Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Washington State

Everything You Need to Know

If you’re considering real estate as a career, you might be surprised to learn that the requirements in Washington aren’t as onerous as you might imagine. There are ultimately only four major requirements to earn your real estate license:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have legal US residency
  • Complete the required education

Take your Real Estate License exam from the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL)

Once you’ve completed and passed your license exam, you’ll be required to submit an application for your state license. To submit your application, you’ll need to have completed a background check and fingerprint card, and, of course, you must complete the DOL application.

What Kind of Education is Required for a License?

The education required to become a real estate agent in Washington state includes two main components: a high school diploma or equivalent, and 90 hours of courses in real estate that have been approved by the DOL.

More specifically, Washington state currently requires a 60-hour course in Real Estate Fundamentals, and a 30-hour course covering Real Estate Practices. According the DOL, those requirements can be waived for “qualified applicants currently licensed in another state”.

Where can I Take Real Estate Classes?

The most important part of figuring out where to complete your required coursework is ensuring that it has been approved by the DOL.

Beyond that, you should consider the amount of in-class and out-of-class time that will be required to complete your classes, and plan ways to fit that time into your current routine as you are currently required to complete all coursework within a two-year period.

Finally, it is important to ensure that you are being educated by a reputable provider with a history of good outcomes for its students. The DOL publishes statistics outlining exam pass rates by school – since pass rates range from 0 percent to 100 percent, it is important to do your research first.

How Much do Real Estate Classes Cost?

The cost of real estate classes varies widely from provider to provider, but generally cost at least $300. Courses can be delivered in person or online, and money might be saved by choosing an online provider.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Real Estate License?

The time it takes to acquire a license and put it to use differs from person to person. In theory, it could be as few as 90 hours plus the time it takes to schedule and pass your exam, as well as submit your completed application info to the DOL.

The largest amount of time that can elapse between beginning your courses and submitting your final application to the DOL is two years.

Can I Earn My Real Estate License Online in Washington?

Not entirely. You can complete your coursework online, but your license exam is completed in-person at a testing center.

Additionally, you may be required to appear in person to have your fingerprints taken to complete your fingerprint card.

Washington State Real Estate License Exam

Washington requires that potential real estate agents complete an exam administered by the state DOL. Before the exam, students are required to:

  • Register with Washington State’s current testing vendor, Applied Measurements Professionals (AMP).
  • Submit their course completions electronically to AMP

Once you’ve registered and submitted your course completions, you can schedule your exam.

What to Bring to the Exam

The only items required by the DOL are two forms of identification. According to the DOL, these forms of ID must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Each must include your current name and signature
  • Each must be current (not expired)
  • At least one must include a current photograph
  • How Long are Exam Results Valid?
  • In Washington, your results are valid for one year.

What Happens if a Student Fails the Exam?

If a student does not pass the state exam, they will receive instructions on retaking the exam with their results packet. If a student fails only a portion of the exam, they might only be required to retake that portion. Students must retake their exam within six months.

Completing Your Background Check and Fingerprint Card

In order to earn your real estate license in Washington state you must complete and background check and submit a fingerprint card with your application to the DOL.

The Background Check

Washington state currently works with MorphoTrust’s IdentGo process to acquire fingerprints electronically for Washington state residents. You can schedule an appointment to submit your fingerprints online at a local office. You are required to bring current ID to their appointment. Your fingerprints will then be sent to the Washington State Patrol (WSP) so a background check can be run. Those results will then be forwarded by the WSP to the DOL.

Past Charges that Might Disqualify You…

According to the DOL, background checks that reveal past convictions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Items of consideration during these reviews include:

  • The type of crime
  • The level of conviction
  • The relationship of the crime to your profession's practices
  • The length of time since the conviction occurred
  • Whether you already notified us of the conviction as required

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Washington

There are several costs and fees related to applying for your real estate license in Washington state. While it is difficult to estimate the precise cost for each individual because of the range in price one might pay for the required coursework, there are several approximate fees set by the state:

  • Application Fee: ~$150
  • Fingerprint Fee: ~$8
  • Background Check: ~$35
  • Exam Fee: ~$140
  • Mandatory Research Fee: ~$10
  • Estimated Total: $343

Renewing Your Washington State Real Estate License

Real estate licenses in Washington state are valid for only two years, and active real estate agents are required to complete a number of continuing education hours in order to renew. These requirements differ between those agents submitting for their first renewal and those who have already renewed their license at least once.

In addition, you might be required to submit updated fingerprints and background check information – you will be informed about whether you will be required to submit this information when you receive your renewal notice from the DOL.

Requirements for Agents First Renewal

Agents up for their first renewal are required to complete and submit the DOL’s real estate license renewal form, pay the renewal fee, and complete a total of 90 hours of continuing education (which must start after the issue date of their first license) in the following areas:

  • 30-hour Advanced Practices Course
  • 30-hour Real Estate Law Course
  • 3-hour Core Course
  • At least 27 hours other approved continuing education

Requirements for Agents Who Have Already Renewed their License at Least Once

Real estate agents who have renewed their license at least once before are likewise required to submit the renewal form and fee to the DOL. Additionally, they are required to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education. Those 30 hours must include the following:

  • A three-hour core course
  • At least 27 hours of other DOL-approved continuing education

Of the 27 hours of “other” continuing education, a minimum of 15 hours must be completed within 24 months of your renewal date, while the remainder can be completed within 48 months of the renewal date.

When can I Renew My License?

In Washington, you are permitted to renew up to 120 days (four months) before your current license expires.

Reactivating an Expired License and Renewing Late

It is possible for agents who have let their license lapse to renew and reactivate it. Depending on the agent’s particular circumstances, they may simply be required to complete the normal requirements and pay an additional fee.

How Much Does a Renewal Cost?

The cost of renewal depends on the specific circumstances of the agent.

In general, there are two costs to be paid: the fees related to the required continuing education hours and the renewal fee itself. While the cost of continuing education can vary greatly, the state license renewal fee is currently $146.25. For real estate agents renewing their license late, the cost is $172.75 including the late fee.

How Much can Real Estate Agents Earn in Washington

The overall earnings of real estate agents and brokers varies widely between agents depending on a number of factors, but in Washington state, the average earnings of real estate sales agents is $69,700, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).

How do the Earnings of Real Estate Agents in Washington Compare to the Rest of the United States

On average, real estate agents in Washington tend to earn more than the national average. According to the BLS, the median national wage for real estate agents was $49,040 in 2020, while the bottom 10 percent of earners made $25,100 and the top 10 percent of earners made $112,410.

Washington State Real Estate License Reciprocity

License reciprocity is an agreement between states that allows holders of a real estate license in one state to potentially fast track the process of acquiring a license in another state. When a license holder from another state applies for the Washington state real estate license, as long as they’ve maintained their out-of-state license in good standing for at least six months, they will only be required to take the Washington State law portion of the license exam, submit their application, and pay the related fees.

Your Real Estate Education Made Easy at Skyline

Skyline teams with local education providers for real estate agent training that covers everything you need to be successful in the real estate industry. These classes are offered at competitive prices and cover current market related topics and trends, as well as all the basic fundamentals of obtaining a realtor license.

Learn More About Real Estate Classes and Education at Skyline

For more information on our programs, call one of our managing brokers directly, or visit the websites of our partner schools listed below.

Visit our real estate training calendar for a list of upcoming events.