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Understanding the Different Education Requirements for Obtaining a Real Estate License

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a real estate agent, you might have some questions. You might wonder exactly what becoming a real estate agent entails, how long it takes, what the requirements are, and how much of a challenge it is. Importantly, you may be wondering what the educational requirements are for becoming a real estate agent. The requirements for becoming a real estate agent vary by state, but there are some common educational and licensing standards you’ll need to meet. We’ll discuss what these might entail.

Basic Requirements

real estate license

There are a couple of basic requirements you’ll want to ensure that you meet before starting your real estate journey. The first is that you must be at least 18 years of age in order to apply for and obtain a real estate license in most states. The second is that you must have completed high school or an equivalent degree. So, before you can proceed with any other requirements, ensure that you:

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Have either a high school diploma or GED

Further Educational Requirements

A high school diploma or GED isn’t the only educational requirement you’ll need to fulfill. You’ll also need to complete pre-licensing real estate education approved by your state’s real estate commission and pass the corresponding state real estate exam. Once you’ve been licensed, you’ll also need to complete continuing education each year to maintain your license.

Completing State-Approved Pre-Licensing Real Estate Education

Assuming you’ve completed high school or earned your GED, completing your state’s required hours of commission-approved real estate education is your first step toward becoming a licensed real estate agent. These pre-licensing classes are designed to help you further your understanding of the world of real estate in order to prepare you for becoming a real estate agent. This might involve becoming proficient in math relevant to real estate, as well as becoming familiar with your state’s real estate laws, and more. Some states do not require pre-licensing, check your state’s requirements first!

Choosing a pre-license course in commission-approved real estate education can be its own challenge. Consider a few things about how you best take new information in as you contemplate possibilities. Some courses may offer different learning styles or formats. As you consider commission-approved real estate education, you can consider a few things, such as:

  • What is your preferred learning style? In-person? Remote? Synchronous or asynchronous? Do you prefer to learn at your own pace, or follow along with a paced course? Consider what types of learning formats a course you’re considering offers. If you prefer to learn at your own pace, do they offer self-paced online learning? If you look forward to the structure of live courses or in-person learning, does a potential course offer those options as well?
  • How much does the real estate education you’re considering cost? Ensure that the courses you look at fit within your budget. Additionally, you can consider the value of various courses; for what they cost, what do they offer? Additional learning materials? Study resources?
  • Is this course approved by your state’s real estate commission? Ensure that any course you consider is approved by your state’s real estate commission or regulatory body.
  • What learning materials are you being offered? While commission-approved real estate education always aims to further inform and prepare you for the world of real estate, different courses may offer varying levels of additional support. This type of support might include things such as additional study materials, textbooks, study guides, and more. If you have an interest in further preparing yourself beyond what is required, courses that offer additional learning opportunities may be appealing to you.

Passing the State Real Estate Exam

real estate license

Once you’ve completed your state’s required hours of pre-license commission-approved real estate education, you’ll need to put your knowledge and skills to the test—literally.

You’ll need to register for and complete your state’s real estate exam in order to move forward in your licensing process and become a licensed real estate agent. Fortunately, your pre-license real estate education should help prepare you, not only for the world of real estate in your state but for this exam as well.

What to Expect

The state real estate exam is quite comprehensive—with sections covering both state law and general law. In order to do well, aspiring real estate agents may need to understand much of how real estate brokerage operations are influenced by both state and federal law.

Should candidates fail one section, but pass the other section of this exam, they often have a window, typically around one year, within which they are able to retake the section that they failed originally. This gives candidates an additional cushion should they fare much better on one section than the other.

Continuing Education

Once you’ve been licensed, your real estate education journey still isn’t over. You’ll need to do additional continuing education in order to maintain your license. Fortunately, it likely won’t be near as time-consuming, as you’ll only need to complete a specific number of hours of post-licensing education within the period following your licensing. The exact requirements for continuing education vary by state but typically range from 12 to 30 hours per renewal cycle.

Additional Requirements

Once you’ve completed each of these education requirements, there will be a few more steps you must take before you can be an active and licensed real estate agent. For one, you’ll need to supply proof of completion of your state’s required hours of commission-approved real estate education. You’ll also need to submit your licensing examination score report, and, if you wish to be licensed as an active agent, you’ll need to have found a broker or brokerage company to work under and submit their names and license numbers. This process can typically be done through your state’s professional licensing agency.

The Bottom Line

Though the requirements to become a licensed real estate agent are fairly straightforward, there are some important educational requirements you’ll need to meet in order to get started on this exciting career path. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you along your journey. If you’re interested in becoming a licensed real estate agent, be sure to check out the courses offered by reputable real estate schools, including pre-licensing and post-licensing education.

By understanding and meeting these educational requirements, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful career in real estate anywhere in the United States. Whether you prefer to learn in-person or online, at your own pace or with structured guidance, there are numerous options available to fit your needs and help you achieve your real estate career goals.

For more information on real estate education and licensing requirements, be sure to check out our comprehensive guides and resources on real estate training here.

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