How to Get a Texas Real Estate License

Eric Hegwer, Licensed Texas Agent5/2/2024

Becoming a real estate agent in Texas can seem intimidating, but it’s really not that hard once you know what to do.  We’ve broken down everything you need to know here including costs, timing, eligibility, and earning potential. Just follow the real estate licensing process described below to get your Texas real estate license and start selling real estate ASAP.


Step 1: Take a Real Estate Course

In Texas, you must take 180-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.

Step 2: File for Your License

Now it’s time to apply for your license. Yes, there’s a few annoying forms and pesky fees but the process is relatively painless because it’s all online through TREC.

Step 3: Submit Your Fingerprints

You’ll submit your fingerprints through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). They’ll also take your photo and there will be a small fee attached.

Step 4: Pass the Exam

You will have 150 minutes to answer 110 questions. The questions are all multiple choice and are split into two categories; the national section and the state section. 

Step 5: Find a Broker

Sponsoring brokers know the ropes of the industry, and they can help show you the way. Not only will they give you all the tools you need to start making sales but they’ll help you market yourself as an agent. 
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5 Steps to Getting Your Real Estate License in Texas

How to Get your Texas Realtor License: A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you interested in becoming a real estate agent in the great state of Texas? Of course you are, real estate is booming here! Well, hold on tight  cause we’re gonna fire off the five steps you need to get your hands on a Texas real estate license.

You ready? Let’s break it down, step by step.

Step 1: Start by Taking a Course to Become a Realtor in Texas

man studying for licensing examSchool’s Back in Session

You’re required to take a “pre-licensing” education class where you’ll study the principles of real estate, contracts, and finance. These are “core” classes, but there isn’t a single class that has all these emergents. Each one is distinct and unique. Not a fan of school? Well, these classes just might change how you feel about school. You have so many options! Some of them are even entirely online which has huge advantages! Online classes means you can do them at your own pace and work them in around your own schedule even if you have a full-time job. Also, the classes are only a total of 180 hours! That may seem like a big number, but to get started in a new career, that number is just a speck in time.

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But what’s included in those 180 hours? Take a look at the curriculum and see for yourself:

  • Principles of Real Estate I
  • Principles of Real Estate II
  • Law of Agency
  • Law of Contracts
  • Promulgated Contract Forms
  • Real Estate Finance

“But what the heck’s a ‘Promulgated Contract’? That sounds scary and hard!” 

Don’t be scared off by the vocabulary. This is what the classes are designed for. They’ll defang any confusing topics by breaking them down. Still scared? Trust me, you can do this. The pass rates after taking these classes are sky-high, typically over a 95% pass rate and the support these classes offer is amazing. 

Students are always surprised how affordable these classes are. Take a look at the best real estate schools in Texas and see for yourself. If you’re still looking for a way to save some dough, AgentAdvice offers a way to get yours for free.

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Step 2: Apply for a Real Estate License with the Texas Real Estate Commission

small group of students studyingApply Yourself!

You flew through the pre-licensing class and you’re building momentum! Well, now it’s time to apply for your TREC license. Yes, there’s a few annoying forms and pesky fees but the process is relatively painless because it’s all online through the TREC website. Within a few days you’ll get a letter of eligibility back. This letter doesn’t mean you’re finished, but it does allow you to complete Step 4 and Step 5 ( submitting your fingerprints and taking the final exam). Once you get this letter the clock starts ticking and you have one year to pass that exam. Don’t panic, you’ve got this. With the pre-licensing course under your belt you’ll be well prepared.

Remember to keep that eligibility letter handy because it’ll have info on how to submit your fingerprints and schedule your exam.

Step 3: Submit your fingerprints

studying for licensing examOnce you get your eligibility letter you can submit your fingerprints. My fingerprints?  Yes, they need your fingerprints so that TREC can perform a background check. Remember it’s their job to make sure all agents in Texas are on the up-and-up. The eligibility letter will give you detailed information on exactly how to submit but we’ll give you a little sneak peek so it’s not a surprise. 

To get your real estate license in Texas, you’ll have to submit your fingerprints through everybody’s favorite agency, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) 🙄. They’ll also take your photo and there will be a small fee attached. This task is a little tedious but still an easy one to knock out.

Step 4: Pass the Texas Real Estate Exam

Happy woman studying and smilingYou got this!

The step you’ve all been waiting for … passing the exam. Don’t freak out, you got this! Don’t know what you need to study? Your exam eligibility letter will have a Candidate Handbook which has study material that will help you prep for the exam. There’s also plenty of cram courses that will help you brush up right before the exam. Rest assured that you don’t have to pass this on the first try. Remember that you have a full year from when you get your exam eligibility to pass this exam. We think you’ll pass it on your first go because we know you, you’re motivated.

