How to Get a Ohio Real Estate License

Real estate licensing in Ohio is overseen and regulated by the Ohio Division of Real Estate. The Division imposes several eligibility requirements for applicants looking to obtain a real estate salesperson license. These are:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen of the US, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under federal law. 
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalent education recognized by the Ohio Department of Education 

If you meet these requirements, you can then start the process of becoming a real estate salesperson. To complete the process, you must:

  • Complete 120 hours of prelicensing education from the following areas:
    • Real Estate Principles and Practices (40 hours)
    • Ohio Real Estate Law (40 hours)
    • Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
    • Real Estate Finance (20 hours)
  • Apply to take the Ohio real estate exam
  • Pass the Ohio real estate licensing exam
  • Pass a background check (more below)
  • Find a sponsoring broker 

When you’ve finished these steps, all you need to do is submit your licensing application.

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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Here’s the quick take:

Ohio Real Estate Licensing FAQs

man studying for licensing examIf you take the courses seriously and with a dedicated mindset, you shouldn’t have any problem passing the exam on your first try. Studying every part of the prelicensing course regularly will help you stay on track and take everything in step by step, making it easier for you to prepare for the final exam without being overwhelmed and confused by the material.

A prep course can always help you get in the right mindset and focus your attention on the right aspects of the real estate examination. If you feel that you need additional preparation, a prep course may be exactly what you need to pass on the first try.


Perspective from a real estate pro:

katie messenger headshotKatie Messenger
Realtor in Dayton, OH
Keller Williams International

“I found that in order to have the highest success, based on my learning style, I would need to knock out my classes as quickly as possible, so I opted for a 2 week crash course. Upon completion of my classes, I took my class exam as soon as I could, then scheduled my state exam shortly after.

I chose to take my state exam in a city outside of my hub city in case I failed (this was only due to scheduling reasons – if a local exam had been available closer, I would have done it there instead). Prior to testing, I retook all of the quizzes from the course, consulted the study guides, ordered flash cards, and wrote out, what I believed, to be important definitions. Thankfully, I passed after my first attempt!”

classroom setting with studentsEvery person is different and likes to take the classes, study, and take the test at a different pace. Some may finish the whole process within three to four months, and others will take a year or more. Both are completely normal timeframes.

You can take the prelicensing course online at your own pace, but in most cases, students complete the 120-hour course in around 3 to 4 weeks.

A background check takes a few days, ten at most, after which you can apply to take the licensing exam. Depending on the seating availability, it will be scheduled within two weeks. After this, it depends on how fast you’ll be able to pass the exam. 

Ohio’s mean wage for a real estate agent on an annual level is $47,420. A high-performing, successful agent can earn $83,840 or more (top 10%).

Real estate agents from the Huntington-Ashland metro area are among the highest-paid agents in Ohio, with an annual mean wage of $67,120.

ohio real estate commission logoThe Ohio Division of Real Estate is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Ohio. The division controls everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and even helps to hold real estate agents accountable.

The division also sees all real estate education requirements, and works to make sure both licensed agents and buyers/sellers are treated fairly in the Ohio real estate market.

Currently, Ohio has real estate reciprocity with Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming. If you’re currently licensed in any of these eight states and want to practice real estate in Ohio, you’ll need to qualify through the following steps:

  • Submit a Reciprocity Application to the Ohio Department of Real Estate along with a $135 fee.
  • Submit a letter of good standing from your current state of licensure.
  • Submit proof of completion of a prelicensing course in an education facility approved by the Ohio Department of Real Estate
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Pass the state portion of the Real Estate licensing exam

US map

money and calculator imageIt depends on which school for prelicensing education you will choose, the books you buy, how many times you fail the exam, where you apply from (as a citizen or through reciprocity), as well as any prep courses you take. 

You can estimate your total costs based on the following fees that apply to anyone taking the licensing exam in Ohio:

  • The real estate prelicensing course costs between $400 to $1,000 depending on the provider you choose.
  • The Salesperson Examination Application costs $81, a Broker’s Examination Application is $135. The same fees apply when you retake the licensing exam. 
  • To have a background check completed by the FBI, you will be required to pay an $18 fee
  • If you want to obtain your Ohio Real Estate License through reciprocity with another state, the application would cost you $135. 

