how to become a pa real estate agent

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on pa real estate cost . Read on to learn more.We at collegelearners .com have all the information that you need about how to become a real estate agent. Read on to learn more.

Benefits of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

A career in real estate is desirable on many levels. As a real estate agent, you have the potential to:

  • Work for yourself
  • Set your own schedule
  • Choose from a variety of real estate types to specialize in
  • Help shape the future of your community

Unlike many other career fields, real estate offers multiple areas of practice that people can choose to work in. As a real estate agent, you could specialize in:

  • Residential Brokerage
  • Commercial Brokerage
  • Industrial and Office Brokerage
  • Farm and Land Brokerage
  • Real Estate Appraising
  • Property Management
  • Land Development
  • Urban Planning
  • Real Estate Research
  • Real Estate Counseling

Look into your options and decide what appeals to you the most!

Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker

While both career paths are very similar, there are a few main differences between real estate agents and real estate brokers.

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who can help people buy, sell, or rent all sorts of housing and real estate.

Once someone passes their real estate exam, they officially become a real estate agent. They can then work at a brokerage where they will work with home buyers, sellers, and renters.

A real estate broker is someone who has practiced as a real estate agent for a number of years, met all the specific qualifications, and then has passed a broker’s license exam.

One of the main differences is that real estate agents need to have a broker to sponsor them when applying for their license. That means real estate agents cannot work completely independently but instead need to be employed by a licensed broker to represent clients.

Brokers also have knowledge about real estate legal issues and how the law applies to operate a brokerage, real estate investments, construction, and property management.

There is also a difference in pay. Real estate agents don’t receive the commission on a sale directly. Commission fees are sent to the broker. The broker is then tasked with handling the funds and making sure the agent gets their share of the commission.

How to get a real estate license in PA with 8 Steps:

  1. Check qualifications
  2. Take the required Pennsylvania real estate pre-license courses
  3. Apply Online for the Licensing Exam
  4. Study for the Licensing Exam
  5. Get fingerprints and a background check
  6. Take the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam
  7. Find a Real Estate Broker to be Your Sponsor
  8. Apply for Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License

Step 1 — Check qualifications

In order to qualify to be a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident alien

If you do not meet all of these requirements, unfortunately, you are ineligible to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania. If all of these apply to you, then you can continue on your journey to becoming licensed!

Step 2 — Take the required schooling for real estate agents and the Pennsylvania real estate pre-license courses

You don’t need to have a college degree or any sort of specific education background (besides high school diploma or equivalent) to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania.

But, the law does require you to take some real estate pre-license courses. You have to take and complete 2 courses that total 75 hours of coursework. The two courses include:

  • Real Estate Fundamentals (30 hours)
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)

You must complete and pass both of these courses to be able to apply to take your Pennsylvania real estate license exam.

Luckily, there are now convenient online options like Aceable that make your real estate license course a breeze. You can complete it on your own time and go at your own pace. There’s no traveling to a classroom. Instead, you’re learning from the comfort of your own home!

Some typical topics covered in the pre-license courses include:

  • The real estate laws of Pennsylvania
  • Real estate appraisal
  • Real estate finance
  • Human resources
  • Business law
  • Business economics
  • Financial management

These topics will all be on your final licensing exam, so make sure to pay attention to your material!

Step 3 — Apply Online for the Licensing Exam

The exam is administered by PSI, which is a private testing company. To apply and register for the exam, you need to provide PSI with a certificate of completion from your pre-licensure courses.

You will make an appointment to take the exam, which can be scheduled as soon as a week in advance.

Step 4 — Study for the Licensing Exam

While you are waiting for your application to go through and your exam date to come, it’s time to hit the books!

While your pre-licensing coursework will have covered most of the material you will need to know for the exam, it is highly recommended that you refresh your memory and study your coursework so you can pass the exam.

One of the best things you can do to productively study is to take practice tests. Practice tests are scientifically proven to be the most effective way to help you pass an exam.

Step 5 — Get Fingerprints and a Background Check

Before your license can be issued, the Real Estate Commission requires you to complete a background check by the Pennsylvania State Police. You can go to the PATCH website to get a Pennsylvania background check online or from the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.

There will be a fee for the background check, and the results only stay up-to-date for three months.

If you do have a criminal record, in Pennsylvania or anywhere else, you should be aware that the Real Estate Commission may not grant you a license even after you have paid the fees and passed the exam. The commission licenses people on a case-by-case basis and takes many different factors into consideration.

Step 6 — Take the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam

Unlike your real estate courses, you do have to show up in person for the exam. The State exam must be taken at a PSI Testing Center.

There are testing centers in:

  • Allentown
  • Bristol
  • Cranberry Township
  • Erie
  • Greensburg
  • Harrisburg
  • King of Prussia
  • Philadelphia (Bala Cynwyd)
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Clarks Summit

The exam consists of a National portion and a State portion. You must answer at least 60 out of 80 questions on the National portion and 23 out of 30 questions correctly in order to pass.

Step 7 — Find a Real Estate Broker to be Your Sponsor

In order to practice real estate in Pennsylvania, you need the sponsorship of a licensed real estate broker.

