How to get your Tampa real estate license

Tampa Bay viewHomes are selling fast in Tampa. In fact, there is less than one month of available inventory in the entire Tampa St. Petersburg Clearwater MSA. Inventory is down by almost 35%, causing home prices to rise. However, Tampa is a bit of anomaly. It’s one of the cheapest places in Florida to buy a home, and it’s one of the hottest rental markets. For those two reasons, the entire Tampa Bay region ranks among housing markets least vulnerable to this pandemic.

It’s the perfect time to get in, as home prices are soaring, still rising in double digits. The median price of single-family homes has grown by 22.1% to $348K as of Oct 2021. The Year-to-Date closed sales in Tampa St. Petersburg Clearwater MSA are up by 9.2%. The dollar volume is up 32.3% year-over-year as well, which is a great sign that the market is healthy, and there’s not sign of that stopping in the future.

The number of properties that sold for cash is also up 43.4%, another sign that the market is going to continue being competitive in future months.

A Florida salesperson license is needed to begin a career in the real estate industry. This article outlines the steps you need to take if you plan on getting a Florida real estate license.

Steps to apply for your real estate license

pexels-elvis-vasquez-421655Step 1: Meet the required hours of study

Applicants are required by the Florida Real Estate Commission to pass a 63-hour Florida pre-licensing course. This course covers all that is needed to pass the end-of-course exam, pass the state licensing exam and begin a career in the real estate world. The end-of-course exam has a pass mark of 70%.

Step 2: Apply for the Florida Real Estate License

Applicants are required to send an application (online or by mail) to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) for their Florida Real Estate License. Applications can be sent before completion of the required hours of study because DBPR takes about a month to process applications. Applicants are required to meet the following requirements before applying for their Florida Real Estate License:

  • You must be 18 or older
  • You must have either a high school diploma, or equivalent
  • You don’t have to be a resident of Florida, but must have a social security number

Step 3: Submit fingerprints

Applicants are then required to submit their fingerprints electronically to DBPR for a background check before their application can be approved.

*Note: This step can take several weeks depending on backup

Step 4: Schedule and pass the state licensing exam

pexels-pixabay-208643Applicants are issued an application ID number by DBPR after their application is approved. The application ID number is needed to schedule the time and location of the pre-licensing examination. Applicants need to answer 75 out of 100 multiple choice questions correctly to pass the exam.

Pearson VUE oversees the state exam process and offers the course in a variety of formats and locations. The cost is $36.75 per exam.

After passing the exam, download and print your license through your secure account at the DBPR website. Once your initial license is activated, it is valid for 18 to 24 months, depending on when you pass the state exam.

Step 5: Find a sponsor

The salesperson license must be activated by a broker before putting it into use in the real estate field. The broker serves as a sponsor and guide to the newly licensed agent.

You can choose any broker, be it a digital brokerage or a brick-and-mortar location, but there are several things to consider when trying to decide which is the right fit for you:

  • Training – Since you are just starting your career, you will want to investigate available training opportunities. Some companies put more emphasis on training than others and have a mentor program, or a video library that you can gain access to. Others, however, have more of a sink or swim mentality. It’s best to look into each company’s offerings and decide how much hands-on training you’d like to get from your brokerage.
  • Comp Plan – The entire point of this process is to make money; consider the commission split each brokerage provides to see how much you get to take home. It’s simple, you want to make money. Look into the commission splits each brokerage provides. A 60/40 split is typical as is a 70/30 split, but each company is setup in a differently. Some will give you more in commission, but you may have to pay more in fees – ask questions to see what is included. For example, certain brokerages make you pay to access a CRM, while others include access to those tools in the commission splits.
  • Company’s History, Reputation and Work Environment – A good company will have a reputation for being fair and honest to its agents. Look at retention rates and see if there has been a mass exodus before committing to a brokerage. Ask around in your community as well. A good company will also employ agents who make their clients happy.


Top Real Estate Schools in Tampa

Applicants can fulfill the required study time either by online study or in-person classes. A number of real estate schools in and around Tampa provide online or/and in-person study packages to meet students’ schedules. Here are some of the reputable real estate schools in Tampa.


