With all the stunning properties across Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Harrisburg, it’s easy to imagine a real estate career in Pennsylvania. Becoming a real estate agent in PA is a relatively easy process, and we’ve broken down each step to make it easier for you.
Read our guide on how to get a real estate license in PA and you’ll be selling homes in the Keystone State in no time. First, we’ll make sure you’re eligible, then we’ll dive into the five steps you’ll need to take.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in PA
How to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania
Complete a 75-hour Prelicensing Course
Pass the PA Real Estate License Exam
Join a PA Real Estate Brokerage
Submit to a Background Check
Apply for Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License
To be eligible for a Pennsylvania real estate license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
- Pass a background check
Now, let’s break down each step to get you on your way.
1. Complete a 75-hour Prelicensing Course
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires prospective real estate agents to complete a 75-hour prelicensing course, which covers 30 hours of real estate license fundamentals and 45 hours of a real estate license practice course. You will have to pass a course test before you’re allowed to take the state licensing exam.
If you’re looking for a real estate school in PA, we recommend The CE Shop. The company offers a free trial of their Pennsylvania prelicensing course so you can test out its online platform before you buy.
You can save 35% on your online Pennsylvania real estate classes with The CE Shop when you use the promo code TheClose35 at checkout.
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2. Pass the PA Real Estate License Exam
Time to Complete:
120 multiple-choice questions
What to Bring:
2 forms of valid ID
75% for both national and state
After you take your classes and pass your course exam, it’s time to move on to state testing. The Pennsylvania real estate license exam is taken on a computer and consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. You’ll have 3.5 hours to complete the license exam: 2.5 hours to complete the national portion and one hour to complete the state portion. To pass, you’ll need to get 75% correct in both sections.
You have five years to take your license exam from the time you complete your prelicensing course. After those five years have passed, you’ll need to retake the prelicensing course.
Pearson VUE administers the Pennsylvania real estate license exam. You can schedule your exam online or by phone at 833-551-0235. You’ll need to fill out an application and include payment of the $49 license exam fee.
Make sure you bring two pieces of valid ID. One of the pieces of ID will need to have your photo and a signature. You may bring a non-programmable calculator to the exam for the real estate math portion.
Here’s a list of testing center locations:
- State College
3. Join a PA Real Estate Brokerage
In Pennsylvania, prospective agents must have an employing broker in order to be involved in real estate transactions. This broker is essentially agreeing to take on your training and support as you embark on your real estate career.
It’s essential that you have this lined up before you apply for your license. The commonwealth will require your employing broker to approve your application in the Pennsylvania online application portal.
If you want to learn more about what to consider when choosing a brokerage to affiliate with, check out our section on compensation below.
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4. Submit to a Background Check
Before you can apply for your license, you’ll need to obtain a recent Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police. And if you’ve lived or worked outside Pennsylvania during the past five years, you’ll need to provide a CHRC from each state where you were a resident as well as an FBI Identity History Summary Check. The reports must be less than 180 days old at the time of submission.
5. Apply for Your PA Real Estate License
To become a real estate agent in PA, you’ll need to create an account with the Pennsylvania Licensing System, or PALS. You’ll save all the information pertaining to your application in this account, which you can access whenever you need. Here’s what you’ll need for your application:
- Criminal history record information
- National real estate exam results
- Pennsylvania real estate exam results
- Letter of good standing (if applying for a reciprocal license)
- Sponsoring broker information
After you’ve uploaded the required documents and submitted your information, click on Send to Broker and your employing broker will be able to review and approve your application.
After your application is approved by your employing broker and the commission (which usually takes a week), you should receive a copy of your license within seven to 10 business days.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in PA?
Pennsylvania Real Estate Governing Body:
Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
Price Range for Real Estate Licensing Courses:
Estimated Total Costs:
It will cost anywhere from $600 to $900 to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania. The costs include your required prelicensing course, as well as the license exam fee and other fees. In general, this doesn’t include extras like exam preparation tools.
Sample Pennsylvania Real Estate License Costs
|Prelicensing classes (75 hours)|
(Pennsylvania real estate license costs as of September 2023)
How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make in PA?
It all depends on the number of deals and commission splits, but according to The Close’s salary information database, the average real estate agent in Pennsylvania makes $65,949.
Whether you decide to commit yourself full time or part time to your new career, here are some important things to know about compensation as you begin your search for a brokerage partner.
- Split: This is how the company you work under will divide commissions between you and your broker. For example, a 50-50 split means that the brokerage and salesperson share the commission evenly. Some may offer you a larger share.
- Desk fee: Some brokerages may charge a monthly fee for access to equipment and support. If you are required to pay a desk fee, you might keep a larger share of your commissions via a better split. But the desk fee is collected whether you’ve closed a sale or not.
- Cap: Some brokerages might offer a cap, meaning once you bring in a certain amount, you’ll get to keep all of your commission.
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Pennsylvania Real Estate License FAQs
Can I complete my PA real estate education requirements online?
Yes, you can complete your education requirements online as long as it’s with a real estate education provider certified in Pennsylvania.
How long does it take to get a real estate license in PA?
We hate to say it depends, but it depends. It really comes down to how quickly you can knock out those 75 hours of prelicensing education and pass your course exam. If you’re taking classes and studying full time, you could probably do it in a couple of weeks. And then it takes a few more weeks to get your background check, line up an employing broker, and submit your application. All in all, at the absolute fastest pace, it should take about two months.
What if I fail the PA real estate exam?
You can always retake the real estate exam, and many people do. Test-takers who fail one section of the exam will only need to retake that portion. However, you’ll have to pay $49 for each retake. If you’re concerned, consider taking your prelicensing education with The CE Shop, which offers a Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. The school will cover the costs of retaking the exam if you don’t pass the first time.
What if I have a license in another state?
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission has reciprocal agreements with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, and Massachusetts. If you are already licensed in one of these states, you cannot apply until you have an employing broker with a valid Pennsylvania real estate license. You’ll also need to undergo a background check in your current state and every state in which you’ve lived and worked for the past five years.
Related article: Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability: A State-by-State Guide
Are there post-licensing requirements in PA?
Some states require newly licensed agents to undergo additional training within their first year or two, but Pennsylvania does not. However, the commonwealth does require 14 hours of continuing education every two years. Seven of those hours must be a general module, but agents can choose between a commercial and residential focus for the second seven-hour set.
How can I upgrade my PA real estate license?
Real estate agents can apply for a broker’s license after meeting these requirements:
- Three years of real estate experience
- 14 hours of continuing education
- Payment of a broker licensing fee
- Passing two broker-specific exams
Bringing It All Together
We hope our step-by-step guide to getting your Pennsylvania real estate license has you excited to start your new real estate journey. At The Close, we’re committed to providing actionable strategies for every stage of your career.
Have you gotten your real estate license in Pennsylvania? Any tips? Thinking of getting one but still have questions? Leave us a comment below!