aspiring real estate agents ask is, “How long does it take to get a real estate license?” The answer varies depending on several factors, including your state’s requirements, the type of education you choose, and your dedication to completing the necessary steps. On average, it shouldn’t takes more than 180 days to get a real estate license in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • The time to get a real estate license varies by state, ranging from 4 to 6 months on average, depending on factors such as education requirements, exam preparation, and finding a sponsoring broker.
  • There are several types of real estate licenses, including salesperson, broker, property manager, and specialty licenses, each with its own education requirements and timelines.
  • The cost of getting a real estate license can range from $200 to $1,000, including expenses such as pre-licensing course tuition, exam fees, license application fees, background checks, and membership fees.
  • Aspiring real estate professionals should research their state’s specific requirements, stay informed about industry changes, and plan for the financial investment required to obtain and maintain their licenses.

Types of Real Estate Licenses and Timelines

There are several types of real estate licenses, each with its own education requirements and timelines. The most common types of licenses include:

1. Salesperson License

A salesperson license, also known as an agent license, is the entry-level license for most real estate professionals. The timeline to obtain a salesperson license varies by state but typically takes between 2 to 6 months. The requirements usually include:

  • 40-200 hours of pre-licensing education
  • Passing the state licensing exam
  • Finding a sponsoring broker
  • Submitting a license application

2. Broker License

A broker license allows real estate professionals to work independently, start their own brokerage, and hire other agents. To obtain a broker license, you must first hold a salesperson license for a certain period, which varies by state (typically 1-3 years). The timeline to upgrade from a salesperson license to a broker license can take an additional 6 months to 1 year, depending on the state’s requirements. These often include:

  • Additional pre-licensing education (60-200 hours)
  • Passing the state broker licensing exam
  • Meeting experience requirements (number of transactions or years as a salesperson)
  • Submitting a broker license application

3. Property Manager License

Some states require a separate license for property managers, while others allow property management under a salesperson or broker license. The timeline to obtain a property manager license can vary greatly by state, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Requirements may include:

  • 20-60 hours of pre-licensing education
  • Passing a property manager licensing exam
  • Submitting a license application

4. Specialty Licenses

Certain states may offer specialty licenses for specific types of real estate, such as timeshares, community association management, or business brokerage. The timeline and requirements for these licenses vary by state and specialty. Generally, obtaining a specialty license can take an additional 1-3 months after acquiring a salesperson or broker license.

Note: It’s essential to research your state’s specific requirements and timelines for each type of real estate license you’re interested in pursuing. Keep in mind that these timelines are estimates and can vary based on factors such as course completion times, exam scheduling, and application processing.

Also read: What Can You Do With a Real Estate License?

Approximate Time to Get a Real Estate License by State (2024)

Here’s a table showing the approximate time it takes to get a real estate license in various states:

StateApproximate Time to Get a Real Estate License
Alabama1-2 months
Alaska2-3 months
Arizona2-3 months
Arkansas2-3 months
California4-6 months
Colorado2-3 months
Connecticut2-3 months
Delaware2-3 months
Florida2-3 months
Georgia2-3 months
Hawaii2-3 months
Idaho2-3 months
Illinois2-3 months
Indiana2-3 months
Iowa2-3 months
Kansas2-3 months
Kentucky2-3 months
Louisiana2-3 months
Maine2-3 months
Maryland2-3 months
Massachusetts2-3 months
Michigan2-3 months
Minnesota2-3 months
Mississippi1-2 months
Missouri2-3 months
Montana2-3 months
Nebraska2-3 months
Nevada2-3 months
New Hampshire2-3 months
New Jersey2-3 months
New Mexico2-3 months
New York4-6 months
North Carolina2-3 months
North Dakota2-3 months
Ohio2-3 months
Oklahoma2-3 months
Oregon3-4 months
Pennsylvania2-3 months
Rhode Island2-3 months
South Carolina2-3 months
South Dakota2-3 months
Tennessee2-3 months
Texas4-6 months
Utah2-3 months
Vermont2-3 months
Virginia2-3 months
Washington3-4 months
Washington D.C.2-3 months
West Virginia2-3 months
Wisconsin2-3 months
Wyoming2-3 months

Note: Please note that these are approximate timelines and may vary based on individual circumstances, such as course completion times, exam scheduling, and application processing. Always check with your state’s real estate commission for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Factors That Affect the Time to Get a Real Estate License

State Requirements

Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a real estate license, which can impact the time it takes to complete the process. Some states have more extensive educational requirements, while others may have additional steps, such as background checks or fingerprinting. Some states have streamlined their licensing processes to make it easier for aspiring agents to enter the field.

