Real Estate License Guide

How to earn your real estate license

Happy woman studying and smiling

If you’re considering getting a license in the US, you generally first need to take a class and pass the real estate exam.

How do you find out which classes are legitimate, state-approved, and can get you selling homes? Easy – pick a state below and search through our agent-reviewed real estate schools to find the best one to fit your needs.

How to get a Real Estate License

There is no real estate license that is valid in the whole US, so every state has different legal requirements to be able to obtain a real estate license.  Be sure to check your state’s licensing requirements, as details vary by state.  In general, we’ve seen that most states require the following:

  • You must be at least 18 or 19 years old (state regulations vary)
  • You must have official residency in the United States
  • You’ve graduated from high school or obtained the equivalent of a high school degree (GED).
  • Passed a criminal background check.
  • Successfully completed a pre-license course.
  • Successfully passed both the State and National portions of the Salesperson Real Estate Exam.
  • Have submitted the licensing application provided by your country’s Real Estate Commission

It’s important to note that there is no such thing as a realtor license.


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based on 52 reviews

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The CE Shop
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based on 55 reviews

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Aceable Agent
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based on 47 reviews

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Kaplan Real Estate Education
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based on 36 reviews

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Real Estate Express
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based on 81 reviews

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Best Online Real Estate Schools

Working in real estate can be one of the most lucrative career choices in the US. However, to be able to succeed in a highly competitive and ever-changing industry like real estate, you need to be armed with a lot of knowledge and tools. This can be done only by attending and being backed up by a reliable professional real estate school that has a proven track record of producing top-level agents and brokers. 

To find these schools, you need to carefully analyze your options and know what is offered. While there are hundreds of real estate schools, only a handful of them have stood above the competition and shown they provide a professional education service for every step of a real estate career. 

In an effort to help you find the education provider that provides you with the classes and courses you need, we’ve assembled the top online real estate schools in the US. Following is a detailed analysis of what they offer, how they offer it, and what are the best and the worst aspects of studying with every school. 

Real Estate ExpressReal Estate Express Ultimate Learning Package Homepage Screenshot

Real Estate Express was founded in 1996, making it one of the longest-standing real estate schools in the US. They’ve been a pioneer in providing online real estate education for every step of a real estate career, from pre-licensing to exam prep, post-licensing, and finally, continuing education. To date, Real Estate Express has helped over 400,000 professionals launch and develop their real estate careers. 

Real Estate Express is part of Colibri Group, a family of brands that provide education for licensed professionals from different industries: real estate, property appraisal, nursing, mental health, cosmetology, engineering, and massage therapy.

The real estate courses provided by Real Estate Express are accredited by both ARELLO and IDECC, proving they adhere to the highest real estate educational principles and regulations. 

Education Services Offered 


Real Estate Express currently offers pre-licensing education services in 29 states. In each of the states where the pre-licensing courses are available, students can pick four different course packages: The Basics, Exam Preparation, Exam Preparation Plus, and Ultimate Package. The content of each course is as follows:

The Basics

This package is very minimal and only comes with the resources you absolutely need to qualify for the exam. It has the mandatory course hours, state-approved instructor support, and provides three real estate books that you can refer to online only.

Exam Preparation

This course comes with slightly more tools to ensure your success when taking the exam. It comes with test prep and also a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee. Students tend to gravitate toward this package simply because they like the security of the money back guarantee.

Exam Preparation Plus

This package is pretty similar to the above package, but comes with a few additional bonuses including a real estate dictionary and unlimited instructor Q&A. It also comes with post-license courses that can help an agent further launch their career.

Ultimate Package

This is the most elaborate package available for purchase. It comes with everything the above package comes with, but also throws in a 90-day boot camp to help students ensure they have the concepts down before attempting to take the licensing exam. It also comes with a printed course textbook that students can take on the go, or refer to long after the course is over. However, the biggest feature of this package is the 1 year Professional Development Membership that allows you to gain access to webinars, job boards, and instructor support to help you jumpstart your career.

Exam Prep 

The Exam Prep provided by Real Estate Express is available in 39 states. It’s designed to match each state’s licensing exam and prepare students to pass the exam easier. It includes progress exams that will help you check you knowledge, digital flashcards, the pass or don’t pay guarantee, and access to both the national and state final exams. 

Post-license Education

The post-license education packages vary by state and mostly offer additional resources for new real estate agents to start their careers along with first-year renewal packages. Courses are available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.  

Continuing Education 

Continuing education is provided by Real Estate Express’s sister company McKissock Learning. It’s available in 50 states, with the course in each state created to match the state requirements and give the students additional resources to excel in their career. Almost every course comes in a package comprising of continuing education hours and license renewals:

  • McKissock CE PLUS Membership with exclusive benefits, coaching tools, webinars, and career development tools. 
  • State required license renewal package only with the mandatory CE hours. 
  • First-time renewal package for states that allow a lower number of CE hours for the first renewal cycle. 

re express

Ratings and Reviews 

Real Estate Express gets very consistent ratings. It is also reviewed more than most other online real estate schools. While reviewers tend to like that they can take the course at their own pace, they wished the courses had more audio or visual options to make learning slightly more enjoyable.

Want to learn more about Real Estate Express? Check out all of our Real Estate Express Reviews.

What Are The Best Parts?

As one of the highest-ranking real estate schools in the US, Real Estate Express has one of the widest range of education opportunities. Whether you want to study engineering, finance, or any area of real estate, Real Estate Express has courses designed to help students start their careers. 

