The process of getting licensed as a real estate agent varies by state. As a result, the best way to find out how to get licensed is to check with the licensing body of any state. At its fastest, the process of getting licensed can be 2-4 weeks but is typically longer. Most licensing processes involve the following steps:
Usually the real estate exam must be taken in person, so getting a license entirely online is not usually possible. But most real estate courses can be taken online. In some state, the application to become an agent can also be submitted online.
The two primary costs to get licensed are coursework fees and application/testing fees. Online courses are often cheaper and can be $150-300. In-person classes and additional study materials can exceed $1,000. Exam and application fees are often $50-100. As a result, the total cost of getting licensed can range from $200 to over $1,500.
Becoming a licensed real estate agent does not make someone a Realtor. They must apply with the National Association of Realtors, take additional ethics courses, and pay fees associated with the National and local Realtor associations.
There are two notable exceptions to licensing requirements. Attorneys and people with real estate degrees from traditional colleges are often exempt. In some states, they may still have to take the state exam.
In addition, if an agent has a license in another state, they may be able to waive some or all education requirements and potentially the real estate exam. But not all states honor previous experience and education from other states.