Pre-Licensing Education

One of the most significant factors in determining how long it takes to get a real estate license is the required pre-licensing education. The number of hours needed varies by state, ranging from 40 to 200 hours or more. In some states, you can complete your coursework online, while others require in-person classes.

Online vs. In-Person Education

Online pre-licensing courses offer flexibility and the ability to work at your own pace, which can help you complete the requirements more quickly. However, some learners may prefer the structure and interaction of in-person classes. Consider your learning style and schedule when deciding between online and in-person education.

Exam Preparation and Scheduling

After completing your pre-licensing coursework, you’ll need to pass your state’s licensing exam. The time it takes to prepare for the exam will depend on your study habits and how well you grasp the material. Many aspiring agents choose to take exam preparation courses or use study guides to help them feel more confident on test day. Be sure to schedule your exam promptly after completing your coursework to maintain momentum in the licensing process.

Finding a Sponsoring Broker

Most states require new real estate agents to work under a sponsoring broker for a period of time before they can work independently. Finding the right broker can take some time, as you’ll want to research potential brokers, schedule interviews, and ensure that their values and business practices align with your goals. Start your search for a sponsoring broker early in the licensing process to avoid delays.

Also read: How Much Does a Real Estate License Cost

Steps to Get a Real Estate License

1. Meet Eligibility Requirements

Before beginning the licensing process, make sure you meet your state’s eligibility requirements. These may include:

  • Minimum age (typically 18)
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Clean criminal record
  • Residency requirements

2. Complete Pre-Licensing Education

Enroll in and complete your state’s required pre-licensing coursework. This can be done through online courses, in-person classes, or a combination of both. The number of hours required varies by state, ranging from 40 to 200 hours or more.

3. Pass the Licensing Exam

After completing your pre-licensing education, you’ll need to pass your state’s licensing exam. The exam typically consists of two parts: a national portion and a state-specific portion. You’ll need to score a minimum of 70-75% on each section to pass, depending on your state’s requirements.

4. Find a Sponsoring Broker

Once you’ve passed the licensing exam, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker. Research potential brokers in your area, schedule interviews, and choose a brokerage that aligns with your goals and values. Your sponsoring broker will provide guidance and support as you start your real estate career.

5. Submit Your License Application

After finding a sponsoring broker, submit your license application to your state’s real estate commission. This typically involves paying a fee, undergoing a background check, and providing proof of your pre-licensing education and exam scores. Processing times for license applications vary by state but generally take between 1-4 weeks.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License?

The cost of getting a real estate license varies by state and depends on several factors, such as pre-licensing course tuition, exam fees, and license application fees. On average, the total cost can range from $200 to $1,000. Here’s a breakdown of the common expenses:

Pre-Licensing Course Tuition

The cost of pre-licensing education is one of the most significant expenses when getting a real estate license. Tuition prices vary depending on the state, the education provider, and the format of the courses (online or in-person). On average, pre-licensing courses can cost between $200 to $700.

Exam Fees

Most states charge a fee to take the real estate licensing exam. Exam fees typically range from $50 to $150 per attempt. Some states may require separate fees for the national and state portions of the exam.

License Application Fees

After passing the licensing exam, you’ll need to submit a license application to your state’s real estate commission. Application fees can range from $50 to $250, depending on the state.

Background Check and Fingerprinting Fees

Many states require applicants to undergo a background check and fingerprinting as part of the licensing process. These fees can range from $30 to $100.

Membership Fees

Some states may require new real estate agents to join a local real estate association or multiple listing service (MLS) as a condition of their license. Membership fees can vary widely, ranging from $100 to $1,000 or more per year.

Continuing Education Costs

After obtaining your license, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses to maintain and renew your license. The cost of these courses can vary depending on the provider and the format (online or in-person). On average, expect to spend $50 to $300 per renewal period on continuing education.

Note: It’s essential to research the specific costs associated with getting a real estate license in your state and factor in these expenses when planning your budget. Keep in mind that some brokerages may offer reimbursement or assistance with certain licensing costs, so it’s worth exploring these options as well.

Tips for Getting Your Real Estate License Quickly

1. Choose an Online Pre-Licensing Course

Online pre-licensing courses often allow you to work at your own pace, which can help you complete the requirements more quickly than in-person classes. Look for a reputable online course provider that offers comprehensive material and support.

2. Create a Study Schedule

Develop a study schedule that works with your lifestyle and commitments. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to focus on your coursework and exam preparation. Consistency is key to making steady progress and retaining the information you learn.

3. Use Exam Preparation Resources

Take advantage of exam preparation resources, such as practice tests, study guides, and flashcards. These tools can help you identify areas where you need to focus your studies and build your confidence for test day.

