You’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve researched all the pros and cons of being a real estate agent. You feel the job description matches your personality. You’re eager, motivated, and driven to get right to work. So how long does it take to get a real estate license?

Although real estate has fewer barriers to entry than many other career paths, there are still a few things you have to do before you can get your license. You can start today and obtain your license within a few short months.

The Process of Getting a Real Estate License

The only formal educational prerequisite for becoming a real estate agent is a high school diploma or a GED. You don’t need to enroll in college or take on student debt to reach your destination. Instead, you’ll pay smaller fees for courses, applications, and state exams. 

The exam process varies from state to state. Some states have more comprehensive real estate educational requirements than others. When you finish your license course, pass your real estate license exam, and receive your activated real estate license, you’re ready to go.

It sounds like a lot, but the process is much simpler than it appears:

How Long Does it Take to Get a Real Estate License?

How long it takes to get a real estate license largely depends upon the number of hours your state requires for their pre-licensing course. This will be the longest part of the wait.

Once you’ve passed your course, your state’s real estate regulatory agency will send you a copy of your real estate license within a few weeks. The entire process will usually take anywhere from two to three months, depending on your state’s requirements.

There are real estate schools that take place in-person in a traditional classroom setting. If you are remote or prefer working at your own pace, there are online courses that meet state-specific real estate education requirements.

Check Your State’s Course Requirements

There is no nationally accepted real estate pre-license course. Each state makes its own rules for real estate license requirements, and they require hopeful agents to complete a set number of hours before they can take their license exam.

Some states, like Florida, have very short courses. To take the Florida real estate exam, you have to complete about 63 hours of classroom study. Texas is on the far end of the spectrum, with 180 hours of coursework. Your local real estate authority will have information about the duration of the course, related fees, scheduling, and how you can complete the course. 

The first step of your journey is contacting your local regulatory authority for more information. They may allow you to register for courses and pay related fees online. 

In addition to completing this course, some states may also require you to submit to a background check and fingerprinting. Real estate agents work closely with people’s personal information and often have keys to their property.

This step safeguards the public from potential bad actors. Your regulatory board will tell you what you need to do, and the process can run concurrently with your license coursework. It won’t draw out the timeline, provided that your background check is satisfactory. 

When you complete your real estate pre-licensing course, your instructor will tell you how to go about taking your license exam. Be sure to ask about exam date scheduling, paperwork, and license application fees.

Pass Your State’s Real Estate License Exam

The real estate license exam will vary from state to state. Some states will have more questions than others, and the time limit for completing the exam may differ. All tests have a few core things in common. They’re always multiple-choice, and they’re always divided into two sections.

One section of the test will pertain to national real estate laws, rules, regulations, and practices. The second part of the test will be specific to your state. For all intents and purposes, each part of the exam functions as a separate test.

You’ll need to pass both parts independently in order to pass the exam. This means that a high score on one part and a subpar score on the other won’t average out. You need to be well versed in both subjects.

If you fail the test on the first attempt, you’ll have an opportunity to take it again. Spend some time studying the notes you took from your pre-licensing course. If there’s something you don’t understand, use your notes as a basis to conduct further research. 

Diligently study the material and dive deeper into the subjects that are giving you trouble. Schedule a retake when you feel confident in your ability to get the test results you desire. 

Get Your Real Estate License Activated

Even though you’ve passed your real estate exam, you cannot practice real estate until you’re holding your real estate license in your hands. Eventually, that license will hang on the wall of the real estate brokerage firm where you take your first real estate job.

You’ll send relevant information and credentials to your state’s real estate regulatory authority and apply for a license. You’ll pay a fee for your application. The regulatory board will review your information, approve your request for a license, and send you a physical copy in the mail. This can take a few weeks.

You don’t need to put the process on hold while you’re waiting for mail correspondence. You can spend this time checking out local real estate brokerages, shopping for office supplies, and picking out a few new outfits for your impending career. If your license is in the mail, your real estate broker might be willing to discuss the particulars of hiring you when your license arrives.

This is a great opportunity to contemplate the type of work environment you prefer. Some brokerage firms are closely knit and emphasize teamwork; everyone is around to help each other out. Other brokerages are somewhat competitive. In those, people tend to themselves and pay their dues from their commission while they work as independent contractors. 

Consider how you thrive and find a brokerage firm that meets your needs. On the day your license comes, you’ll know who to turn to. 

Your Journey To Success Continues

Once you obtain your real estate license, you’ll need to figure out how to use it. You can technically start this process before you’ve even completed your pre-licensing course. You won’t be the only real estate agent in your area, and you need to get off to a strong start if you want to compete.

Start listening to real estate podcasts and reading real estate industry books (like Harris Rules: A Real Estate Agent’s Practical, No-BS, Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming Rich and Free by Tim & Julie Harris) to get some ideas flowing. 

Consider real estate coaching. Harris Real Estate University provides comprehensive coaching programs for real estate agents at all levels of experience. You’ll enter the real estate workforce equipped with lead generation systems, as well as the skills you need to pre-qualify buyers and handle objections.

Hit the ground running and achieve your dreams.



Regulatory Agencies | Resources | ARELLO

Employment Background Checks: A Jobseeker’s Guide | Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

The Importance Of Finding The Right Work Culture | Forbes

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