How to Get a Washington Real Estate License

woman studyingIf you reside in Bellevue, Vancouver, Tacoma, Spokane, or Seattle and you intend to begin a career in real estate, you will need to get a Washington real estate license so you can freely operate.

The process of getting your real estate license in Washington is not very easy but with the aid of this guide you are reading, you will know all that is required of you.

Here are the various steps on how to get a Washington real estate license.

For you to be qualified to take the real estate license exam, you must fulfill these prerequisites.

  1. You should be at least eighteen years old.
  2. A high school diploma or its equivalent is another thing you must have.
  3. Also, you must be a permanent resident alien or a United States citizen.

If you meet these basic requirements, you can then carry out the steps below.

Step One: Finish the 90 hours of pre-Licensing education

woman studying on computerYou must finish the required 90 of pre-Licensing courses for two years before you can sit for the broker’s examination. The ninety-hours of education contains a sixty-hour course in Real Estate Fundamentals and a thirty-hour course in Real Estate Practices.

This pre-licensing course is meant to help you know what it will be like working as a licensed broker in Washington and also get you prepared for the licensing examination. You must pass the exam regardless of your performance in the courses.

Step Two: Pass the pre-licensing course final examination

Immediately after you finish your pre-licensing course materials, you are supposed to pass the course final examination. You must score at least a 75% in order to pass.

Step Three: Take the Washington real estate broker examination

studying for licensing examIn Washington, it is the Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP) and the PSI that handles the administration of the real estate licensing examination. The examination comprises of two portions–the national and state portion. You can schedule your exam on the AMP website.

The Washington real estate broker examination is computer-based that is taken in one of the twelve locations in the state.

Here are more details you should know about the real estate examination:

  • The exam is multiple choice and you have the freedom to choose the correct answer from the four options available to you.
  • There are 130 questions that you have to answer. The national portion of the exam has 100 in it while the state portion has 30 questions in it. The total time that is allotted for the exam is three hours and thirty minutes. You must score at 70% and above before you can pass the exam.
  • On your exam date, you must show up with two recent forms of identification (I.D.), a photograph of you, your signature, and your name.
  • As you already know, the exam has both the state and national portions but the questions are mixed, that is, they are not separated into two sections. There are seven topics in the national portion of the examination.
  • The computer shows only a question at a time while you are writing the exam. You can choose either A, B, C, or D. You are free to either click on the letter to choose it or type the letter into the response box. Immediately you answer the question, click the forward arrow to answer the question following it. To go back to a former question, click the backward arrow.

The Washington broker examination has two distinct features.

  1. You can bookmark questions. If you are not completely sure of the right answer to a question, you are free to bookmark it. You will find the empty box button at the bottom right-hand corner of the page. All you need to do is tap the box and the question would be bookmarked for review. If you want to go through the questions you bookmarked, the double arrows (>>) will direct you there.
  2. If you want to check how much time you have left when writing your exam, you will find an exam timer at the bottom right-hand corner. Your examination will end automatically after three hours thirty minutes whether you are done answering your questions or not.

small group of students studyingAfter taking your exam, you will see your score displayed on your computer screen. Your exam proctor will generate your score report, which will inform if you passed or not. Your passing score report will carry an application for attaining a broker license in Washington. Your results will only be valid for one year if you passed your examination. If you don’t apply for a broker license within that one year you will need to begin the process of getting a real estate license and sit for the examination again.

Step Four: Fulfill the fingerprint requirement and  the background check

In Washington, before you can apply for your real estate license, you must answer some questions concerning your criminal history and also submit your fingerprints so a background check can be conducted for your first license. Usually, a background check is carried out on you every six years.

A fingerprint card will be given to you at the testing center where you sat for your broker examination.

To get your fingerprints taken, visit any fingerprints service that the Washington State Patrol website approved.

Step Five: Finish your application

man studying for licensing examTo conclude your application, go to the website of the Washington State Department of Licensing to apply for your real estate license in Washington. You should submit your application with your fingerprint card. In Washington, as soon as you accept an online request to be a part of a real estate company, your license would be activated.


You cannot be a licensed real estate agent in Washington if you are not eighteen years old, don’t have a high school diploma or its equivalent, don’t complete the compulsory ninety-hours pre-licensing education, pass the Washington real estate broker examination and apply for your real estate license.

If you can carry out all that is expected from you that we outlined in this guide, then, you are good to go in becoming a licensed real estate agent in Washington.

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.

Washington Real Estate Licensing FAQs

man studying for licensing examWorking in real estate in Washington can be profitable for real estate brokers and comes with a lot of other benefits. As the job involved dealing with people’s valuable assets, the education required to become a real estate agent is higher than in other careers. However, it’s far from difficult, which is why thousands of people choose this profession regularly. 

The 90-hour pre-license education course covers everything you need to know to pass the final licensing exam on the first try. As such, you need to pay attention to the areas covered in this course and focus on studying them carefully. 

To maximize your chances of passing the final exam on the first try, make sure you pay attention during the classes and study regularly. If you need an additional hand, you can always get a prep course that will help you prepare for the exam by giving you study directions and showing you on which areas to focus. 

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideThe time it takes to get your Washington state real estate broker’s license depends on several factors, with the prelicensing education course being the most time-consuming part. If you want to finish the prelicensing education course in the shortest possible time, you can take four or five hours per day at which pace you would finish the course within three to four weeks. 

Once you’ve completed the prelicensing course and sent the documents over to the examination provider, they will process the paper application and, within approximately two weeks, will send a confirmation notice, including information on how to schedule an examination appointment. 

