Becoming a real estate agent in Texas can be a smart career move. But pursuing a license can take time, money, and patience. We have researched the subject in-depth to provide a detailed explanation of every step you must take to become a real estate agent in the state of Texas.
To become a real estate agent in Texas, you must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Be a citizen or lawfully admitted alien of the United States
- Find a qualifying education provider for real estate education
- Take the appropriate educational courses
- File your application and pay a fee
- Get your fingerprints taken
- Pass a background check
- Take the licensing exam and pay a fee
- Find a sponsor to begin working as a real estate agent
- Return to school and apply for licensure to become a broker, if desired
Before you get started, read on to find out more about the educational requirements, licensing procedures, and other details vital to becoming a Texas real estate agent.
What Type of Education Is Required to Become a Real Estate Agent?
In Texas, there are two primary types of real estate licenses available. You can become a real estate sales agent or broker. The first step is becoming a real estate sales agent, but both require special education and preparation.
Education for Real Estate Sales Agents
Real estate sales agents must complete specific real estate courses. In Texas, courses include Principles of Real Estate, Law of Agency, Law of Contracts, Promulgated Contract Forms, and Real Estate Finance. You can expect to learn about things like whether a mortgage is considered debt, plus other topics relevant to helping clients find the perfect home.
You must take your classes with a qualifying education provider, so you must use the Texas Real Estate Commission's list to source your school.
Education for Real Estate Brokers
After becoming a real estate salesperson, you can continue your education and become a real estate broker. Brokers oversee the activities of real estate sales agents. If you want to work for yourself or open your real estate agency, you must become a broker.
Education for real estate brokers includes the courses from the real estate sales agent qualifications plus Real Estate Brokerage. The Real Estate Brokerage course must be completed less than two years before you apply for licensure. Other educational requirements for brokers include more hours of classes covering topics like Real Estate Appraisal, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Investments, and other electives.
One item of note is that if you have previously taken college classes on subjects like law, finance, business, or even construction, those credits may apply to your real estate broker requirements. Also, if you have a bachelor's degree in a related field, you may be able to circumvent many of the educational requirements.
How Long is a Real Estate Course?
Real estate classes are administered in 30-hour blocks either one at a time or as a pre-set course of study. There are different requirements whether you're pursuing a real estate sales agent or broker license, and both require formal education.
Courses for Real Estate Sales Agents
In Texas, real estate agent applicants must undergo 180 hours of instruction spread over six classes.
Courses for Real Estate Brokers
Brokers must complete 630 classroom hours, plus a 30-hour course in Real Estate Brokerage.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent in Texas?
Since becoming a real estate agent requires that you spend time in a classroom learning about real estate, that will take up the most time. But other milestones throughout the process can add weeks or even months to the timeline.
Studying Real Estate Takes 180+ Hours
To become a sales agent in real estate, you have to spend 180 hours studying in a classroom. That does not include the amount of time you'll spend outside the classroom, completing homework, and studying for exams. The good news is that you can often take courses online, which can cut down on commuting time.
Filing Your Application and Paperwork Can Take a Few Weeks
Once you finish your educational hours, you must file your application. You can also file beforehand, but it's your choice. If you know you'll pass a background check; there's no reason to pre-apply before completing your education. The application process can take time, and you must also submit a background check and fingerprint report to proceed to the next step.
Finding a Fingerprinting Service Location May Require a Few Weeks
Applicants have to obtain professional fingerprinting services and have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). You are responsible for obtaining the prints and paying associated fees.
You might need to schedule an appointment on the provider's schedule to get your documents. The fingerprints allow DPS to investigate your background, another requirement that can add more time to the process. The elapsed time of the background check will depend on what's in your history but also the processing time of DPS.
Scheduling the Licensing Exam Means Signing Up for a Test Date
After the background check process is complete, you can take the licensing exam. A third-party agency administers the tests, and scheduling can take time. Proctors are on a set schedule, and you must attend in person.
Also, if you fail the real estate test, you must reschedule for up to two more attempts. If you fail those attempts, you will have to complete 30 more hours of real estate education for each section that you failed. Then, you'll need to apply for re-authorization to sit the exam again.
Waiting for Sponsorship Can Take Time
If you pass the first (or second or third) time you take the real estate sales agent test, you will receive an inactive license. Then, you can apply for a sponsor (broker) to begin working. Essentially, you must apply for a real estate job and ask your employer to sponsor you.
Therefore, the time it takes to secure sponsorship is, however long it takes you to find employment.
Becoming a Texas Real Estate Agent Can Take Six Months or Longer
While each person's experience will vary, processing times and application steps mean that becoming a real estate agent in Texas typically takes six months or longer. Completing classes (once you enroll, pay, and complete any prerequisites), if you choose an online option, could take as little as a month. However, that would mean completing over 40 hours of coursework each week. For most prospective real estate agents, that's too much in such a short span.
Plus, because you'll be working through public agencies for licensing and a third-party agency for testing, those scheduling conflicts can mean more months spent completing paperwork and checking up on your application status.
Becoming a Real Estate Broker Takes Four Years or Longer
To become a real estate broker, you must complete all the classes from the broker education requirement. You must also have at least four years' experience in the 60 months before you submit your application. You also must earn 3600 points, which are awarded for transactions you make as a real estate agent.
You'll also submit your broker application, pay the fee, and sit the exam, which can add a few weeks or months to the process.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Real Estate Agent in Texas?
Fees for becoming a real estate agent in Texas include education costs, application fees, fingerprinting and background check expenses, and exam payments.
In Texas, you can enroll in real estate education classes ranging from $300 to $1,000. Generally, online options are cheaper, especially compared to community college and university offerings. For fingerprints, Texas uses a vendor called MorphoTrust to capture the images. Currently, the fee is just under $40.
Pearson Vue, the company that administers Texas real estate license tests, offers candidates a handbook that details all the costs and procedures for exams.
The real estate salesperson and broker exams have the same fee schedule. As of May 2019, the cost for the exam is $54. You must pay the fee when scheduling your exam (which you can do up to 24 hours before the test date).
When you file an application for your initial real estate agent license in Texas, you must pay a fee of $205. Renewals are $110. If you want to become a broker after becoming a sales agent, you must pay an application fee of $160. Broker renewals are $217.
In total, you'll pay between $600 and $1,200 to become a real estate agent in Texas. Plus, you'll renew your license every two years.
Curious about costs elsewhere? See our related article on how much a real estate license costs.
Is It Worth Getting a Real Estate License?
Real estate is a potentially lucrative profession, and there's no way to become a licensed agent without paying all the fees and taking classes.
Real estate jobs are growing in Texas, with a 7 percent increase expected between 2018 and 2028. For many professionals, it's worth the investment to become licensed and start working as a real estate agent.