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

How to Become a Real Estate Broker

Image of a woman selling a house

Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: February 27, 2020

Managing your own real estate business is a great long-term goal for real estate agents. As a real estate broker, you can choose to work independently, start your own business, or rise to the top at your current brokerage by supervising and mentoring agents. A career as a real estate broker offers flexibility, control, and the potential to earn more money. Sounds great, right? Earning your broker’s license opens doors to future career growth opportunities you can’t accomplish with your salesperson license alone.

There are a few different options available to licensed brokers. They can work under a brokerage and supervise real estate agents (this job title would usually be called “broker associate.” They can also work independently and own their business, with or without other agents working under them. This job title is often referred to as “broker owner.”

Working as a real estate broker requires a specific broker’s license. Just like your real estate salesperson license, the broker license requirements are dictated by your state’s real estate commission. If you’re starting out as a prospective real estate agent, now is the perfect time to start planning for your future goals. Read on to learn what you’ll need to complete in order to earn your real estate broker’s license.

4 Steps to Becoming a Licensed Real Estate Broker

Each state has its own requirements for broker licensure. In general, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

Step 1: Identify the requirements for broker licensure in your state.

Knowing exactly what you need to accomplish in order to earn your broker’s license down the road will set you up for success when the time comes to focus your attention on completing those requirements. Your state’s requirements for broker licensure can be found on the state’s real estate commission website. If you wish to become licensed in California, for example, you’ll need a minimum of two years of experience as a licensed agent. You will also need to complete eight college-level real estate courses. Mapping out a schedule of completion dates as early as possible will save you time in the long run.

Step 2: Gain the required experience as a real estate agent.

Most states ask you to complete 2–3 years of experience as a full-time real estate agent in order to pursue your broker’s license. This means if you’ve been completing your required coursework during these 2–3 years, you could take your broker exam within a short time of joining your first brokerage. These first years as an agent will be busy, but careful planning can put you in a great position to be advancing in your career as soon as possible.

Step 3: Complete the required coursework.

The required coursework will expand on the knowledge you gained while completing your salesperson prelicensing education. Brokers are expected to be real estate experts, so this further education is necessary for you to become fluent in all areas of real estate sales. The best real estate schools will offer state-approved broker coursework and exam prep tools, in addition to multiple class format options. Completing coursework online is a popular option among prospective brokers because it allows you to balance your work and personal life with studying.

Step 4: Pass the broker licensing exam.

Your state will offer a unique broker licensing exam you will be required to pass in order to earn your license. The real estate commission website for your state will provide you with more information on the exam, including exam duration and topics you’ll be tested on. 


If your long-term career plan is to own your business and/or manage other real estate agents, the time to start planning is today. With a strategic plan of action, you can earn your broker license as soon as possible and make your goals a reality. Want to get a head start on planning for your future career? See your requirements and course options by choosing your state from this list.