How Long Does It Take To Get a Real Estate License

Every expert was once a beginner. Professionals in various fields start from scratch before becoming experts in their fields. 

The National Association of Realtors recorded a substantial growth in issued licenses for the real estate industry during the period spanning January 2021 to January 2022. A licensed real estate agent usually receives a 2-3% commission based on the home’s price when they represent buyers or sellers. 

Out of this, up to half may be allocated to their brokerage firm and cover marketing expenses such as real estate newspaper ads and QR codes for real estate listings. Despite this, the profession proves to be quite lucrative. 

If you aspire to enter the commission-based industry but lack knowledge about navigating the real estate business, learn how long does it take to get a real estate license through this guide.

Understanding the Real Estate License

Securing a real estate license is essential for legally representing clients in the home buying and selling process. A dedicated real estate commission manages the licensing process, and each US state has its specific set of requirements. 

To become eligible for a real estate agent license, make sure to secure the following real estate education requirements: 

  • Hold legal residency in the US. 
  • General Education (GED) diploma or high school diploma
  • Meet the minimum age requirement of 18 or 19, depending on state regulations. 
  • Complete the required pre-license education. 
  • Pass the state’s real estate license exam. 

In most states, the expenses associated with acquiring a real estate license can exceed $1,000, depending on the state’s specific prerequisites. Moreover, you should factor in licensing fees and budget for coursework and examination expenses.

The Step-by-step Process of Getting a Real Estate License

Earning a real estate agent license is a challenging milestone, demanding both time and dedication. Within this section, we will cover the step-by-step application and exam process to secure and get your real estate licenses.

Pre-licensing Education

Candidates must finish a required amount of schooling before signing up for the real estate exam. State-by-state variations in this educational requirement result in some states requiring as few as 45 hours of coursework and others as much as 75. These lessons, which cover various topics like contracts, ethics, and property laws, can be taken online or in person. 

Registration and Scheduling for the Real Estate Exam

The next step is scheduling your real estate exam and registering after finishing the pre-license coursework. Usually, this entails completing an application form, paying the exam money, and selecting the time and place of your exam. Typically, this procedure takes a few days to a week, depending on how soon you respond and the testing center’s accessibility.

Studying for the real estate exam

How Long does it Take to Get A Real Estate License

Preparing for the real estate exam is essential because doing so boosts your likelihood of passing on your first try. This stage should take a few weeks, and preferably longer. Using various study tools, including textbooks, sample tests, flashcards, and study groups, is advisable.

Taking the real estate exam

Finally, you’ll take the real estate exam. The exam usually lasts 1.5 to 3.5 hours and covers national real estate principles, laws, and state-specific rules.

Online Real Estate School vs. In-Person Courses: Pros and Cons

Choosing between online real estate school and in-person classes or for a real estate license depends on your learning preferences, lifestyle, and circumstances. To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of each real estate course option:

Online Courses


  • Flexibility: Study at your own pace and schedule.
  • Accessibility: Access courses from anywhere without geographical restrictions.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Generally more affordable with reduced commuting and material costs.
  • Interactive Learning: Multimedia tools and simulations enhance understanding.


  • Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction: Limited personal engagement with instructors and peers.
  • Self-Discipline Needed: Requires strong motivation and time management skills.
  • Limited Networking: Fewer opportunities to build professional connections.

In-Person Courses


  • Personalized Guidance: Immediate feedback and real-time interaction with instructors.
  • Social Interaction: Networking opportunities with classmates and professionals.
  • Structured Learning: A fixed schedule helps with focus and commitment.


  • Time and Location Constraints: Must attend classes at specific times and places.
  • Higher Costs: Generally more expensive due to physical facilities and in-person instruction.
  • Limited Choice: Fewer options are available in certain locations.

Factors That Influence the Time it Takes to Get a Real Estate License

It’s important for aspiring real estate agents or real estate brokers to research the specific licensing requirements and processes in their state to understand how long the process may take. 

The most relevant factors affecting how long the real estate licensing application process takes include:

Educational Requirements: Completing pre licensing requirements in terms of education, which ranges from weeks to months depending on the state and individual study pace, is mandatory. This timeframe is influenced by the chosen course format (in-person, online, or self-paced), study commitment, and exam preparation. 