4. Network with Real Estate Professionals

Start building your professional network early in the licensing process. Attend local real estate events, join industry associations, and connect with experienced agents and brokers. These connections can provide valuable insights and help you find a sponsoring broker more quickly.

5. Stay Motivated and Focused

Getting a real estate license requires dedication and hard work. Stay motivated by setting goals, celebrating milestones, and reminding yourself of the reasons you want to pursue a career in real estate. Stay focused on the tasks at hand and avoid procrastination to complete the licensing process as efficiently as possible.

Also read: How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas

How Covid-19 Has Affected Real Estate Licensing Times

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on real estate licensing times in many states. Some states have implemented temporary measures to accommodate social distancing guidelines and safety concerns, such as:

  • Offering online proctored exams
  • Extending license application deadlines
  • Waiving certain requirements, such as fingerprinting or in-person interviews

Many states have adapted to the “new normal” and have streamlined their licensing processes to minimize delays caused by the pandemic. However, it’s essential to check with your state’s real estate commission for the most up-to-date information on any Covid-19-related changes to the licensing process.

Real Estate License Reciprocity and Portability

If you’re considering getting a real estate license in multiple states, it’s essential to understand reciprocity and portability agreements. Real estate license reciprocity allows agents licensed in one state to obtain a license in another state without completing all the same requirements as new agents. Portability agreements, on the other hand, enable agents to work in multiple states without obtaining additional licenses.

Several states have expanded their reciprocity and portability agreements to make it easier for agents to work across state lines. However, each state has its own rules and requirements, so it’s crucial to research the specific agreements between the states where you plan to work.

Maintaining Your Real Estate License

Once you’ve obtained your real estate license, it’s essential to stay current with your state’s continuing education requirements and renewal procedures. Most states require agents to complete a certain number of continuing education hours every 2-4 years to maintain their licenses. Failure to complete these requirements can result in your license becoming inactive or expiring.

Note: To avoid any lapses in your license, stay informed about your state’s renewal deadlines and continuing education requirements. Many states offer online courses and virtual events to help agents fulfill their continuing education obligations conveniently.

Career Opportunities with a Real Estate License

Getting a real estate license opens up a wide range of career opportunities in the industry, including:

1. Residential Real Estate Agent

Help clients buy, sell, or rent residential properties, such as single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses.

2. Commercial Real Estate Agent

Specialize in working with clients to buy, sell, or lease commercial properties, such as office buildings, retail spaces, and industrial warehouses.

3. Property Manager

Manage residential or commercial properties on behalf of property owners, handling tasks such as tenant screening, rent collection, and maintenance coordination.

4. Real Estate Investor

Use your knowledge of the real estate market to identify, purchase, and manage investment properties for profit.

5. Real Estate Broker

After gaining experience as a real estate agent, you can pursue a broker’s license, which allows you to start your own brokerage and hire other agents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I get a real estate license with a criminal record?

The ability to obtain a real estate license with a criminal record varies by state. Some states may deny licenses to applicants with certain types of felonies or misdemeanors, while others may consider factors such as the nature of the offense, how long ago it occurred, and evidence of rehabilitation. It’s best to contact your state’s real estate commission for guidance on your specific situation.

Do I need to have a college degree to get a real estate license?

In most states, you do not need a college degree to obtain a real estate license. The minimum educational requirement is typically a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some states may have additional education requirements, such as completing a certain number of college credit hours or specific courses related to real estate.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license?

The cost of getting a real estate license varies by state but typically ranges from $200 to $1,000. This includes expenses such as pre-licensing course tuition, exam fees, license application fees, and background check fees. Some states may also require you to pay for membership in a local real estate association or multiple listing service (MLS).

How often do I need to renew my real estate license?

Real estate license renewal requirements vary by state but typically occur every 2 to 4 years. To renew your license, you may need to complete a certain number of continuing education hours, pay a renewal fee, and submit a renewal application. It’s crucial to stay informed about your state’s renewal deadlines to avoid any lapses in your license.

Can I get a real estate license online?

Many states offer online pre-licensing courses that allow you to complete the educational requirements for a real estate license remotely. However, some states may require a portion of the coursework to be completed in person. Additionally, most states require you to take the licensing exam in person at an approved testing center. Check with your state’s real estate commission for specific requirements regarding online education and exam administration.

Razib

Razib is a skilled writer with 5 years of experience specializing in technology, finance, automotive and real estate. A BBA graduate from 2014, Razib's passion for these industries shines through in his informative and engaging content. His ability to break down complex topics and stay current on the latest trends makes him a valuable resource for readers seeking to understand these dynamic fields.

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