How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Illinois?
Getting a real estate license in Illinois is a process you need to fully invest in to find success. From the preparation to the test itself, you’ll need plenty of time.
Here’s how to go about getting your license as well as estimates on how long each stage of the process will take.
Keep reading to learn more about how to schedule and plan for obtaining an Illinois real estate license from start to finish.
Timeline of Getting a Real Estate License in Illinois
|1-2 weeks||Review broker qualifications and begin researching locations for pre-licensing education.|
|2-6 weeks||Complete your pre-licensing education.|
|1 week||Schedule test and take real estate license exam.|
|2-4 weeks||Find a sponsoring broker and complete the application process.|
|2-4 weeks||Get your real estate license.|
Based on these estimates, at the very least, it will take you 10 weeks or 2.5 months to get your real estate license in Illinois.
This is all based on getting the fastest processing times and finishing your pre-licensing coursework quickly.
Here’s what you have to do to work within this timeline efficiently.
Begin Preparations: 1-2 Weeks
The first thing you need to check when interested in getting a real estate license in Illinois are the basic qualifications.
If you’re unable to meet those, you’re unable to get your license. In Illinois, the basic requirements are:
- You’re at least 18 years of age
- You have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- You have a high school diploma or GED
In Illinois, there’s only one type of real estate license you can get if you’re planning on working for a brokerage and not going into business for yourself.
You can apply to become a real estate broker.
From there, you’ll need to start researching locations to complete the next step in the licensing process: your pre-licensing education.
In Illinois, you’re only able to take these classes, whether you do so in person or online, from an approved educational institution.
Check out our directory of the best real estate schools in Illinois for the institutions offering the required real estate course.
You are also required to undergo a background check. Know how this process is being done by reading our article on getting a real estate license in Illinois with violations on your record.
Complete Pre-Licensing Education: 2-6 Weeks
The pre-licensing coursework to get your broker’s license in Illinois takes a total of 75 hours.
It consists of two courses — 60 hours of Introduction to Real Estate and 15 hours of Applied Real Estate Principles.
The speed at which you finish these two courses greatly depends on the format you pick.
Meeting in a physical classroom, with set times each week, can take a little longer, although you can benefit from in-person contact.
Getting to meet your future colleagues and interacting directly with your instructors can provide you with networking opportunities and ready-made study groups.
The time goes faster if you opt for an online format.
This choice is often completed through self-guided learning, which means you can work whenever it’s convenient for you, devoting multiple hours in a day to the pre-licensing courses.
You also have the luxury of picking the location where you learn, enabling you to find the perfect, quiet spot that’s ideal for concentrating.
To know which format is best for you, check out our video on the pros and cons of real estate classes online vs. classroom courses.
Factor in time to study as well, as part of your pre-licensing education. Even after you’ve completed the courses themselves, you should add in time to prepare for the exam itself.
How long should you study for the real estate exam is entirely based on how prepared you feel upon finishing the coursework and how much you’ve prepared while still in class.
Spend a few days, at least, reviewing notes, but also consider looking through some outside materials.
For some tips on studying for the real estate exam, check out our article on How to Pass the Real Estate Exam the First Time.
Register and Take the Exam: 1 Week
The real estate license exam in Illinois is offered through PSI Services. To register, you can set up an online account.
This is particularly helpful since, with this account, your school can electronically submit your course completion documentation.
After setting up your PSI account, you can now register for the exam or call 855-340-3893. The cost of the exam is $58.
There’s no guarantee a testing appointment will be available the day after you register, which is the soonest you can get an appointment. You may have to wait a few days.
When you register, you’ll need to select a testing site location. You’ll find options across Illinois in:
- Buffalo Grove
- Carol Stream
- Des Plaines
- Franklin Park
- Glen Ellyn
- Park Ridge
- West Chicago
Don’t forget to bring two valid forms of ID with you on testing day.
The test itself only takes 4 hours. It’s broken into two portions, 100 questions in the national section, and 40 questions in the state section.
For topics covered in the test, refer to our article on what to study for the Illinois real estate exam.
To pass, you need to earn at least a 75% in each section.
Once you pass, you’ll go through a candidate screening process at your testing location. This is a series of questions you must answer onsite.
You’ll also receive instructions on how to submit your final licensing application with your passing score report.
Complete the Application Process: 2-4 Weeks
The first step to completing the licensing application process, once you’ve passed the exam, is to find a sponsoring broker.
It can take a few weeks to find the right fit, but you can get ahead in the game with the help of our article — How to Choose the Right Real Estate Brokerage to Work for as a New Agent.
After reviewing these tips, use our directory of the top real estate brokerages in Illinois to narrow down your search.
You can’t complete your license application without finishing this step first.
The good thing is, Illinois real estate license law lets you work for up to 45 days under the supervision of a managing broker.
This is allowed while your application is being processed, so you can start working right away.
To submit your application, you’ll need to fill it out fully, pay the $125 fee, and register online.
After you submit your application, be sure to brush up on what makes being a real estate agent worthy as a career to prepare yourself for the perks and challenges of the job.
Get Your Real Estate License: 2-4 Weeks
The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) does not issue paper real estate licenses, but you’ll receive an email notification once your application is approved.
Although this is the final step that rounds out your time to get a real estate license in Illinois, it officially kicks off the time period you need to think about completing your post-licensing education.
The Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000 lets the IDFPR issue citations if you fail to comply with the required hours of post-licensing education, which is different based on what year you were licensed.
For those issued a license before November 2, 2019, you only have to complete 12 hours of post-licensing education. Four hours are for a core class, and the other eight are dedicated to electives.
For those who received their license on or after November 2, 2019, the time requirement goes up to 45 hours of education, broken down into:
- 15 hours of applied brokerage principles
- 15 hours of risk management
- 15 hours of transactional issues
Regardless of when you got your real estate license, one hour of your coursework must go to a course on sexual harassment prevention training.
For the cost of post-licensing education, refer to our article discussing how much a real estate license in Illinois is.
Even as you prepare to take a post-license class or two, congratulations are in order. You’re now among the licensed real estate agents in Illinois.
Prepare for the next step after passing the real estate exam, and be sure to learn how to join a real estate team to be trained by experienced agents.
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About the Author
Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.