Are you wondering how to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania? Your first step is to complete a 75-hour prelicensing course at an approved school. If you’re at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can launch a real estate career in Pennsylvania in a matter of months.

Read on to find out how to get a real estate license in the Keystone State and the steps you’ll need to complete to jump into Pennsylvania’s real estate market as a licensed agent in 2023.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania

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How to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania
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Complete a 75-hour Prelicensing Course
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Pass the Course Exam
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Pass the State License Exam
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Find a Broker to Hire You
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Apply for Your Real Estate License

To get your real estate license in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to meet the following requirements, set forth by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Complete 75 hours of prelicensing education
  • Pass your prelicensing course exam
  • Pass the Pennsylvania real estate license exam
  • Find a broker to hire you

So let’s dig into what it takes to pass your 75-hour prelicensing course.

1. Complete a Pennsylvania Real Estate Prelicensing Course

Cost: $288-399
Time Commitment: 75 hours

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires prospective real estate agents to complete a 75-hour prelicensing course. The time is split into two sections: 30 hours of real estate license fundamentals and 45 hours of a real estate license practice course.

If you need help weighing the pros and cons of live instruction versus online education, click down to the section of this guide that tackles choosing the right type of school. It’s also worth reviewing the various Pennsylvania education packages in our buyer’s guide, since some provide license exam prep tools or include your post-licensing course requirements.

For instance, The CE Shop offers a free trial of their Pennsylvania prelicensing course so you can test out all its features before you buy. You can save 30% on your online Pennsylvania real estate classes with The CE Shop when you use the promo code TheClose30 at checkout.

Related Article
4 Best Real Estate Schools in Pennsylvania for 2023

2. Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate License Exam 

Cost: $49 
Time Commitment: 3 hours

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Quick Facts
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Cost:

$49

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Time to Complete:

3 Hours

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Format:

Computer-based, 110 multiple-choice questions

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What to Bring:

Two pieces of ID & a basic calculator

After you take your classes and pass your course exam, it’s time to move onto state testing. The Pennsylvania real estate license exam is taken on a computer and consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. You have three hours to complete the license exam: two hours to complete the national portion and one hour to complete the state portion. To pass, you’ll need to correctly answer 60 out of 80 questions from the national portion and 23 out of 30 questions from the state portion of the exam.

You have five years from the time you complete your prelicensing course to take your license exam. After the five years have passed, you’ll need to retake the prelicensing course.

PSI Testing Services administers the Pennsylvania real estate license exam. You can schedule your exam online or by phone at 855-746-8175. You’ll need to fill out an application and include payment of the $49 license exam fee. PSI Testing offers a candidate handbook that outlines the steps to schedule your license exam.

Make sure you bring two pieces of valid ID. One of the pieces of ID will need to have your photo and a signature. You may bring a non-programmable calculator to the exam for the real estate math portion.

Here’s a list of testing center locations:

  • Allentown
  • Bristol
  • Erie
  • Greensburg
  • Harrisburg
  • King of Prussia
  • Bala Cynwyd
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburg
  • Clarks Summit
  • Butler
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3. Find an Employing Broker

In Pennsylvania, you’ll need to line up someone to serve as your employing broker. This broker is essentially agreeing to take on your training and support as you embark on your real estate career. 

It’s essential that you have this sponsorship lined up before you apply for your license. The employing broker is required to approve your application in the Pennsylvania online application portal.

Related Article
What’s the Best Real Estate Company to Work for?

4. Pass a Background Check

Cost: $22+
Time Commitment: Up to four weeks

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission is very clear about the criminal history requirements that are required for your application:

Provide a recent Criminal History Records Check from the state police or other state agency that is the official repository for criminal history record information for every state in which you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past five years. The report(s) must be dated within 180 days of the date the application is submitted. 

Learn more about the process of requesting your criminal history in the commonwealth here

5. Apply for a Real Estate License

Cost: $97
Time Commitment: At least two weeks

You’ll need to create an account with the PALS system. All the information pertaining to your application will be saved to this account, which you can access whenever you need. The site includes a checklist of what you’ll need for your application: 

  • Criminal history record information 
  • National real estate exam results
  • Pennsylvania real estate exam results
  • Letter of good standing (if applying for a reciprocal license)

After you’ve uploaded the required documents and submitted your information, click on Send to Broker and your employing broker will be able to review and approve your application. 

