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How Long Does It Take To Become A Real Estate Agent?

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: March 11, 2021

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: March 11, 2021


So, you’re curious about the wonderful world of real estate but you’re not sure where to begin. It’s true that compared to a traditional college degree, getting a real estate license is much quicker. However, just how long does it take to become a real estate agent?

Spoiler alert: You can get your license in as little as 4 to 6 months!

That’s the simple answer, but to get a better picture of the timeline, it depends on a number of factors. Before you jump headfirst into getting your real estate license, there are a few things you should know. Keep reading to learn more about becoming a real estate agent.

Real estate house keychain

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes To Become a Real Estate Agent

You can be the most disciplined student, but there’s still a determined timeline that you’ll need to follow when you’re trying to become a real estate agent. If you delay your real estate exam for any reason or fail it, then, of course, your timeline will be extended.

Regardless of whether you’re always on time or a big procrastinator, here are the main factors that can affect how long it will take to get your real estate license:

  • The state you live in
  • Whether you take your real estate classes online or in-person
  • The application process in your state

Each state has its own process and requirements to obtain a real estate license. The number of hours spent getting your license can vary depending on where you live, so you’ll need to check the requirements of your state to be able to better gauge your overall timeline.

Additionally, taking online classes often speeds up the process compared to taking an in-person class. Once you’re done with your classes, there might also be a waiting period before you can take the next exam.

Overall, you can expect it to take around 4-6 months to obtain your real estate license if you’re serious, but that can be prolonged based on all the factors mentioned above.

General Requirements for Getting Your Real Estate License

Once you’ve checked the requirements from your state, there are still a few other things you need in order to be eligible:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old (some states require you to be 19 or 21)
  • Must be a legal US resident
  • You need to complete your state-required education
  • Lastly, you have to pass the final real estate licensing exam

Again, the state you live in will be determining factors in the minimum required age and how many hours you need to put into your education before you’re able to take the exam.

If you meet most of the general criteria for becoming a real estate agent, keep reading to learn more about the education process and the steps you’ll need to complete.

What To Expect From Real Estate License Education

The number of hours you’ll need to commit to your real estate education varies drastically from state to state. For example, in Kansas, you only need 30 hours of pre-licensing classes before you can take the state exam, whereas in Texas you need 210 hours.

Still, there are many similarities in the education material in all the states. You can expect to cover materials that relate to the laws and guidelines of real estate, as well as more technical aspects like drafting contracts and learning how to price a property.

Here are some of the topics you can expect to cover in your pre-licensing courses:

  • Real estate principles
  • Real estate law
  • Ethical issues in real estate
  • Pricing and listing
  • Contracts and leases
  • Disclosure guidelines
  • Business management
  • Real estate industry practices

It may seem like a lot of time and material to cover, but if you take your real estate course online, then it can be easier to complete your required hours. You’ll still be able to work and manage other responsibilities while completing your pre-licensing hours in your own time.

5-Step Guide to Becoming A Real Estate Agent

The details of each step will differ from one state to another, but the general steps to obtaining your real estate license don’t change all that much.

Here’s what you can expect to go through from the moment you decide to study real estate until the moment you get your license.

Real estate agent at work

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Step 1: Learn Your State’s Requirements

Like we explained earlier, the requirements differ from state to state. You’ll want to be very sure of the specific requirements in your own state before you accidentally sign up for a real estate course that’s held in Florida when you live in New York.

If you are doing a course online, make sure that the institution offering the course meets your state requirements.

In addition to hours of education, your state might also require things like background checks or fingerprints. Many states can also bar you from obtaining a real estate license if you have a criminal record.

Step 2: Enroll in a Pre-licensing Course

There are different ways you can go about this. We’ve discussed in-person or online courses, but there are a lot of other options. In some states, you can find courses run through local real estate firms, universities, or even real estate schools. These classes would mostly be in-person, but you can also learn independently online.

You won’t have the advantage of learning with a teacher or with your peers when you learn online, however, there are also many benefits to distance learning. It can be extremely helpful if you’re a parent, already working elsewhere, or if you simply don’t have the free time to commit to an in-person course.

Step 3: Apply to Take the Real Estate Exam

Once you’ve completed your required number of hours, you’re ready to apply to take your real estate exam. You want to be careful and time this according to your state requirements so that it’s not too long after you’ve completed your pre-licensing course. Make sure to get a comprehensive list of the necessary paperwork as well as deadlines.

If you completed your course online, you’ll need to be particularly careful for this step and ensure that you’ve managed your time correctly.

Step 4: Pass The Exam

Easier said than done, right? Naturally, after applying to take the exam, the next step would be to take it and pass it.

You’ll need to do more preparation than simply completing your required hours. Like any exam, this one requires studying as well. Check if the institution you’re registered with for your pre-licensing classes offer any exam-prep courses, as this can be really helpful leading up to the exam date.

Step 5: Find The Right Broker to Work With

Once you’ve passed your exam, you’ll need to activate your license and sign up for local listing services. Once this is finished, you’re not quite done yet. You’ll need to find a broker to work with since an independent real estate agent has another set of requirements.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right real estate broker, such as the location, their reputation, or specializations.

When you’ve finished completing any paperwork or contracts with your new real estate broker, then you’re ready to become a practicing real estate agent.

How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make?

If you’re curious about the time it takes to become a real estate agent, you’re probably also wondering how much you can make working as an agent.

You’ll be pleased to know that real estate agents take home a pretty decent paycheck. The median annual salary for a real estate agent in the US in 2019 was $50,730. If you’re a particularly great real estate agent, you can make a lot more, with the top 10% of performers often earning north of $100,000 annually.

Given the relatively short amount of time real estate agents put into getting their license, it’s good compensation when compared to other high-earning fields. It takes significantly longer to become a lawyer or doctor, for example, and the best real estate agents have the opportunity to earn just as much money.

While the salary is attractive, it’s also important to keep in mind that real estate agents often work more than 40 hours a week. There are often showings or meetings with clients during the evenings and on weekends, so if you’d like a career in real estate, you better be willing to put in the time!

The Bottom Line

While it’s tough to give a precise answer to the question “How long does it take to become a real estate agent?” It’s clear to see that no matter how long it takes in your state, it’s still worth the time and effort.

If you’re looking for a degree that you can study online that leads to a high-earning career, then real estate can be a great avenue to explore. However, if after reading this, you don’t think real estate is for you, don’t be discouraged. There are tons of other online degrees you can study that will lead you to a great fulfilling career.

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.