Scheduling the exam is done by order and usually takes several days to two weeks. Once you pass the exam, your exam results will be sent to the Department within three days. If you pass only one portion of the exam, you have six months to pass the other portion. Otherwise, you would have to retake the full exam once again. 

counting moneyThe average annual wage in Washington state is $66,020, higher than the national average of $60,087, while a top-paid agent in Washington can earn $107,570 or more.

All areas of Washington state earn more than $50,000 annually, with the top-paying area being Walla Walla, where agents earn $75,800 per year on average. Top agents make the most in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area, where the annual 90th percentile wage is $117,890.

washington licensing logoThe commission’s mission statement: “To uphold, protect, and promote the public interest, which embraces both the interests of regulated licensees and entities and the interests of consumers, by the fair and impartial development and administration of the licensing laws and regulations.”

The real estate commission is composed of 7 members:

  • 2 members from Eastern Washington
  • 2 members from Western Washington
  • 2 members at-large
  • 1 ex-officio chair

Breaking it down, the commission is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Washington. They control everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and help hold real estate agents accountable.

If you are licensed in another state, the real estate education requirements will be waived, and you will only be required to submit a certified license history from the state where you’re currently licensed. After the Washington State Department of Licensing has reviewed your license history, they will give you instructions on how to take the broker’s exam.

If you’ve had an active license in another state in the previous six months, you’ll only need to take the Washington State part of the exam.

US map

The following costs apply when obtaining a Washington real estate license:

  • Take the exam: $138.25
  • Retake the exam: $138.25
  • State & National Background Checks: $42.80
  • Get your original license: $146.25
  • Renew your license: $146.25
  • Get a duplicate license: $26.50
  • Get license certification: $26.50

Besides these fees you pay to the Washington State Department of Licensing, you would also pay for the prelicensing course, which is provided by accredited real estate schools. Each education provider has a different set of features and services it offers, so the prices can vary. Usually, the prelicensing course will cost you around $250 to $500, depending on the specific features you need.

You should also account for prep courses, study materials, and other expenses that may arise on your journey to become a licensed real estate broker in Washington. 

*U.S. Veterans may be eligible for partial reimbursements of costs. 

Currently, only a high school degree is required to be eligible to become a real estate broker in Washington state. 

shaking handsA minimum score of 70 is required on each portion – the national and the state portion. If you fail the exam, your score report will include instructions for retaking it. If you fail part of the exam, you’ll need to retake the part you failed within six months.

The exam results are valid for one year, and if you don’t apply for a license within this time, you’ll have to reapply to take the exam and potentially have to meet additional education requirements.

The Washington Real Estate Broker Examination consists of two portions: a national portion with 100 questions and a state portion with 30 questions.

The National Broker portion is based upon seven major content areas: 

  • Agency Relationships and Contracts
  • Real Property Ownership/Interest 
  • Finance 
  • Real Property 
  • Marketing Regulations (purchase and rental) 
  • Property Management 
  • Real Estate Calculations

The State Broker portion deals with topics relating particularly to Washington’s real estate license law. There are 30 multiple-choice questions covering the following topics: 

  • General Rules
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Washington Statutes and Rules Governing the Activities of Licensees
  • Real Estate Managing Brokerage Relationships
  • Closing and Settlement

The questions on the exam will be mixed and won’t be presented in separate sections. To pass the exam, you need to answer 70% of the questions correctly. You will have 3.5 hours to complete the whole exam. 

According to official records of the October-December 2019 exam session, 71% of candidates passed the national portion of the Washinton real estate licensing exam on the first try, while 75% pass the state portion on the first try. The percentage across different schools (where there is more than one student) varies from 29% to 100%, so make sure to pick a provider that will give you all the tools you need to pass on the first try. 

In the state of Washington, the entry-level real estate license is a broker license, so there is no real estate agent at all. 

sold signMost brokers are “qualified” to sponsor you, so you can certainly find a sponsoring broker near your location. However, you should make sure that the sponsoring broker is experienced, reliable, and has shown a pattern of preparing successful real estate agents for the real estate industry.

You need to find a broker that has worked in the industry for years and has a good reputation in training agents. 

Remember to be strict with your requirements. Your future real estate career depends on it, so you should have a sponsoring broker that knows Washington State’s real estate industry in and out and is willing to transfer that knowledge to you.

man with for sale signThe broker examination shall consist of two portions: the national portion and the state/Washington portion. The national portion consists of questions that test general real estate practices. In contrast, the state portion consists of questions that test on Washington laws and regulations related to real estate licensing.

It is unlawful for anyone to act as a real estate broker, managing broker, or real estate firm without first obtaining a license. Any person who acts as a real estate broker, managing broker, or real estate firm without a license or violating any of the law provisions will be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Happy woman studying and smilingWhen you arrive at the testing center, you must bring two current forms of identification with you, a primary and a secondary. They need to meet the following conditions:

  • They must include your current name and signature.
  • At least 1 of them must have your current photograph.

Some examples of valid primary forms of identification are driver’s license, state identification card, passport, or a military identification card. The second form of identification must have your name and signature for signature verification. It can be a credit card, social security card, or an employment or student ID card.

The name on your ID forms and the registration form have to match. If your name on your registration is different than it appears on your identification, you must bring proof of your name change such as marriage license, divorce decree, or court order.

If you’re applying for a real estate license with a past conviction, the Washington State Department of Licensing will review and investigate your record on a case-by-case basis. During the review, they will consider:

  • The type of crime
  • The level of the conviction
  • The relationship of the crime to your profession’s practices
  • The length of time since the conviction occurred
  • Whether you already notified the Commission of the conviction as required

During the review and investigation, you or other sources may be required to provide additional information about the conviction. If the Commission decides to deny your application or proceed with disciplinary action against your license, you will be notified along with additional information about the next steps.