South Dakota Real Estate License Requirements

To sell or lease real estate in South Dakota and earn a commission, you must have a South Dakota Real Estate License.

The steps to obtain a SD Real Estate License:

Step #1: Complete the 116-hour South Dakota Real Estate Broker Associate Course.

Step #2: Schedule your SD State License Exam.

Step #3: Take and Pass the State Licensing Exam.

Step #4: Get fingerprinted for background check.

Step #5: Buy E&O insurance.

Step #6: Apply for your SD real estate broker associate license.

Step #7: Wait for application approval.

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General Requirements

There are a few general requirements you must satisfy in order to apply for a South Dakota real estate broker associate license:

  1. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. All applicants must have a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, or legally authorized to work in the U.S.
  3. If an applicant has a prior conviction, it is recommended that they apply for predetermination upfront, which will allow the DSPS to review their specific case and determine if they will be disqualified from obtaining a license or not.

How to Get a Real Estate License in South Dakota


To qualify for a South Dakota real estate license, you must be at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen or a South Dakota resident, and meet the statutory requirements as explained in South Dakota law chapter 36-21A.

If you meet these qualifications, earn a South Dakota broker associate license in (7) steps.

Step 1: Take 116-hour Pre-Licensing Course

The broker associate pre-licensing course is at least 116 hours. You must take your course from an approved education provider.

During the course, you will learn about South Dakota real estate license law and rules, the characteristics of real property, agency, listing and selling property, contracts, property management, finance, and federal real estate laws. You will have to take a test in each subject area of study. The course will also have practical exercises on the content.

Your pre-licensing course ends with a final exam. After passing this exam, you will receive your course completion certificate.

Step 2: Schedule the South Dakota Licensing Exam

The South Dakota Real Estate Commission (SDREC) contracted with PSI to administer the broker associate licensing exam. The easiest way to schedule your exam appointment is to go to the PSI website. Registrants can also set an appointment by calling 855-557-0623 or using the mail-in registration found in the Candidate Handbook.

The examination fee is $98 if you opt to take the national, state, and simulation exams in the same session. If you take the national and state sections separately, it is $98 per exam session. The simulation exam is $98. The fee is paid by credit card, cashier’s check, or money order at the time of registration.

Test centers are available in Madison, Sioux Falls, Tea, and Rapid City. See the Candidate Handbook for specific addresses.

Step 3: Pass the South Dakota Licensing exam

Bring to the test center two forms of identification. One of your IDs must be government-issued, current, and have your photo with a signature.

The broker associate licensing exam consists of:

  1. State multiple-choice examination of 57 questions allotted 1.5 hours.
  2. National multiple-choice examination of 100 questions allotted 2.5 hours.
  3. Broker simulation exam with 11 problems allotted 3 hours.
  4. Up to five experimental questions per exam section that are not counted against your final score.
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The Candidate Information Handbook supplies you with details on the tested topics and number of questions per topic. It also explains how the broker simulation examination works.

The multiple-choice sections and simulation portion of the exam used a scaled score. These scaled scores are used to adjust your score based on variations in exam difficulty. Scaled scores run from 0 to 100. To pass, you need a minimum scaled score of 75 on each exam.

Once candidates have a passing score on all three tests, they have 60 days to submit the license application. You will need the original score reports from all portions of the test.

If you do not pass a section of the exam, you can register to retake the exam. You will need to pay for a new test session.

Step 4: Get fingerprints for background check

All applicants must send a set of fingerprints for a state and federal criminal background check. You must request cards from the SDREC. The Commission recommends scheduling the fingerprints at a local law enforcement agency or a fingerprint office. These may change their own fee.

Return the cards to the Commission with the completed broker associate application and a separate check for $43.25 made payable to DCI.

Step 5: Purchase E&O Insurance

To be issued an active license, you’ll need errors and omissions insurance. South Dakota offers a group policy through RISC underwritten by Continental Casualty Company. The fee varies based on which month you enroll, with January charging $187 in 2021. You have the option to find a private carrier, but you need to provide the SDREC with a certificate of coverage.

Step 6: Submit Broker Associate Application

You have 60 days after passing the last portion of your state licensing exam to submit your broker associate license application.

The non-refundable application fee is $225.

Include in your application the following documentation:

  • Original pre-licensing education certification
  • Errors and omissions certificate of coverage
  • Original exam score reports
  • Completed SD and FBI fingerprint cards with a separate check (see below)

The application will ask about your professional licensing, litigation, and criminal history. Once your application is filled out and you have all your paperwork, you will mail it to the South Dakota Real Estate Commission.

Step 7: Wait for application approval

The SDREC estimates 2-4 weeks to process your application. Once your license application is approved, it will be issued on an inactive status unless your responsible broker completes the Qualifying Broker section of the license application. Otherwise, your responsible broker will need to request your license for it to become active.

Once you are associated with a responsible South Dakota license broker, you can conduct real estate business in South Dakota. Congratulations!

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