How to Get a Washington Real Estate License

Adriano Tori, Licensed Washington Agent5/14/2024
washington licensing logo

Step 1: Take a Washington State Real Estate License Course

In Washington, you must take 90-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.

Step 2: Pass Pre-Licensing Final Exam

You must score at least a 70% in order to pass. You can take this exam as many times as you need to.

Step 3: Take the Washington Real Estate Exam

The exam is multiple choice (4 answer options). There are 130 questions that you have to answer. The national portion of the exam has 100, while the state portion has 30 questions in it.

Step 4: Pass a Background Check

To fill in your card and get your fingerprints taken, visit any fingerprints service that the Washington State Patrol website has approved.

Step 5: Finish Your Application

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 broker license will be activated.
Ready to get started?
Check out your course options now.

5 Steps to Get Your Washington State Real Estate License

woman studying

Step-By-Step Guide to Get your Real Estate License in WA State

Are you interested in becoming a real estate broker in the great state of Washington? 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 Washington real estate broker license.

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

Step 1: Complete Pre-Licensing Education

woman studying on computer

You’re required to take a “pre-licensing” education class where you’ll study the principles of real estate, contracts, and finance. 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 90 hours! That may seem like a big number, but to get started in a new career, that number is just a speck in time.

See Course Options

But what’s included in those 90 hours? Take a look at the curriculum and see for yourself:

  • Real Estate Fundamentals (60-hour course)
  • Real Estate Practices (30-hour course)

The pass rates after taking these classes are sky-high, typically over a 91% 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 Washington 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.

Compare Online Courses

Step 2: Pass Pre-Licensing Final Exam

Immediately after you finish your pre-licensing course materials, you are required to pass the course final exam. You must score at least a 70% in order to pass. You can take this exam as many times as you need to.

Step 3: Take WA Real Estate Exam

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

The Washington real estate broker examination is all done on the computer, and is taken in one of the 12 locations throughout the state.

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

  • The exam is multiple choice (4 answer options)
  • There are 130 questions that you have to answer. The national portion of the exam has 100, while the state portion has 30 questions in it. The total time that is allotted for the exam is 3 hours and 30 minutes. You must score 70% of the questions correctly in order to pass the exam.
  • On your exam date, you must show up with two recent forms of photo identification (I.D.)
  • As you already know, the exam has both state and national questions –  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 Washington broker examination has two distinct features that aren’t available in other states:

  1. You can bookmark questions. If you are not completely sure of the right answer to a question, you can 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 will be bookmarked for later review.
  2. If you want to check how much time you have left when taking the 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. Your passing score report will carry an application for attaining a broker’s license in Washington. Your results will only be valid for one year if you passed your exam. If you don’t apply for a broker license within that one year you will need to start the process over.

Step 4: Background Check

In Washington, before you can apply for your real estate broker license, you must answer some questions regarding your criminal history and also submit your fingerprints so a background check can be conducted.

A fingerprint card will be given to you at the testing center where you sit for your broker’s examination. To fill in your card and get your fingerprints taken, visit any fingerprints service that the Washington State Patrol website has approved.

Step 5: Finish your Application

man studying for licensing examTo fill out your application, go to the WA DOL website. 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 broker license will be activated.

You have total freedom to choose which company you work for. Here’s some things a real estate agent in Washington state should look at when choosing a managing broker/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.

WA DOL’s real estate criteria to get your license

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is WA DOL and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, WA DOL is short for the Washington State Department of Licensing and it’s their job to make sure all brokers in Washington 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 Washington real estate license requirements are pretty straightforward.

Let’s meet the criteria:

  1. You should be at least 18 years old.
  2. Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  3. Must be a permanent resident alien or a United States citizen.

If you meet these basic requirements, you can then start on the steps below.


How much does a real estate license in Washington cost?

The following costs apply when obtaining a Washington real estate broker 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 in WA. 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.

Compare Prices

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. 

How long does it take to get a real estate broker license in Washington?

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. 


What’s the real estate agent salary in Washington?

counting moneyWashington agents make $69,700 a year on average. That breaks down to $33.51 per hour. A top-paid broker 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 brokers 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.

Agents in Washington’s highest paying cities can make as much as:

  • Seattle: $121,226
  • Everett: $110,970
  • Spokane: $104,616
  • Bellevue: $119,094
  • Tacoma: $110,670
  • Puyallup: $101,792
  • Kirkland: $112,820
  • Vancouver: $106,735
  • Port Orchard: $99,865

How Much Do Homes Cost in Washington? 

The price of a typical Washington home is $608,350. Values have gone up by 9.4% over the past year. Here’s how home prices break down according to city. 

  • Spokane: $333,000
  • Seattle: $816,000
  • Olympia: $537,170
  • Tacoma:  $497,619
  • Quincy: $306,000
  • Bothell: $800,000
  • Yakima: $291,900
  • Auburn: $495,200
  • Westport: $229,800
  • Davenport: $254,800

What are Commission Splits Like in Washington?

Washington agents typically split a commission of 5-6% off every home sale. The average commission is 5.29%.

This commission is further split with their brokerage. Here’s an idea of what some brokerages in the area require in terms of commission: 

  • CBRE: 50/50
  • JLL: 50/50
  • Redfin: Redfin pays agents a salary along with profit shares and bonuses. Average take home pay is $73,061 per year. 
  • Greystar: 60/40
  • Keller Williams: 50/50

Washington Real Estate License 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 broker 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 Washington 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. 

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

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 state’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 in WA 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 real estate agents in Washington state. 

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.

About the Author

Adriano Tori received his real estate license in 2009, and quickly started gaining experience in the industry. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of RexMont Real Estate, a leading residential real estate agency that serves the Bellevue and Greater Seattle, Washington area. Born in Peru, Adriano moved to the U.S. as a teenager and immediately began developing his professional career. He received his bachelor’s degree in Real Estate at the University of Utah, worked as a financial advisor for American Express and continued building his real estate career until establishing the RexMont agency. Adriano focuses much of his energy on shaping his young agents into polished professionals with lucrative careers. He uses his extensive knowledge of the Seattle market to create a personalized roadmap that leads each of his clients to their dream home.

Last Updated: 5/14/2024