What are the Real Estate Agent Licensing Requirements in Every State?

become real estate agentEvery state in the U.S. has different requirements for getting a real estate license. This article gives a brief description of what is required in each state. Every state requires some form of education and a test that must be passed before you can get your real estate license. You must also work under a broker when you get your license. State requirements for education vary from 20 credit hours of classes to over 200 hours of classes. Almost all of the education can be taken online now, but that is not always the best way to get your real estate license.

Are there different types of agents and brokers in each state?

Real estate agents can make a lot of money, but each state has a different system for licensing real estate agents and real estate brokers. In most states, there are real estate salespeople and real estate brokers. A real estate salesperson must work under a real estate broker in order to be an active licensee. To become a broker, most states require a certain amount of time as a salesperson as well as more education and testing. Some states have different names for brokers and salespeople such as Colorado, which calls beginning agents broker associates and has employing brokers or independent brokers.

How hard is it to get a real estate license?

I am located in Colorado, which has one of the more stringent real estate licensing requirements. Agents in Colorado must take over 160 hours of education, be fingerprinted, and pass two tests and a background check. Most states require less than 100 hours of education and some require less than 40. Many states let you substitute real estate courses at a college for real estate pre-licensing education. Many states also let you skip the pre-licensing education if you have completed law school or passed the bar exam. States require some type of continuing education after you have your real estate license.

What are the real estate license requirements in each state?

Below you will find every state listed with the requirements for getting an entry-level real estate license. Many states require background checks, fingerprints, and a high school diploma. Whether or not you will pass a background check is very subjective in each state. Many states say that you cannot have a felony, but each case will be looked at for extenuating circumstances. If you are already licensed in one state, most states also greatly reduce the education requirements to get a license in their state. If it seems like a hassle to get a real estate license, remember real estate agents can make a lot of money!

This information was up to date as of 2015, but some states may have changed their requirements. There is also a very small chance I could have made an error gathering this data. Make sure you check with your state for the actual requirements.

Real Estate Express is a great affordable online school to get your real estate license.

STATE BY STATE REAL ESTATE LICENSE REQUIREMENTS:

Alabama:

You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, be at least 19 years old, show proof of high school graduation or GED, have no felonies, have not had a real estate application or license rejected or revoked in any state within the past two years, successfully completed approved 60 credits of pre-license Alabama real estate courses, and pass real estate license exams.

Licensees must also complete a 30-hour real estate agent training in Alabama within the first twelve months of getting their license.

Alaska:

Alaska has three different types of real estate licenses: a salesperson, broker, and broker associate. The salesperson must work under a broker and is required to have 40 pre-license credit hours of classes and pass the real estate exam. You must be 19 years of age to obtain a real estate license in Alaska and people with felonies must have served their full sentence.

Arizona:

You must be 18 years of age and complete 90 hours of pre-license education to work for or own a Tucson real estate agency. You must pass the state and real estate school exams and be of high moral character.

Arkansas:

You must be 18 years old and take 60 hours of pre-license education. You also have to submit to a background check, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

real estate agents fail

California:

In California, real estate license applicants are required to take three real estate classes (135 hours), which can be taken at a college or private real estate school. Applicants must also show proof of honesty and truthfulness. Conviction of any crime can result in disqualification.

Colorado:

You must take 162 credit hours of classes before you can take the state exams. You must also pass a background test and be fingerprinted.

Connecticut:

You must take 60 hours of real estate classes before you can take the exam for a salesperson. Brokers must take 120 hours of education and have 2 years of experience as a salesperson.

Delaware:

Licensees in Delaware must complete 99 hours of real estate classes before they can take the state exam.

District of Columbia:

You must take 60 hours of pre-license education before getting your real estate license.

Florida:

You must take 63 credit hours of pre-license courses and be at least 18 years of age as well as have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Georgia:

To get a salesperson license in Georgia, you must take 75 hours of approved pre-license real estate courses or complete ten quarter-hours or six semester hours of approved education courses at an accredited college or university. You must also be 18 years of age and pass a background check.

Hawaii:

You must be 21 years old and pass a real estate pre-licensing course. Hawaii does not list how many credit hours their course is, but after some research, it appears to be about 60 hours of classes.

Idaho:

You must be 18 years of age and take 90 hours of pre-license education before you can take the state exam.