Although a broker isn’t your technically your boss, they will have an impact on your career and income.

Take time to research your options and interview each broker until you find the right fit. Once you found a broker you want to work with you’ll need to submit a salesperson broker sponsorship form.

Step 8 — Apply for Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License!

The Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS) is an online portal that will walk you through the process of applying for your real estate license. You will need to create an account, submit all the necessary documentation, and wait to be approved.

You will have to submit your Salesperson License Application by mail, with the help of your sponsoring broker. Once your application is received and approved, your license will be mailed to your sponsoring broker.

Did you pass your test? If you have a sponsoring broker your license is now active and you are a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania

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Last Updated: May 11, 2021 Approved


  1. 1Be sure that you meet the qualifying age, 18. An applicant for a real estate salesperson license must be 18 years of age.
  2. 2Get the Required Pre-License Education. Before you can sit for the PA state licensing exam (Through the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission testing vendor, PSI), you must…
    • Complete 60 hours of approved instruction in Real Estate Fundamentals (30 hours) and Real Estate Practices (30 hours).
    • Pass a proctored final examination.
      • In order to successfully complete a prelicense course, students must take and score a minimum of 80% on a proctored final examination administered in an educational facility by an approved instructor employed at the educational facility.
      • You are given a maximum of three attempts to pass the final examination. If you do not pass after the third attempt, you will be required to retake the course.
  3. 3Register for the State Examination: After completing your required pre-licensing education, you must…
    • Submit a completed Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Examination Registration Form contained in the Candidate Information Bulletin provided by PSI.[1]
    • Submit the appropriate application fee referenced in the Candidate Information Bulletin.
    • Submit proof of your completed Pennsylvania Real Estate Education qualifications with your registration form.
  4. 4Schedule the Exam. After your request has been processed, you will receive an email confirming approval at which time you can schedule an exam.
  5. 5Get a Broker Affiliation. Before you submit your application for licensure to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission, you will need to have an “employing broker”. For a number of reasons, it is important to research potential brokers in your area. The employing broker is responsible for ensuring that you meet and maintain the requirements for a Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson License.
  6. 6Apply for Licensure. After you’ve successfully fulfilled your education requirements, completed your proctored exam, passed your state exam and obtained an employing broker, you may submit the following paperwork to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission:[2]
    • Completed Salesperson Initial License Application signed by broker and applicant
    • Education Transcripts
    • PSI examination score reports
    • Criminal background check
    • Check or money order
    • Certification of licensure (If applicable)
    • Criminal conviction and/or disciplinary documentation (If applicable

Community Q&A

  • QuestionHow much does it cost to take the exam and be licensed in PA?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerThe license fee for a real estate salesperson in Pennsylvania, for applications submitted between June 1 of an even-numbered year through May 31 of an odd-numbered year, is $131.00, plus $10.00 for the Recovery Fund Fee (unless previously paid). The license fee for a salesperson for applications submitted between June 1 of an odd-numbered year through May 31 of an even-numbered year is $83.00 plus the $10.00 Recovery Fund Fee. The fees are non-refundable.Not Helpful 4Helpful 17
  • QuestionHow long after completing the required hours of education do I have to take the real estate license exam?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerAfter your request has been processed, you will receive an email confirming approval, at which time you can schedule an exam.Not Helpful 32Helpful 12
  • QuestionIf I have a prison record from 30 years ago. Can I still have a real estate license and career?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerNo, you are not allowed to have been in prison to apply to be a real estate agent.Not Helpful 16Helpful 5
  • QuestionDoes a real estate license ever expire?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerYes. If you don’t renew your license on time, you can renew it during the two year late renewal period, but you cannot conduct business without an up-to-date license.Not Helpful 0Helpful 0
  • QuestionCan a felon get a real estate license?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerIt depends on what the felony is, but there is no general bar against a felon. The Real Estate Commission states the following: If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or plead guilty or nolo contendere, your application may be delayed and/or denied for licensure.Not Helpful 0Helpful 0

Ask a QuestionSubmit



  • Make sure that the real estate school and courses you choose are approved for the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania will issue a reciprocal license to real estate agents from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and West Virginia.
  • Many people benefit from taking real estate test prep courses along with the required education.
  • When in doubt, contact the state board at (717) 783-3658 or email [email protected]


  • The steps set forth here can be used as a guide and were accurate at the time they were published but are always subject to change.
  • As of 3/25/2014 the initial real estate license fee is $107.00
  • The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires that the Final Exams for this course be Proctored. Generally, public libraries do not charge to proctor exams, while most universities, colleges and learning centers will charge anywhere from $5 – $50.

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About This Article

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 17 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 221,434 times.330 votes – 95%Co-authors: 17Updated: May 11, 2021Views: 221,434Categories: Real Estate CareersIn other languagesEspañol:convertirse en un agente de bienes raíces en PennsylvaniaРусский:стать агентом по продаже недвижимости в Пенсильвании

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 221,434 times.

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Co-authors:17Updated:May 11, 2021Views: 221,43495% of readers found this article helpful.330 votes – 95%Click a star to add your voteMimi Johnson

Mimi Johnson

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