Another major benefit of studying with Real Estate Express is the ability to study at your own pace. You can track your progress and plan your study schedule in a way that best fits your goals and time, which is something that students often praise about REE’s courses. 

What Are The Worst Parts?

Real Estate Express Quiz 2 Screenshot

As with most self-paced courses, studying with Real Estate Express requires a lot of discipline and strong will. In addition to this, a lot of students complained about the test prep and quizzes that were sometimes confusing to them.

Real Estate Express ProsReal Estate Express Cons
Easy to useConfusing study materials
Versatile study packagesNot specific for Florida licensing
Lots of guides and practice testsCan be glitchy

Return Policy

Real Estate Express offers refunds for all purchases through their Satisfaction guarantee. With it, every student can request a full refund if they aren’t satisfied with the course within one week. If the student hasn’t started the course yet, they can request a refund within one month. 

Kaplan Real Estate Education

Kaplan Unit 1 OnDemand Course Screenshot

Kaplan is another one in the list of the most popular and highest-ranking real estate schools in the US. With a history spanning over 80 years, Kaplan is undoubtedly a leader when it comes to education. 

Kaplan Real Estate Education, or also known as Kapre, is part of a bigger chain of brands that provides education services. These services from high school and college exams and English language classes to professional licensing services and certification. 

Education Services Offered 


The pre-licensing courses offered by Kaplan are available in 27 states, either by them personally or by a partner real estate school in the specific state. Typically, Kaplan offers three types of course packages in each state: 

Mandatory pre-licensing courses with Master Exam prep

Aside from the course itself, this package also comes with a live interactive study group where you can talk to other students who are trying to learn the same concepts. Students said they found this to be a very helpful tool when getting ready to take the licensing exam. After purchasing this package, students also have access to an online test engine that allows them to drills to better remember the content they will be tested on.

Career Launcher Package

The career launcher package comes with the same resources as the above package. It also comes with a Real Estate Accelerator which helps students prepare for the workplace. It is an 8-hour boot camp that teaches them what responsibilities they will need to stay on top of once they pick a brokerage and become a real estate agent.

Individual Courses

Each of the mandatory courses can also be purchased individually through Kaplan, as well as the additional elective courses. 

Exam Prep 

The exam prep in most states comprises of the following: 

  • National PSI Drill and Practice QBank
  • Real Estate Drill and Practice QBank

Broker License

Kaplan offers Broker License courses in several states. Each of the courses is designed according to the state requirements and can be taken either as a package or by combining the mandatory and elective courses individually. 

Continuing Education 

Kaplan offers Continuing Education courses for both Salespersons and Brokers. The courses can be purchased either through a package containing all real estate topics with the credit hours they come with or buy each of the courses individually. Continuing education courses can be followed online or OnDemand. 

Kaplan Quick Quiz Screenshot

Reviews and Ratings 

Kaplan is known to be fairly interactive, which is typically why the school gets slightly higher rating than other competitors. However, many who rate Kaplan with 1 or 2 stars, note the high purchase price saying other courses would be a better bang for your buck.

Want to learn more about Kaplan Real Estate? Check out all of our Kaplan Reviews.

What Are The Best Parts?

One of the best aspects of studying with Kaplan is having the option to choose between live classroom, online classes, or text-based home study courses. This gives students the option of choosing a method that fits their needs which will allow them to master the curriculum faster and easier. 

Kaplan Unit Overview Screenshot

What Are The Worst Parts?

An area where Kaplan can improve on is their customer support. Past students have frequently complained about not being able to reach their customer support service when they needed it. 

Although their classes are a bit more expensive than other schools, they do offer instructor support which is not a feature offered with other schools, so it’s expected to pay extra for it. 

Kaplan ProsKaplan Cons
Great exam prep optionsRepetitive
Multiple study packages offeredNo instructor assistance
Several delivery methodsPricey

Return Policy

Kaplan’s refund policy depends on the type of course the student is enrolled in. The refund policies are different for web-based courses, live classes, reschedules, transfers, and cancellations. 

What is the best online real estate school? Let’s keep going to find out. 

The CE Shop

The CE Shop Unit 1 Exam Screenshot

The CE Shop opened in 2005 and offers a variety of real estate education options with an interactive and inquiry-based approach in their studying methods. While their focus is mainly continuing education (as its name suggests), they offer a variety of educational opportunities pre-licensing courses, exam prep, post-license education, and continuing education.

Their courses are accredited by ARELLO and as proof of their reputation, The CE Shop has received numerous awards, including:

  • Online education program of the year for the Maryland Salesperson Exam Prep Edge program
  • Nomination as the best place to work by Denver Business Journal
  • Community Service Award  for their CE Shop Foundation and our Core Value of “We Give Back”

Education Services Offered 


The CE Shop’s pre-licensing courses can be taken in 34 states, through four different course packages: Courses Only, Standard Package, Value Package, and Premium Package. Every package comes with business ebooks, career resources, downloadable resources, real estate glossary, digital flashcards, study schedule, and access to instructor-led webinars. The remaining content of the course packages is the following: 

Courses Only

Contains only the mandatory pre-licensing courses.  

Standard Package

The Standard Package includes the state-required hours, an exam prep to help students get ready for the final license exam, and a pass guarantee. 

Value Package

The Value Package state-required hours of pre-licensing classes, an exam prep edge, pass guarantee, Math handbook, access to CE’s Learning Library, and business building courses.  