Step 5: Find a Real Estate Broker in Texas to Sponsor You

women studying for licensing examNow a word from our sponsor

Finally, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker. 🙋 Uhhh … should I know what a  ‘sponsoring broker’ is? Nope, we’ll tell you! So you’ve passed the exam but it doesn’t mean you’re ready just yet. When you first start out you’ll want an experienced organization to show you the ropes. Sponsoring brokers have been-there-done-that and they’re ready to show you how. Not only will they give you all the tools you need to start making sales but they’ll help you market yourself as an agent. 

You’ll get to choose a brokerage you like, that focuses on a niche you love, that has a company culture you love, and most importantly … has a good commission rate, so your paycheck is XL. Worried about finding a brokerage yourself? AgentAdvice helps with warm introductions to hiring brokerages if you sign-up for a class through us. Phew!

You have total freedom to choose your sponsoring broker. Here’s some things agents look at when choosing a brokerage:

  • Commission Rate
    • Look at each brokerage’s commission rate when you’re shopping around. If they’ve got a good rate, your commission checks will be larger than life. 💸
  • Niche
    • Maybe you want a brokerage that focuses on a niche on a location or a specific category of real estate like commercial retail, single family homes, or fixer-uppers. So if you have a specific interest you can find a broker who shares that interest.
  • Culture
    • Maybe the company’s culture is important to you. If so, get to know what they’re all about, how they work, and what’s important to them.

That’s all just to say that you have the freedom to choose a brokerage that fits you.


Mission Complete

sold signNow you know how to get your real estate license in Texas! Yes, you might have to trudge through paperwork, check boxes, file forms, burn the midnight oil, chug coffee … but after all that … you’ll have your license. We recommend printing it out on super-gloss and framing it. Leave some room next to it for your first commission check; A LOT of room!  

That’s all folks! Once you make it through these steps you’ll have a brand new career ahead of you. If there’s anything we can do to help you make it through these steps please let us know. We’ve got pre-licensing classes, cram courses, and all sorts of resources to help.

What are the qualifications needed to become a realtor in Texas?

First, you must meet the TREC criteria.

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is TREC and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, TREC is short for the Texas Real Estate Commission and it’s their job to make sure all agents in Texas are capable, qualified, and can lawfully work in the state. To do so, they have some basic criteria you must meet. Luckily, most of the requirements are pretty straightforward.

Let’s meet the criteria:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted alien.
  3. You must meet TREC’s integrity, trustworthiness, and honesty standards. 🙋 ( Yes, we’ll answer your questions about this one in a moment. )

The first two are pretty cut and dry but the last one, not so much. The good news is that most of our visitors/users don’t need to worry about it. The only time you’d need to be concerned is if you have any criminal offenses, unpaid judgments, disciplinary actions taken against a professional or occupational license, or have performed unlicensed real estate activity.

How much does it cost to get a real estate agent license in Texas?counting money

Below is a schedule of costs associated with getting your Texas real estate license:

Pre-licensing education and training costs:

The estimated cost for this is around $400-$1000 or more depending on the school or online program you select. This involves finding an accredited and qualified real estate school to clock your hours. As stated earlier, the state of Texas requires you to finish 180 hours of education.

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Real estate licensing and exam fees

This fee schedule is estimated to cost about $400. The breakdown of this schedule is as follows: applying for your license will incur a charge of about $50. You will also need to pay for your background check and mandatory fingerprinting. This typically costs around $100. TREC currently charges $54 per exam attempt. The license costs about $150.

Real estate broker fees

These fees are estimated to cost anything from $30 to $450 per month. The real estate broker fees are the fees that you have to incur when you want to become associated with a recognized and accredited broker. As it is your first year, there are some things that your sponsor broker will provide. These things, such as office supplies, photocopies, internet, and any other business expenses, are usually associated with the daily operation of your business. It is also likely that you will have to pay a desk fee every month to help reimburse some of these costs.

Real estate membership dues

Financial,Concept.,Make,Money,On,The,Internet.,Businesswoman,Works,AtMembership dues and feels usually cost around $200 or more each year. And while they can qualify as a tax break in the state of Texas, they are still a significant expense for many Realtors. This fee typically depends on how many associations you want to join. For instance, you can become part of your local and state real estate boards.

Every one of these boards comes with a membership fee that has to be paid monthly or yearly for you to be able to enjoy the numerous advantages and networking options they offer. The local MLS or Multiple Listing Service will also have fees associated with them. Depending on where you are in the state, you may have to pay your monthly dues either to your broker or to the association directly.

