How to Get a Real Estate License Online

3 Easy Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent

How do you become a real estate agent? Well, the first step is answering that question, so you’re off to a great start! Below, we’ll outline what you’ll need to get started in the industry, the steps for earning your real estate license, and answer all the questions that prospective real estate agents often ask.

Steps to Get Your License and Become a Real Estate Agent

How to Get a Real Estate License Online

Infographic: How to Get a Real Estate License Online

To become a successful real estate agent, you must complete state-required pre-licensing education, pass the state and national portions of the real estate licensing exam, and find a broker to help you launch your successful real estate career.

Each step to getting your license could vary from state-to-state, so it's important to check your state's license requirements.

Follow these 3 easy steps to learn how to get a real estate license online.

  • Complete the Pre-License Courses

    Step 1 - Complete the Pre-License Courses

    Each state's real estate commission requires pre-license education in order for prospective agents to get a real estate license.

    Once you understand your state's education requirements (amount of credit hours needed), you will need to complete your pre-license coursework. Some helpful tips to remember:

    • You may choose to take your courses online or in a classroom, however, you must enroll with an approved real estate school.

      Still deciding whether you should take your courses online or in person? View our Guide to help you choose between getting a real estate license online or in a classroom

    • If you have a degree in real estate, have your real estate license in another state, or are a licensed attorney, your education requirements may vary. Please be sure to contact your state's real estate commission to understand what your education requirements are.
    • Once you have completed your course(s), you will need to obtain your real estate transcripts or completion certificates from the approved school you enrolled with. Your certificate or transcripts can be printed from home in most states, but make sure to verify with your state's real estate commission.

    File Your Application & Pay Any Required Fees

    To get a real estate license, you must fill out your state's required application and pay any applicable fees. Most states have forms and fee information on their website. VanEd will provide you with information or resources to help you understand what your state requires. When you reach the application phase of the process, make sure to consider the following concerning your application:

    • Understand your state's filing date deadline
    • If your state requires you to have obtain Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance before submitting an application
    • If your state requires fingerprinting and a background check before submitting an application
    • If your state requires you to have a sponsoring or managing broker in place before applying.
  • Pass the Real Estate Exam

    Step 2: Pass the Real Estate License Exam

    Once you have completed your education requirements, you will need to tak and pass the real estate license exam.

    The majority of states use a testing provider for their real estate license exam so that the provider can administr and grade each test. It's important to understan who your state uses as a provider and contact them for any additional information or resources to help you prepare for the exam. VanEd provides you with all the information required to schedule your test with your state's provider.

    Real Estate Exam Providers

    Pearson Vue
    AMP (Applied Measurement Professionals)
    Pro Metric

  • Become a Real Estate Agent and Find a Brokerage

    Step 3: Become a Real Estate Agent and Launch Your Career

    You are now on your way to a successful real estate career!

    After completing the courses and passing the exam, you will need to find a broker to work under to start your successful career.

    Don't be afraid to ask our instructors about the industry or what to expect in your career. After you are licensed, come back, and we can help fulfill your continuing education requirements to renew your license.

What Do You Need to be a Real Estate Agent?

What are the requirements to be a real estate agent? Every individual brings something different to the job, but there are a few universal conditions you’ll have to meet.

To be eligible for a real estate license in most states, you need to be:

  • At least 18 years old,
  • A legal U.S. resident or citizen, and
  • Able to meet the state’s moral and ethical standards.

The last requirement is called your “moral fitness.” They’ll look at your criminal, civil, and professional history. If you have blemishes in your past, it may still be possible to get a license, but you’ll need to be up-front about it.

To succeed in your new career, you’ll also need:

  • Strong people skills
  • Attention to detail
  • The drive to be your own boss

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Every state has a slightly different real estate licensing process, but every state requires you to:

  1. Complete your state’s mandatory real estate education,
  2. Pass your state’s real estate license exam,
  3. Clear a fingerprint-based background check,
  4. Submit a license application with the required fees, and
  5. Find a real estate brokerage under which you can practice.

We’ll explore the process in more detail below, but it's important to check your state's license requirements on the real estate board or commission’s website. The order of the steps and the specific real estate agent requirements vary in every state.

