This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting your Pennsylvania real estate license can be done in six simple steps. You must complete 75 hours of Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission (PREC)-approved education, pass the exam, find a sponsoring brokerage, get a background check, and submit an application. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Pennsylvania Real Estate License
To become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you must meet several state requirements: you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and be a legal resident of the U.S.
Did you know?
Pennsylvania has reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York, but will also allow reciprocal licenses to those who possess qualifications that are comparable to those required by the PREC. You must supply a criminal background check, a letter of good standing from your current state, pass the state exam, and submit an application.
Also, Pennsylvania is a turf state in terms of portability. A turf state does not allow out-of-state agents or brokers to conduct any business in their state, either in-person or remotely. The only option to work with clients in a turf state is to refer them to a licensee of the turf state. To learn more about real estate license portability in Pennsylvania, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
If you have a criminal background, you still may be able to get your Pennsylvania real estate license. Applications will be reviewed by the Commission on a case-by-case basis and will be approved or preliminarily denied. If your application is preliminarily denied, you will have the opportunity to request an informal conference to meet and discuss your situation with the PREC.
After the conference, your application will be discussed again and either approved or provisionally denied. If the application is provisionally denied, the applicant has a right to a formal hearing to determine if they’re eligible for licensure.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
After you’ve verified you’ve met the state prerequisites, you’re ready to start your prelicensing coursework. The PREC requires that you complete 75 hours of education at an accredited real estate school. These schools can either be in-person, online, or a combination of both, depending on your learning and budgetary preferences. The general cost range for the prelicensing hours will be $149 to $532 and will go over the following topics:
- Property ownership
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuation and market analysis
- General principles of agency
- Property disclosures
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Practice of real estate
- Real estate calculations
- Real Estate Commission
- Regulation of conduct of licensees
Did you know?
You may be eligible to skip the prelicensing requirements if you possess a bachelor’s degree with a major in real estate, have completed university coursework equivalent to a major in real estate, or have a law degree from an accredited law school.
If you’re ready to start your real estate education right away, you need to find the right school to fulfill your learning needs. Philadelphia Real Estate Classes offers traditional classroom instruction as well as livestream online courses to begin a successful real estate career. Choose from day, night, or weekend classes to guarantee that your education will fit into your busy schedule. They also provide free coaching sessions to get your real estate business off the ground.
3. Take the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam
Once you’ve completed your prelicensing education, you’ll need to pass the exam to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania. The real estate exam is split into national and state portions, and you must pass both in order to qualify for licensure. The exam is administered on the computer, and test results are printed and given to you directly after completion of the exam.
If you pass, you can move forward with the application process. If you fail, you must reschedule to take either one or both portions of the exam. You can retake the exam as many times as needed and schedule a retake 24 hours after the failed attempt.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam Details
80 nationally focused questions
40 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
75% to pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with at least 60/80 on the national portion and 30/40 on the state portion
Schedule Your Exam
The Pennsylvania real estate exam is provided by the PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.
You will receive a copy of the Pennsylvania Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the national and state exam is $49, and the fee to retake is $49 as well. You can pay the fee directly on the website using a credit or debit card.
The average pass rating for the Pennsylvania real estate license exam is 73%, so it’s important that you are prepared to pass on the first attempt. Using a study and preparation tool like PrepAgent will guarantee that you are ready to ace your exam. Choose to study from one week or up to one year using flashcards, audio and video guides, vocabulary, and other learning materials. They also offer a money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can request a refund.
4. Pick a Company to Work For
In order to hold an active license in Pennsylvania, you must find a sponsoring brokerage to affiliate your license. To make your choice a little bit easier, check out our in-depth article explaining how to choose a real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the Keystone State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022.
The Robin Gordon Group
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS
My Philly House
Tom Toole Sales Group
RE/MAX Main Line
Mike Mulholland Team
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
The Cliff Lewis Experience
Coldwell Banker Hearthside
(Source: Real Trends 2022)
Pennsylvania Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2022
Knowing the price points of your area and surrounding areas is a way to set yourself apart from the competition. You’ll be able to provide buyer and seller insights, understand market reports, and be an expert throughout the state. In addition, knowledge of price points will give you the ability to estimate your annual income. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks in Pennsylvania, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
5. Request a Background Check
If you are living, working, or completing training and studies in Pennsylvania, your Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) will be submitted to Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) automatically with your application. The PATCH fee will be included during application checkout, and the report will be sent directly to the PREC.
If you have lived, worked, or completed training and studies outside of Pennsylvania in the past five years, you must request an official criminal history record information for every state in which you have resided. You can find your state’s criminal history check on their individual websites.
As an alternative to getting individual state background checks, you can provide both the criminal history record check from the state you’re currently living in and an FBI identity history summary check. Visit the FBI website to choose the best option for you and begin the process.
You will receive your criminal history report in about two weeks via mail and up to three days online. It must be dated within 90 days of when the application is submitted for review.
6. Apply for Your Pennsylvania License
After you’ve received your criminal history check, you can apply for your Pennsylvania real estate license. Applications are submitted through the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS) website by creating an account and following the steps on the dashboard.
You must submit your criminal history check and passing score sheets for the national and state portions of the exam with your application. The application fee is $107, which includes the $72 license fee, $25 application fee, and $10 recovery fund fee. It takes about one week to process your application and 10 days for your sponsoring broker to receive your license.
7. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you’re ready to start your professional real estate journey. For more information, here are some of our articles with content that is perfect for new real estate agents:
- Our article with 14 real estate agent tips covers the basics that every agent should know when they are starting out, including how to write a real estate business plan.
- Learn how to generate real estate buyer leads.
- Get nine strategies to help with real estate seller lead generation.
- Jump-start your career with the top 25 new real estate agent tips from the pros.
- Get the tools you need to build a strong real estate business out of the gate using the best real estate software and tools.