How to Get a Colorado Real Estate License

Before you can start becoming a real estate agent in Colorado, make sure you meet the legal requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a citizen of the US, or with a status of a legal alien
  • Have a minimum of high school education or GED

If you meet the legal requirements, the next step towards your licensing would be to check your education requirements. Any of the following are accepted:

  • Completed 168 hours of prelicensing education course
  • A degree of an accredited college or university with a major course in real estate. You should also provide original transcripts if you use this education criterion
  • 12 hours of Trust Accounts and Closings & Recordkeeping classes for attorneys licensed in any US state

Once you complete the prelicensing course, you can step towards filling out an Examination Application and then send it over to the Colorado Division of Real Estate. Once your application is accepted, you can then:

Register to take the exam online, through telephone, fax, or mail

Schedule a date to take the exam. 

After you pass the exam, but before you apply for a license, you would need to pass a background check. This is done by providing a fingerprint scan through one of the three options:

  • At IdentoGo by Idemia fingerprinting centers
  • Colorado Fingerprinting supported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 
  • Fingerprint Card with Electronic Transfer if there is no fingerprinting center near you or you’re unable to go to one

Keep in mind that the fingerprint scan you send is valid for one year, so you would have to complete the process before your background check results expire. After you’ve given your fingerprints, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will send over the results to the Colorado Division of Real Estate. 

  • Obtain an Errors & Omissions insurance policy 
  • Create an account in the eLicense portal where you will view the status of your license and renew it

Once you do these final steps, you can fill out a License Application through the eLicense portal. After it’s finished, you will receive a license number and an active status notification.

Chris Heller Headshot


*This article was updated on 1/3/2022

This information was reviewed and approved by Chris Heller. 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.

Colorado Real Estate Licensing FAQs

women studying for licensing examColorado is stricter when it comes to real estate licenses than other states, but also pays higher than most of them. The prelicensing course lasts longer, and the exam has more questions than other states, but these are no reasons to be intimidated from the whole process. Quite the contrary. The comprehensive education will help you prepare for the exam easier and enter your real estate career with more knowledge, allowing you to focus on building a name for you and learn the more advanced aspects of the real estate industry.

colorado division of real estate logoThe time it takes from enrolling in a prelicensing course to receiving your Colorado real estate license mostly depends on how fast you finish the course and how many times you retake the exam. 

As the prelicensing education course is 168 hours, it can take three months to finish if you take 2 hours every day Monday to Friday. However, because some education providers allow you to take the classes online, you can shorten this time to 2 months, even less if you’re in a real rush. 

A fingerprint scan and background check will take two weeks at most. Once you register to take the exam, a period of 2 weeks may pass for the PSI center to process your registration. After they approve the registration, you can schedule an exam.

Your License Application will be processed in around ten days, after which you will receive a notification of it being activated. 

money and calculator imageColorado is among the highest-paying states for real estate agents, falling only behind New York, Massachusetts, and Alaska. The average real estate agent in Colorado makes $76,850 per year, with the highest paying 10% of agents earning $105,850 and more annually.

As expected, the highest paying metro area in Colorado is the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area, with an annual mean wage of $82,450. The average annual pay in this metro area is quite higher than in other metro areas, but the most successful agents can earn a wage of $136,360 or more.

Colorado has reciprocity with all US states as long as the applicant who wants to be licensed meets the same requirements and/or experience as real estate agents in Colorado. The licensing requirements can be met through one of the following ways:

a) The applicant has been actively licensed in another jurisdiction for at least two years. In this case: 

  • There are no educational requirements
  • The applicant should only pass the state portion of the exam
  • The applicant should provide fingerprint scans for a background check
  • Provide a License History from the licensing jurisdiction that is not older than 90 days of the date of application

b) The applicant has less than two years of experience in real estate, or their license has expired. In this case:

  • The applicant should complete the 168 hours of prelicensing education or provide a college or university diploma with a major in real estate
  • The applicant should pass both portions of the exam – the national and state portion
  • The applicant should provide fingerprint scans for a background check
  • If the applicant’s license is expired, they will be required to provide a License History from the licensing jurisdiction that is not older than 90 days of the date of application

US map

counting moneyYou can expect the following costs to become a real estate agent in Colorado: 

  • Prelicensing education costs can vary from $150 to $1,000 depending on the education provider you choose
  • A Broker Application costs $485
  • The Broker Examination fee is $44.95
  • An exam retake would cost $42.50, regardless if you’re retaking one or both portions
  • Taking out a Broker license history would cost you $15
  • Continuing education Examination fee of $44.95
  • A Broker Renewal Fee is $387

couple buys homeThe Colorado Division of Real Estate is the go to for all things licensing. DRE helps to navigate the landscape of real estate regulation through collaboration, transparency and equity.

