In the United States, it is necessary to obtain a real estate license before you can earn money selling real estate. Each state has specific licensing requirements. However, every state requires prospective real estate agents to complete a training course. Furthermore, every state requires prospective agents to take and pass a licensing exam.
Though all states require would-be real estate salespeople to obtain adequate training, each state had different specific requirements for the amount of training that must be received. For example, New York requires prospective agents to secure 75 classroom hours of real estate training, while Texas requires 180. Maryland and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, require 60 classroom hours of real estate training.
In addition to requirements pertaining to the length of study, each state has approved methods of training for a real estate license. Many states maintain lists of approved real estate courses or training providers. Some allow for distance learning or study via the Internet, while others do not. There are even some home study real-estate courses that can be accomplished in as little as three weeks. Though such courses may require intense study over a shorter period of time, they are said to provide adequate preparation for taking a license exam.
Often, community colleges offer real estate license courses. In many states, such programs can be completed by taking classes just a few hours per week, for three months or less. This low-level time commitment can be advantageous to an individual seeking a license while working in another field or pursuing other interests.
When considering a real estate course, it is wise to keep in mind that not all courses are created equally. Some are less convenient and more costly than others. Also, the percentage of graduates that pass the real estate license exam may vary widely, depending upon the school or program in question. As such, shopping around for the right program is an important step in successfully earning a license.
After you've passed the exam, you must pay a fee to obtain your license. Finally, you’ll need to find a broker to sponsor you. Don't be so sure your schooling is over, however. Many states list continuing education as a condition for renewing a real estate license, usually on an annual basis.