How to Become a Real Estate Broker:
The Definitive Guide

Are you a realtor or real estate agent, and are looking for something more?

Then, you may want to consider a career as a Real Estate Broker.

These specialized individuals have extensive knowledge and training so that they can work as independent Real Estate Brokers or start their own brokerage.

As a Real Estate Broker, you’ll spend much of your time looking at properties and trying to determine how much they are worth.

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What is a Real Estate Broker?

A Real Estate Broker is a real estate agent who has extra training in order to work as an independent.

There are several types of Real Estate Brokers, from Associate Brokers to Managing Brokers, as well as Principal/Designated Brokers.

Whichever one you choose will lead you on a different, but similar, path in the career of a Real Estate Broker.

This career takes more education and time than it does it become a realtor, but it can be a long-lasting career.


To do well in this career, you will need to have great communication and negotiation skills.

This is because you will spend a lot of your time speaking with customers and clients about a property and other valuable assets.

Some of the other types of tasks you may have to do as a Real Estate Broker on a daily basis include:

  • Listing homes for sale
  • Coordinating transactions
  • Supervising showings and open houses
  • Delivering and explaining documents


A Real Estate Broker in the United States will make about $80,000 a year or more on average.

That is quite a chunk of change, especially for those who have experience and knowledge about the real estate community.

In fact, those with many years of experience can expect to make well over $100,000 a year in some areas.

Those who are just beginning their career will typically make closer to $30,000 a year.

Once you gain clients and notoriety, that number can skyrocket in no time.

Working in larger cities and places with higher socioeconomic statuses can also make for higher wages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $86,490


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Arizona- NA -
District of Columbia$112,650
Florida- NA -
Maine- NA -
New Hampshire$81,530
New Jersey- NA -
New Mexico$73,470
New York$84,760
North Carolina$85,680
North Dakota$81,110
South Carolina$87,210
South Dakota$82,930
Texas- NA -
West Virginia$49,590

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is Nebraska, where the average salary is $148,820.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Nebraska - $148,820
California - $117,820
Hawaii - $116,290
District of Columbia - $112,650
Montana - $104,030
*Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Real Estate Broker

Step 1Gain an Education

The first step in becoming a Real Estate Broker is to educate yourself on the ins and outs of real estate.

There are several ways to do this, you can earn an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree at a community college or university.

Some of these types of programs are even offered online, so you can go to school right from your home.

The average Associate’s degree takes about two years to complete, and provides a great look into the world of business and real estate, depending on the area of study.

Most Bachelor’s degrees take about four years to complete but offer even more in-depth education.

Other programs that a Real Estate Broker can look into for education are classes from local real estate offices and facilities across the country.

No matter the program you enter, you will want to make sure that it is accredited in your state so that you can work legally.

Step 2Begin Your Career

Having an education is great, but experience is key to this career as well.

One of the best things you can do is start an apprenticeship or work as an assistant for a senior Real Estate Broker.

In order to obtain licensure and certification, you will need at least 6 months of work experience, so the sooner you start your journey, the better.

Some Real Estate Brokers even go to school while working to complete class credits and get work hours in at the same time.

If you need to find somewhere to work as a real estate agent or Real Estate Broker, starting locally is your best bet.

Step 3Obtain Licensure

Now that you have all the real estate knowledge you need, you will need to earn licensure.

This shows clients that you know what you are doing as a Real Estate Broker, and it also allows you to work for yourself.

States have different exams for Real Estate Brokers, so your results may vary, but typically a Real Estate Broker exam would cover the following areas:

  • Negotiations
  • Real estate law
  • Closing a deal
  • Working with clients

Most licensures take a couple of weeks to arrive in the mail, but once you pass the exam you will be a licensed Real Estate Broker.

Licenses should be updated every couple of years to ensure that you are on top of new laws and regulations.

Step 4Become Certified

You don’t legally have to become certified to work as a Real Estate Broker, but many people like to earn credentials to show their passion and knowledge for the career.

Since there are many different types of real estate, you can find a certification for nearly anything.

