How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania? (Step-by-Step Guide)


How to Become a Real Estate Salesperson in Pennsylvania?

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

To engage in the real estate practice in Pennsylvania, all individuals must obtain a salesperson or broker license from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. This is the regulatory body that grants licenses to real estate agents and brokers, handles the real estate license renewal and regulate the industry.

To become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you must

  1. Be at least 18 years of age and have a valid SSN;
  2. Hold a high school diploma or equivalent;
  3. Complete 75 hours of pre-licensing real estate education;
  4. Pass the PA real estate salesperson exam;
  5. Provide a Criminal History Records Check (CHRC);
  6. Submit an application and a $97 fee to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission;
  7. Maintain the PA real estate salesperson license

As a real estate sales agent in Pennsylvania, your role is to work with clients to buy or sell the property according to their needs. You would be responsible for showing the property, bringing potential buyers to house tours, and handling the purchase and sale agreement.

Some agents may also help clients in searching for a rental property or lease out their units.

Since you are reading this guide, then you should have some interest in knowing about being a real estate agent in Pennsylvania.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the steps to obtain a real estate salesperson license in Pennsylvania, income updates, career outlook and FAQ about this profession.

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal real estate training. It is for general information only. Please always follow your State laws and best practices.

When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

7 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania

Requirement to to Become a Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or higher education

Step 2: Complete the pre-licensing education

You are required to take 75 hours pre-licensing courses from an approved education provider. The curriculum must consist of:

Step 3: Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Examination

Writing the Pennsylvania Real Estate Sales Associate Exam

This examination is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics.

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Sales Associate Exam consists of 100 questions, and you’ll have 3 hours to write it. The required passing score is 75%. This exam is administered by PSI. The exam fee is $49.

RealEstateExpress is an online school that I like. They offer pre-licensing courses and also have excellent exam prep materials. Their programs have a “Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee” in most of the states. That’s how confident they are. You may click here to view their courses. (**)

Step 4: Go through a background check

The PA Real Estate Commission needs to protect the public interest, so they will conduct a background check on all real estate license applicants.

To do so, you need to provide a Criminal History Records Check (CHRC). It must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted.

Step 5: Submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of State

Once you have passed the exam, you need to submit the application to the Real Estate Commission within 3 years. Else, you’ll need to re-take the exam.

You can the apply through the online services. In addition to the application, you also need to provide registration fee, exam passing score sheets and other necessary documentation.

Step 6: Join a licensed a real estate brokerage

Join a Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker

Although you have applied for the real estate license, you need to join a licensed real estate broker who would sponsor your license.

When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only focus on the commission split. But they neglect other essential factors in building a solid fundamental to their real estate business.

I will include some tips and a list of Top Real Estate Brokerages in Pennsylvania later in this post.

Step 7: Maintain the real estate license

Maintain the Pennsylvania Real Estate license

All real estate license holders must renew their license once every two years. The license expires on May 31 of every even-numbered year.

The Real Estate Commission will send you a renewal notice approximately two to three months before the license expires. The renewal fee for a real estate salesperson is $96. You may do so at the PA Licensing System.

To ensure that you are keeping up to date with the real estate laws and regulations, you also need to complete the Continuing Education for each renewal period.

If you are renewing the salesperson license for the first time, you have to take 14 hours of CE, which includes:

  • General Module (7 hours)
  • Either the Commercial or Residential Module (Both 7 hours)

For subsequent renewals, you just need to complete 14 hours of continuing education that is approved by the Real Estate Commission.

A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Pennsylvania

EligibilityEducation RequirementExamFees
US Citizen or lawfully admitted alien

At least 18 years old

Have a valid Social Security Number

Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
75 hours of pre-licensing course



14 credit hours of continuing education every two year
3 hours

100 questions

Required passing score is 75%
Pre-licensing courses from $223 to $370

Exam fee $49

Application fee $97

Here’s a Snippet of What a Real Estate Agent Think about The Profession

You can make your own hours, but you have to plan out your week in advance, so you have a work life balance

– Lori James, Real Estate Agent at Real Living Real Estate

If you want to know what Lori and other real estate agents think about this career, here’s an article you must not miss: “Is Real Estate a Good Career?”

Here are more details about Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam

More details about Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Exam Registration

They are computerized exams administered by PSI. To register, you need to do the following:

  • Submit PSI Registration Form
  • Provide exam fee ($49) – payment can be made by credit card or cheque.
  • Official transcripts or completion certificates of the pre-licensing courses

Then you could mail the completed set of documents to: PSI licensure: certification, ATTN: Examination Registration PA RE 3210 E Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV, 89121

At the day of the examination, you need to provide two pieces of ID. (i.e.: driver license, state ID, passport)

If you have any questions about the registration, you could contact the PSI at fax (702) 932-2666 or phone (800) 733-9267.

