How to Get a Kentucky Real Estate License

woman studyingIf you want to be a real estate salesperson in Kentucky, don’t worry, we’re going to help you out.  We’ll give you a step-by-step guide showing you how to become a real estate agent.

Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is a land of strong work ethics, deep-rooted traditions, and religious values. This is the land of thoroughbred horse racing and the Kentucky Derby (the most famous horse race in the world). Kentucky is also the home of tobacco, bourbon, and the Louisville Slugger. And of course, the famous KFC 🍗 was created here.  There are several big industries here, which is why more and more people are choosing to move to Kentucky. There are healthcare companies here like Humana, Kindred Healthcare, and PharMerica. The state is also home to the Fruit of the Loom headquarters, and UPS Airlines are all based in Kentucky. All these are industries that you can capitalize on. If you’re not sure, this state also has a long list of people who helped put Kentucky on the map. This state boasts names like president Abe Lincoln and Muhammad Ali. From Louisville to Lexington, Owensboro to Bowling Green, the opportunities are endless. You can succeed anywhere you choose.

First, Meet The Kentucky Real Estate Commission (KREC) 

women studying for licensing examThe KREC is the organization in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that is entrusted with real estate regulation and monitoring. They maintain standard practices, handle issuing licenses to salespeople and brokers. The commission ensures agents are up to snuff, and they ensure nobody is damaging the market with shady practices. In short, they oversee all aspects of the industry.

Step 1: Know the requirements 

Let’s clear the basics first.

To qualify for a real estate salesperson’s license in Kentucky, you need to meet these categories:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • You must hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be lawfully eligible to work in the United States
  • Pass a background check that involves you submitting your fingerprints
  • Have a valid Social Security Number


If you’re already a licensed real estate agent in another state and you’d like to expand to Kentucky, the state only permits Ohio real estate license holders. You just need to confirm the following before you can apply for a reciprocal license

  • You must pay the salesperson license fee 💸
  • You must have an active Ohio salesperson license for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the time of application.
  • You must affiliate your Kentucky license with a principal broker who holds a Kentucky broker license.
  • Once licensed in Kentucky, you must adhere to all Kentucky licensing requirements, including completing 48 hours of post-license education courses within the first two (2) years of obtaining a license.

Getting a Kentucky license might be tricky, but we are here to help you avoid unnecessary stress.

Step 2: Complete the 96 hours of approved Required Pre-Licensing Education

woman studying on computerTo start, you have to successfully complete an approved 96-hour pre-licensing course. This course will teach you the various aspects of the practices and principles of Kentucky Real Estate.

If you don’t want to do the 96-hour pre-license course from an approved proprietary school, you can also take six credit hours in real estate courses from an accredited college or university.

The course topics include:

  • Real Property Characteristics and Rights
  • Interests and Estates
  • Liens and Encumbrances
  • Forms of Ownership
  • Title and Title Transfer
  • Foreclosure
  • Real Property Taxation
  • Legal Descriptions
  • Understanding Environmental Issues
  • Factors Affecting Market Value
  • CMA’s
  • The Appraisal Process
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Agency Law
  • Agency Relationships and Disclosures
  • Seller Agency Duties
  • Seller and Property Qualification
  • Listing – Pricing, Financing, and Seller Equity
  • Distressed Properties
  • Agreement and Compensation Issues
  • Marketing Period Communications and Counseling
  • Buyer Agency Duties
  • Buyer Representation Agreement
  • Qualifying Buyer Needs
  • Showing Properties
  • Preparing Buyer’s Offer
  • Closing Costs
  • Pre and Post Closing Issues
  • General Contract Law (Contracts – Listing Agreements and Contracts-Sale and Lease)
  • Broker-Agent Relationship
  • Advertising
  • Antitrust Laws
  • Trust Accounts
  • Property Management
  • Fair Housing
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics and Brokerage
  • Ethics – Articles 1, 2,3, 46, 12 and 16
  • Company E-resources & MLS Interface
  • Legal Descriptions
  • Construction
  • Land Use Control and Regulation,
  • real estate financing,
  • Contracts,
  • Property management,
  • Valuation, Kentucky real estate laws,
  • Licensing requirements,
  • Disciplinary procedures and more.