The National Association of Realtors provides certifications in niches such as:

  • Accredited Buyers Representative
  • Accredited Land Consultant
  • Certified International Property Specialist
  • Certified Property Manager
  • Certified Real Estate Broker Manager

That’s just the tip of the iceberg on one website!

There are many ways to find certifications and specializations as a Real Estate Broker.

Local real estate agents and associations may have other certifications that pertain to you.

Becoming certified will open new doors and opportunities for Real Estate Brokers.


Taking a step into the world of education can be difficult, especially because there are several options for a prospective Real Estate Broker.

It’s important to know all of the programs that are available to you.

There are many Real Estate Brokers who earn an Associates degree or a Bachelors degree in order to gain knowledge and insight into real estate.

When you earn a Bachelors degree, you’ll likely also earn an Associates degree.

Having a Bachelors degree shows that you are capable of working hard and provides employers and clients the trust that you will do a great job for them.

While there are many types of Bachelors degrees that you can look into, you will want to stick to one of the following:

  • Business Management in Real Estate
  • Business Management
  • Real Estate Technology
  • Real Estate Property Management

Within any of these majors and other business programs, you will typically take classes that include English, psychology, and math.

Courses that are important for a Real Estate Broker to take are:

  • Real Estate Practice
  • Appraisal Principles and Procedures
  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Investment Planning

Others choose to gain knowledge through courses that they can take at community colleges, real estate associations, or other facilities across the country.

Some of these courses last about one night, and others can last up to several months.

There are many courses that you should take, but they can vary from state to state.

Some of the concepts that you will learn in a Real Estate Broker class or program are:

  • Legal issues
  • Real estate finance
  • Insurance
  • Sales and taxes
  • Ethics

Whether you choose to enroll in a 4 year program or a program that lasts a couple of weeks, ensure that you have the proper education to maintain a great career in this field.

Video About The Career

Certification and Licensing

There is a difference between licensing and certification when it comes to working as a Real Estate Broker.

You will need a license in order to work by yourself in the United States, but if you work for an agent or other business, you may not need to become licensed.

A Real Estate Broker is someone who works independently, so a license is definitely a must.

In order to be eligible for a Real Estate Broker license in most states, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have the minimum real estate experience (typically 6 months, but some states require a year)
  • Complete a broker licensing course
  • Pass the Real Estate Broker exam

Just like the requirements, the exam can vary from state to state, but typically the exams are about 115 questions and take anywhere from 2-4 hours to finish.

The exam covers many different topics, such as:

  • Property ownership
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • Property disclosures
  • Real estate calculations
  • The practice of real estate

In order to pass the exam, you must score at least 75%.

This test can be taken more than once, and every two years you must recertify to ensure you are up to date on knowledge in the real estate field.

Certifications are different when it comes to being a Real Estate Broker, you don’t necessarily need these credentials to have a good career.

However, it does look good to clients and employers for you to have certifications in specialized areas.

Two great associations to look for certifications as a Real Estate Broker are The National Association of Realtors and the realtor association in your state.

Some of the most popular types of certifications are:

  • Accredited Buyers Representative
  • Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
  • Certified Residential Specialist
  • General Accredited Appraiser

Most of these certifications require that you pass an exam and provide proof of further education.

Each credential has its own expiration date, after which you will need to recertify.

Average Training Program Duration: 0-6 Months

On average, a training program can take one night to several weeks to complete for a Real Estate Broker.

Classes can be done online or in-person, depending on which style of program you begin.

Depending on the type of designation and specialization you have as a Real Estate Broker, your training programs can last a couple of weeks to several months.

No matter what path you take as a Real Estate Broker, it is important to always continue learning and reaching for new heights.

Popular Programs

Job Outlook

There aren’t many things in life that can be guaranteed, but a good home is considered a necessity in today’s society.

With a slow growth over the next decade of around 2 percent, there won’t be a surplus of career openings in this field, but there will be several reasons to become a Real Estate Broker.

Working as a Real Estate Broker means that you will have ample opportunities to sell, buy, and help relocate clients and their homes.

