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HOW TO GET A REAL ESTATE LICENSE IN Pennsylvania

STEP BY STEP GUIDE HOW TO BECOME A PENNSYLVANIA REAL ESTATE AGENT IN 2023

By: RealEstateUCreated: 6 January 2023


In a nutshell, here’s how to get your Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License!

Prerequisites

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent

Step 1:

Complete 75-hours of the Pennsylvania Real Estate pre-license education.

Step 2:

Schedule your Pennsylvania Real Estate State Exam after completing your pre-licensing education.

Step 3:

Pass your Pennsylvania Real Estate State Exam.

Step 4:

Complete your criminal record check.

Step 5:

Find a Pennsylvania Real Estate Sponsoring Broker to work under.

Step 6:

Submit your Pennsylvania Real Estate License application.

Now, let’s cover each of these steps in detail!

CHAPTER INTRO:

How To Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: Introduction


If you’re looking to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania, this extensive guide is made for you!

Would you like to start a career as a real estate agent in Pennsylvania? You’ve come to the right place! This guide will help you learn:

  • Who is required to have a real estate license in Pennsylvania?
  • What qualifications are required before applying for a real estate license in Pennsylvania? 
  • What education requirements do you have to meet?  
  • What are the expected costs?
  • How long will it take to obtain your PA real estate license?
  • and more…

If you’d like to save your time and money while studying to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania, this guide is just the one for you!

Sale woman agent.
Real Estate License Pennsylvania Basics

Chapter: 1

How To Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: The Basics
Steps To Get Your Real Estate License in Pennsylvania.

Chapter: 2

How to Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: Becoming Licensed
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Pennsylvania Real Estate License?

Chapter: 3

How to Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: The Costs
How Long Does It Take to Receive Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License?

Chapter: 4

How to Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: Time Needed

CHAPTER 1:

How To Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: The Basics


In this chapter, you will learn about the basics of real estate licensing in Pennsylvania.

First, you will learn why you need a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania. You will also understand why it is useful to have one!

Next, you will learn how you can have a successful real estate career in Pennsylvania.

Real estate license Pennsylvania Chapter 1 basics.

Who Needs a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania?

If you wish to work as a real estate agent or a broker in the state of Pennsylvania, then you will first need a valid real estate license. A real estate license allows you to operate on behalf of your customers to buy or sell property. You also earn a commission for all such activities. 

In Pennsylvania, the government body that grants your real estate license is called the State Real Estate Commission. This Commission is a part of the Pennsylvania Department of State.

In Pennsylvania you can obtain real estate licenses that allow you to work either as a salesperson or as a broker. However, you can only get a broker license if you have worked as a real estate salesperson for at least 3 years. This means that if you’re starting in real estate in Pennsylvania, you must begin as a salesperson.

Once you have enough experience you can apply to become a PA real estate broker. 

Brokers can employ salespersons to work for them. 

If you want to do your own research on real estate licenses in Pennsylvania, then a good place to start would be the Pennsylvania Department of State website. On this site, you will be able to browse for information about professional licensing. 

To save you some time, we recommend jumping to the Real Estate Commission Guide

This guide will help you understand the PA real estate licensing process.

 

How Much Can a Real Estate Agent Earn in Pennsylvania?

According to Indeed.com a real estate agent in Pennsylvania can earn an average annual income of $106,176. This information is updated regularly. Make sure to check out Indeed.com for the most current information. 

In the What box, type “real estate agent”. Then in the Where box type, “Pennsylvania” and click “Search”.

Salary information on Indeed.com for real estate salesperson in Pennsylvania.

If you want information on the highest paying cities for real estate agents in Pennsylvania, scroll down. 

Typically, there is a list of the most popular cities. 

You will see how much a real estate agent can expect to earn in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Conshohocken, Newtown, Bethlehem, Ambler, Hershey, Camp Hill, and Greensburg. 

Information on the highest salaries for real estate salespersons in Pennsylvania.

Let’s now learn about the different real estate licenses offered by the state of Pennsylvania. 

 

What are the Types of Real Estate Licenses in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania offers two types of real estate licenses. They are as follows:

  1. Real Estate Salesperson license
  2. Real Estate Broker license

Let’s look at these licenses in detail.

1. Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson License

A Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson license allows you to be employed by a licensed real estate broker. As a real estate salesperson, you can:

  1. Perform comparative market analysis
  2. List for sale, sell or offer to sell, buy or offer to buy, or negotiate the purchase/sale/exchange of real estate
  3. Negotiate a real estate loan
  4. Lease or rent or offer to do so for any real estate
  5. Collect or attempt to collect rent on behalf of the real estate broker

2. Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License

A Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker license allows you to be self-employed. You can start your own brokerage firm and employ salespersons to work for you. You can charge a fee, commission, or other considerations for performing the following tasks:

  1. Negotiating with or helping a customer locate a property for purchase, lease, etc.
  2. Negotiating the sale, purchase, listing, lease, timeshare or financing of real estate
  3. Managing real estate
  4. Representing yourself as a real estate consultant, counselor or house finder
  5. Undertaking promotion of sale, purchase, exchange or rent of real estate (This does not apply to those whose main business is  advertising, promoting, or public relations)
  6. Undertaking comparative market analysis
  7. Attempting to perform any of the above actions

This guide will focus only on the real estate Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson license

This is because getting a real estate Salesperson license is the first step towards building a successful real estate career in Pennsylvania

You must  have a Salesperson license and work with a sponsoring broker (more on this later) for at least three years. You then become eligible to apply for a real estate Broker license in Pennsylvania. 

Let’s now look at how you can get your Real Estate License in Pennsylvania

CHAPTER 2:

How To Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: Becoming Licensed


To become a licensed real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you will need to follow six steps.

In this chapter, you will learn exactly what these six steps are.

Let’s dive right in!

Chapter 2 Steps to get real estate license Pennsylvania.

Prerequisites

Before applying for a real estate Salesperson license in Pennsylvania, you must meet a few basic requirements.

  1. You must be at least 18 years old
  2. You must be a highschool graduate or have completed equivalent education

Note:

You don’t need work experience to get your PA real estate license.

You must, however, meet specific education requirements to get an active PA Salesperson license. Read on to find out more about these education requirements.

 

6 Steps to Becoming Licensed Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania

Now that we know the minimum criteria to get a PA real estate license, let’s look at the six steps you need to follow to become licensed.

The chart below shows the six steps that you need to follow to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania.

How to become real estate agent in Pennsylvania.

Let’s look at each of these steps in detail.

Step #1: 

Complete the PA Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course

If you want to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania, you must first complete a total of 75-hours of education. The total 75-hours are split across two courses:

  1. Real Estate Fundamentals - 30 hours
  2. Real Estate Practice - 45 hours

When choosing a school offering the 75-hour pre-licensing course, you must be careful to choose one that is approved by the State of Pennsylvania. 

You can find a list of State approved schools, which offer these courses on the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS).

Check the Facility radio-button first. 

Then choose State Real Estate Commission from the Board/Commission dropdown. 

Next, choose Real Estate Education Provided (RU) under License Type and click Search.

Choosing Real Estate Education Provided.

Scroll down to see the list of approved real estate schools. 

Here is an example for Real Estate U of how this information should appear.

Information about Real Estate U.

Note:

You may be allowed to skip the pre-licensing requirements if you meet the following alternative requirements: 

  1. You have a Juris Doctor degree, a bachelor’s degree in real estate, or a bachelor’s degree with coursework equivalent to that of a real estate major.
  2. You have completed 75 hours of pre-licensure coursework in another state or jurisdiction, which was approved by that state or jurisdiction as meeting the licensure requirements.

Each course part of the 75-hour pre-licensing education requirement will have a proctored course final exam. After passing each course exam you will receive a certificate. This certificate proves that you have completed the PA pre-licensing education requirement. 

You must score 75% or higher to pass the course exam.

Note:

The Course Exams are different from the Pennsylvania real estate State Exam.

Passing the Course Exams makes you eligible to apply for the PA Salesperson license, while passing the State Licensing Exam actually gets you your license.

So, don’t confuse the two! 

Step #2: 

Schedule the Pennsylvania Real Estate State Exam

Once you complete the 75-hour pre-licensing courses, you must schedule and pass the PA real estate State Exam

You must schedule your exam with the PearsonVUE Testing Center. PearsonVUE is a nation-wide recognised entity that offers testing programs.

Before you can schedule your exam online, you must apply for your exam eligibilty through the Clarus website.

At the time of scheduling the exam, you can choose from any of the PearsonVUE testing centers.

Here is how you can Schedule your PA Real Estate State Exam through PearsonVUE

If you don’t have a PearsonVUE account, you can click on Sign Up to create your own account. 

You will be taken to the Create Account page. Fill up the required field, then click Submit.