They aspire to create a balance between consumer protection and promoting a fair and competitive business environment across the real estate space. DRE accomplishes this balance by “providing a collaborative approach to regulation that is open, simple and user-friendly.”

The Division is in charge of licensing, regulation and enforcement of licensed real estate professionals in Colorado.

shaking handsCurrently, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent level of education to become a real estate agent in Colorado. 

A college or university diploma is not required, but having a higher education diploma with a main in real estate, you will be exempt from the prelicensing education requirement. Licensed attorneys are also exempt from the prelicensing education requirements and only need to complete 12 hours of Trust Accounts and Closings & Recordkeeping classes.

Colorado’s Division of Real Estate has specific requirements of what the 168-hour prelicensing education course has to include, namely, the following:   

  • 48 hours, Real Estate Law & Practice
  • 48 hours, Colorado Contracts & Regulations
  • 8 hours, Trust Accounts & Recordkeeping
  • 8 hours, Current Legal Issues
  • 24 hours, Real Estate Closings
  • 32 hours, Practical Applications

man studying for licensing examThe real estate exam in Colorado has 154 questions in total: 80 questions in the national portion and 74 questions in the state portion, more than most other US states. To pass the exam, you need to answer 60 questions correctly from the national portion in 120 minutes and 53 questions from the state portion in 110 minutes. 

If you fail the exam, you can reschedule it the following day. If you fail one portion of the exam, you’re only required to reschedule that portion. There are no limits on how many times you can retake the exam, but the results are valid for one year after first passing the exam, so you would have to pass both portions within that time frame, or retake the whole exam once again.

Same as with all other states, the Colorado real estate license examination is split into a general (national) portion and local (state) portion. The national portion is the same in all states and contains the following areas:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and property management
  • Transfer of Title
  • The practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations

The state portion of the Colorado real estate licensing exam covers the following areas:

  • Duties and powers of the Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing requirements
  • Requirements governing the activities of licensees
  • Additional topics
  • Colorado forms and contracts
  • Record keeping and trust accounts
  • Closing and settlement
  • Brokerage relationships

The state keeps track and provides detailed real estate school summaries where you can check the first time pass and fail rates. In 2020 so far, the overall pass rate of all schools was 63.94%, with percentages varying from 0% to 100% across the board. More than half of the applicants pass the exam on their first try.

sold signYour license is issued for three years with an expiry date of 31 December, after which it needs to be renewed by providing proof of continuing education classes (except in the first licensing cycle). 

You can renew your real estate license 45 days before it expires and 31 days (grace period) after it expires. If your license is not renewed 31 days after its expiration date, you have three years to reinstate it. If you fail to do so, you have to restart the whole application process all over again. 

Licensees can renew their licenses by providing proof of completed 24 hours of continuing education for each license cycle of 3 years. There are no continuing education requirements for the initial licensing cycle. 

These 24 hours of continuing education have to include: 

  • 12 of the 24 hours must consist of 3 different versions of the 4-hour Annual Commission Update Course.
  • The other 12 hours can be any combination of elective credit hours approved by the Commission.

After finishing the continuing education, you will have to take the state portion of the exam to prove your knowledge.

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideYou will be asked to provide two forms of identification to enter the exam. One of these forms has to be a valid, non-expired, and government-issued form of identification such as a Driver’s License, a State ID, or Passport. The second form of ID should contain your signature and your legal name, the same name you’ve entered in the Exam Registration form. 

Besides two forms of ID, you will be asked to complete an affidavit before entering the exam.

If you’ve previously been convicted of any felony, misdemeanor, theft-related petty offense, or have a pending charge for any of these, you can apply for a preliminary advisory opinion before taking any education classes. 

Colorado’s Real Estate Commission will take into consideration all real estate applications. Based on the type of felony, how much time has passed, and the circumstances surrounding the offense, they will decide whether or not they will approve a License Application.