Continuing Education

Becoming a real estate agent does not mean you stop educating yourself once you have passed your licensing tests.  To stay an active agent, you have to meet SAE and CE requirements. Some CE courses are offered for free through local boards of realty. Additional designations, though optional, may also come with fees.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay to become a Texas real estate agent:

  • Pre-licensing: $500 – $1000
  • License Fee: $185
  • Exam Fee: $43 per attempt
  • Background Check Fee: $38.25
  • Cost of Optional Fees (Realtors’ Fees, etc.): $150-$500
  • Renewal Fees: $185
  • Continuing Education Fees: These vary according to the type of classes you are taking

How long does the Texas real estate licensing process take?

classroom setting with studentsAssuming you qualify for the requirements, earning a real estate license in Texas means you have to have completed 180 hours of accompanying real estate education. The courses below are required:

  • Principles of Real Estate I: 30-hour credit
  • Principles of Real Estate II: 30-hour credit
  • Law of Agency: 30-hour credit
  • Law of Contracts: 30-hour credit
  • Promulgated Contract Forms: 30-hour credit
  • Real Estate Finance: 30-hour credit

You can finish the courses in as little as 3-5 weeks, but they can be done at your own pace too. Since your real estate education accounts for the majority of time of the entire real estate licensing process in Texas, how long you take will depend very much on your unique circumstances.

What’s the real estate agent salary in Texas?

Texas agents bring in a median salary of $63,780 a year. This breaks down to $30.66 per hour. 

Here are the average salaries agents make in the highest paying Texas cities:

  • Austin: $67,323
  • Plano: $65,841
  • San Antonio: $62,857
  • Dallas: $67,303
  • Richardson: $64,068
  • Arlington: $59,839
  • Houston: $65,954
  • Fort Worth: $63,577
  • El Paso: $57,344

How Much Do Homes Cost in Texas?

The median price for a Texas home is $375,000. Home values have gone up by 14.6% in the past year. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay in the state’s major cities:

  • Austin: $409,079
  • Dallas: $387,379
  • Houston: $316,904
  • San Antonia: $285,073
  • Amarillo: $213,905
  • San Antonio: $299,745
  • El Paso: $206,646
  • Fort Worth: $325,626
  • Arlington: $331,875
  • Lubbock: $211,494

What are Commission Splits Like in Texas?

Commission splits between Texas agents range from 5% – 6%. The average split is around 5.59%.

The commission is further divided with the agent’s brokerage. Here’s an idea of what Texas brokerages take based on some of the state’s top agencies. 

  • Berkshire Hathaway- Allie Beth Allman & Associates: 60/40
  • Real Agent: 0 commission
  • Austin Real Estate Experts: 60/40
  • Coldwell Banker: 50/50, 60/40, 70/30 (capping system)
  • Ebby Halliday: Offers up to a 90% split based on performance

Perspective from a real estate pro:

eric hewitt headshot

Eric P. Hewitt
Texas Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

“A lot of agents do real estate part time and do not make a lot because they are not well trained and lack the necessary skills and a feasible business plan to make it in the industry.

If you are going to get your real estate license, create an actual business plan and make sure to have at least six months of reserve savings to hold you through until you start making sales. A real estate agent career is like starting a small business, often a new entrepreneurial venture does not make money for a while, and it actually will probably cost you money for a period of time.

If you plan ahead and can ride out the initial months you will be much better off than most agents who get into it or those who only do it part time. Also, make sure to sign with a brokerage that has an extensive training program.

For a new agent, the training they get is going to be the most important factor in their success. If you can find a senior broker/agent who will bring you onto their team, that can make up for a lack of training opportunities at a firm – you can learn from the senior agent, and they will often give you leads or opportunities to close deals from their network or marketing system.”

Texas Real Estate License FAQs

Getting a real estate license in Texas may seem like a daunting task due to the 180-hour education requirement.  However, if you know what to do to get the real estate license, then you’ll find it much easier. In fact, if done diligently, this process can yield results in a fairly short period. Real estate, compared to other industries, is one of the lowest barrier to entry fields you can join. If you knock out the licensing education, find a supportive broker, and are willing to put in the effort, you could potentially earn six figures in this field. All of that considered – getting your license isn’t too hard, given the rewards.

“TREC is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Texas. They control everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and help hold real estate agents accountable,” – Cynthia Seifert, Texas Realtor, eXp Realty Austin

The commission has the right to suspend or revoke a license holder who has not upheld real estate laws across Texas.

It’s composed of nine members appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. Six members must be licensed real estate brokers. Three members must be members of the general public who are not regulated by the Commission.


As of October 2020, There are over 122,000 real estate agents licensed in Texas. Of those, many are brand new – 11,900 of them received their license in the first 10 months of the year.