You need to enter your required details after you click Sign Up.

If you already have an PSI account simply log in.

On the PSI website, click on Schedule An Exam. You will be taken to the PSI Online Login page. Enter your login details.

Visit the PSI Testing Center website to schedule your State Licensing Exam.

You will be invited to choose one of the PSI testing centers in Pennsylvania: Allentown, Bristol, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Philadelphia (Bala Cynwyd), Pittsburgh, and Scranton.

Finding PSI testing center by entering the city or postal code from the dropdown.
List of PSI testing centers in Pennsylvania and the first available State Exam date.
Selecting State Exam date and time from the calendar.

You must complete and submit your exam eligibility application online through Clarus, and include copies of your completion certificates for your 75-hour pre-licensing courses. 

Once your application is approved, PearsonVUE will email you indicating that you are now authorized to schedule your state licensing exam.

Useful Information:

The PearsonVUE Candidate Handbook is a great reference for additional details on all steps in the scheduling process. 

The steps to schedule your exam online can be found on page 9.

Step #3: 

Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate State Exam

After scheduling your Real Estate Salesperson Examination, you must pass it to get your license. 

The PA Real Estate Exam has 120 multiple choice questions with each question having four options. These questions are split across National and State portions.

Out of the 120 questions, 80 will be from the National portion and 40 from the State portion. 

The questions in the National portion of the exam are split across the following topics:

Pie chart with National portion of the State Exam and extent of coverage for each topic.

The questions in the State portion of the exam are split across the following topics:

Pie chart with topics covered in the State portion of the State Exam.

The following table gives you a summary of key information about the State Exam, including how much time you get to complete each portion and the minimum passing score.

S.No.

Portion

No. of Questions

Minimum Passing Score

Time Allocated

1.

National

80

75%

120 mins

2.

State

40

75%

60 mins

Your score will be displayed on the screen after you finish your exam. Your report will also be emailed to you.

If you fail the State Exam, your report will show your strengths and weaknesses. You can then reschedule your exam with PSI only for the component that you failed. You also have to pay a fee of $49.00.

Step #4: 

Submit a Criminal Record Check

Once you have passed your PA real estate state exam you need to submit a criminal record check. The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires this. 

You can access your criminal record check through the Pennsylvania state police’s website PATCH.

1. Once on the website, click on Submit a New Record Check.

The Submit A New Record option in white box on the PATCH homescreen.

2. You will be taken to a Terms and Conditions page. Scroll all the way down and then click Accept to proceed.

3. Next, you will see the Requestor Details page. Select Individual Request and then click Continue.

Requestor Details page with the Individual Request option selected.

4. You will now be taken to the Requestor Information page. You need to complete the form on this page and then click on Next at the bottom of the page.

The PATCH Requestor Information page.

5. After you enter the required information, you will need to make a payment of $22.00 using a valid credit card. You need to make this payment every time you request a background check.

Note:

You will receive one email confirming that your request was received by the Pennsylvania State Police. You will receive a second email when your request is completed.

Your criminal record check should not be older than 90 days starting from the date the Commission receives your application.

Step #5: 

Find a Pennsylvania Real Estate Sponsoring Broker

After passing your exam, you will get an active salesperson license right away IF you already have a sponsoring broker at the time of applying for your license. 

We will cover the process for applying for your license in Step 6.

Keep reading.

If you do not have a sponsoring broker, you will be given an inactive license. You can activate your license once you find a sponsoring broker.

Note:

Your PA real estate sponsoring broker will hold your real estate license for the duration of your employment.

Most sponsoring brokers will be happy to work with you. They will train you and help you grow your skills.

Here’s how you can go about finding a sponsoring broker:

  1. Make a list of 8 to 10 brokers that you would like to work with. You can Google brokers in your area.
  2. Phone or email those brokers. Explain that you want to work for a sponsoring broker to activate your license.
  3. You can then schedule an interview with 4-to-5 sponsoring brokers.
  4. In the interview, you should ask them about commission splits, the kind of training they offer, and whether they provide you clients right away.
  5. You can then choose your PA sponsoring broker based on your goals.

Pro Tip:

While selecting a sponsoring broker, it is better to prioritize training and gaining experience over the commission you can earn.

Step #6: 

Submit Your License Application Online

After scheduling and passing your State Licensing Exam and submitting your criminal record check, you can submit your Salesperson License Application.

You can submit your application online via the PA Department of State website. 

Let’s look at the steps involved.

