Thinking of becoming a real estate agent and wondering how to get a real estate license? Here’s the good news: you can get your real estate license in just five simple steps. In this article, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to getting your real estate license as well as the must-know information for your state.

We also include resources to help you successfully launch your new career. Let’s start with the steps involved, and move on to the costs and time commitment, helpful links, and FAQs.

How to Get Your Real Estate License in 5 Simple Steps

Getting a real estate license involves five simple steps, as follows:

  • Determine your state’s requirements
  • Complete a prelicensing course
  • Prepare for your state exam
  • Pass your state exam
  • Register your license with your state

Let’s explore these steps in more detail.

1. Determine Your State’s Education Requirements

Cost: Free
Time commitment: Five minutes
Helpful resource: The Close Look-up Tool


Each state has unique requirements, so your first step in getting a real estate license is to choose your state from the drop-down list below and find out how many hours of prelicensing education are required by your state.

State real estate prelicensing look up tool
State: Alabama
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Alaska
Prelicensing Classes Required: 40 Hours
State: Arizona
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Arkansas
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: California
Prelicensing Classes Required: 135 Hours
State: Colorado
Prelicensing Classes Required: 168 Hours
State: Connecticut
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Delaware
Prelicensing Classes Required: 99 Hours
State: Florida
Prelicensing Classes Required: 63 Hours
State: Georgia
Prelicensing Classes Required: 75 Hours
State: Hawaii
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Idaho
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Illinois
Prelicensing Classes Required: 75 Hours
State: Indiana
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Iowa
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Kansas
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Kentucky
Prelicensing Classes Required: 96 Hours
State: Louisiana
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Maine
Prelicensing Classes Required: 55 Hours
State: Maryland
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Massachusetts
Prelicensing Classes Required: 40 Hours
State: Michigan
Prelicensing Classes Required: 40 Hours
State: Minnesota
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Mississippi
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Missouri
Prelicensing Classes Required: 48 Hours
State: Montana
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Nebraska
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Nevada
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: New Hampshire
Prelicensing Classes Required: 40 Hours
State: New Jersey
Prelicensing Classes Required: 75 Hours
State: New Mexico
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: New York
Prelicensing Classes Required: 75 Hours
State: North Carolina
Prelicensing Classes Required: 75 Hours
State: North Dakota
Prelicensing Classes Required: 45 Hours
State: Ohio
Prelicensing Classes Required: 120 Hours
State: Oklahoma
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Oregon
Prelicensing Classes Required: 150 Hours
State: Pennsylvania
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Rhode Island
Prelicensing Classes Required: 45 Hours
State: South Carolina
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: South Dakota
Prelicensing Classes Required: 116 Hours
State: Tennessee
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: Texas
Prelicensing Classes Required: 180 Hours
State: Utah
Prelicensing Classes Required: 120 Hours
State: Vermont
Prelicensing Classes Required: 40 Hours
State: Virginia
Prelicensing Classes Required: 60 Hours
State: Washington
Prelicensing Classes Required: 90 Hours
State: West Virginia
Prelicensing Classes Required: 180 Hours
State: Wisconsin
Prelicensing Classes Required: 72 Hours
State: Wyoming
Prelicensing Classes Required: 54 Hours

Real estate licensing courses cover everything from business fundamentals to fair housing laws, and even the states with the most relaxed requirements still demand that students learn a lot in a short period of time.

2. Complete a Prelicensing Course

Cost: Between $99 and $1,100, depending on your state
Time commitment: Between 40 and 180 class hours, depending on your state
Helpful resource: Best Online Real Estate Schools


The next step is to complete the prelicensing education class hours required by your state. You can do so in a traditional classroom with other students or remotely through an online program. We recommend online courses because they’re typically less expensive and more convenient—allowing you to work at your own pace, according to your schedule.

Our favorite online provider is Real Estate Express. They offer prelicensing classes in just about every state, as well as packages that include exam prep and a Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you have questions about getting started with prelicensing education, speak with one of their enrollment advisors.

Visit Real Estate Express
SAVE 25% on any Real Estate Express prelicensing course. Use promo code TheClose25 at checkout.

3. Prepare for Your State Exam

Cost: Varies, usually about $99
Time commitment: One to two weeks
Helpful resource: 7 Free Real Estate Practice Exams + 7 Exam Hacks


Once you’ve completed your real estate prelicensing course, you’re free to take your state exam. Taking standardized tests can be difficult, especially if it’s been a year (or 10!) since you were last in school.

Even if you feel confident, it’s a great idea to practice applying your knowledge a couple of times before sitting for the actual exam. Most of the providers on our top online real estate schools list offer some exam prep materials like flashcards and practice tests—use them!

Related Article
Real Estate Express Review + Video Walk-through

4. Pass Your State’s Real Estate Exam

Cost: Varies by state, usually $30 to $80
Time commitment: Three hours
Helpful resource: The Close’s Secret Strategies to Ace Your Real Estate Exam video


Once you’ve completed your state’s prelicensing requirements and prepped with some practice tests and flashcards, it’s time to take your licensing exam.

The format of the exam varies, but most states now administer a computer-based exam that can be conducted online or in-person, depending on your state. All the information about your state’s exam, including your closest examination site, will be available on your state’s licensing and regulatory affairs website.

📌   Pro Tip

See our list of state-by-state guides for links to more info about all 50 states!

If you’re nervous about the test itself, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Standardized tests can be challenging, even if you know the material back to front. Prepare by taking our free practice exam and learn a few more tricks to acing your real estate exam. 

5. Register Your Real Estate License With Your State

Cost: Varies by state, typically less than $150
Time commitment: 30 minutes to complete paperwork, one to two weeks for confirmation
Helpful resource: What’s the Best Real Estate Company to Work For?


After passing your state’s licensing exam, the final step necessary to becoming a full-fledged real estate professional is to register your status with your home state. This process generally requires a form and a registration fee to be mailed or electronically submitted to your state’s real estate licensing board.

Some states require you to be signed with a brokerage before they’ll actually issue you a license to practice real estate. If you’re in a state like this, you’ll need to have a brokerage lined up before you can complete this step. That’s the final step! Now you know how to become a real estate agent.

How long does it take to get a real estate license?

Getting a real estate license can take as little as six weeks, but your timeline will depend on your state’s licensing education requirements. Determine the number of prelicensing course hours required by your state using our state-specific guide above. Here are some sample timelines for Texas, California, and New York.


How much does it cost to get a real estate license?

Most applicants will spend between $1,000 and $1,600 to cover all the costs, including their prelicensing course, exam prep materials, exam fee, background check, application fees, and dues. However, the costs vary by state, and MLS membership fees vary by county. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the costs involved, with sample pricing for Texas, California, and New York.


How to Get a Real Estate License: State-by-State Guides 

Now you know that you understand the fundamentals of how to get a real estate license, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Since every state is different, we’ve put together a collection of personalized, state-specific guides for getting a real estate license in different states across the U.S. Find your state below to learn more about what it will take for you to get your real estate license.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

How to Get a Real Estate License: FAQs

Getting your license, becoming a real estate agent, and launching a new career are big decisions, and these often come with big questions. Now that you are clear about how to get a real estate license, here are some of the most common questions we hear from those considering a career in real estate.








How to Become a Real Estate Agent: More Resources

Getting a real estate license is your first step to a new and fulfilling career. Real estate professionals wear a lot of hats: we are marketers, property experts, contract and negotiation experts, and even community advocates. But it all starts with that first question: how to get a real estate license. We’re here to support and celebrate your success every step of the way!

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