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.

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 provisional brokers, full brokers, and brokers-in-charge in North Carolina.

How to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License

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How to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License
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Complete a North Carolina 75-hour Prelicensing Course
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Apply for a North Carolina Real Estate License
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Pass a Background Check
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Pass the North Carolina Real Estate License Exam
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Join a Real Estate Brokerage

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

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have legal working status in the U.S.
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Satisfy the commission that you possess good character

If you can check all four boxes above, you are ready to take the first step toward a career in real estate.

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

You’ll start by signing up for a prelicensing course. You can choose between taking your classes 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.

The coursework will take 75 hours, and it must be provided by an institution on the North Carolina Real Estate Commission’s list of approved broker prelicensing course providers. However, we’ve narrowed your search in our buyer’s guide for North Carolina.

You’ll want to explore the various prelicensing package options to help you compare prices, features, and formats. In North Carolina, your prelicensing course ends with a proctored final course exam.

Readers of The Close can save 35% on any The CE Shop prelicensing course in North Carolina. Use promo code TheClose35 at checkout.

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2. Apply for a North Carolina Real Estate License

Once you’ve completed your prelicensing course, it’s time to file your application for a North Carolina real estate license. You can complete this process and pay the $100 fee online on the NCREC website.

To start, you’ll need to create an account. When completing the application, you’ll be asked to provide the following:

  • Legal name and address
  • Social Security number
  • Education provider, instructor, and course information
  • License history (if any)
  • Location of residences from the last seven years
  • Employment history from the last three years
  • Any criminal offenses

3. Pass a Background Check

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. CRC will attach the criminal record report to your broker license application, and a copy will also be sent to your email. Once this step is complete, you can submit your application!

4. Pass the North Carolina Real Estate License Exam

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Quick Facts




Time to Complete:

4 hours



120 multiple-choice questions; 80 national and 40 state


Bring to Testing Center:

One valid form of ID with a photo


Passing Grade:

57 out of 80 national questions and 29 out of 40 state questions

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.

The license exam is administered by PSI Services, which should 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.

You are required to take the license exam at a PSI testing location and you’ll need to bring one valid form of photo ID with you. You can take the exam in-person at the following locations:

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

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 jump-start 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?

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Quick Facts

North Carolina Real Estate Governing Body:

North Carolina Real Estate Commission


Prelicensing Requirements:

75 Hours


Price Range for Prelicensing Courses:

$500 – $800


Total Estimated Cost:

$700 – $900

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

Sample North Carolina Real Estate License Costs

75-hour Prelicensing Course $715 (through The CE Shop)
Exam Registration $56
Background Check $15
License Application $100
Total Costs: $886

(North Carolina real estate license costs as of April 2023)

Readers of The Close can save 35% on prelicensing packages from The CE Shop by using promo code TheClose35.

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

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 livestream 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 access
  • Take classes when convenient for you
  • Often the least expensive option
  • Instructors can generally only be accessed via email or phone
  • Little interaction with real estate pros
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should

How Much Does a North Carolina Real Estate Agent Make?

According to Indeed, the average North Carolina real estate broker earns $76,795. 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 or 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.
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North Carolina Real Estate FAQs

You’ve learned how to become a real estate broker in North Carolina, but you may still have questions. In the section below, we answer 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!

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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