Illinois:

You must be 21 years old and have either a high school diploma or GED. The pre-license real estate education requirement is 45 hours and in some cases, applicants as young as 18 may be accepted.

how to get buyer leads

Indiana:

Indiana requires anyone wanting a real estate license to be 18 years old and not to have been convicted of a crime that indicates that he or she may endanger the public. You must take 90 credit hours of pre-license classes and pass the state exam.

Iowa:

You must be 18 years old and pass a background check. You only have to take 36 credit hours of pre-license classes before taking the state exam.

Kansas:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. You only need 30 hours of pre-license classes before taking the exam.

Kentucky:

You must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a background check. The education requirement is 96 credit hours before you can take the state exam.

Louisiana:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must take 90 hours of pre-license education before you can take the state exams.

Maine:

You must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have notarized recommendations from at least three persons stating that the applicant has a good reputation. You must take 55 hours of pre-licensing requirements before taking the real estate license exams.

Maryland:

You must be 18 years old and of good character and reputation. You must take 60 hours of pre-licensing education before you can take the real estate license exam.

Massachusetts:

You must be 18 years old and take 24 credit hours of classes before you can take the state exam.

Michigan:

You must be 18 years old and take 40 hours of pre-license education before you can take the state exams.

Minnesota:

You must take three real estate classes to get your license. Only the first class must be passed before you can take the state test and the other two classes must be passed within one year.

Mississippi:

You must be 18 years old and a bona fide resident of Mississippi. You must take 60 hours of pre-license education before taking the state exam.

Missouri:

You can get your license in a variety of ways. You must be 18 and complete 48 hours of classes or be a licensed attorney or be granted a one-time sitting for the exam by the commission.

Montana:

You must be 18 years old and have passed the 10th grade. You also have to take 60 hours of pre-license education before taking the real estate test.

Nebraska:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You must take 60 hours of continuing education before taking the state real estate exam.

Nevada:

You must take 90 hours of pre-license education before taking the state real estate exam.

New Hampshire:

You must be 18 and complete 40 hours of pre-license education before taking the real estate exam.

New Jersey:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You must pass 75 hours of pre-license classes before taking the real estate exam.

New Mexico:

You must be 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States. You must pass 90 hours of pre-license classes before taking the state real estate exam.

New York:

You must be 18 years old and take 75 hours of pre-license education before passing the state real estate exam.

North Carolina:

You must take 75 hours of pre-license classes before you can take the state real estate exam.

North Dakota:

You must be 18 years old and take 45 credit hours of pre-license education. The test can be taken before you finish the 45-hour pre-license education, but you must finish the education within one year.

Ohio:

You must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and be an honest and upright citizen. If you have a felony conviction, you may be denied a real estate license. The applicant must pass a state real estate test and complete 120 hours of education.

Oklahoma:

You must be 18 years old and of good moral character. You must take 90 hours of pre-license education before taking your real estate exams.

Oregon:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You must take 150 hours of pre-license education before taking the Oregon real estate exams.

Pennsylvania:

You must take 60 credit hours of pre-license education or have a major in real estate from a four-year college.

Rhode Island:

You must be 18 years old and complete 45 hours of pre-license credits before you can take the state real estate test.

South Carolina:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must complete 60 hours of pre-license education before taking the state real estate exam. After passing the exam, you must take an additional 30 hours of post-license education within the first year of being an agent.

South Dakota:

You must be 18 years old and complete 116 hours of pre-license education before you can take the state real estate exams.

Tennessee:

You must be 18 years old and complete 60 hours of pre-license education before taking the real estate exam.

Texas:

You must complete 210 hours of pre-license education before you can take the real estate exam.

Utah:

You must be 18 years old and complete a background check. You must complete 120 hours of pre-license education before taking the Utah real estate exam.

Vermont:

You must be 18 and complete 40 hours of pre-license education before passing the state real estate tests.

Virginia:

You must be 18 years old and complete 60 hours of pre-license education prior to taking the state license exams.

Washington:

You must be 18 years old and complete 60 hours of education before taking the Washington real estate tests.

West Virginia:

You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must take 90 hours of pre-license education before taking the state exams.

Wisconsin:

You must be 18 years old and have completed 72 hours of pre-license education before taking the state test. You can also be a real estate apprentice, which requires you to take a general knowledge test and be working directly for a real estate broker for at least 20 hours per week.

Wyoming:

You must take 54 credit hours of pre-license education before passing the state exams.