Content of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exams

The test consists of the national and state portions. Each topic weights differently in the exam. It is important to put more emphasis on studying for the parts that count the most.

Real Estate Exams Summary

Examination Portion# of ItemsTime AllowedMinimum Passing Score
Salesperson-National80 (80 points)120 minutes60
Salesperson- State30 (30 points)60 minutes23

National Portion Exams Content Outline

Exam ContentWeighting (Salesperson)
Property ownership8%
Land use controls and regulations5%
Valuation and market analysis 7%
Financing10%
General principles of agency 13%
Property disclosures 6%
Contracts17%
Leasing and Property Management 3%
Transfer of Title 8%
Practice of real estate 13%
Real estate calculations10%

State Portion Exams Content Outline

  • Real Estate Commission – 3 items;
  • Licensure – 6 items;
  • Regulation of Conduct of Licensees – 21 items;

Real Estate Salesperson Exam Sample Questions

To give you a better idea about the real estate exam, below are two sample questions for your reference.

Sample Salesperson Question:

A. Which of the following interests in property is held by a person who is granted a lifetime use of a property that will be transferred to a third party upon the death of the lifetime user?

1. A life estate. 2. A remainder estate. 3. An estate for years. 4. A reversionary estate.

B. Which of the following statements BEST identifies the meaning of the term, “rescission of a contract”?

1. A ratification of a contract by all parties. 2. A return of all parties to their condition before the contract was executed. 3. A transfer or assignment of a particular responsibility from one of the parties to another. 4. A review of the contract by the legal counsel of either party that may result in a cancellation without penalty or further obligation.

C. Which of the following clauses in a mortgage allows the lender to demand loan repayment if a borrower sells the property?

1. Defeasance 2. Prepayment 3. Acceleration 4. Alienation



Quote from Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson and Broker Candidate Information Bulletin

How much does it cost to get a Pennsylvania real estate license?

How much does it cost to get a Pennsylvania real estate license?

It costs approximately $516 to get the real estate license in Pennsylvania. Here is the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses with exam prep is approximately $370
  • Exam fee $49
  • Application fee $97

There could be other expenses such as fees for a background check, traveling, marketing, E&O.

How long does it take to become a licensed real estate agent in Pennsylvania?

How long does it take to become a licensed real estate agent in Pennsylvania?

It takes approximately ten weeks to become a licensed real estate agent in Pennsylvania. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the hours pre-licensing course, exam, background check, application, and get sponsorship by an actively licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker.

You may speed up in getting the PA real estate license by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-licensing education at a quicker pace.

I have a real estate agent license in another state. Can I become licensed in Pennsylvania by applying through reciprocity?

Yes, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission has reciprocity agreement with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.

If you are holding active license in one of these states, then you are exempt from writing the exam.

Is there any pre-licensing education exemption for real estate applicant?

Yes, if you hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in real estate or completed the equivalent coursework at an accredited college/university or have a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school, you could be exempted from taking the real estate sales associates prerequisite course.

How Much do Real Estate Agent Make in Pennsylvania?

How Much do Real Estate Agent Make in Pennsylvania?

Real estate agents in Pennsylvania make an average annual income of $62,430, it typically falls between $39,050 and $69,920. Top earning sales agent are making $100,460 per year. (+)

You earning as a real estate agent would depend on the price range of the properties that you work with, the number of transactions you could complete, the commission splitting schedule with the real estate brokerage and other factors.

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because you built up the client base and established trust with the prospects.

But as you continue to gain experience and sharpen your knowledge, you should be able to notice a significant improvement to your earning.

Here’s an article that uncover numerous important factors that could significantly affect your earning.

(+) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019)

Is there a demand for real estate sales agents in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is a state with over 12.8 million residents. There are 6,210 real estate sales agents in Pennsylvania, which works out to be 1.053 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (+)

As long as there are real estate transactions going on in Pennsylvania, there is a demand for real estate sales agents.

Source: (+) Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019)

Practical ideas to build a real estate career in Pennsylvania

Tip#1: Select an area with demand for sales agents

When you are selecting the neighborhoods to conduct your real estate business, you should consider areas that have a high population. After all, transactions can only occur when there are people.

Also, consider working on properties that have decent value, as this is one of the major factors when calculating your commission.

Median Home Prices of the Top 10 Highest Population Cities in Pennsylvania

CitiesPopulation House Values
Philadelphia1,576,596$162,600
Pittsburgh 302,908$149,500
Allentown120,890$138,500
Erie95,956$80,700
Reading 86,864$65,100
Scranton 77,546$71,400
Bethlehem75,686$171,700
Lancaster58,846$141,600
Harrisburg48,406$55,600
York43,733$58,400

Source: Zillow.com (Oct 31, 2019)

Tip#2: Choose the right real estate brokerage

Choosing Real Estate Brokers

When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only focus on the commission split, but there are many other factors you also need to consider.