Premium Package

The Premium Package is the most comprehensive study package containing the mandatory pre-licensing classes, an exam prep edge, pass guarantee, Math handbook, access to CE’s Learning Library, business building courses, and an additional package of continuing education hours.

Individual Courses

Every course required by the state to obtain a license can be purchased individually through The CE Shop as well.

Exam Prep 

When it comes to the exam prep packages, students in most states can choose to take an exam prep for the national portion, state portion, or both portions together. In some states, students can only buy the package option with both portions of the exam.

Broker License

The CE Shop currently offers Broker Licensing courses in nine states. The courses comprise of the state-approved pre-licensing broker courses and an unlimited number of practice exams. The mandatory broker courses can also be purchased individually. 

Continuing Education 

Continuing education courses for both brokers and salesperson’s first, second, or subsequent renewals can be taken through The CE Shop in all 50 states. The courses all have a different number of elective and mandatory hours the student can combine to get to the state-required continuing education hours. 

After completing the courses, every student will receive a Certificate of Completion from The CE Shop. These certificates are used as proof that the student has attended the Salesperson or Broker continuing education courses.

Other areas covered

While The CE Shop doesn’t cover other industries or areas, they have a section Agent Essentials where Agents and Brokers can access free resources to advance their career, get the latest news from the industry, and develop their professional skills and knowledge. The blogs, ebooks, videos, podcasts, and webinars in this section are regularly updated to match the latest changes in regulations so students can receive the latest information. 

The CE Shop Study Schedule Screenshot

Ratings and Reviews 

The CE Shop tends to get decent reviews from those who have gone on to take the licensing exam. Students often take this course because it’s has consistently high pass rates for a relatively affordable price.

Want to learn more about The CE Shop? Check out all of our CE Shop Reviews.

What Are The Best Parts?

The CE Shop’s past students have praised the content of the courses, both pre-licensing and post-licensing ones. Everyone found the materials very useful to extend their knowledge and easy to follow and memorize, which is why they have one of the highest ratings among online real estate schools. 

The CE Shop Exam Prep Edge Screenshot

What Are The Worst Parts?

The CE Shop only offers an online delivery mode for their courses, but some people memorize the material easier in a classroom setting with an instructor, so it may be an issue for these students to go through the curriculum. Another issue is that the courses are self-paced and not led by an instructor, which can additionally make it more difficult for students to master the materials. 

The CE Shop ProsThe CE Shop Cons
Multiple course study packagesNo instructor help
A lot of study aids and recommendationsOnline only
Interactive and user-friendly platformState portion of course is outdated

Return Policy

If the student is unsatisfied with the courses, The CE Shop will refund the full amount paid for the course if the student submits a request within 30 days of the purchase, but only if the course hasn’t expired and is not more than 50% completed. 

Purchasing a package with exam prep or an exam prep package separately grants students access to The Ce Shop’s state exam pass guarantee. This means that if a student doesn’t pass the state exam on the first try, they will receive a full refund for the package or course they paid.


AceableAgent Practice Exam Screenshot

Although it’s a newer real estate school, AceableAgent has quickly gained popularity in the states where it offers its services. They are exclusively a real estate education provider with courses for every step of a real estate career, from pre-licensing to continuing education and career advancement. The courses are approved by state regulatory bodies in each of the states they provide pre-licensing education. 

In addition to this, AceableAgent is one of the first and the few real estate schools that have designed their courses to be compatible with both web and mobile apps, which gives students the extra flexibility to study on the go. And while it’s still not available in as many states as other older real estate schools, it’s a true hit in the states where it has introduced its services. 

Education Services Offered 


AceableAgent’s pre-licensing courses are offered in 11 states: California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New York State, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Every state has only one course package offered containing the mandatory pre-licensing course in the form of PDF textbooks, Exam Prep Guide, and access to the AceableAgent app. 

Exam Prep 

The Exam Prep Guide comes together with the licensing package and has practice questions with key concepts students can use to check their knowledge of the material and ace the exam on the first try. 

Broker License 

There is currently no information about any Broker licensing packages on Aceable Agent’s website.

Continuing Education 

Continuing education courses are available only in Texas and New York State. The packages contain approved continuing education courses and online support throughout the course. 

Other areas covered

AceableAgent is exclusively focused on real estate, so they don’t cover other areas. Other than pre-licensing, exam prep, and continuing education, they also have professional development courses for those that want to go deeper into real estate subjects and further advance their careers:

  • Proven Path – 5 CE hours
  • Listing Appointment – 3 hours
  • Be the Neighborhood Expert: A Video Course with Jason Edwards – 3 hours

Ratings and Reviews

AceableAgent is highly rated in certain states, and receives lower reviews in states that don’t offer the visual learning capabilities.

Some of the reviewers on AgentAdvice have complained about the practice exam’s mismatching questions with the final exam ones. 

AceableAgent Test Question Screenshot

What Are The Best Parts?

The biggest advantage of studying with AceableAgent is the ability to study on the go with their mobile app. Students have access to the courses anywhere they go, allowing them to study whenever and wherever they want, and with it, get a higher passing score on their exams. 

What Are The Worst Parts?

A big downside of AceableAgent is that it’s only available in a couple of states. The pre-licensing courses can be taken in 11 states while continuing education classes in only two states, which means not everyone can enjoy the benefits of studying with AceableAgent. 

AceableAgent ProsAceableAgent Cons
A mobile app for studying Short course access time
The highest pass rate among schools with 1,000+ studentsSome bugs on the mobile app
Simple and easy to process study materialsThere are no course package options

Return Policy

AceableAgent offers its students a full refund if they haven’t completed the course and request a refund within 30 days of purchase. Course extensions are not eligible for a refund. 

