If you’re wondering how to get a North Carolina real estate license, you’re in the right place. We can guide you through the steps to obtaining your North Carolina real estate license and answer some common questions about this exciting career path. First, a word about terminology…

In North Carolina, real estate agents are referred to as Brokers. New real estate brokers start out as Provisional Brokers. You won’t see information from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) regarding your license as an “agent” or “salesperson.” Instead, there are are Provisional Brokers, Full Brokers, or Brokers-in-Charge in North Carolina.

How To Get a North Carolina Real Estate License

Infographic: Steps describing How to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License

To be eligible for a North Carolina real estate license, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have legal working status in the U.S.
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Be of good character

If you checked all three boxes above, you are ready to take the first step toward a career in real estate. But if you want to learn more about where the industry is heading, check out Pinnacle Realty Advisors’ e-book containing the brokerage’s 2023 predictions for real estate. This educational report is chock full of historical data and trend charts to give you insight into the changing market you’ll be diving into.

Download Pinnacle’s 2023 Predictions For Realtors

Now that you’re armed with that vital market information, let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to follow to get licensed in North Carolina.

1. Complete a 75-Hour Prelicensing Course

Cost: $500-$800
Time Commitment: 4-6 weeks

You’ll start by signing up for a prelicensing course. You can choose between taking your prelicense course in-person or online. Read our section on choosing a North Carolina real estate school for the types of class formats offered by most providers, but generally, you can take courses online or in-person.

The coursework will take 75 hours, and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has a list of approved broker prelicense providers on its website. However, we’ve narrowed your search in our buyer’s guide, linked below.

You’ll want to explore the various prelicense package options to help you compare prices, features, and formats. In North Carolina, your prelicensing course ends with a proctored final course exam. The CE Shop conveniently includes free virtual online exam proctoring with their North Carolina prelicensing packages.

Readers of The Close can save 30% on any CE Shop prelicensing course in North Carolina. Use promo code TheClose30 at checkout.
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2. Apply for a Real Estate License

Cost: $100
Time Commitment: 30-60 minutes

Once you’ve completed your prelicensing course, you can complete your application for a North Carolina real estate license before scheduling the license exam. You can complete the real estate license application and pay the $100 fee online on the NCREC’s website.

You’ll need to create a login account. All your information pertaining to your application will be saved to this account, which you can access whenever you need to. When completing the application, you’ll be asked to provide the following:

  • Legal name and address
  • Social Security number
  • Your prelicense school, instructor, and course information
  • Your previous license history (if any)
  • Your previous residences from the last seven years
  • Your employment history from the last three years
  • Any criminal offenses

Once you’ve completed the application, save it online.

3. Pass a Background Check

Cost: $15-$50
Time Commitment: 2-7 business days

You’ll also need to complete a background check as part of the license application. To start the process, which costs $15, visit the Criminal Records Checks (CRC) website. If you’ve lived in other states in the last seven years, the cost will vary. You can check the CRC’s pricing per state online.

Your background check will take two to seven business days to process, and the report will be sent to you by email. It will also be reported to your online broker application form on the online application system. You can submit your application once it is complete.

4. Pass the License Exam

Quick Facts Infographic - North Carolina Real Estate Exam

Cost: $56
Time Commitment: 4 hours (arrive 30 minutes early)

After you’ve completed your license application, you’ll receive a Notice of Exam Eligibility by email from the NCREC. You have 180 days to schedule your license exam.

In North Carolina, you can choose to take your license exam at a PSI testing location or via an online, proctored exam. You’ll need a good internet connection, microphone, and camera, and you’ll be supervised by video for the duration of the exam.

The license exam is administered by PSI Services, and they will already have your exam eligibility uploaded to their system. You can schedule your license exam in two ways: online or by phone. You’ll pay the $56 exam fee when you schedule your exam.

