If you’ve been thinking about a career change in Ohio, it’s a great time to consider real estate. Ohio has a diversified economy and an excellent business climate, making it an ideal place to buy and sell real estate. Just think about all the beautiful properties in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus you could help your clients purchase! With an Ohio real estate license, you’ll get a flexible schedule and the potential to earn a great income.

Of course, before becoming a real estate salesperson in Ohio, you’ll need a license. Keep reading and we’ll teach you how to get your Ohio real estate license in five easy steps.

How to Get an Ohio Real Estate License

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How to Get an Ohio Real Estate License
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Complete a 120-hour Prelicensing Course
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Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
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Apply for the Ohio License Exam
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Pass a Background Check
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Pass the Ohio Real Estate License Exam

To be eligible for an Ohio real estate license, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be determined to be of good character

1. Complete a 120-hour Prelicensing Course

The first step to earning your real estate license in Ohio is taking a 120-hour prelicensing course. Ohio is an outlier in that the state requires real estate students to take their prelicensing courses at an institution that also at least offers associate degrees. Here’s a breakdown of the class hours required by the state.

Ohio Real Estate Education Requirements

Real estate principles and practices 40 hours
Ohio real estate law 40 hours
Real estate appraisal 20 hours
Real estate finance 20 hours
Total hours 120 hours

Ohio education providers like The CE Shop offer real estate programs that you can complete in just a few months. The CE Shop’s classes are offered online through their local school partner, Davis College. They have built-in exam prep and 24/7 access to instructors.

Check out The CE Shop
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2. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You

Long before you take the Ohio real estate agent exam, you should start connecting with brokerages in your area and find a sponsoring broker. You’ll be asked to provide your sponsoring broker’s information when applying to sit for the license exam. 

As a new real estate agent, the state requires you to work under a managing broker. When you work for a brokerage, you’ll split your commissions—usually your sole source of income as an agent—with your brokerage. Some brokers will require a 50-50 split on commissions in exchange for an office, promotional materials, and other professional benefits.

Some may allow you to keep a higher percentage of your commissions in exchange for a monthly desk fee. In general, you’ll have to pay this fee each month whether or not you earn any commissions.

A cap is the maximum amount of money that the brokerage will take from the commissions you earn over the course of a year. Once you’ve made a set amount of money for the agency, you’ll be able to keep the rest of your earnings.

I recommend you speak with several brokers and compare offers before making a decision. You may find that big-name agencies have built-in strategies to help you succeed in your new career. In contrast, smaller brokerages might be willing to offer you a better deal and provide more personalized training.

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3. Apply for the Ohio License Exam

Once you’ve completed the 120 hours of coursework and have found a broker willing to take you under their wing, it’s time to apply for your license exam. You can complete the application online or send in a paper copy.

You must include proof that you completed your prelicensing course, which may be a copy of your official transcript or a course completion certificate from an educational institution. You must also include the $81 application fee.

Besides providing your contact information, date of birth, and Social Security number, you’ll also need to include your new employer’s signature and their agency’s file number. The application also asks a series of yes-or-no questions about your ethical conduct and legal history.

Once the division has processed your application, they will forward your information to the testing vendor, and then you’ll receive instructions on how to schedule your test.

4. Pass a Background Check

You’ll need to complete a fingerprinting background check within 10 days of filing your license application. Background checks are administered by Webcheck, and you can find a location near you by visiting the Ohio attorney general’s website.

You’ll need a state and federal background check. So, make sure to choose a site that’s been approved by Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) and is capable of submitting both your state and FBI records. Be sure to bring your government-issued photo ID. The cost of the biometrics and background check vary by location, but range in price from $50 to $80.

Supply these “reason codes” to Webcheck:

  • BCI&I Reason Code: 4735 05
  • FBI Reason Code: 121 08

Also, ask them to direct your biometrics results to the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.

Applicants with no felony convictions or crimes of moral turpitude in their past should fly through this task. But if there’s something concerning your past, you should still apply and disclose it. The state may not be forgiving if you violate their application rules, but they may disregard some convictions or violations. You can see the questions you’ll need to answer at the bottom of Ohio’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing’s salesperson application.

5. Pass the Ohio Real Estate License Exam

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Quick Facts




Time to Complete:

3 hours



Computer-based, 120 multiple choice questions


What to Bring:

Two valid forms of ID


Passing Grade:


The license exam is administered by PSI and you can schedule your exam online and pay the $58 exam fee directly to PSI. You may also choose whether you’d like to take the exam online or in person. The testing sites are in the following locations:

  • Akron
  • Cambridge
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus (two locations)
  • Toledo
  • Troy

If you’d like to feel more confident about your license exam, consider investing in quality exam prep materials. The CE Shop’s prelicensing packages contain useful tools like digital flashcards, a real estate glossary, and a study schedule to help you study.

Visit The CE Shop

You’ll know whether you passed the exam immediately upon completion. If you don’t pass, you’ll get your score detailing the percentage of questions you answered incorrectly in each subject area. This information should help you prepare for the retake. You’ll only retake the exam portion that you failed.

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Free Real Estate Practice Exam + 7 Hacks to Help You Ace Your Licensing Test

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Ohio Real Estate License?

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Quick Facts

Ohio Real Estate Governing Body:

Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing


Prelicensing Requirements:

120 Hours


Estimated Total Costs:

$1,400 – $2,000


Price Range for Real Estate Licensing Course:

$2,009 – $2,029

It costs around $2,000 to get your Ohio real estate license. The state of Ohio requires you to complete a 120-hour prelicensing course, and costs can vary depending on the school you choose. Some of the costs involved in getting your Ohio real estate license are fixed, such as the application and exam fees. Here’s a breakdown of your expected costs:

Sample Ohio Real Estate License Costs

Prelicensing classes (120 Hours) $1,499 (through The CE Shop)
License application $81
Exam registration $58
Fingerprinting $30-50
Total Costs $1,688

(Ohio real estate license costs as of June 2023)

The cost of getting your real estate license in Ohio can vary depending on which real estate school you choose. We like The CE Shop’s value-packed options, which are offered locally via Davis College.

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

How Much Do Real Estate Agents in Ohio Earn?

According to Indeed, real estate agents in Ohio make an average of $78,475 per year. Remember, this figure is based on the number of commissions the real estate agent earns. As a commissioned-based career, there is no limit to the income a Realtor can earn.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio: FAQs

Have more questions about how to become a real estate agent in Ohio? We’ve got answers! If there’s something we missed, let us know in the comment section below—we love to hear from you!

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