After your application is approved by your employing broker and the commission (which usually takes a week), you should receive a copy of your license within seven to 10 business days. 

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania?

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Quick Facts
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Pennsylvania Real Estate Governing Body:

Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission

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Prelicensing Requirements:

75 hours

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Price Range for Real Estate Licensing Course:

$288 – $399

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Total Estimated Costs:

$460 – $570

It will cost anywhere from $460 to $570 to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania. The costs include your required prelicensing course, as well as the license exam fee and other fees. In general, this doesn’t include extras like exam preparation tools.

Pennsylvania Real Estate License Costs

75-hour Prelicensing Course
$288 - $399
Pennsylvania Real Estate License Exam Fee
$49
Criminal Record Check Fee
$22
Pennsylvania Real Estate License Application
$107
Total Costs:
$460 - $570

Check out our full review of the Best Real Estate Schools in Pennsylvania to help you choose the school that’s right for you. After reviewing dozens of schools, our top choice was The CE Shop because they’re an ideal one-stop shop for prelicensing, post-licensing, and continuing education courses in Pennsylvania. Plus, they offer a five-day free trial!

Readers of The Close can SAVE 30% at The CE Shop. Use promo code TheClose30 at checkout.

Real Estate Agent Earnings in Pennsylvania

The average base salary for a real estate agent in Pennsylvania is $106,951, according to Indeed data as of December 2022.

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

A split refers to how you divide your commissions between yourself and the brokerage. For example, a 50/50 split means that the brokerage and salesperson share the commission evenly. Some brokerages may charge a monthly desk fee—you might make a larger share of the commission but the desk fee is collected whether you’ve closed a sale or not. Some brokerages might offer a cap, meaning once you bring in a certain amount, they won’t take as much from your commission.

Related Article
Can You Be a Part-time Real Estate Agent?

Choosing a Pennsylvania Real Estate School

Check out the pros and cons of in-person, online, and livestreamed classes to find out which type of instruction is right for you.

Types of Instruction
Pros
Cons
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

Pennsylvania Real Estate License FAQs

Can I complete my education requirements online?

Yes, you can complete your education requirements online as long as it’s with a real estate education provider certified in Pennsylvania. 

How long does it take to get a license?

We hate to say it depends, but it depends. It really comes down to how quickly you can knock out those 75 hours of prelicensing education and pass your course exam. If you’re taking classes and studying full time, you could probably do it in a couple of weeks. And then it takes a few more weeks to get your background checks, line up an employing broker, and submit your application. All in all, at the absolute fastest pace, it should take about two months. 

What will I learn in my prelicensing courses?

Pennsylvania real estate prelicensing courses are designed to prepare you for your career in real estate. You’ll cover real estate terminology, law, contracts, and even some math. You can learn more about the specific course requirements here

What if I fail the real estate exam?

You can always re-take the real estate exam, and many people do. First-time pass rates for real estate exams are generally around the 60% mark, which means there are plenty of people who need to take them again.

If you’re concerned, consider taking your prelicensing education with The CE Shop, which offers to cover the costs of retaking the exam if you don’t pass the first time. 

What if I have a license in another state?

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission offers reciprocity to brokers and salespersons from other states. There is currently a reciprocal agreement with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. 

Residents cannot apply until they have an employing broker with a valid Pennsylvania real estate license. They will also need to undergo a background check in their current state and every state they’ve lived and worked in for the past five years. 

Are there post-licensing requirements?

Nothing directly after getting your license, but Pennsylvania does require 14 hours of continuing education every two years. Seven hours are a required general module and agents can choose between a commercial and residential focus for the second seven-hour set. 

How can I upgrade my license? 

Real estate agents can apply for a broker’s license after meeting these requirements: 

  1. Passing two broker-specific exams
  2. Three years of real estate experience
  3. 14 hours of continuing education
  4. Payment of a broker licensing fee 

Bringing It All Together

We hope our step-by-step guide to getting your Pennsylvania real estate license has you excited to start your new real estate journey. At The Close, we’re committed to providing actionable strategies for every stage of your career.

Have you gotten your real estate license in Pennsylvania? Any tips? Thinking of getting one but still have questions? Leave us a comment below!

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