Before you can earn a Texas real estate license, you will have to meet the official requirements. You have to be 18 years or older, a Texas resident, a Permanent Resident, or a US citizen, and you have to meet the Texas Real Estate Commission’s integrity, trustworthiness and honesty standards.
To become a Texas real estate agent, you will have to undertake a Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) background check. All of these are prerequisites with education to become a real estate agent in Texas.

Additionally, you have to have to meet these additional requirements

  • Complete 180 hours of pre-licensing education. Register for the required class and complete the mandatory 180 hours.
  • Secure a sponsoring broker. Before you can practice in the state, you have to be sponsored by a real estate broker with a Texas license.
  • Submit fees and forms to TREC. Once your 180 mandatory hours of licensing education have been completed, you can submit all necessary documents to TREC. You have the opportunity to select an inactive or active initial license. If you want to practice real estate, you’ll have to apply for the active license.
    Submit fingerprints. Schedule the fingerprinting and license examination. Once you get a letter of approval from the Texas Real Estate Commission, which directs you to the CIB or Candidate Information Brochure, you will be able to schedule an exam. You will also be able to submit for review your fingerprints. You typically have a year from the application date to pass the licensing exam.
  • Prepare for the state licensing exam. You must pay attention and study for the licensing test as this will be the final barrier to you becoming a real estate agent in Texas. Many students take a separate “test prep” course shortly before taking the state exam.
  • Take the State Exam. Once you have passed this exam and the necessary documentation and fingerprints are on record, you will be able to receive your Inactive or Active Salesperson License from the Texas Real Estate Commission by email.

man studying for licensing examThere are some things on the test your courses may not have prepared you for. There may be tricky questions that you are not sure how to answer. You may become lost and stressed out which will set the tone for the entire test taking session.

So, we’ve made a list of the top Texas real estate exam prep providers:

  1. PrepAgent – Gives you access to live online group webinars, e-books, online training tools, and thousands of state-specific practice questions.
  2. Kaplan – This is the highest rated, and most popular test prep in the state.
  3. Mbition – Known to help prepare students for the math portion of the licensing exam.
  4. Real Estate Exam Scholar – Provides affordable tests to help simulate the exam-taking. experience
  5. AceableAgent – This is the most convenient test prep. Students can access it on the go using a mobile app.
  6. Real Estate Express – Students can prepare for the exam by talking to agents who are already licensed and experienced.

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideThe state licensing exam isn’t too hard to pass, assuming you’ve taken a solid pre-licensing class and studied hard.  In Texas, a good number of people fail the test – but keep in mind that not everyone has taken a cram course to improve their odds of passing.

For anyone taking the Texas real estate licensing test, you will have 150 minutes to answer 110 questions.  The questions are all multiple choice and are split into two categories; the national section and the state section. 

The national section comes with 80 questions that have to be answered in the space of 105 minutes. The state section, on the other hand, comes with 30 questions that have to be answered within 45 minutes. 

counting on a chalkboardIf you happen to fall short at your first attempt at passing the real estate licensing test, Texas grants you three tries to pass both sections of the test. If you are unable to pass the two parts of the test after three attempts, you will have to take additional education, typically for 30-60 hours before you can retake the licensing test.

Once you’re finished with the pre-licensing courses and you have passed the real estate exam to earn your license, you will be required to select a sponsoring broker.

This is because the state of Texas requires you to have an experienced broker direct and guide you in the first year through any concerns and questions you might have.  To select a broker, make sure you’re doing your research online about the best and worst parts about working there. Once you have a few frontrunners, double-check with TREC to see that they are licensed and approved.

To get your Texas real estate license, you do not need a college degree. If you choose to take an in-person approach to the course, it will most likely follow a semester schedule. This means that you can finish the course in just a couple of months. It is also possible for you to take the course online at your own pace, earning your hours in just a few weeks if you are willing to put in the hours.

Both commercial and residential real estate agents are required to be licensed by the state, but there are some differences. Both sets of real estate agents have to take the same classes and meet the same 180 hours requirement. A residential real estate agent does not have to have a university degree.

No. Texas does not have reciprocity with any other state. If you are interested in becoming licensed in the state, you will have to meet every one of the current licensing requirements, regardless of if you have a real estate license from another state.

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About the Author

Eric Hegwer is a licensed Texas real estate agent in Austin, Texas. Eric has had his license for over 10 years, and has represented over 180 clients buying and selling their homes. He works at Redfin and blogs about Real Estate and Real Estate Training for new agents. He believes that most Realtors don’t use technology successfully and is on a mission to help all agents reach their goals.

Last Updated: 5/2/2024