If you take your exam in person, you’ll need to bring two valid forms of ID with you. Both will need to show your signature, and one needs to be a government-issued photo ID. You can take the exam in-person at the following locations:

  • Asheville
  • Cary
  • Charlotte
  • Fayetteville
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington
  • Winston-Salem
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4. Join a Real Estate Brokerage

Cost: No cost
Time Commitment: 2-4 weeks

Once you’ve successfully completed your prelicensing course, application, and license exam, you’ll be ready for an exciting career in real estate in North Carolina. The NCREC will email your provisional real estate broker license to you when your application and exam have been approved.

Your initial real estate broker license in North Carolina has provisional status, which means you’ll begin working under the supervision of a Broker-in-Charge. To remove the provisional status, you need to complete a 90-hour post-licensing course, after which you’ll get full broker status in the state.

Start looking for brokerages in the areas you’d like to work to jumpstart your new career, and check our guide, linked below, to get the inside track on some of the larger firms.

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How Much Does It Cost to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License?

Infographic: Quick Facts About How to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License

It will cost about $700 to $900 to get a North Carolina real estate license. The cost includes all your prelicense education, application, and exam fees. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to pay to get your North Carolina real estate license.

North Carolina Real Estate License Costs

75-hour Prelicensing Course$500-$800
North Carolina Real Estate License Exam Fee$56
Background Check Fee$15
North Carolina Real Estate License Application$100
Total Costs:$671-$971
Readers of The Close can save 30% on prelicensing packages from The CE Shop by using promo code TheClose30.

If you’ve lived outside of North Carolina in the last seven years, your background check cost will vary by state. The cost of your prelicensing course will vary depending on which school and package you choose. Most basic packages include the 75-hour prelicense course, but others may offer extra support like exam prep or instructor support.


How much do real estate brokers make in North Carolina? So far in 2022, the average North Carolina real estate broker earns $82,903. Remember that in a commission-based career, there is no limit to your potential earnings as a real estate broker. Commission sales reward those who hustle and provide excellent client service. 

Whether you decide to commit yourself full-time of part-time to your new career, here are some important things to know about your compensation structure as you begin your search for a brokerage to hire you.

Split: A split refers to how you’ll divide your commissions between yourself and the brokerage. For example, a 50/50 split means that the brokerage and salesperson evenly share the commission.

Desk Fee: Some brokerages will give you a higher percentage for your split, but they may charge you a monthly desk fee. Although you may make a larger share of the commission with each transaction, the desk fee will be collected monthly whether or not you’ve closed a sale.

Cap: A cap is the maximum amount that the brokerage will take from the commissions that you’ve earned within the year. You may find some agencies offer a higher split but a lower cap, or vice versa.

Related Article
Can You Be a Part-time Real Estate Agent? (+ Free Guide & Videos)

Choosing a North Carolina Real Estate School

Many schools provide online courses with additional features like exam prep, videos, and interactive study groups. Others offer livestreamed classes led by an instructor in real-time. Here are some of the pros and cons of each class format.

Types of Instruction
In-person Classes
  • Traditional classroom setting

  • Get to know other students

  • Easy access to the instructor
  • More expensive than online classes

  • Commuting and traffic

  • Finding class times to fit your schedule
Livestream Classes
  • No commute

  • Ideal if you live far from in-person schools

  • You can ask instructors questions in real time
  • Finding classes to fit your schedule

  • No interaction with other students

  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
Online Classes
  • Work at your own pace anywhere with internet

  • Take classes when convenient for you

  • Least expensive option
  • Instructors can only be accessed via email or phone

  • Little interaction with real estate pros

  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should

North Carolina Real Estate FAQs

You’ve learned how to become a real estate broker in North Carolina, and you may still have questions. We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about reciprocity, education requirements, cost, and more. Let us know if there’s something we missed in the comment section below!

More Career Resources From The Close

We hope you’ve learned the steps you need to take for your new real estate career in North Carolina. We wish you the best and we’re here to help you every step of the way. At The Close, our mission is to provide you with reliable strategies to help you thrive in your real estate career.

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