Conclusion

Colorado and Texas lead the way with the most difficult licensing requirements in the United States. I think becoming a real estate agent was the best move I ever made in my career. I think if you can take real estate classes in person it is a huge advantage, but there are many options to take classes online. Real Estate Express has one of the best online programs, but if you can take classes in person that is the best route.

71 thoughts on “What are the Real Estate Agent Licensing Requirements in Every State?”

  1. Hi Mark, It’s been a couple of months since this article was published but I’m just now reading it. I realize this may seem petty of me to want to point this out, but being a REALTOR in Ohio, I want to make it clear that getting licensed in Ohio is not as simple as your article suggests. In fact, assuming the info you present about the other states is correct, Ohio is one of the most stringent in terms of the pre-licensing requirements. Per the Ohio Division of Real Estate:
    Requirements for an Ohio Real Estate Salesperson’s License

    1. Be honest, truthful and of good reputation.
    2. Be at least 18 years old.
    3. Be sponsored by an Ohio Broker.
    4. Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Not have violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years as determined by a court of law or violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate. In some circumstances, it is possible to have a conviction or violation disregarded, which would allow you to sit for the exam. The
    Division may only make a determination with respect to a conviction or violation if you file an application.
    5. Have a high school diploma or its equivalent as recognized by the Ohio Department of Education if you were born after 1950.
    6. Complete the following education requirements:
    * Real Estate Principles and Practices (40 hours)
    * Ohio Real Estate Law, including instruction in civil rights, housing discrimination and desegregation problems (40 hours)
    * Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
    * Real Estate Finance (20 hours)
    Thank you for letting me correct this.

    • Fixed

  2. Hi, Mark. I’ve been researching many online schools (local and national) and have been really concerned about which school to choose. You mentioned Real Estate Express above and that’s the school I am highly considering. Just wanted to verify your thoughs on this school. Some of these schools seem cheesy. Thank you for your time.

    • I have never taken classes from them, but it has also been 15 years since I took classes. Two people on my team liked them and their support.

  3. Mark,

    I am in Ohio and have been interviewing for a job with a real estate company doing business development. I need to get licensed due to the laws in Ohio to work there. Now is it possible to get licensed in Ohio if you have a violent felony conviction from 16 years ago?.

    • That all depends on how strict Ohio is with their real estate laws. You may be able to call the real estate commission there and ask them ahead of time.

  4. Thanks Mark for your emails, support, & guidance. I really appreciate your informative essays, as well as your articles on maintaining a positive mental attitude.

    • thank you Alex

  5. Hi mark I was wondering if in pa you are able to obtain a license if you have a prior marijuana conviction from 8+years prior

    • I have no idea, I would check with the real estate commission in that state.

  6. Hi Mark
    I have an Illinois Brokers lic, and an Illinois Appraisers lic, but will be moving to Michigan in 2016. Will Michigan make me start all over to obtain a Michigan lic?
    Thanks
    Cyndy

    • That would depend on Michigans laws regarding reciprocation.

  7. It’s 90 hours in Indiana. And you do have to have a HS diploma or GED. And you have to do 30 post education within 2 years of getting your license. And then 36 hours every 3 years after that. I did pass the state exam the first time but I studies a lot. It’s about 4 hours long.

  8. So in North Carolina you don’t need a high school diploma?

    • From the information I found that is correct.

  9. How often does the exam change? Should i wait until 2015 to start my course?

    • It would depend on your state and how they handle the testing.

  10. Hi…I am currently licensed as a sales associate in California…..I am thinking of moving to Texas….
    what are my requirements to get a license in Texas?? Thank you…
    Mindy Sierra

  11. Hi, I am in Ontario, Canada. What would be the requirements to get license here?

  12. We are moving to Florida. I have had a MA license for 13 years. I do not have a GED or diploma and will be selling timeshare. It sounds like because of this I can not get one?

    • Hi Tim, I would check with florida real estate commission

  13. If I get a Real Estate Agent license from Texas, will that automatically transfer to Louisiana and Mississippi?

    • You would have to check with those states.