The PA Licensing System (PALS) website.
  1. Once you are on the website, you can select any of these options based on whether or not you already have an account:
  2.  
    • Register for a new account
    • Login to your account
    • Application checklist

You can find these options on the left-hand side of your screen or under the How do I get started section.

PALS website showing the account options.
The PA Licensing System (PALS) website.

3. If you do not have an account, you can register for a new account by clicking the Register for a new account option. You will be taken to the PALS Account Registration page where you need to fill in your information and your account information.

PALS website showing the account registration options.
The PA Licensing System (PALS) Account Registration page.

4. If you already have an account, you can click on Login to your account. You will be taken to the login page where you need to enter your login details.

The PA Licensing System (PALS) Login page.

5. You can upload the required documents after completing the application.

6. You can also click on the Application checklist and select State Real Estate Commission from the drop down list.

The State Real Estate Commission option in the selection box.

7. Next, click the License Type drop down list, and select Real Estate Salesperson - Standard.

The License Type options in the selection box.

8. You then have to answer two questions based on the type of license you select.

Questions for Real Estate Salesperson for Standard license type.
Questions for Real Estate Salesperson - Standard license type.

9. You will see the evaluation results based on your answers.

A sample of the evaluation results shown based on your answers.

10. You can now complete your application, upload the required documents, and click on Send to Broker to share your application with your Sponsoring Broker. Click Save before closing the application window if you want to save it and continue at a later time.

11. Your sponsoring broker will be notified via email. Your brokerage firm will need to log in to their own PALS account, and access your application from the My Queue section. The broker will then review and approve your application.

12. Once you receive a notification, log into your PALS account and go to My Queue.

  • Click Review, reopen the application and complete the legal questions.
  • Click Submit and review the application before clicking Add to Cart.
  • Make the application payment and submit it to the Commission after which the processing time will start.

You will see that your license has been issued under the Professional License Details banner on your dashboard.

You will receive your license by mail within 7-10 business days after the Real Estate Commission approves your application.
 

Real Estate License Reciprocity with Pennsylvania

If you are already licensed with another US state, then you can also get your Pennsylvania license via reciprocity.

You will be granted a PA real estate license via reciprocity if you hold an active Salesperson or Broker license in another state. 

Pennsylvania Department of State website talking about Licensure by Reciprocity.

This other state must:

  1. Agree to issue a standard Pennsylvania licensee with a license without more requirements, OR
  2. Have significantly comparable licensure qualifications as required by the Commission

As a reciprocal licensee, you must maintain your principal place of business in the same state your reciprocity was granted. You should also maintain a current, active license in the same state to maintain your reciprocal license in Pennsylvania.

As of now, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission has reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Georgia
  3. Louisiana
  4. Maryland
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New York
Salesperson License by the Reciprocal Method - Pennsylvania.

CHAPTER 3:

How To Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: The Costs


Getting your Pennsylvania real estate license will cost money. This Chapter will help you understand how much you would be looking to spend.

There are fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are what you will spend for the application fee, the examination fee, and the fee for background checks.

Variable costs are what you will spend for the PA real estate education courses you need to take. Online courses are cheaper than in-person classroom courses. Also, the fees you pay will depend on the school you choose.

Ready to learn the details?

Real estate license Pennsylvania Chapter 3 Pennsylvania real estate license cost.

What are the Variable Costs?

Online PA Real Estate Licensing Courses

Many platforms offer online and classroom courses for Pennsylvania real estate licenses. On average, the online courses cost between $149 and $400 and in-person courses between $199 and $500. These costs, however, may differ depending on the courses and the services that the educational provider offers. 

You will have an advantage in terms of saving time and money if you choose an online course over a classroom course.

Some of the online educational providers are listed below. 

NOTE: 

Prices may change after the publication date of this page. Please be advised to do your own research for the most suitable prices and programmes.

RealEstateU® offers the full 75-hour Pennsylvania Real Estate License Course for $149. We believe this is the most affordable real estate licensing course in Pennsylvania.

 

How to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania with Real EstateU.

RealEstateExpress offers the PA Real Estate Online Packages starting at $209.40. 

 

Advertisement for the Real Estate Online Packages course from RealEstateExpress.

The CE Shop offers the 75-hour Pennsylvania Salesperson Real Estate License Packages starting at $299.25.

Advertisement - 75-hour Pennsylvania Salesperson Real Estate License from TheCEShop.

