How to Get a Wisconsin Real Estate License

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent10/23/2023

Step 1: Take a Wisconsin Real Estate Course

In Wisconsin, you must take 72-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.

Step 2: Apply For a Background Check

If you are applying for a license for the first time, you have to pass a background check. You have to fill out form #3085 for the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to determine if you can get a license.

Step 3: Pass Wisconsin Real Estate Licensing Exam

The exam has two parts: a national and state part. In total, it has 145-150 multiple-choice questions and you’ll be 4 hours to complete it.

Step 4: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Consider the commission split and fee structure, the company's culture, and their reputation in the community before you join a brokerage.
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5 Steps to Get Your Wisconsin Real Estate License

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Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent

Are you interested in becoming a real estate agent in the great state of Wisconsin? Of course you are, real estate is booming here!

Look at the people from here who’ve made it – Chris Farley, Georgia O’Keeffe (the flower artist), Liberace, Mark Ruffalo. The next money maker to come out of Wisconsin could be you.

Well, hold on tight  cause we’re gonna fire off the five steps you need to get your hands on a Wisconsin real estate license.

You ready? Let’s break it down.

Step 1: Complete Wisconsin Pre-Licensing Education 

Happy woman studying and smilingClass Is In Session!

To understand the basics of real estate sales, practices, and laws in Wisconsin, all new applicants are required to take a 72-hour Pre-licensing course. This course must be taken at an accredited school. However, there are lots of choices to choose from and you can pick between in-person classes, online classes, or a combination of the two.

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At the end of this course, you’ll be issued a certificate of course completion. This certificate will also be used to register for your state and national exams.

Students are always surprised how affordable these classes are. Take a look at the best real estate schools in Wisconsin 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 Background Check

small group of students studyingIf you are applying for a license for the first time, you have to pass a background check. You have to fill out form #3085 for the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to determine if you can get a license. The state of Wisconsin allows you to register for predetermination before you apply for the exam. If you don’t have any past criminal convictions, this step should be a breeze.

If you’ve been convicted of a felony, it’s best that you apply for predetermination first.  This way the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) will determine if you are qualified to obtain a license or not before you spend money on the pre-licensing course.

Step 3: Pass Wisconsin Real Estate Licensing Exam

Students studying in group settingThe next part of your journey is to apply, take and pass the Wisconsin real estate exam.

The exam has two parts: a national and state part. In total, it has 145-150 multiple-choice questions and you’ll be 4 hours to complete it. Students are typically unsure of the number of questions they must get correct because some questions carry more weight than others. To pass, you need to score at least a 75%.

Immediately after you’re done, you’ll receive your score. You can take the exam several times if don’t pass a certain portion right away.

Try to arrive early to your testing location. If you show up late, you might be refused a spot.  You should also bring along at least two (2) forms of personal photo ID. You are allowed to come to the exam location with a basic-function calculator as well for any math related questions.

Step 4:  Find a Sponsoring Broker

woman studying with coffee

Next, 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.

Step 5: Complete the application

Businessmen,Are,Analyzing,The,Residential,Real,Estate,Investment,By,WorkingAfter you’ve found a sponsoring broker you can submit your Wisconsin real estate application to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

You have to apply for your license within 1 year of passing your salesperson licensing exam. While applying, you need to submit:

  • Form 3166
  • An Initial Credentialing Fee
  • Copy of certificate of completion of Salesperson’s 72-hour education program from a board-approved school
  • Evidence of passing the salesperson exam
  • Proof of employment

It will take 5-10 working days to know if your application has been approved.

Mission Complete

Those are the steps you need to get your Texas real estate license. 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.

REEB Criteria to get your real estate license

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is REEB and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, REEB is short for the Real Estate Examining Board and it’s their job to make sure all agents in Wisconsin 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:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • You must hold a high school diploma or equivalent (GED)
  • Be lawfully eligible to work in the United States

Pretty simple, right? As long as you meet these requirements, you are able to move on to the next step.


How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Wisconsin?

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 $200-$800 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 Wisconsin requires you to finish 72 hours of education.

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Real estate licensing and exam fees

 The license costs about $75. The fee to take the licensing exam is $65 per attempt.


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

The most time-consuming part of getting a license is completing the education requirement. This 72-hour course takes the average student approximately 2 months.

However, students who approach the course “full time” can complete the class in under two weeks. Most students schedule their state licensing exam right after completing the course. For students who pass on their first try, they can then submit the official state application.

In summary, highly motivated students can earn their Wisconsin Real Estate Sales License in approximately two months, but the average student takes anywhere from 4-6 months, from start to finish.


How much do real estate agents make in Wisconsin?

counting moneyThe annual mean wage in Wisconsin is $64,210, which is higher than the national average of $60,086. The 90th percentile yearly wage is $105,640, which means that the 10% highest-paid real estate agents make more than $105,000 per year.  

Because of the combination of low entry barriers and high compensation, being a real estate agent in Wisconsin can be a successful and profitable career choice.

Wisconsin Real Estate License FAQs

woman studying on computerWisconsin is one of the easiest states you can become a real estate agent. This is due to several licensing regulations and requirements: 

  • The prelicensing coursework is short – much shorter than other states. In Wisconsin, you only need 72 hours of education to become a real estate agent. That’s 66% less than some other states. 
  • You can retake the real estate licensing exam as many times as you need until you pass it.

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About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. 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.

Last Updated: 10/23/2023