Best In-Person Real Estate Courses

Tampa School of Real EstateTampa-School-Of-Real-Estate-Logo

Address: 18101 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy #220, Tampa, FL 33647

Tampa School of Real Estate is a South Florida based real estate school that offers real estate courses for individuals looking to become licensed Real Estate agents in Florida. TSRE was opened in 2007 and has grown to be one of the highest-ranked real estate schools in Florida, having educated over 15,000 individuals over the years. Their courses are accredited by ARELLO and are licensed by FREC.

TSRE course programs are designed to fit the learning ability and schedule of students. They offer in-person courses at their physical locations (morning classes alone are available currently) and online classes that can be accessed anywhere and at any time on their online platforms. Both the online and in-person programs provide students with the state-required hours of study and knowledge required to ace the licensing examination. Experienced instructors are available to help and provide a better explanation when needed. TSRE has a flexible payment option that allows students to spread the payment over a certain period and a retake policy for students who don’t make the pass mark on the first try. TSRE boasts of a course exam success rate of about 96%.


Bob Hogue School of Real EstateBob Hogue Logo

Address: 5531 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703

Bob Hogue School of Real Estate trains lots of agents in Tampa, enjoys a reasonably good reputation, and even occasionally appears in local news coverage. Bob Hogue, the founder, has had the privilege of training a lot of agents in Florida. And there are many reasons to choose the school he started, including the great instructors, flexible hours, affordable rates for in-person classes, and more. With few complaints, it’s a good school to enroll in.

What you might not know is that they also offer continuing education to sales associates and real estate brokers. They have expanded their education offering to also train real estate appraisers and community association managers.

With real estate schools, you’ll find online-only institutions, and schools that offer both classroom & online modes of delivery. Bob Hogue fits into the latter category.

  • In 2014, Bob Hogue School trained about 6500 students for the state exam. 
  • The school is now part of Kaplan Real Estate Education. 
  • The partnership allows Kaplan students looking to get real estate education in Florida to pursue courses through Bob Hogue. 
  • And for many years, Kaplan has been providing some of its training materials to the school.


Best Online Real Estate Courses

MLS Campus Real Estate Schoolmls campus real estate school logo

MLS Campus Real Estate School is a top-ranked online real estate school with over ten years of experience. They offer pre licensing and post licensing up-to-date courses through a user-friendly and interactive platform to a large volume of students in Florida. Their courses are ARELLO and FREC accredited, and their study packages are self-paced which can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

MLS currently offers four pre licensing packages for Florida license aspirants. The basic package provides students with the necessary knowledge and requirements to sit for and pass the licensing examination. It includes the required 63 hours of pre licensing study, an instructor (a licensed real estate agent), end-of-course practice and exam, certificate, seven days a week student support, and a student forum. The passing package provides students with an exam prep master in addition to the basic package. The get it all package includes the passing package and the Florida real estate exam math cram, covering the mathematical knowledge needed to pass the licensing exam. The get it all plus audio package includes everything in the get it all package plus an audio course to help students study and understand better. Their package prices range from $119.99 to $209.99, and they all have a 30 days refund policy.



RealEstateU is an online real estate institution based in Florida that offers real estate pre licensing courses and continuing education. The school was founded in 2013 and today boasts of over 60,000 registered students under a decade.

RealEstateU offers one package for the Florida real estate pre licensing course. The package includes audio courses, supporting documents, and a certificate of completion. This self-paced package helps meet the requirement and provides the knowledge to sit and pass the licensing exam. Within the first 30 days of course purchase, students can request a refund provided that not more than 50% of the course has been completed and an administration fee of $20 is paid.


The CE Shopce-shop-logo

The CE Shop is one of the most popular sources of real estate education in the country. Their courses are exclusively online and asynchronous. When you sign up, you will be given the option to choose from a variety of packages at varying prices. The cheapest package offers basic education, while the more expensive packages include various perks and valuable advice that will help you get your career off the ground.

The school is known for providing exceptionally high pass rates. Pass rates in Florida are at 71%. They also offer downloadable resources, career resources, a real estate glossary, digital flashcards and more.

The CE Shop is a top contender for the best online real estate school. They have made lessons interactive and inquiry-based. You can self-pace and finish fast. It’s also a plus to have the option of trying out the courses for five days before fully committing.


