Getting a real estate license involves five simple steps. Start by learning the real estate license requirements for your specific state, then take your prelicense classes, take some practice tests, pass your state exam, and finally, register your license with your state.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to get your real estate license step-by-step. We’ll give you a simple path to follow and detail the cost and time requirements. Finally, we’ll provide critical resources to help you successfully launch your new career. Let’s get started!

How to Get a Real Estate License in 5 Easy Steps Infographic

1. Look Up Your State’s Prelicensing Education Requirements

Cost: Free
Time commitment: Five minutes
Helpful resource: The Close State Requirements Look-up Tool
Required Real Estate Prelicensing Class Hours by State (Updated in August, 2021)

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

Each state has unique requirements, so your first step in getting a real estate license is to learn how many prelicensing class hours you’ll need to complete before being eligible to sit the licensing exam in your state. Wondering how to get your real estate license in your state? Simply choose your state from the dropdown list above, and find out how many real estate prelicensing education hours of study are required by your state’s regulatory body. 

“Come to class with your thinking cap on. Real estate licensing courses cover everything from business fundamentals to fair housing, and even the states with the most relaxed requirements still ask students to learn a lot in a short period of time.”

chris linsell headshot

Chris Linsell, Senior Real Estate Writer, The Close

2. Take A Real Estate Prelicensing Education Course

Cost: Between $120 and $500, 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 number of prelicensing education class hours required by your state. You can fulfill these hours in a physical classroom with other students and an instructor or remotely with an online class at your own pace, on your schedule.

We suggest online classes for completing your prelicensing course requirements. Online classes are generally cheaper than a local, in-person class; plus, they’re much more convenient, and they allow you to work at your own pace. Our favorite online provider for getting these requirements knocked out is Real Estate Express. They offer prelicensing classes in just about every state, as well as packages that include test prep and a “Pass or Don’t Pay” guarantee.

Visit Real Estate Express

If you want to learn more about other options, check out our full-length review and video walk-through of Real Estate Express, as well as our guide of the top online real estate schools here.

3. Take Some Real Estate Licensing Practice Tests

Cost: Varies; usually about $99
Time commitment: One to two weeks
Helpful resource: 7 Hacks for the Real Estate Practice Exam (+ Free Mini-test)

Once you’ve completed your real estate prelicensing course, you’re free to take the actual exam whenever you’d like. However, we recommend that you devote some time to taking practice exams.

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 in your understanding of the concepts and knowledge needed to be successful, it’s a great idea to practice applying that knowledge a couple of times before sitting for the actual exam.

Most of the providers on our top online real estate schools list also offer some test prep and practice tests. Make sure to take full advantage of this feature. The Exam Prep Master feature on Real Estate Express has 17 full-length practice exams to prepare you for the real thing.

“When I was preparing for my licensing exam, I took over 20 practice tests. I found that the questions were almost always the same, just worded differently. Seeing that level of consistency from test to test gave me direction on what I needed to study more and confidence that I was going to perform on test day.”

4. Pass Your State’s Real Estate Exam

Cost: Varies by state; usually about $75
Time commitment: 3 hours
Helpful resource: Cambridge Coaching’s “7 Essential Tips for ANY Standardized Test

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

The format of this exam varies by state, but most states now administer a computer-based exam. 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.

To visit your state’s website for more information, choose from the list below.

Real Estate Commission Websites (by State)

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

Since the exam takes about two hours in most states, plan on setting aside either your morning or your afternoon so you can get there early and won’t feel rushed.

“If you’re nervous about the test itself, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Standardized tests can be challenging for some students, even if you know the material back to front. Cambridge Coaching offers a fantastic tip list for how students can prepare for any standardized test; make sure to review it in the days leading up to your test date.”

Emile L'Eplattenier headshot

Emile L’Eplattenier, Managing Editor, The Close

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 you pass 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. Need some suggestions on which brokerage to join? Check out my article on the best real estate companies to work for.”

Chris Linsell

Chris Linsell, Senior Real Estate Writer, The Close

FAQs About How to Get Your Real Estate License

Pursuing your license to become a real estate agent is a big decision, and it often comes with questions. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from those considering a career in real estate.

If you have a question that we don’t answer here, please feel free to ask us in the comment section.






How to Get a Real Estate License: Final Thoughts

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 community advocates. But we all start with the licensing process.

Are you a newly licensed agent or someone considering getting a real estate license? Share your experiences and leave your questions in the comments below.