Center for Realtor Development

pass rates

As a school with courses endorsed by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the Center for Realtor Development has definitely earned its spot among the best online real estate schools in the US. They focus on providing niche market certifications and designations, making it a perfect choice for real estate agents that want to focus on a specific area of the real estate industry. 

As a school that is focused on real estate designations and certifications, CRD has a Learning Pathway category with resources designed to develop skills in specific niches. The areas discussed in the courses are Brokerage Management, Commercial Pro, Community Focus, Foundations, Global Pro, High-end Clients, Marketing Pro, Property Investment, Skill Advancement, Sustainability Pro, and Tech Pro.

Education Services Offered 


There are currently no pre-licensing courses offered through the Center for Realtor Development. 

Exam Prep 

There are currently no exam preps offered through the Center for Realtor Development. 

Continuing Education 

The Center for Realtor Development holds state-approved continuing education courses in 47 states. There are a variety of courses constantly listed on their website, each coming with a different number of CE hours and at a different cost depending on the number of hours. 

The continuing education courses go in-depth about industry-specific topics that are useful for agents and brokers to expand their knowledge of the real estate market in the state where they operate. 

Other areas covered

Besides the specialized continuing education courses, the Center for Realtor Development frequently holds podcasts and live webinars, and shares free book copies for students to expand their knowledge at every step of their career. 

What Are The Best Parts?

The Center For Career Development popularity can be mainly attributed to the support of the National Association of Realtors. Their courses are approved by the highest-ranking real estate institution, so students can be certain they are getting backed up, credible, and reliable study materials. 

drone neighborhoodWhat Are The Worst Parts? 

The biggest flaw of The Center For Career Development is that it doesn’t offer pre-licensing courses, so students can’t get their license through this school. In addition to this, not all courses and programs fulfill continuing education hours, so students should first check the number of hours each program brings before enrolling in it. 


  • Courses approved by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
  • Networking and events 
  • The most expansive career development tools 


  • No pre-licensing courses 
  • A small number of continuing education courses
  • Most courses require a NAR membership

Return Policy

Students can request a refund from the Center for Realtor Development within 30 days of purchase by paying a $15 processing fee. In addition to this, online courses shouldn’t be completed more than 50% to be eligible for a refund.

360 Training


360 Training is an online real estate school founded in 1997 and claims to have had over 4 million users worldwide to date. Besides real estate, they’ve expanded their brand and included OSHAcampus, Learn2Serve, AgentCampus, and Meditec, brands that provide licensing and training services in the food and beverage industry, safety, the insurance industry, and financial services.

Education Services Offered 


Pre-licensing courses offered by 360 Training are available in only 10 states. In every state, 360 Training gives students the option to choose between two types of pre-licensing packages or buy each course separately. The packages and courses offered along with their content are as follows: 

Basic Prelicense Package

This package only comes with the basics, so it is only recommended for students who already have a knowledge of the real estate industry. While it will give the mandatory prelicensing courses and another course on real estate math, it does not come with any content that will help you study or prepare for the licensing exam.

Premium Prelicense Package:

This package may be slightly more expensive, but it does include exam prep. That’s why it is recommended for students who don’t have a high level of real estate. They can study and practice as many times as needed before taking the final exam.

Individual Courses

360 Training offers the option to purchase the mandatory pre-licensing courses separately in each state. 

Exam Prep 

The exam prep by 360 Training is designed for both the Salesperson/Agent and Broker exams separately. Each exam prep program is designed to help students master the concepts that appear on the licensing exams and test their current knowledge on the subject areas. 

Broker License

There are currently no Broker Licensing options offered by 360 Training. 

Post-License Education

Some states require students to complete a set number of education hours before being eligible to renew their license for the first time. 360 Training provides post-licensing education services in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Washington. 

Continuing Education 

360 Training provides continuing education courses for both salespersons/agents and brokers in 32 states. The continuing education courses are formed depending on the state requirements, so they can either be offered as a package, individual courses, elective courses and varying courses for the first and subsequent renewal courses. 

Other areas covered

Aside from real estate, 360 Training provides licensing and continuing education services in the Food & Beverage and Environmental Health & Safety industries. Students can also receive training in other areas, including Insurance Pre-License, Insurance Continuing Education, NERC Continuing Education, Harassment Training, Industrial Skills, Power & Utilities, Trades & Engineering, HR Compliance, and Business Skills.

Ratings and Reviews 

360 Training has a lower rating than most other online schools. It also tends to get less reviews on AgentAdvice as it’s not as popular as other real estate courses.

While 360 Training started out as one of the biggest schools, it has changed over time. Now, when scrolling new reviews left, almost 25% of the reviewers are marking their courses with a terrible, 1-star rating. 

studying for licensing exam

What Are The Best Parts?

Although 360 Training is one of the most affordable real estate schools, students constantly praise the quality of the courses. While it may not be as interactive as other courses, the content of the courses has helped thousands of students pass the exam and obtain the license they are going after. 

What Are The Worst Parts?

One of the biggest flaws students have listed about studying with 360 Training is the one-dimensional delivery method. A lot of the students expected to have a more interactive course and found the PDFs difficult to go through, so 360 Training can work on improving the interactivity of their courses. 