For example, what type of training will they provide? Will they equip you with the skills in finding qualify prospects and closing a sale? Is there a shared office space you could use? Can the brokerage provide you with adequate administrative and marketing support? Will they provide you with leads to work on? Do they utilize up-to-date technology (i.e.: CRM, software subscription) to streamline the daily workflow.

All these would be extremely important especially at the beginning phase of your career.

Below are the top real estate brokerage in Pennsylvania based on their sales volume in 2018. The figures are obtained from RealTrends.com.

Real Estate BrokeragesCitiesSales Volume in 2018
Hanna HoldingsPittsburgh$17,429,795,589
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale RealtyLancaster$3,134,977,088

Keller Williams Real Estate
Blue Bell$2,357,725,053

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty
Pittsburgh$1,503,994,235
Northwood Realty ServicesWexford$1,471,937,700
Keller Williams Real Estate - ExtonExton$1,043,270,373
Coldwell Banker Hearthside, RealtorsNewtown$866,566,673
RE/MAX Select RealtyCranberry Township$706,303,346
Keller Williams Real EstateLanghorne$697,796,134
RE/MAX of ReadingWyomissing$652,703,060
Keller Williams Philly Real EstatePhiladelphia$600,194,621
RE/MAX 440Perkasie$589,444,750

Tip#3: Network with other real estate professionals

Networking with PA real estate professionals

You may consider joining the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS. This allows you to connect with other real estate salespeople and brokers, thus learn from their valuable experience and share ideas with one another. 

In addition, you should build a referral network with other real estate professionals. such as mortgage agents, lenders, notary loan signing agents, and appraisers.

Here’s a list real estate professional groups on our resource page. Hope this will be useful to you.

Tip#4: Become a licensed real estate broker

Once you have established a solid client base and develop the necessary skills, then you could consider expanding your business to become a real estate broker.

This allows you to build a team of real estate agents, where your brokerage could be providing training, marketing, administrative support, office space, and a subscription to industry software.

In return, you would get a share of the commission from the transactions that your real estate sales associates handle. Thus, lead to a scalable business model. 

Here’s a post on how to become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania.

Tip#5: Consider the commercial real estate niche

How to become a commercial real estate agent in Pennsylvania?

To become a commercial real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you need to complete 75 hours of pre-licensing education and pass the PA real estate salesperson exam, and register with the PA Real Estate Commission.

The Real Estate Commission do not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. So, the requirement is basically the same one we just went through.

Furthermore, if you are going to pursue a career as a CRE agent, you should look for a brokerage that could give you the right support and resources.

Here’s the “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career“, where I cover the career outlook, earning potential, and valuable feedback from CRE agents. Be sure to check it out.

Is Commercial Real Estate Agent a Good Career? – Here’s a Snippet of a CRE Agent’s Response

Gueorgui Chikov, Commercial Real Estate Agent

“As a CRE agent I work with all clients on the landlord, tenant, seller and buyer sides. I help these clients find space or lease/sell space/buildings. I try to focus mostly on office properties with an emphasis on sales rather than leasing. It has been about 2.5 years since I stared at NAI Bergman...

…. It is a great career for me because I am passionate about real estate. It is rewarding helping people and companies with their needs. That being said it is a very hard field to get into and stay in. If you’re not passionate, committed and patient, you will not stay long.

I think the biggest one – Network! If you do not know anyone, you will not do any deals. This is a relationship business, and with that comes being patience, being committed and consistent. You need to be able to do all of these…”

Gueorgui Chikov. Commercial Real Estate Agent at NAI Bergman

I have more questions about the real estate license in Pennsylvania, where can I get help?

You could contact the State Real Estate Commission

  • P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
  • Phone – (717) 783-3658
  • Fax – (717) 787-0250
  • Email: RA-REALESTATE@pa.gov

A Video Summary to Get a Real Estate License in Pennsylvania

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in getting a real estate license. Your first step is to complete the pre-licensing courses. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. RealEstateExpress is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.

Reference:

  • Pennsylvania Department of State – Real Estate Commission (source)
    • Real Estate Broker (source)
    • License Renewal Cycle and Fees (source)
    • Commission Laws & Regulations (source)
    • First CE Requirement (source)
  • Pennsylvania Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • FBI Identity History Summary Check (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Occupational Employment and Wages- Real Estate Sales Agent (source)
    • Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Pennsylvania (source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • Zillow.com (source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in Pennsylvania (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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