Aceable Agent offers the 75-hour PA Real Estate Licensing Course starting at $299.

Advertisement for the 75-hour Real Estate Course from AceableAgent.

PA Real Estate Physical Classroom Licensing Courses

Apart from online courses, you can also enroll in classroom courses. 

Let’s look at some available options.

Temple University offers in-person PA Real Estate Salesperson Licensing classes among others averaging around $335.00.

Advertisement for PA Real Estate Prelicensing and PA Broker Prelicensing - Temple University.

Philadelphia Real Estate Classes offers the PA in-person real estate classes starting at $349.

Advertisement for real estate courses from PhiladelphiaRealEstateClasses.

PolleyAssociates offers multiple real estate courses suitable for your real estate career starting at USD 195.00

Advertisement for real estate courses from PolleyAssociates.

NOTE:

The prices between online and classroom courses can differ. 

Online courses are generally more affordable when they are entirely eLearning based (i.e. there is no live instructor involved and you study at your own pace). 

Some educators offer live streaming courses, which have a live instructor conducting the sessions in an online environment. This type of online courses are typically more expensive as they mimic a classroom setting.

Now that we know of the variable costs for a real estate license in Pennsylvania, let’s look at the fixed costs.

 

What are the Fixed Costs Associated With Getting Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License?

The applicants must pay certain fixed costs in addition to the fee of online and classroom courses. These fixed costs are as follows:

No 

Details

Cost

Notes

1

State Exam Fee

$49

This fee is paid directly to the PSI for every attempt

2

Criminal Record Check Fee

$22

The criminal record check should not be older than 90 days from the date the Commission receives your application

3

License Application Fee

$107

This includes a $25 application fee, $72 license fee, and a $10 real estate recovery fund fee

Now that we know the real estate license’s variable and fixed costs, we can calculate the total cost of obtaining a Pennsylvania Real Estate license.

Sr. No 

Details

Cost

Notes

1

Online Course at RealEstateU

$149

We believe this is the most affordable real estate licensing course in Pennsylvania.

2

State Exam Fee

$49

This fee is paid directly to PSI for every attempt

3

Criminal Record Check Fee

$22

The criminal record check should not be older than 90 days from the date the Commission receives your application

4

License Application Fee

$107

This includes a $25 application fee, $72 license fee, and a $10 real estate recovery fund fee

 

Total

$327

 

CHAPTER 4:

How to Get A Real Estate License in Pennsylvania: Time Needed


The last few pieces of information you’re probably wondering about are: 

  • How much time would I need to study for the Pennsylvania license?
  • How long would the PA application process take? 
  • When can I expect to  receive the state exam results?

That’s what this Chapter will focus on.
Let’s jump right in!

Real estate license Pennsylvania Chapter 4 how to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania.

The estimated time needed to complete the entire process of getting your Salesperson license is approximately 4 months.

Chart showing the approximate time division of the Pennsylvania licensing process.

Estimated Time for Completing the Education Requirements

6 weeks (depends on you)

The estimated time for completing your education requirements is approximately 6 weeks if you take the 75-hour Pennsylvania prelicensing course online. However, you can finish it sooner or later depending on the speed of your progress.

In the end, it comes down to how much time you are willing to or able to study in one day. The more hours you put in a day, the faster you complete the course. 

For example: If you are able to study for 3 hours a day, you could complete the PA 75-hour pre-licensing course in 25 days.

 

Estimated Time for Completing the Application Process, State Exam, and Background Checks

The estimated time you may need to complete the rest of the process and receive your license is 2.5 months. This includes the time that would be required by the Real Estate Commission to review and approve your application. 

You should also factor in some time for you to respond should there be requests from the Commission for additional supporting documents, submitting missing or incomplete information, etc. 

Chart with the approximate time for the necessary steps in the Pennsylvania application process.

What can you do to reduce the PA application processing time?

You can reduce the processing time by referring to the following suggestions:

  1. Find your sponsoring broker before you complete and submit your application. You can then expect to receive an active license immediately. Your license will be mailed to your employing broker.
  2. Make sure you complete your pre-licensing education requirements before applying for your license, and then upload your certificates as evidence when completing your application. The Real Estate Commission cannot pre-review your qualifications or application material.
  3. Submit your Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) from your current state of residence and from every state where you lived, worked, or completed training in the last 5 years. The CHRC should not be more than 90 days old from the date you submit your application.

Keeping these points in mind, we typically see students completing the entire process in approximately 4 months.

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