360 Training Pros360 Training Cons
Affordable course pricesPre-licensing courses are available only in 10 states
24/7 customer support availableHeavily text-based courses
User-friendly platformShort refund eligibility period

Refund Policy 

A student can request a refund for the cost they paid for the courses only if: 

  • No more than 72 hours have passed since the purchase
  • The student hasn’t attempted any portion of the exam or the test
  • The request has been issued prior to the issuing of a certificate of completion
  • The student hasn’t completed more than 50% of the purchased course 
  • The course hasn’t expired 



Mbition’s history spans over 50 years, making it one of the longest-standing real estate schools in the states. Their goal is to provide students with premium content through their interactive and engaging content for all industries they cover so students can get their license and certification easier and faster. 

All Mbition courses are approved by ARELLO, IDECC, The Appraisal Foundation, and meet each state’s regulatory requirements. 

Education Services Offered 


Mbition’s pre-licensing courses are available in 25 states. Students can choose between three packages and individual courses to get their pre-licensing education in each state: Silver Solution, Gold Solution, and Platinum Solution. Here is what each course offers: 

Silver Solution

This is one of the cheapest packages you can buy, but it’s also the most basic. It is best for students who already have a familiarity with the real estate industry. It comes with the state-required prelicensing courses that you need, and MathMaster, a program that teaches real estate for each state.

Gold Solution

  • State-required pre-licensing courses
  • Real Estate Exam Prep that uses adaptive learning technology to create study materials for each student’s individual needs
  • Real Estate Exam Prep Toolkit with features that help students retain their knowledge
  • MathMaster, a program that teaches real estate math for each state

Platinum Solution

  • State-required pre-licensing courses
  • Real Estate Exam Prep that uses adaptive learning technology to create study materials for each student’s individual needs
  • Real Estate Exam Prep Toolkit with features that help students retain their knowledge
  • MathMaster, a program that teaches real estate math for each state
  • Real Estate Textbook to prepare agents for the real estate world

modern-roomExam Prep 

The Exam Prep has over 1,600 questions students can use to practice the exam with real-time reports, so students can track their progress and course advancement. By taking this Exam Prep, students can see which areas they’ve mastered and which areas they need to improve on, which will help them target areas where they need to improve. 

Post-license Education

Some states require new real estate agents to complete a set number of post-licensing courses within the 12 to 24 months after passing the exam to renew their license for the first time. Mbition offers post-license education in four of these states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.

Broker Pre-licensing

Those that want to advance their career with Mbition can purchase any of the Broker License courses in the eight states where these courses are available. At the moment, Mbition’s broker pre-licensing packages only include the state-required education hours.

Continuing Education 

Mbition holds continuing education courses for both Salespersons/Agents and Brokers in 44 states. The individual courses and packages offered all come with a different number of continuing education hours required to renew a license in a specific state. The continuing education courses can be taken individually, in a package, or combined with courses from different providers. 

Other areas covered

Aside from real estate, Mbition provides educational services in the Home Inspection and Appraisal industries. Students can get licensed, upgrade their license, and get continuing education in the Appraisal Industry, and licensed, exam prep, continuing education, and certifications for the Home Inspection industry. 

What Are The Best Parts?

Studying with Mbition gives students access to a whole library of books and resources to explore the real estate world. On the website, Mbition has a section with a bookstore, blog, webinars, and other content produces by professionals, so students can access this content to advance their careers. 

What Are The Worst Parts?

Some common complaints regarding Mbition’s courses were oriented towards the delivery method. The courses are focused on PDF materials without an in-person component, so it can be challenging for some students that prefer having an instructor to guide them through the material. 

Mbition ProsMbition Cons
Most affordable individual coursesStudy materials and test prep are an additional cost
A variety of course packages to choose fromNo live instructor help
MathMaster focuses on math and finance concepts No refund policy

Return Policy

Students have the right to cancel their registration within seven days of purchasing the course by paying a 15% cancellation fee. For refunds of courses, students need to send a request to Mbition. 

Final Thoughts 

While there isn’t a single school that can be the best choice for everyone, there is a real estate school fit for every student’s preferences. Each school has aspects that are their strong sides and some areas where they can improve on.

However, knowing what each school offers will help you make a better, more informed decision on which school is the best fit for you. Before you make a decision and purchase a course from a specific school, make sure you’ve researched all your options. 

Advice from the Pros:

Here’s what licensed real estate agents say about the licensing process

Ryan Renner HeadshotRyan Renner
Realtor in Omaha, NE
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – The Good Life Group

“If you want to pass your real estate exam, you have to study. There are no shortcuts. The best tool I used to study is Anki. It’s an intelligent flash card app that is used by a lot of medical students to remember complex concepts. This app (available on computer and smart phones) will help you study more effectively.”



benji cohn headshotBenji Cohn
Realtor in Milwaukee, WI
Falk Ruvin Gallagher Team

“Take Notes! As you take the class, write down key facts, terms and definitions. You’ll want to review these before the exam. And it helps you retain the information.

Breakdown the transaction into steps and picture the actual people and steps happening. When you take it out of theory and make it a real situation, it helps you relate to the steps and your role.
Use the practice exam to identify your weaknesses. Go back and address them before your exam. Connect with a fellow agent and talk through the areas you’ve identified as your potential stumbling blocks.

Relax! If you have studied, prepped and practiced you should go in with the confidence of a seasoned agent.”



Jeff-House-headshotJeff House
Realtor in Dayton, Ohio
Keller Williams Ohio Valley Region

“I used several methods to prepare for my real estate exam…

Most offices offer exam prep and review classes that are led by your broker and experienced agents. Ours did, they were free – offered in person and by ZOOM and very helpful.