  14. Real Estate Salesperson License Requirement: 135 hours salesperson + 225 hours additional for broker license = 360 hours minimum. I think it trumps Colorado in my opinion. And I know Colorado Realtors. They call themselves brokers, but actually broker associate is just another name for salesperson as they are still required to work under an employing broker for a period of time. Easier, because there are no more requirements after becoming a broker associate (salesperson). They automatically become full employing brokers over time. Not a bad deal!
    Requirements to Obtain a Salesperson License:
    Be at least 18 years of age
    Provide proof of completion in 135 hours of required education (45 credit hours in Real Estate Principles; 45 credit hours in Real Estate Practice course; and 45 credit hours in one additional state approved course).
    Pass the salespersons exam.
    After passing the examination, you will be sent a Salesperson License Application. Within one year of the examination date this form must be completed and returned along with the licensing fee. Also submit your Live Scan Request form (for submitting fingerprints).
    We recommend completing a combo licensing/exam application, get fingerprinted, and submit all fees right away. This will speed up your application process.
    A salesperson is licensed to act on behalf of a broker, and may not act as a real estate agent independently. A salesperson may only work for one broker in California at a time. California does not require an applicant for a salesperson’s license to have a high school diploma or college degree. There is also no state residency requirement.
    For more information about the exam and state application please visit: https://www.dre.ca.gov

    After which, a sales person can apply for broker license after working two years full time under a broker.
    Real Estate Broker License Requirements in California:
    GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

    Age: You must be 18 years of age or older to be issued a license.
    Residence: If you are not a California resident, see Out-of-State Applicants.
    Honesty: Applicants must be honest and truthful. Conviction of a crime may result in the denial of a license. Failure to disclose any criminal violation or disciplinary action in an applicant’s entire history may also result in the denial of a license. For further information, see Avoid Potential Denial of Your License Application (RE 229) Denotes a PDF document and Application Eligibility Information (RE 222) Denotes a PDF document.
    Experience: A minimum of two years full-time licensed salesperson experience within the last five years or the equivalent is required. For further information, see Documenting Experience Requirements for the Broker Examination.
    COURSE REQUIREMENTS

    Applicants for a real estate broker license examination must have successfully completed the following eight statutorily required college-level courses:

    Real Estate Practice; and
    Legal Aspects of Real Estate; and
    Real Estate Finance; and
    Real Estate Appraisal; and
    Real Estate Economics or Accounting*; and
    Three courses from the following list:

    Real Estate Principles
    Business Law
    Property Management
    Escrow
    Real Estate Office Administration
    Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
    Advanced Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    Advanced Real Estate Finance
    Advanced Real Estate Appraisal
    Computer Applications in Real Estate
    Common Interest Developments

    • You do not automatically become an employing broker over time in COlorado. You have to take more classes and tests. You can be a broker only for yourself with less classes.

  15. Good day, i have been a property sales Consultant for 6 years in South Africa with a great record, am looking at relocating to the USA, I have been in touch with some schools in Texas who offer’s real estate courses and preparation for the license .
    My question 1st is ” Will i be able to write the license exam been a foreigner ? I was told i have to be in the USA but need to know if license if given to Non-citizen of United State of America .

    2nd question, is there any state that is more foreigner friendly in regards to the license?

    I do not want to pay for the course and then find out i cannot write the license exams.

    Please help me .

    • I would check with the real estate commission for that state.

  16. Hey everyone, I am a broker in NY & CA and the reciprocity rules are so confusing. That’s why I created a free 50 state guide to real estate broker reciprocity at http://www.realestatebrokr.com.

  17. Hi Mark,
    Did you need to be and USA Citizen or leave in USA in order to apply for a real estate license from California?
    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • I am not sure, I would check with California

  18. You do not need a 4 year degree in real estate to be an agent in Pennaylvania.

  19. What are the majors websites to get borrowers and private money lenders.
    I will appreciate if some can help me.
    Thanks

    • I would not go to websites for private money. They are mostly scams.

  20. Hi I did not finish high school, so can I still get my license in Idaho?

    • I would check with Idaho real estate commission to see for sure

  21. hi what if i had all of my real estate licensing in ontario canada and wanted to relocate to florida or california…what would have to happen? ty

    • You would need to check with that state to see what their policies are

  22. Hello, can I become a real estate agent with work authorization, I can legally work in US? I need to find out before I take all classes needed. Thanks in advance!

    • Check with your state

  23. “Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Not have violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years as determined by a court of law or violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate. In some circumstances, it is possible to have a conviction or violation disregarded, which would allow you to sit for the exam. The
    Division may only make a determination with respect to a conviction or violation if you file an application.”