Currently, there are no educational requirements other than a high school diploma or an equivalent to become a real estate salesperson in Ohio. Also, all applicants must complete a 120-hour prelicensing course.

If you fail one portion of the exam, either the national or the state portion, you’re able just to retake the portion failed. However, keep in mind that you must pass both portions of the exam within 12 months from passing the first portion. If this period of 12 months expires and you haven’t passed both portions of the licensing exam, you would have to restart the application process. 

The real estate licensing exam in Ohio consists of 120 questions – 80 from the national and 40 from the state portion. The national portion of the exam tests your knowledge of 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
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations

On the other hand, the state portion tests your knowledge of regulations specific to the state of Ohio, specifically, the following:

  • State governance of the real estate profession
  • Licensing requirements
  • License law and rules of the Ohio Real Estate Commission
  • Brokerage relationships

To pass the exam, you are required to answer 70% of the questions correctly within 3 hours – 2 for the national portion and 1 hour for the state portion. 

According to a student survey, in the March 2020 exam session, 74% of applicants passed the exam on their first try, 13% on their second. It’s a high pass rate compared to some other states where pass rates can be as low as 40%.

To increase your chances of passing on the first try, make sure you study hard, take the course seriously, and prepare the day before taking the exam.

woman taking notes during real estate courseThe main difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker in Ohio is the range of their duties. A real estate agent cannot act independently; he/she has to work under a broker and receive a commission through them, while a broker may own a brokerage and do all real estate deals without being supervised by anyone. In addition to this, brokers can directly earn a commission from the clients and can supervise real estate salespeople. 

The requirements to become a real estate agent and broker in Ohio are also different, as well as the continuing education requirements. As the responsibilities to be a broker a bigger, the requirements and regulations are stricter for brokers than they are for agents in Ohio. 

getting a real estate licenseA qualified real estate brokerage in Ohio should have a proven streak of educating successful real estate agents. They should have brokers that are experienced professionals known in the real estate sphere and can guide you in your first years of real estate. 

If needed, use help from third-party sources like to find qualified brokerages and make the right decision. Choosing the right-sponsoring broker with the ability, time, and knowledge to guide you through the real estate sphere during your first years in the industry can make or break your career.  

women studying for licensing examAs in other countries, the national and state portions of the real estate license exam are different. The state portion covers general real estate principles, laws, and regulations that every real estate agent in the US should know. In contrast, the national portion covers areas that are specific for Ohio. 

Real estate agents that want to operate in Ohio should know real estate laws and principles applicable in the state, which is why this portion of the exam is designed to test the knowledge of Ohio’s real estate. 

You have to pass both portions of the exam with a minimum score of 70% to be eligible for a real estate license in Ohio. 


Operating or advertising or assuming to act as a real estate salesperson or broker in Ohio without first being licensed if prohibited in the state of Ohio. Doing any real estate business without a license in Ohio will result in a disciplinary action and a fine imposed by the Ohio Department of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. In more severe cases, it can result in criminal charges. 

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideEvery license in Ohio is issued by the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing for a period of 3 years.

To renew a license, every salesperson has to provide proof of completing 30 hours of continuing education. There are specific requirements about what these 30 hours should include on the official Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing website

As an addition, 3 of the 30 hours of continuing education of brokers have to be in the area of duties of a principal broker and other issues for operating a brokerage. 

When you come to the real estate licensing examination site, you will be required to provide 2 forms of ID. One of these IDs needs to be state-issued with your signature and photo, and have the same name you’ve written on the Real Estate Salesperson Application form. 

Becoming a real estate agent in Ohio with a criminal record is difficult, but far from impossible. Most cases will be reviewed by the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, and applicants will be allowed to build their case in front of a commission.

However, certain offenses will disqualify you from receiving an Ohio real estate license. You can find a full list of these offenses on the following link.