I also made flash cards for the plethora of terms and formulas. Keeping those cards with me and scrolling through them over and over really helped solidify the terms in my brain.

Easily the #1 most helpful resource for my exam prep was the “CompuCram” I purchased as part of my licensing course.

This computer based test review is intuitive. I took multiple practice final exams over and over for 6-8 days prior to the exam, probably 8-9 exams. Each time I took one of the practice exams, the CompuCram “learned” what areas I missed the most questions in and then focused on those areas the next time I took a practice exam.

So… the more practice exams I took, the more targeted the exams became towards my areas of weakness.

That was it! The final seemed easy and I felt super prepared.”



Chris Heller Headshot


This information was reviewed and approved by Chris Heller in March 2021. 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.


woman studying on computerReal estate is one of the best investments a person can make. Properties almost always go up in value and people that get in on the ground floor can make considerable profits over time.

You can cash in on real estate by becoming an investor, but another great option is to become a realtor. Realtor careers offer flexibility and the chance to build considerable wealth. It is also a position almost anyone can qualify for. However, there are some steps you must take to become licensed.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

Realtor, real estate agent. Most people use these phrases interchangeably. But there is a difference. Let’s review both positions.

Real Estate Agent: Anyone who holds a real estate license is considered to be a real estate agent.

To obtain a license, you must take a set number of classes to complete a course. You must then pass an exam that tests you on national, state and local real estate practices, standards and laws. You also need to complete about 180 hours of pre-licensing coursework (the number of hours will vary by state).

Once these requirements are met, you will need to pay a licensing fee to get your license. The license must be renewed every 1-2 years and you must show proof of continuing education courses when renewing.

real estate agent taking call from a clientRealtor: A realtor is basically a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors. Joining the organization will benefit agents as it has strong bargaining power with state and federal governments. It offers members better legal protection and other advantages.

Because the NAR has an excellent reputation, agents that join will look more impressive to clients and have a leg up on non-realtor competitors when it comes to growing their business.

How Do I Become a Realtor?

If becoming a realtor sounds good to you, here’s what you will need to do to join.

Eligibility: To be eligible to join you must qualify as follows:

  • You will need a valid real estate license.
  • You will need to show that you are actively engaged in real estate.
  • You will need to prove that you have a clean record with no official sanctions showing unprofessional conduct.
  • Your credit record must be clear of recent and pending bankruptcies.
  • If you are part of a real estate firm, your principal must be a member. If your principal is not a member, neither you, nor any other employees, can join.

If you meet these requirements, go to the NAR membership page and follow the steps to apply. If your application is approved, you will need to pay an annual membership fee of $120 as well as some prorated dues.

Real estate agents do not need to become realtors to be successful, but becoming a member has several perks. In addition to legal protection and an impressive looking resume, it provides informative newsletters to members as well as networking opportunities. Will you be taking this step to boost your career?

Perspective from a real estate pro:

David Zeff HeadshotDavid Zeff
Realtor in Gaithersburg, Maryland
RE/MAX Realty Group

“I think that some of the things that helped me to pass the exam on the first try were to take my real estate courses online. By taking the course online, it allowed me to do the course at my own pace to ensure I was able to absorb the information easier and also revisit certain topics as needed.

Another key was to purchase a couple of practice test books. My local board of REALTORS as well as sites like Amazon have practice test books specific to my state which allows me to practice the tests, get familiar with some of the test content, and get familiar with the test format.

One other key factor was that I had a mentor when getting into the business. Having a mentor was critical because he was present in case I needed help with my coursework and since he had many years of experience, he helped me to dissect the questions on the practice test allowing me to better prepare for the exam.”

Real estate is all about the hustle! The more hours you put in, the more money you make. The more clients you have, the more money you make. There are a lot of different factors that can determine an agent’s annual income, including the number of licensed realtors in your area. Check out the average income for agents in your state:

chart (1)

StateAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Wage
District of Columbia$30.97$64,420
New Hampshire$25.22$52,450
New Jersey$33.49$69,660
New Mexico$28.30$58,870
New York$49.13$102,200
North Carolina$25.38$52,800
North Dakota$31.86$66,270
Puerto Rico$27.40$57,000
Rhode Island$32.22$67,020
South Carolina$21.90$45,550
South Dakota$27.51$57,110
Virgin Islands$15.76$32,770
West Virginia$31.87$66,280

neighborhood with house for saleHow much time it will take you to acquire a real estate license in the USA depends on yourself and your state’s education requirements. The sooner you pass the pre-licensing coursework, do the background check, and pass the licensing examination, the sooner you’ll be selling homes!

Depending on the state, pre-licensing courses can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to complete if you’re dedicated to the courses full time. Scheduling and passing the exam can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. So, all in all, the entire process from starting the course to obtaining your license can take from 3 weeks to 12 weeks to complete.  If you’ve identified which state you want to get licensed in, feel free to select it from the menu above to get more specific guidance. 

StateRequired hours# of coursesAllow online?Price ranges
New Hampshire401Yes (broker only)$300-$399+
New Jersey751No$279-$369+
New Mexico901Portions can be done online$384-$809+
New York751Yes$216-$509+
North Carolina 751No$249-$749+
North Dakota451Yes$489-$995+
Ohio 1204Yes$999+
Pennsylvania 751Yes$223-$629+
Rhode Island451No$174-$300+
South Carolina902No$299-$570
South Dakota1161Portions can be done online$999+
Tennessee 902Yes$188-$629+
Vermont401Portions can be done online$174-$510+
Virginia 601Yes$118-$548+
Washington 902Yes$216-$405+
West Virginia901Yes$550-$625+
Wyoming542Portions can be taken online$349-$695+

moneyAs a real estate agent, don’t expect to get a regular salary. Most agents are paid on commission meaning they earn a percentage off of every sale they make.