    Do states verify all of this or do they just take the word of all the applicants and renewals? If they do verify how does the state go about doing this? They would need the consent of the applicant to do a background check. I point this out because there seems to be a lot of trust in just checking a box. Real Estate agents are entrusted by clients to help them to buy, sell or educate them about the process.

    • They do background checks before they issue you your license

  24. Hi mark,
    This is Sudhakar from India, I think you don’t have services in India.

    But it is really a good article.
    Thanks,
    Sudhakar

  25. How do I proceed if I want to sell homes in NC, but my license is in MN ?

    • You would have to get licensed in NC as well

  26. Awesome post! Thanks for all of the useful details.

  27. This is excellent post, very helpful… Thank you for posting!

  28. State of California requires 135 hours. Sounds misleading “only 3 class courses”.

    • Thank you I will update it

  29. if I’m licensed in Colorado with less then 2 yrs, but moving to Georgia. Do i need to go to school there as well. Or is their Reciprocity?

    • I am not sure, you would have to check with the state you want to be licensed in.

  30. Hi Mark,

    I was in Colorado where I, after completing 172ish hours of education and passing both the state and unified national exams, received my Broker license. All agents in Colorado are required to be Brokers and are held to a higher standard than salespersons in every aspect. The term “Broker Associate” refers to all agents who work with a company, ie: RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, etc., regardless of how long one has been licensed. A licensee who has worked with a company for 1, 5, 10 or 25 years, is still a Broker Associate. The difference between a Broker and Broker Associate in Colorado is that a licensee who has been licensed for at least two years, may open their own company at which time they would be known as a Broker – Owner/Operator. All Brokers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education per year, including 2 hours of mandatory update class.

    Since I had not been licensed for at least 2 years in Colorado, upon moving back to Wisconsin, which has reciprocation with Illinois and Indiana, I did not need to complete the entire 68 hours of education, but did need to complete a 13 hour course and take the state exam to become a licensed sales person. After 2 years, I may complete the Broker training and take the Wisconsin Broker exam, if I choose to.

    Thank you for this forum providing helpful info for the Real Estate Entrepreneur.

    • That is correct, except you need 8 hours a year in continuing education not 12 in Colorado. 24 total over 3 years. I think the update class is 4 hours as well. I just took mine!

  31. Hi Marc, for Arizona, how do they measure your high moral character? Thanks!

    • I have no idea!

  32. Indiana is wrong as well. It’s 90 hours of pre licensing classes

    • Fixed, the states change requirements quite a bit

  33. What about transferring you License from another country? Say from Australia. Could this be converted or starting from scratch?

    • I think you would have to start over

  34. Actually Washington takes two courses – one 60 hours and another 30 hours. As well as fingerprinting and a background check.

  35. possibly a dumb question, but is residency in the state a requirement to obtain the state license?

    • Usually not, but in some states it could be. I know many agents that have licenses in multiple states

  36. Do I need a permeant resident card (green card) to be a realtor or I can be licensed with my work permit?

    • I would check with the state you want to get licensed in.

  37. Hello Mark,

    Is there a way that I can get a Real Estate license in the state of Arkansas for example if don’t live there?

    Do I need to have a physical address in the state of Arkansas to become a Real Estate agent?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I think you can, but I am not sure on the details. I know a few agents who have licenses in multiple states.

  38. Really interesting. Just finished required courses for Texas yesterday. A couple updates if you’re so inclined: Real Estate salesperson requirements are 18 yrs old, 180 hrs (6 classes), background check & fingerprinting. Broker: 900 hrs plus 4 yrs out of the prior 5 as an agent.
    I’d love to see which states have everyone becoming a broker, and which states require attorneys in the transaction. Neither of those are the norm in Texas.

    • Thank you

  39. Mark,
    I live in pa, I am moving to Florida in a year. Can I take the pre real estate coursesfor Florida and the state license test while I’m still living in pa. Thanks

    • You would need to check with Florida

  40. I have a couple of questions: 1. What does it mean when they say “Be of good moral character?” Obviously, I know what the phrase MEANS, but just how do they determine that you are or are not of good moral character? 2. Does your credit history play a part in whether or not you are granted a license in the states which require a credit or background check?

    • 1. that is tricky it is completely arbitrary. 2. I don’t think so.

Leave a Comment

shares
[ Inside Real Estate Investing ]
[ Inside Real Estate Investing ]