Examination Process: The exam process varies based on exam availability, results processing, retake policies, study time, application deadlines, and exam location. Applicants must be aware of these factors to plan and manage their licensing timeline effectively, ensuring prompt preparation for the exam and addressing any necessary retakes to expedite the overall process.

Background Checks and Processing: Background checks and fingerprinting depend on the complexity of an applicant’s history, appointment availability for background checks and fingerprinting, FBI processing time, accuracy, and potential red flags, all of which may cause delays in reviewing and approving the license application.

Experience Requirements: In certain states, there are extra experience requirements to qualify for a broker’s license. This could involve participating in apprenticeship programs or having a specified duration of active experience as a real estate broker or salesperson.

Licensing Board Review: The state licensing board’s processing time for reviewing and approving an application is influenced by the volume of applications they receive and their current workload. Delays can occur if there is a significant influx of applications or if additional information or corrections are required.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Real Estate License?

If you’re interested in understanding the time needed to go through the crucial stages of obtaining a real estate license, refer to the breakdown provided below.

Pre-licensing Courses

In general, pre-licensing courses typically require a set minimum of hours of study. Ask your local real estate division about how many course hours are required. Some states may offer these courses in a traditional classroom setting, while others provide online options for more flexible learning. The duration to complete the coursework can depend on the following factors:

  • Pace of study
  • The intensity of the program
  • And other personal commitments might affect their ability to devote time to the courses.

Exam Duration

Candidates taking the real estate licensing exams should expect them to last between 1.5 and 3.5 hours, as already mentioned above. These exams evaluate the candidates’ knowledge of real estate laws, principles, practices, and ethical standards. In specific states, the exam may differ for salesperson and broker licenses, and the time duration of the final exam also varies accordingly.

Application Approval and Distribution of the License

The timeline for application approval and license distribution varies across locations, spanning from just a few months or weeks to several months. This variation is influenced by several crucial factors, as outlined below:

  • The volume of applications being processed
  • Efficiency of the state’s licensing board
  • The complexity of the application review, the completeness of the submitted documents
  • any additional requirements such as background checks or experience verification. 

Tips to Expedite the Process

A license opens doors to valuable resources like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), fosters networking opportunities, and allows for continuous professional growth through education and development. By acting quickly, you can embark on a fulfilling and rewarding real estate career, making a positive impact on clients’ lives while demonstrating commitment to ethical and legal standards. 

If you’re looking to fast-track your license acquisition, these simple tips will guide you:

  1. Start Early: Begin researching the licensing requirements early on to plan ahead.
  2. Pre-License Education: Take a reputable real estate pre-license course to learn the required information.
  3. Study and Practice: Dedicate time to study and take practice exams to prepare for the licensing test.
  4. Schedule the Exam: Once you feel ready, schedule the licensing exam promptly.
  5. Stay Organized: Keep all necessary documents in order to avoid delays.
  6. Seek Guidance: Contact your local real estate commission if you have queries.
  7. Complete Application: Take time to double-check your application for accuracy.
  8. Follow-up: If you’re experiencing unnecessary delays, do follow up to check the progress of your application.
  9. Network Professionally: Connect with real estate professionals for potential opportunities.
  10. Be Prepared: Stay proactive, dedicated, and well-prepared for success!

Post-Licensing Considerations

Let’s say you’ve passed your real estate licensing exam, and now it’s time to enter the real estate industry for real. To smoothen this process, take these post-licensing considerations into account:

Keep Learning: After getting your license, you’ll need to take additional courses to renew it later. Stay informed about your state’s requirements and complete the necessary training.

Choose a Brokerage: Decide on a real estate company to work with. Look for one that offers good support and training and suits your goals.

Get Mentorship: Find an experienced agent to guide you. A mentor can help you learn faster and navigate the industry better.

Know the Rules: Understand the real estate laws and regulations in your area to avoid legal problems.

Network: Build connections with others in the industry and join real estate associations to get referrals and grow your client base.


A successful real estate license application will grant you legal authority, build credibility, and provide valuable knowledge for a rewarding career in the industry. 

Besides the tips we have shared here, talking to successful real estate license holders during your own licensing process provides valuable insights and guidance, benefiting from their experience and learning about best practices and potential pitfalls. This helps build confidence and gives you a strategic advantage for a successful career in real estate. 

Remember that talking to experts is the key to becoming an expert yourself!

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