This leaves some room for uncertainty. Agents never know how many homes they will sell or how much the homes will go for in advance. Therefore, it’s difficult for them to predict what their real estate agent salary will be.

While we can’t tell you how much you’ll be making, we can provide you with information on how a real estate commission works. This will give you some insight on what you can expect to earn on the homes you sell.

How Much of a Commission Can I Expect?

As a real estate agent, you may be able to negotiate the amount of commission you get. You will start out with a certain commission rate, but as you gain experience, you may earn leverage that will help you negotiate for a higher commission.

In any case, let’s say your commission rate is 6%. This is the typical rate for most new agents.

house pictureYou sell a house for $500,000. That leaves you with a $30,000 commission…but not so fast.

That commission has to split between you and the buying agent leaving you with $15,000 each. (If you are lucky enough to represent both the buyer and the seller, you can keep the full commission).

Think you’re done now? Hang on because 40% of that has to go to the broker. So now you’re left with $9000.

Don’t forget that you will still have to pay independent contractor taxes to on that income when April rolls around.

How Much Will My Real Estate Salary Be?

Dividing up a good amount of your commission can be frustrating, but most real estate agents manage to do pretty well for themselves, especially if they build up some experience. Joining the National Association of Realtors can also boost your reputation and help you bring in more clients.

As a realtor, here’s an estimation of what you can expect to make.

  • A realtor’s median annual income is $49,700.
  • Realtors with 16 years of experience or more make an average of $68,500 a year.
  • 27% of realtors make $100,000 or more annually.

Additionally, real estate agent salaries are on a trajectory to increase. A recent survey showed that brokers and agents saw a rise in salaries from 2018 to 2019. 65% of agents and 78% of brokers brought in more money in 2019 than they did in 2018.

Consider the Number of Sales You Make

While a decent commission rate will help you bring in more money, it won’t mean anything if you aren’t making sales.

It’s impossible to predict how many sales you will make each year, but the market you are working in will be a pretty good indication.joining NAR

For instance, if you work in a big city, there will be a lot of demand for housing making for an active market. On the other hand, there will also be stiff competition.

If you work in a quiet town, you may not have as many clients coming through, but without a lot of competition in the area, the people that are looking to buy and sell will be more likely to call you first.

Overall, real estate agents tend to make more money in metropolitan areas. This is in part, due to the increased demand for housing. However, properties in these locations also tend to be more expensive. Therefore, they will yield higher commissions when they sell.

How Can I Earn More as a Real Estate Agent?

As a real estate agent, you have the potential to make a substantial amount of money. But you need to work hard to do it. Here are some tips that will help you increase your real estate agent salary.

Supplement Your Income

Agents can earn extra money by working in other capacities within the industry. Here are some income sources that will be ideal supplements:

  • Market evaluations
  • Writing contracts
  • Property management
  • Providing BPO’s
  • Property inspections

Not only will these options help you bring in extra income, they will also provide you with more real estate insight allowing you to become an expert in your field.

Branch Out

As an agent, it’s a good idea to broaden your horizons. For instance, if you specialize in residential real estate, you might also consider branching out into commercial real estate, relocation and property management. This will provide you with more money-making opportunities.

Earn a Degree

Once you become an agent, you may choose to continue your education by earning a bachelor’s degree in a related industry like business, sales or marketing. This will provide you with the background you need to help you succeed and it will also look impressive to clients.

Studies show that agents with a bachelor’s degree or higher earned 5% more money than those without degrees.

real estate commission imageContinue Your Education

Continuing education doesn’t have to be limited to earning a degree. You can also take courses which may include online classes, workshops and resources offered through your agency.

These courses can provide you with a strong background that will make you more successful in your field and you can also earn certifications that allow you to work in specific niches. They will increase your expertise while providing more options for bringing in income.

Study with a Mentor

A mentor can offer you advice that can help you become an expert in your industry and provide direction if you are looking to branch out into a related niche. If you study with someone well known, you can add them to your resume to make yourself look more impressive.

Real estate agents may be drifting into unknown territory when it comes to salaries. The tips in this article offers guidance in terms of what you can expect. Here’s hoping that your career is both financially and mentally gratifying.

money and calculator imageThe exact cost of getting a Real Estate Agent License in the US will depend on your state, but in general, you will incur with the following costs:

  • The pre-licensing course will cost anywhere between $150 and $1,500 depending on the provider you select and the number of course hours your state requires.
  • The exam fee itself varies from state to state but is usually less than $50 
  • Background check and fingerprint scan cost around $100 in total
  • Errors and Omissions Insurance is about $600, but it’s mandatory only in 13 states: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
  • The cost of submitting your Real Estate application is generally around $25

All in all, the fees for obtaining a Real Estate License in the USA are anywhere between $250 – $1,600, but in some cases, it can be higher due to the Errors and Omissions Insurance explained above. 

There 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 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.

man studying for licensing examTo become eligible to take the real estate licensing exam in the USA, first, you must complete a  pre-licensing course. Every state has specific requirements about the format of the course and the minimum number of hours required before you can schedule an exam. 

