How Many Years Of College To Be A Real Estate Agent

Definition of "How many years of college to be a real estate agent"

Susan  Maddaleno real estate agent

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Susan Maddalenoelite badge icon

Keller Williams Realty Elite

Becoming a real estate agent requires the aspiring agent to be enrolled in education and receive licensing. The amount of time spent learning varies depending on the type of education and the student’s individual pace of learning. What education is required to be a real estate agent can depend on state jurisdiction and the aspiring agent's needs and schedule. It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to complete years of education required for a bachelor's degree in real estate. Getting a license for real estate transactions can also be achieved through courses of shorter duration. However, the jurisdiction regulating what kinds of transactions an agent can and can’t do varies from state to state. Also, the difference between commercial and residential real estate might call for different levels of knowledge and licensing. A general overview of education for becoming a real estate agent typically looks like this.

Duration of real estate school

Anyone holding a high school diploma or equivalent can apply to complete further studies to become a real estate agent.

  • Pre-licensing courses. Depending on state jurisdiction and the educational institution, a course to become a real estate agent can have a variable length extending to a few months. Usually, courses last 4 to 6 months, and during this time, a certain number of hours have to be completed. This can range from 60 to 160, with the occasional possibility of online and evening classes. However, enrolling in an institution of higher education takes longer to complete. Getting a bachelor’s in real estate requires four years of study.  
  • Licensing exam. After the completion of the required courses, the licensing exam follows. A period of individual preparation usually precedes the exam for reviewing the materials learned. The exam itself takes only a couple of hours. 
  • Background check and processing of the applications. Most states require a background check as a final step before acquiring licensing. This is to ensure that the applicant fits the character requirements for the field. 
  • Post-licensing. Usually, continuing education is expected of agents from time to time in order to keep their licenses. Laws can change frequently, and post-licensing education is meant to fill in the gap. It usually involves completing a few hours of extra courses to refresh and update the knowledge.

Licenses and the sphere of action of real estate agents

There are two main kinds of specializations in real estate: residential and commercial. It’s a frequently asked question whether an agent can do both commercial and residential real estate. The question arises from the fact that there are many differences between those two types of real estate and the transactions linked to them. In some states, acquiring commercial and residential real estate licenses require different kinds of education. This can involve taking different courses and completing an exam with different content. Local laws and regulations can also create differences in residential and commercial real estate licenses. 


The specifics of the commercial real estate market are often more complex due to local regulations. However, in most states, residential real estate agents are allowed to do transactions with commercial properties, too. More so, a real estate agent can change their specializations anytime. If they have the required knowledge to handle the more complex commercial transactions, theoretically a residential agent can sell commercial property. It’s important to do individual research for the specific state of interest, because the jurisdiction can vary from state to state.

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