Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education Updated: January 15, 2019
If you’re planning to become a real estate agent, there are specific requirements that you must meet in order to earn and use your license. Those requirements depend heavily on the state where you are trying to become licensed. Real estate licenses are state-specific, and earning one in a given state grants you the licensure you need to legally act as a real estate agent in that state only. As a result, each state is allowed to dictate specifically which requirements you must meet to become and stay licensed.
To become a real estate agent, your state will likely require that you be at least 18 years old. Many young real estate agents find it difficult to compete in a profession largely dominated by older agents with larger spheres of influence and more business experience. However, young real estate professionals often bring an enthusiasm and eagerness to the job that can go a long way toward building a successful real estate career.
Formal Education Requirements
In most states, your high school graduation is the only formal education milestone you need to achieve in order to get your real estate license. In some states, you are not even required to complete high school for licensure, as long as you meet the minimum age requirement. You are often not required to complete any post-secondary education (traditional university or tech school education) to become a licensed real estate agent. However, a handful of states do require further formal education to attain licensure.
All states have a prelicensing education requirement you must complete in order to qualify to take the state exam. The required number of hours and course curriculum are dictated by the state’s real estate commission. Schools that provide real estate prelicensing education in a given state must meet the state’s requirements and receive approval. Many states also require that you complete a post-course exam (usually administered by the real estate school that provided your prelicensing education) and achieve a satisfactory score in order to qualify for the state licensing exam. A list of approved real estate schools can be found on the website for your state’s real estate commission.
Your state may also require that you complete a postlicensing (or first renewal) education requirement once you’ve passed the real estate licensing exam. This requirement will often consist of a class or series of classes that you must complete in order to move your license status from probationary or provisional status into full licensure.
Continuing Education Requirements
Once you’ve received your license and met all postlicensing requirements, you will be required to complete a specific number of state-approved real estate continuing education hours over a defined period of time. Some states have annual or multi-year renewal periods that begin and end on a set date. Other states have rolling renewal deadlines that might occur over a multi-year period on your birthday or anniversary date of licensure. Like all state requirements, real estate continuing education requirements depend on the state where you’re licensed.
Each state requires that you complete a state-administered real estate licensing examination prior to getting your real estate license. This exam often includes a national portion and a state-specific portion. Both portions of the examination are designed to test your knowledge of real estate practices, policies, and terminology to ensure all licensed professionals enter the business on an equal platform of basic industry knowledge. Many schools offer real estate exam preparation courses. These exam prep classes are not required by the state. They are designed to review critical concepts from your prelicensing education and fill gaps between your knowledge and what the state exam will cover.
Even if you have earned your real estate license, you are not legally allowed to begin working with buyers and sellers until you have chosen a broker to hang your license with. Brokers provide varying levels of support services that real estate agents need to run their business, as well as the advantages that come from affiliation with a known brand.
There are a number of other requirements that are particular to given states. To learn more about the state where you wish to become a real estate agent, select from the list at the end of this article.
Requirements to Get a Real Estate License in Your State
We provide real estate prelicensing education in several states nationwide. We have provided the links below to direct you to the specific real estate licensing requirements in the states we serve:
If you're interested in starting your career, you'll find all of the information you need on available courses by selecting your state on our real estate courses home page.
FREE eBook: Launching Your Real Estate Career
Wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down with a room full of successful real estate professionals and ask them for career advice? We asked several accomplished real estate professionals what they wish they knew before they earned their license and started their career, and what they thought all aspiring real estate professionals should know. We put all of their advice into a value-packed eBook.