After completing the pre-licensing course, the next step is applying for the exam. Before you take the exam, note that some states require you to complete a fingerprint scan and pass a background check. The exam generally contains 2 parts – the national portion and the state portion – and you must pass both to receive a license. If you fail either portion, most states allow you to retake only that part within a specified period. Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideOnce you’ve passed both parts of the exam, you should then submit your application for a real estate agent license. 

After you’ve completed all these steps and earned your license, you will need a supporting broker to “sponsor” you while you’re learning.  If you don’t, most states allow you to apply for an inactive one and activate it once you’ve found a supporting broker.

Generally, yes! Many states allow you to take your real estate class online. An increasing number of people choose this type of studying as it’s more time-efficient, allows students to organize their time more efficiently, and lets them study at their own pace.

As a reminder, all real estate courses taken must be approved by the relevant state – so be sure to check the state-specific page on this site before buying your course. 

In most states, the licensing test itself has multiple-choice questions divided into two portions:

  1. The National Real Estate portion tests you on general real estate principles and practices.
  2. The State portion has questions related to the specific real estate regulations in the state where you’re applying for a license. 

All questions on the exam are specifically designed to test your understanding and knowledge in two areas: general knowledge about real estate and the ability to apply fundamental principles of real estate laws to solve new or existing problems.

Again, this depends on the state.  In general, to be eligible to apply to take the state real estate exam, first, you have to complete a state-approved pre-licensing course, which can also be taken online in many states. After finishing this course, you can apply to take the test in an officially approved location.

In most states, even if you don’t have a sponsoring broker, you can still take the licensing exam. However, in order for your license to be officially active, you have to work under a sponsoring broker. If you don’t have one after passing the exam, some states allow you to apply for an inactive license, but even so, you can’t practice as an agent until you get sponsored.

This one varies widely by state – so find your relevant state through the menu above to be sure.

Most states require you to apply for and pick up your real estate license within a year of passing the exam. If this period expires, you will have to retake the exam all over again. 

woman working in coffee shopIf you don’t get a passing score, your score report will indicate your results along with reapplication instructions. Most states will give you more than one try – so don’t stress out.

If you want to retake the exam, you will need to schedule another appointment. Do note that failing one portion (national or state-specific) of the exam doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed the whole exam. Most states allow you to retake only the piece you’ve been unable to pass within a specified period after failing.

In most states, if you fail the real estate license exam three times in 1 year, you need to take additional education hours. Most states require an additional 20 to 40 hours of education for every failed portion. After you’ve completed the additional courses, you can then apply to retake the exam.

Licensed individuals working under a sponsored broker have an active license, which means they can engage in real estate brokerage activities, while an inactive real estate license means the opposite. The person doesn’t have a sponsoring broker, and because of that, is not eligible to engage in any type of real estate brokerage activities. 

The simplest and fastest way is to research brokerages in your city and contact them via email or phone. Schedule a meeting with a broker, offer them your services and discuss their requirements as a sponsoring broker and if they would be willing to take you under their wing. Read more about how to pick a sponsoring broker that is right for you. 

NOTE: A sponsor at your brokerage may be different than a sponsoring broker

Every state has different regulations about obtaining and maintaining a Real Estate license. In other words, there is no such thing as a general US Real Estate license.  

However, some states have what is called reciprocity between them. Reciprocity means that obtaining a Real Estate License in one state will make the same license valid in another state. In most cases, the reciprocity allows the Real Estate Agent to skip through all the pre-licensing work and take only the state-specific portion of the exam. The process varies by state, but in many states, you simply need to complete a reciprocal license application with the state in which you are seeking your license.

You should check for your state’s real estate license reciprocity policy if you’re moving from one state to another – it may save you having to start entirely from scratch in your education and testing requirements. These details are included on the state specific page on this website.

US map

Generally, real estate agents in the US are required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours, which vary from one state to another. Most states have requirements about the number of hours you need to complete and which topics and areas the continuing education courses have to cover. 

zillow-flex-main photoEvery state has specific rules about how long a Real Estate License lasts and how to maintain it, but usually, the period is between 2 to 4 years. During this period, the licensed agent is required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours and provide proof for it to the real estate regulatory board to maintain their Real Estate License active. 

To be able to participate in real estate transactions, a license is mandatory. But to obtain one, you must prove your knowledge, professionalism, and expertise in different fields.

We hope these questions will help you on your journey of becoming a licensed real estate agent. If you want to find out more about becoming a real estate agent in some of the states, check out our state-specific real estate licensing articles.

woman taking notes during real estate courseIn short – sometimes.

In most states, pre-licensing education to get a real estate license costs between $100-$1000.  Real estate courses take a lot of time and energy to develop, which is why free real estate courses are few and far between. These companies need to pay their staff to keep the courses updated with the latest and greatest information, stay up to date with legal requirements at the state level, etc.

There are some free online real estate course options available though.

Free continuing education courses: (for once you’ve already received your license) is sometimes free through title companies, brokerages etc.  It’s rare for real estate licensing education courses to be free though, because the content is longer, and takes much more time to create a strong course.

Free online real estate courses: has a limited availability program that provides free online real estate courses to students in some cities. Real estate brokerages are often looking to hire agents, and are willing to pay recruiters to help get new talent in the door. Because staffing up their team is important to brokerages, these brokerages are sometimes willing to foot the bill for real estate school for the right candidate. If you’re interested in learning more about this program, please reach out to our team via our About page.

They are similar, but technically there is no such thing as a realtor license.  More info here.