Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

Classes Required to Become a Real Estate Agent

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Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: June 11, 2019

One of the many perks of pursuing a career in real estate is that the path to licensure is accessible to people of all educational and professional backgrounds. You don’t need a college degree or any previous real estate experience in order to take your real estate exam. Regardless of your degree status or professional experience, you have the opportunity to pursue your real estate license and start a new career with limitless earning potential. The lack of extensive requirements makes it easier for people with various backgrounds to become real estate agents or take on a career change.

Since obtaining a college degree or graduate education isn’t a requirement, new real estate agents are positioned to potentially take home more of their earnings because they don’t have to budget for tuition or student loans. As a real estate agent, you could potentially make as much as a lawyer or a doctor without being weighed down by the graduate school fees accompanying those degrees. However, there are some start up costs associated with beginning a career in real estate. You’ll want to budget for the period of time between earning your license and getting your first commission check.

In general, you need only meet the following requirements before testing:

  1. Meet your state’s minimum age requirement (usually 18 or 19 years old)
  2. Be a legal US resident
  3. Complete your state’s prelicensing education requirements

The conditions of your prelicensing education are set by your state’s real estate commission or department. For example, in California, you will need to complete 135 hours of prelicensing education, while in Michigan, you only need to complete a 40-hour course. You can learn more about your state’s requirements here.

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What Classes Do You Need to Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?

Although the real estate prelicensing classes you need to take are determined by your state, many states will require classes on similar topics, such as real estate principles, practice, legal aspects, and more. For example, in Texas, prospective real estate agents are required to take approved courses on topics like real estate law of contracts, real estate finance, and principles of real estate.

Once you complete your prelicensing education, you may find it helpful to take additional classes specifically to help you pass your licensing exam. These exam prep classes are not required but can provide you with extra confidence on exam day. After you complete your prelicensing education and any additional exam prep classes, you are ready to submit your application and sit for the exam.

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Continuing Education Real Estate Classes

After you've earned your license, you will need to meet your state's continuing education requirements. Just like the prelicensing requirements, each state determines how many credit hours are required, the time within which you must earn them, and which topics are approved for credit. For example, if you are renewing your license for the first time in California, you will need to complete 45 hours of approved continuing education on topics of ethics, agency, trust fund handling, fair housing, risk management, and consumer protection.

There are additional requirements if you are renewing in California for the second or third time, including 45 hours of continuing education courses that review and expand upon the topics listed above. Check your state’s real estate commission website to see the continuing education requirements you will be expected to fulfill in order to renew your license.


Real estate sales is ideal for those who are looking for a career with unlimited growth potential without extensive qualifying requirements. No matter your educational or professional background, you can begin preparing to take your real estate licensure exam as soon as you are ready. Choose your state from this list to learn more about your required real estate classes and how to get started.