How to get a Pennsylvania Real Estate License

Want to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania? This guide will help you get a better idea of what the exact process of becoming a real estate agent in Pennsylvania involves, as well as the top rated school options.



Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express
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4.15/5

based on 59 reviews

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W.W.

It was a very intuitive and user-friendly website. The material was super informative, and it prepared me well for the final exams. All I suggest when doing online courses is to stay on top of it and don't fall behind.

AceableAgent

AceableAgent
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4.03/5

based on 34 reviews

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AceableAgent Customer

I personally needed something that let me work at at my on pace because I am a foreigner and my primary language is not English. This way I can read and study at my own pace and understand what I'm doing, ESPECIALLY before I take a test. I also did think there was too much material taught that was not actually needed for the exam. If you're going to do it, you have to be very disciplined and study a couple of hours. The penalty time when you fail the test is a little too long.

The CE Shop

The CE Shop
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4.18/5

based on 38 reviews

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Isaiah

I thought it was extremely easy to use, and I liked the user interface. I thought the curriculum was actually entertaining and moderately difficult. You have to pay attention to details. It isn't like where you could skip pages to go straight to the quizzes. You will have to learn the material. I would say for you to take as many notes as you can, pace yourself and download all the materials they provide to you. It is effective and super affordable.

Kaplan Real Estate Education

Kaplan Real Estate Education
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4.45/5

based on 29 reviews

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C.V.

Kaplan's test prep helped me. I struggled with that state portion of it all, and this test prep was spot on with both state and national portions. Without it, I don't think I would've passed the state exam.

The Real Estate School

The Real Estate School
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5.00/5

based on 7 reviews

Review from: Google logo

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I am a teacher and a friend told me a pa...

Cameron James

I am a teacher and a friend told me a part time real estate career would be perfect for my summers off. I agreed and she told me this school is where my journey would begin. She insisted I go here. I am so glad I did. As a fellow teacher, I can tell you these teachers know what they are doing. It was a great combination of teachers - Kelby, Michelle, Bob and Renee each had their own style while being masters of the material you need to learn. Kelby was kind and very passionate about real estate. Michelle was fun, lively and really entertaining. Bob and Renee are both lawyers and had stories with great details and examples of how to follow the laws. Couldn't have asked for more. Thank you!!

McKissock Learning

McKissock Learning
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based on 5 reviews

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Go somewhere else for learning

Lindsey Haas

I signed up for the appraisal school in Jan 2020. I was starting to do the school but then COVID hit and I went from working to being a teacher and a stay at home working mom. Times have been tough. Then the market went crazy and homes sales went through the roof. So, we grabbed on to coat tails not sure where things would be in the coming months or year and tried to close all that we could over the summer to bank what we could. In the meantime the school had to go on the back burner. Now we are having to possibly school our kids again and so I called to ask for an extension. They want to charge me $50 for a 30 day extension. I had asked for 6 more months to complete this. Why on earth could they not allow me more time considering all that has changed in our worlds. I asked for some grace and they denied me. So, I had them cancel the entire program and I will not be going back here for anything in the future. You only have 10 days to get a refund and you have 6 months to complete it so BUYER BEWARE if you are a working mom and things in your world get turned upside down they will not work with you.

PA Licensing Process FAQs

The process of becoming a real estate agent in Pennsylvania starts with meeting the eligibility requirements. As with most states, there are three basic eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old. 
  • Be a citizen of the US, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under federal law.
  • Possess a high school diploma or an equivalent 

If you meet these requirements, you can then start the prelicensing and licensing process. The prelicensing involves: 

  • Completing a 75-hour prelicensing course, which can be taken either online or at a physical school. The course consists of 30 hours of real estate fundamentals and 45 hours of real estate practice
  • Apply and pass the Pennsylvania real estate license examination 

Finally, once you’ve passed the exam, you need to:

  • Submit a licensing application provided by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
  • Pass a 5-year background check within 90 days of applying.
  • Find a sponsoring real estate broker

To become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you should be at least 18 years of age, a resident of the US, pass a prelicensing course, a background check, and pass the final real estate licensing exam.  

How difficult it will be to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania depends on you. If you pay attention during the prelicensing classes and study, you will enter the licensing exam better prepared and pass it more easily. Test prep goes a long way as well.

The exact length of the time when you start the prelicensing course to obtaining a license depends on how fast you finish the course, how quickly you apply, your qualifications and characteristics, as well as how soon you pass the exam. In general, it takes a minimum of 3 months, and these are the time frames you could expect within that period:

  • The prelicensing course lasts for 75 hours and can be taken as quickly as 2 or 3 weeks.
  • After you submit your Registration Form to PSI, wait two weeks for the registration to be processed. After this, you can contact them to check if you’ve been approved and schedule a date to take the exam (schedules depend on seating availability). It can be within a day or two, or a week or two, it all depends on the number of applicants applying at the same time as you. 
  • Getting your background checked for any misdemeanors or convictions usually takes around two weeks. 
  • If you’re applying with a previous criminal record, there will be an additional 2 or 3 weeks required to process your application.

The mean annual wage of a real estate agent in Pennsylvania is $62,430, slightly higher than the national average of $60,087. Top performers are rewarded handsomely though – the highest 10% of agents, though, can earn nearly double that amount, or $100,460. The Northern Pennsylvania metro area has the highest annual mean wage in the state ($67,230).   

Pennsylvania has real estate license reciprocity with Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. If you obtained a license in some of these six states, you can apply for a Pennsylvania real estate license and only take the state portion of the exam to be licensed in the state. 

