Are you interested in becoming a real estate agent?

Working as a licensed realtor is a perfect vocation for many with its flexible hours, high earning potential, and the relatively simple process to become an agent. Before considering becoming a real estate agent as a new career, understand that your success in real estate isn’t easy to achieve. It’s totally at the mercy of the local economy, your facility to master an understanding of the real estate market, and your willingness to put yourself out there consistently to network and connect with consumers and other professionals in this highly competitive field.

The National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association for the real estate industry, reports it has more than 1.2 million members, about 65 percent of those are licensed, real estate agents. That makes at least 780,000 authorized agents in NAR, which are only a portion of the total number of real estate agents throughout the country.

Becoming a licensed agent is relatively simple despite requirements that vary from state to state. Research the specific requirements for your state; the state’s real estate commission determines these. But the elements from each state largely mirror each other, and the guidelines below reflect the overlap that applies to most of the U.S.

Here’s what you need to do to begin a career and succeed as a real estate agent:

  • Meet your state’s minimum age and education requirement.
  • Take real estate education courses, meeting a minimum number of instruction hours.
  • Pass the state exam.
  • Work under a licensed broker.
  • Study your market.
  • Have savings on hand in the first year on the job.
  • Keep learning.
  • Adapt to changes in your market.

Meet the minimum age and education level:

A real estate license in the U.S. doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, but you need either a high school diploma or a GED. Even if high school equivalency isn’t required for your license, many colleges that offer real estate education courses do require equivalency to enroll. All 50 states require you to be either 18 or 19 years old, depending on the state where you reside, to become a licensed real estate agent.

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