Real Estate Brokerages in Tampa

Newly licensed agents must activate their salesperson license in order to start selling and get fully into the business. You can do this by registering under a licensed broker or brokerage. The broker or brokerage firm also provides support and guidance to newly licensed agents. A newly licensed real estate agent in Tampa must consider the commission split, incentives, and benefits packages the brokerage offers before joining. Some brokerages will offer more benefits that are best suited to your need than others. Here is a list of Real estate brokerages in Tampa that you may consider when deciding on a brokerage:

RE/MAX Capital Realty (The Kendall Bonner Team)kendall bonner logo

Address: 2124 W Kennedy Blvd Suite A, Tampa, FL 33606

The Kendall Bonner Team represents the region’s finest properties with exceptional skill using the most innovative technologies currently available. The Kendall Bonner Team offers ultimate privacy and security, speed, and efficiency. Their years of full-time experience have given them a clear understanding of the mindset of home buyers and sellers and a thorough understanding of the regional marketplace.

They have more than 500 reviews and testimonials from the Tampa community over the last few years, and that number continues to grow. They are one of the biggest local teams in the greater Tampa area.


Bay To Bay Brokeragebay to bay brokerage logo

Address: 4907 N Florida Ave suite d-10, Tampa, FL 33603

Founded by Megan Jordan, a Tampa native, Bay To Bay Brokerage offers a variety of free services to prospective clients in order to gain the trust of the community. The brokerage offers free market analysis and free MLS setup to anyone who asks.

The brokerage is relatively new and just opened it’s doors to new agents in 2019, but they’ve been able to corner a chunk of the market and have been taking advantage of the new build townhomes in the area. There are currently about 12 agents at Bay To Bay, but the brokerage is looking to bring on new agents soon.

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, rent, invest, or just have questions about the real estate market in Tampa Bay, Bay to Bay Brokerage is happy to help.


Coldwell Banker Realty coldwell banker logo

Address: 615 Channel side, Dr. Ste 101, Tampa, FL 33602.

Coldwell Banker is a top and long-standing real estate brokerage known for its technologically advanced tools and commitment to training and supporting agents at all levels. Coldwell supports and helps the growth of their agents by providing a wide and comprehensive variety of tools at their agents’ disposal as well as advertisements.

Coldwell Banker has an annual cap of $15,000 and a commission split of 80%, going to the agent, to 20% going to the company for experienced agents. Newly licensed agents commission split and annual cap are negotiated on an agent by agent basis at the local level. Coldwell charges no desk fee because they don’t operate in a traditional fashion. Rather, they operate on an online platform, as a result of which they charge Document Reviewing Fee and capped Errors and Omissions (E&O) fees. After meeting the annual cap, agents pay a franchise fee of 8% per commission.


eXp RealtyeXp Realty logo

Address: 8046 Old County Road 54, New Port Richey, FL 34653.

eXp Realty is the first cloud-based real estate brokerage and is one of the fastest-growing brokerages in the country. The company was founded in 2008 and is currently home to over 25,000 real estate agents who work remotely from home or shared offices. eXp Realty provides its agents with many educational resources and valuable training needed to grow their real estate careers.

Newly licensed agents pay a start-up fee of $149, which covers the monthly fee, business card, membership, website, and many more. A monthly fee of $85 is paid after the first month to cover training and team tools. eXp Realty has an annual cap of $16,000 and a commission split of 80% (to the agent) to 20% (to the company). After meeting the annual cap, agents get 100% commission and pay a transaction fee for the subsequent 20 transactions. Agents also receive a commission from eXp when an agent he/she recruits closes a sale.


Realtor Associations To Join

Joining a Realtor association is a career-boosting step that provides new opportunities and knowledge. Being a member of a Realtor association gives clients a gold impression and access to the perks offered by the association.

Greater Tampa Realtors gtr logo

Address: 2918 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609

Greater Tampa Realtors, established in 1911, is the largest professional association of real estate brokers and sales associates based in Tampa. GTR currently represents over 15,000 members specializing in residential sales, commercial sales and investment, property management, and appraisals.

GTR is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR). Members are provided with educational and networking opportunities to help grow their real estate careers.


Tampa Bay Real Estate Investors AssociationTBREIA-Logo

Address: 4023 N. Armenia Ave, Ste 300, Tampa, FL 33607

This is Tampa Bay’s biggest real estate investing association. Collectively among members, there have been millions of dollars in deals completed without the high price tags of real estate gurus. The association wants you to be able to build your wealth without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on courses and coaches.

The association has meetings regularly in hopes of placing new members in a room with mentors in order to show them how to start, grow, or scale their business.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/27/2022