The size and type of costs associated with getting your Pennsylvania real estate license can vary depending on your choices. With that in mind, the following costs apply to all students:

  • $250 to $700 for pre-license coursework
  • $49 examination fee
  • $107 initial licensing application
  • $20 background check

Other than these mandatory costs, there will be other costs for books, tuition, continuing education classes, and membership fees after you obtain your license. 

A college degree is not necessary to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, only a high school degree or an equivalent of it. 

Moreover, if you have a university degree with a real estate major or you are a licensed attorney or a real estate agent in another state, you may be exempt from taking some of the prelicensing coursework or part of the exam. 

If you’ve been licensed in another state for the past five years, you won’t have to take the national portion of the exam, only the state one. 

Contact the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission to find out more about these exemptions

Currently, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission offers two types of real estate licenses:

  • Real Estate Broker
  • Real Estate Salesperson
    • Cemetery Broker
    • Rental Listing Referral Agent
    • Builder/Owner Salesperson

PSI administers the official licensure examination in Pennsylvania. They oversee, proctor, and grade the real estate license exam, while the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission approves and issues the real estate licenses.

To take the real estate exam, you need to submit a PSI Registration Form along with the $49 examination fee and one of the following:

If you’re obtaining the license through education, you need to submit a Certificate of Completion or transcript of the real estate school where you took the prelicensing course.

If you’re applying for a real estate license through reciprocity, you need to submit a Certificate of Licensure from the jurisdiction that issued your license and proof of completing 75 hours of education.

Once you’ve submitted your application, allow two weeks for PSI to process it. Once two weeks have passed, you can schedule the exam online at the PSI website, through their phone, fax, or email. The exam is taken at different PSI centers in Pennsylvania – check PSI’s site to see the different locations.

If you fail one or both on the Pennsylvania real estate license exam, you cannot schedule or retake it the same day. You will have to wait to schedule it 24 hours after failing and retake it 24 hours after scheduling. If you fail only one portion of the exam, you can retake only that portion. However, the same $49 fee will apply regardless if you’re retaking only one or both portions. 

Also, note that you have to pass both portions of the exam and obtain your license within three years of passing the first exam.

The Pennsylvania real estate licensing exam consists of 2 portions: the national portion and the state portion. There are 80 questions in the national portion and 30 questions in the state portion. You have 3 hours to complete both portions of the exam, and you’ll have two hours for the national portion, and one hour for the state portion. You need to answer 75% of the questions in each portion correctly: 60 from the national and 23 from the state portion. 

The national portion covers the following 11 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

The state portion tests your knowledge in the following areas: 

  • Real Estate Commission
  • Licensure
  • Regulation of Conduct of Licensees

You need to pass both parts of the exam within a period of 3 years after taking the real estate course.

Only around half of real estate applicants pass the Pennsylvania real estate exam on the first try. This number is an indicator of how many people underestimate the exam and the attention it requires. 

It’s a knowledge test, and as such, requires time to overcome and learn. The prelicensing coursework is designed to help you master the topics in the exam the fastest, so it’s important to pay attention to the classes it offers.

In the end, even if you don’t pass the exam on the first try, you can always give it another try. Becoming a successful real estate agent is not determined by how fast you pass the exam or on which try. 

Finding a good real estate brokerage is important for your real estate career. You should find a real estate brokerage that will be able to prepare you for the real estate market and guide you through the first years of your real estate journey. Some of the things you need to consider when choosing a real estate brokerage are:

  • The reputation of the brokerage and personalities of the brokers working in it
  • How much time do they dedicate to educating real estate agents?
  • How many successful agents have come out of it?
  • Do they offer commissions and benefits for new agents?

Don’t feel intimidated to ask these questions and more if needed when scouting for a brokerage. It’s your career after all, and settling for anything just won’t do.  

Practicing real estate as a broker or a salesperson without a license in Pennsylvania can result in a penalty by the Commission. If a salesperson has done any real estate work contradictory to the regulations, both the salesperson and their supervising broker will be penalized. 

The Bureau for Professional and Occupational Affairs has penalties as high as $10,000 for people who violate license laws. 

However, there are some real estate jobs you can do without a license:

  • Real Estate Courier
  • Real Estate Assistant
  • Marketing Assistant for a brokerage
  • Leasing Agent/Consultant
  • Real Estate Investor

Every license in Pennsylvania is issued for a 2-year period and should be renewed by May 31st in the expiry year. To renew it, a real estate agent should present proof of 14 hours of continuing education. 

When you come to the PSI examination center, you will be asked to provide two forms of identification, one of which has to be government-issued and contain your photograph and your signature. It can be a driver’s license, state ID, passport, or military ID.

The second ID should have your signature and legal name, the same name you’ve entered in the Registration Form.

If you’ve been previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, your application to become a real estate agent may be denied by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean so. The Commission will go over all applications and make their judgment based on the circumstances, date, and type of conviction of the applicant.

If you have a criminal record, you will be asked to provide the following documentation: 

  • A conviction summary information provided by the State Police
  • Certified copies of court documents;
  • Letter from Probation Officer, dated within 90 days, indicating current probationary status/completion date;
  • Police incident reports;
  • Employment History (resume);
  • Detailed description (in the applicant’s words) of the circumstances surrounding the conviction, the basis for the conviction and the disposition of the conviction;
  • A reference letter from the employing broker, on the company letterhead, indicating that they are aware of all conviction(s) and is willing to hire the applicant;
  • Two copies of signed and dated character references from people not related to or residing with the applicant.

After you submit these documents and the Application Form, allow up to three weeks for your application to be processed. 

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