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Real Estate Prelicensing vs. Exam Prep

By WebCE
Nov 17, 2023

Real Estate Prelicensing versus Exam Prep and CEThe real estate industry is as dynamic and ever-evolving field as any, making it vital for professionals to stay informed on the latest trends, laws, and best practices. From aspiring to experienced, education plays a pivotal role throughout a real estate professional’s career.

In this blog, we will dive into all types of real estate education professionals encounter in their career—some required, some not, all designed to improve your expertise.

Real Estate Prelicensing

Real estate prelicensing refers to coursework a state’s real estate commission requires candidates to complete prior to taking the real estate exam and earning a real estate license. While every state requires real estate prelicensing, the amount of required course credits varies by state.

Although most states require less than 100 credit hours, this amount can range anywhere from 60 hours up to 180. Some states even impose time limits on how quickly a candidate must complete prelicensing coursework. The best place to find all your prelicensing requirements is by visiting your state’s real estate commission website.

Prelicensing courses typically cover the real estate industry’s foundational principles, laws, and ethical standards to prepare candidates for both the real estate exam and the realities of the industry. By offering this fundamental information, prelicensing courses help lay the groundwork for a smooth entry into the industry and a prosperous real estate career ahead.

Once a candidate completes all required prelicensing credits, they are eligible to take the state’s real estate exam for a chance to earn their real estate license.

Real Estate Exam Prep

Real estate exam prep courses are specifically designed to help candidates prepare for exam day—both for content and the timed exam format. Some candidates can study for weeks only to find themselves unprepared for the testing environment. Wondering how much time to spend on each question can distract from what all those prelicensing hours have been leading up to: passing the exam.

Exam prep offers questions similar to those on the exam in a timed environment to offer chances to practice your test taking skills. The goal of exam prep is not only to help the student master the material, but also to get them comfortable answering questions during a timed exam.

While not required, real estate exam prep can give students confidence and familiarity with exam content and timing constraints, increasing their chances of passing and earning their real estate license.

Real Estate Post-Licensing

After passing the licensing exam, some states then require real estate post-licensing courses—that is, additional course work newly licensed real estate professionals must complete within a certain time frame (typically 12 to 24 months). If post-licensing is not timely completed, a real estate professional will not be able to practice real estate.

Post-licensing education differs from continuing education as it focuses on challenges new real estate professionals face, like brand marketing, starting a business, and obtaining the skills necessary for a successful career. After completing a state’s post-licensing requirements, a licensee must then complete continuing education, or real estate CE, for the duration of their real estate career. In states where new real estate professionals do not have to complete post-licensing, all license-holders must still complete their regular real estate CE.

Real Estate Continuing Education

Real estate continuing education is coursework required by each state’s real estate commission that must be completed at regular intervals throughout a real estate professional’s career to renew their license. While real estate CE is required in every state, the number of required credits, types of courses, and duration of each renewal period varies by state. Check your state’s real estate commission website for a complete list of your real estate CE requirements.

Typically, licensees must take certain mandatory courses that cover legal updates, state laws, ethics, and other professional standards and obligations. The remaining required CE credits are unassigned electives, meaning a professional can choose which courses to take to meet this part of their CE requirement.

Choosing real estate CE courses with an eye toward improving your skills can give you a competitive edge by helping you become an expert on the latest updates and best practices. Courses such as Social Media with a K.I.S.S. can help you expand your brand’s online imprint. Or fine-tune your negotiation skills with Negotiating for a Win-Win. It is important to carefully choose your CE to help widen your skillset or further develop your mastery as you progress through your real estate career.

...And Beyond! Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability

One final note on how the state where you earn a real estate license can impact future business prospects.

Some states allow license holders to conduct business in other states without earning an additional license, which is called real estate license portability. While portability allows enhanced flexibility when conducting business, it should not be seen as a long-term business solution. For that, real estate reciprocity might be more appropriate.

Real estate license reciprocity reduces the licensing requirements for currently licensed real estate professionals to earn a license in another state. Different states offer varying amounts of course credit for those who hold a real estate license, lowering the barrier for expansion in those states.

If you need help navigating this real estate education landscape, our award-winning Support Services team is available at 877-488-9308 and happy to help you determine your next step.