What are State-Specific Real Estate Education Requirements?

Every state requires you to learn both general real estate principles and state-specific regulations with an approved training provider before you become a real estate agent.

Depending on the state, your pre-license education may be as little as 40 hours of coursework or as much as 180 hours. Some states also require new agents to complete a certain amount of post-license education within a year or two of licensure.

Each state has an approved list of training providers. You’ll need to make sure your school is on your state’s list.

Click below to explore how to become a real estate agent in your state, including the education requirements you’ll need to meet.

Alabama How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama
California How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California
Colorado How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Colorado
Florida How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Florida
Georgia How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Georgia
Montana How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Missouri
Nebraska How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Nebraska
New York How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Maryland
Oklahoma How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Oklahoma
South Carolina How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina
Texas How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Texas
Virginia How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Virginia
Washington How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Washington

Note: we do our best to keep our guides up to date, but the rules can change at any time, so your state’s official real estate commission website is the best place to get current and accurate information.

Does Every Real Estate Agent Need the State’s Pre-License Courses?

There are a few special cases where you can get a real estate license without completing your state’s pre-license courses.

This may be the case if you:

  • Have a college degree in business or finance,
  • Are a licensed attorney,
  • Have your real estate license in a state that offers reciprocity, or
  • Are the spouse of active-duty military being moving to a new base.

Each state has very specific requirements for each of these cases, so check the real estate board’s website if you think you might qualify.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?

How quickly you can meet the requirements for earning your real estate license will depend on your state’s process, how much time you can devote to studying, the flexibility of your schedule, and more.

In many cases, you can earn your real estate license within six months. In some states, it’s possible to finish in as little as two or three months. Many states give you a maximum of one year to meet all requirements.

How Hard is it to Get Your Real Estate License?

Earning your real estate license will require determination and commitment, but most people can manage it if they study diligently and practice for the exam.

If your moral fitness is in question, it can be more difficult. Certain crimes, lawsuits, or professional reprimands will require you to get a moral fitness waiver. This blog article explores this issue and explains how to give yourself the best chance at a real estate license.

Getting your real estate license is an accomplishment you’ll need to work for, but once you have it, the real challenges begin. Learn more about the 9 Hardest Parts of Being a Real Estate Agent (and how to tackle them) on our blog.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a License and Become a Real Estate Agent?

The cost of earning your real estate license varies from state to state. In some places, you can get your license for under $500, while a few states require a financial commitment of at least $1,000. Most states are somewhere in between.

One big factor in your total cost will be your choice of real estate school. Online courses are more cost-effective than a classroom setting. They also provide more flexibility for your schedule and your learning style.

Once you’ve earned your license, you’ll essentially be launching your own business. While your brokerage will provide some resources, many of your business expenses will come directly out of your pocket.

Our 50-state cost guide breaks down the general costs associated with licensing, provides a ballpark for each state, and outlines the expenses you’ll encounter within the first few years as an agent.

You can also check out our individual state guides on the cost of a real estate license in Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, and Virginia.

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make?

As a real estate agent, your income will be based directly and entirely on the deals you close. You’ll get a standard commission for each transaction, minus brokerage fees and taxes.

This means it’s hard to predict any individual agent’s yearly income. It varies based on experience, skill, and market conditions. Check out our guide to salaries in all 50 states to learn the average income in your area and how you can maximize your earnings.

Should I Become a Real Estate Agent?

No one can answer this question but you! That said, our Real Estate Career Quiz can help you determine if you have the qualities necessary to succeed in the real estate business.

What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Broker?

In most states, the entry-level real estate license is called a salesperson license, and people who hold one are “real estate agents.” A broker is usually the next license level up.

It’s worth noting that if you practice in Washington State, these roles are officially called “Broker” and “Managing Broker” instead of “Agent” and “Broker.”

Learn more about the Difference Between Real Estate Agents and Brokers on our blog.

What Careers Can You Get with a Real Estate License?

Most licensed real estate agents focus on buying and selling residential real estate, but there are many other directions you can go with your license. Check out our guide to real estate careers to learn more.

Still Have Questions?