Most people choose to take their pre-license education courses online.

Step 3: Pass the course proctored final exam

man studying for licensing examUpon completing your course materials, meeting the minimum time requirement,  you have to schedule and take a proctored test. This is a sort of final exam to ensure that you know what you’ve been taught. The minimum passing score is 75%. You also have to sign an affidavit to verify your identity. It’s not our fault, blame the KREC.

After passing this course you’ll be issued a certificate of course completion that will permit you to register for the exam and licensing.

Step 4: Conduct Your Background Background Check Requirement

small group of students studyingTo prevent unscrupulous behavior, you have to submit a set of fingerprints to the Kentucky branch of the FBI. They will run the test through a Kentucky and national fingerprint-based criminal history. This will allow them to keep the citizens of the state safe while protecting the integrity of the industry.

The first move here is to buy a fingerprint pack at a local police station. You can now submit the fingerprint pack to the FBI to request an FBI report. It takes about 1-2 weeks to process the background check. After that, the report is mailed to KREC. The commission will review the background check to confirm your eligibility. Don’t worry if you have one or two misdemeanors on your record because someone from the commission will reach out to you to clarify and provide additional information or documentation.

The criminal history check only last for 90 days after the report date of issuance. You have to pass your exam and have your application with a valid background check around that time. The state won’t issue a license without a valid report.

Step 5: Apply, Take And Pass The State and National Real Estate Licensing Exam

studying for licensing examIt’s time to unleash your brainpower.

The next step after finishing your course hours and doing the FBI background is to take the exam. You can schedule it via the internet, fax, or mail, the exam is contracted to be administered by PSI. When you finish the coursework, you can take your exam anytime.

The exam is a multiple choice format. It is divided into two portions (a state and a national portion. It has a total of 130 questions (80 national questions and 50 state questions). You will be given 240 minutes (150 minutes for the national section and 90 minutes for the state section) to complete all. Both the general and state sections of the Kentucky Licensing Exam must be passed with a score of 75% or higher.

You will get your results immediately after you finish the exams.  If you don’t pass one portion the first time, you are allowed to retake the failed portion within four (4) months of passing the first portion of the exam. You can retake that portion as many times as needed within the four months. If four months pass without passing both portions, you have to retake the entire exam.

Happy woman studying and smilingThere are testing centers in Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Maysville, Paducah, Somerset, and Williamstown. On exam day, you’ll need to bring at least two forms of photo ID. They must bear your name and signature. At least one must be a government-issued photo ID (passport or driver’s license) You can also bring along a non-programmable calculator to the exam center for any real estate math related questions.

The test is quite tough. It has a pass rate of about 50%. To ensure you pass easily, you might need some extra study materials, close instructors, and a practice test that is based on past questions.

Step 6: Complete the application

Students studying in group settingThis is the last major step in the process.

You have to apply for your Kentucky real estate license with the Kentucky Department of Professional Licensing within 60 days of passing the exams. The exam is void after sixty (60) days. You will be given the application form at the testing center. You will also receive an email from the Kentucky Real Estate Commission soon after passing both portions of the exam. Make sure to read the email carefully and follow up appropriately.

Step 7: Acquire Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance

To avoid paying costly dues for your mistakes while practicing, you have to acquire an Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy before getting a license. E&O can be purchased through the KREC or you can take a personal one through a private company. KREC works closely with Rice Insurance Services Company, LLC (RISC) to provide cheap E&O to its agents.

Congratulations You’re Now A Kentucky Real Estate Agent!

You are here. You’ve done it all, and you deserve all the celebrations you get 🍾.

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.

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