Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Discover everything you need to know to become a real estate agent. Find out how to take realtor classes and average real estate license costs.

There are many reasons to work as a real estate agent. Realtors have a great deal of freedom compared to other professions. You can either work for yourself or sign up with a real estate company. Even if you decide to join a real estate company, the majority of your work is unsupervised and takes place outside of the office. You also have a great deal of control over who you take as a client. Realtors can also set their own hours. On average, real estate agents make $50,000 each year, but you can always increase your hours and take on additional clients if you want a bigger paycheck. Real estate agents are also in high demand no matter where you live, since property is always being bought or sold.

There are a few requirements you must complete before becoming a real estate agent. You are not required to get a college degree, though some companies may prefer it. Instead, you must past a certification course and get your real estate license.

Pre-Licensing Course

There are several steps you must take to earn your realtor license. Before you can take your realtor licensing exam, you must complete a pre-licensing course. There are several locations you can take realtor classes. One of the most common places to find realtor pre-license courses is community colleges or vocational schools. A number of courses are also offered online. As of writing, not all states allow for online classes, but some states are making exceptions because of Covid-19. If you are having trouble finding pre-licensing courses, check for classes through your state’s real estate commission.

In addition to online availability, the length of the courses vary based on your state. In most states, the courses are between 40 to 60 hours, but some states have longer requirements. California has some of the steepest requirements, needing 135 hours of training. On average, pre-licensing courses cost between $200 and $300.

Pre-licensing courses teach you everything you need to succeed as a realtor. The exact structure may vary, but most courses start with teaching basic terms, including lien, escrow and encumbrance. Next, you are taught how to appraise property and the different laws associated with buying and selling real estate.

Licensing Exam

After completing your pre-license course, you can get your realtor license. You must pay a fee to take the exam, which costs between $100 and $300, based on your location. The realtor licensing exam is split into two parts. The first part covers federal real estate laws and general realtor principles. The second portion of the exam is all about state laws. The length of the tests varies based on your state, but normally consists of 50 to 100 questions. For any of the math related questions, such as identifying the total tax on a property, you are allowed to use a calculator.

If you are concerned about the exam, you can take a sample realtor licensing test. The majority of pre-license classes include these practice exams as part of the course. You can also get samples from your state real estate commission. In the majority of states, you can take the realtor exam as many times as you want within the first two years of passing your pre-license class. Beyond this window, you must retake the pre-licensing course.

After completing your exam, you must activate your realtor license. You can activate your license with your state real estate commission. Every state charges a different activation fee. In most states, the price is between $200 and $400. Some states also require you to purchase a membership from the local listing services in your area. If you want to officially list yourself as a realtor and not a real estate agent, you must become a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express is one of the fastest growing courses among realtors. As of writing, not all states have access to Real estate Express. The courses are priced between $120 to $150, making it one of the most affordable classes. The company also offers discounts to first time students. Classes are available both in-person and online. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, some states are only offering online classes. Along with the pre-licensing class, you can also take realtor training programs and exam prep courses from Real Estate Express.

Kaplan Real Estate Education

Kaplan has a reputation as a top realtor training program. Classes are available either in-person or online. Unlike other pre-license courses, Kaplan allows students to attend live online classes, giving you the opportunity to listen to lectures in real-time and communicate with your classmates. Traditional online courses are available as well through the home study course. The final online option is OnDemand, which gives you access to videos and lectures, with the option to email your instructor to ask questions. Classes cost around $200. Kaplan also has additional training options, including a practice course before your licensing exam.


Mbition was previously known as OnCourse Learning. The program places a greater focus on preparing realtors for the licensing exam. There are a wide variety of class options, some of which are packaged alongside the traditional pre-licensing courses. A master exam prep package contains eight separate practice exams, covering over 1,500 questions. Pre-license courses cost between $200 and $300, while the extra classes are between $60 and $100.