Those who work for themselves will likely have a better outlook than a Real Estate Broker who works for a large company, depending on where you live.

Over the next decade, there will be a new generation interested in buying homes, as well as a new generation leaving their homes due to death or old age.

Employment Growth Projection: 4%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 4,900 jobs.

Real Estate Broker: Interest Over Time

Should You Become a Real Estate Broker?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Agents seem to have the most satisfying careers.

The main reason for this is the ability to work the hours that you want, and the ability to create your own business.

It’s also possible to make quite a bit of money as a Real Estate Broker, which is another reason for the love of this career.

The downsides, however, are that the job never stops, and it’s sometimes difficult to take a vacation or personal days.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

There are several advantages to becoming a Real Estate Broker, one of them is the lucrative salary.

On average, a Real Estate Broker in the United States will make about $80,000 a year.

However, when just starting out in this field, a Real Estate Broker will make closer to $35,000 or less.

Once you gain experience and knowledge of the real estate world, you can expect to make up to $180,000 a year in some parts of the United States.

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

If you are expecting to have a lucrative career as a Real Estate Broker, then beginning your journey over the next decade is a smart idea.

This career will grow about 2 percent in the next ten years, but that is quite a bit considering that homes will always be a necessity.

Some things that may cause the slow growth of Real Estate Broker career opportunities could be credit and loan difficulties as well as the new generation who often put off buying a home or property.

Education Duration: 0-6 Months

Education Duration

There really is no set requirement for education to become a Real Estate Broker.

With that being said, many Real Estate Brokers choose to earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree.

A Bachelor’s degree takes about four years, while an Associate’s degree will take about two years to finish.

Some other programs can provide education to aspiring Real Estate Brokers and can take anywhere from 1 night to several months to complete.

So, depending on the type of education program you choose, it can take anywhere from 1 day to 4 years to become a Real Estate Broker.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Helping people buy and sell their homes is an important and serious career.

That is why it is necessary to be an honest person with integrity in order to have a great career as a Real Estate Broker.

There are some other personal traits required to make it in this career, such as:

  • Great communication skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Sense of urgency
  • Ability to stay on track
  • Accountability
  • Ethics
  • Passion for the career
  • Local knowledge
  • Persistence
  • Tech savviness
  • Attention to detail

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does a Real Estate Broker make?

Real estate can be a great business to get into, especially if you are a Real Estate Broker.

The average Real Estate Broker in the United States makes nearly $80,000 annually.

That is quite a bit, especially for a job that doesn’t legally require higher education.

At the top of this career, a Real Estate Broker can bring in well over $100,000 a year in some areas.

Q. What does a Real Estate Broker do?

As a Real Estate Broker, you will be helping clients buy and sell homes and land, depending on which type of real estate you decide to get into.

On a daily basis, it is likely that you will speak to clients over the phone or in person, as well as show houses and properties to prospective buyers.’

You’ll likely have a lot of contact with several different types of appraisers, buyers, sellers, and banks, so it’s important to have great communication skills in this career.

Q. What is the demand for Real Estate Brokers?

Living in a house is a luxury for many people, however, it isn’t something that is just going to go away overnight.

Everyone needs a place to live or do business, so the career of a Real Estate Broker is not likely to stop in the next decade or even farther out.

This career will likely grow 2 percent over the next ten years, which doesn’t seem like much by itself.

When you get into the nitty-gritty of it, you’ll see that this is a steady career that will grow slowly over time.

Q. How long does it take to become a Real Estate Broker?

It’s important to have some type of education or experience with real estate before beginning a career.

However, there isn’t a set time period that you need to learn all of the ins and outs of the field.

There are many real estate programs online that can be done in as little as a few weeks, and there are other programs that can take as long as 4 years to finish.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Real Estate Broker?

To apply to become a Real Estate Broker for a company, you won’t have to pay anything.

However, if you plan to get some education on the subject or earn a degree, it can cost a bit more.

On average, a Real Estate Broker program can cost about $350.

For those who want to earn an Associate’s degree, programs can run anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the school.

A Bachelor’s degree in the United States costs around $35,000.

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