How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Montana?

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If you’re curious about how much time you need to commit to obtain a Montana real estate salesperson’s license, the short answer is: it depends.

Several variables can affect how long or short the process will be. This post provides a detailed look at those factors in the context of the steps associated with licensure.

So use this article as your step-by-step guide to calculating your individual timeline.

Here are the to-dos and explanations of the time involved.


Estimated Timeline to Get a Real Estate License in Montana

Time frame Step
7-8 days Take the pre-licensing course.
1-2 weeks Review for the exam.
1+ weeks Wait for exam day and take the test.
2 weeks Affiliate with a broker.
Up to 5 days Get professional liability insurance.
2-4+ weeks Apply and receive your license.

Take the Pre-Licensing Course: 7-8 Days

While you can pursue licensure as a salesperson if you have a 10th-grade education or higher, you must supplement that with 70 hours of accredited classes to qualify for a license.

How quickly you’ll get to check that classwork off your list depends on your study schedule.

The time frame can be 7-8 days if you are available to attend class full time on consecutive days. Whether that will be in a live or virtual classroom depends on the school you pick.

You can also finish the self-paced online course in a comparable amount of time. Doing so requires that you put your head down for the same daily time commitment as the classroom.

You have anywhere from six months to a year to complete the online course. Therefore, if you prefer to study at a more relaxed pace, you can.

For example, if you keep a schedule of 10-15 hours per week, you could tackle the course in 5-7 weeks.

Know which method is more ideal for you by reading our A-to-Z guide on online real estate classes vs. traditional classroom courses.


Survey of Experts

Did you take your pre-licensing real estate course online or in person?

Do you think taking a real estate pre-licensing course online can save students time compared to in-person courses?


Review for the Exam: 1-2 Weeks

You no doubt want to pass the licensing test on your first attempt. So, how long should you study for the real estate exam to help ensure you achieve that goal?

The applicable answer is specific to each person taking the exam. Generally speaking, however, it can help to spend 1-2 weeks, more or less, on a refresher of what you learned in class.

Specifically, you can use that time for a combination of study efforts, such as the following:

  • Use the outline in the exam bulletin to concentrate on topics covered on the test.
  • Spend regularly scheduled time reviewing course materials and your notes.
  • Take an exam prep course focusing on one or both portions of the test.

Prep courses are designed to help you prepare for and pass the exam. They include content based on the candidate handbook, individual lessons by topic, and practice tests.

Those mock exams are usually dynamic and allow you to assess your knowledge. That can help reduce your study time by focusing on areas where you need improved performance.

Refer to our article on how to study for the Montana real estate exam for useful pointers on how best to pass the exam.

Additionally, my article on how to pass the real estate exam the first time offers tips on how to properly prepare for the test.


Wait for Exam Day and Take the Test: 1+ Weeks

Scheduling the exam is pretty quick, the fastest way being via the test administrator’s website. It’s available 24/7 to check available dates and make your appointment.

How far out that appointment is set depends on how busy the test centers are. Be ready to wait a week or more to take the exam. You can put that time to use doing additional prep.

Test day itself is likely to be just that — an entire day when you factor in travel to and from the PSI Testing Center and time to take the exam.

According to the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin:

  • You’ll need a half hour before the exam for the check-in process.
  • Two hours are allowed for the national (general) portion.
  • You get 90 minutes to answer the questions in the state section.


Survey of Experts

How difficult was it for you to study and pass the Montana real estate license exam?

How many attempts did it take you to pass your real estate license exam?

Expert Insight

Tips to help future agents pass the real estate exam.

Cevan Likness Realtor

Study for the exam, not for being an agent. The exam questions are meant to test your memory and understanding of that specific material.

Now that I’ve been an agent for two years, almost none of the material I was tested on is used in my everyday Realtor life. Study just the exam material.

— Cevan Likness, Keller Williams Realty, Realtor
Karen English Realtor

Read the questions twice. Sometimes they try to trick you. Wrong answers are normally the product of questions that were misread, not because the student didn’t know the answer.

— Karen English, Keller Williams Capital Realty, Realtor

Affiliate With a Broker: 2 Weeks

You must have a supervising broker lined up before applying for a real estate salesperson’s license in Montana. So you’ll need to find a broker to work for sooner rather than later.

That requires time for comparing companies on paper and then having a face-to-face conversation with your top picks to ask questions and narrow down your choices.

You can start with a week for research and add more time if needed. Allot a week for interviews as well. Depending on scheduling and the number of firms, those could take more or less time.

One way to move more quickly through the research process is to use the following resources offered by Real Estate Bees.

Note that you don’t have to do this step over consecutive weeks, or wait until after the exam to start. You can work on these activities throughout the process and shorten your overall timeline.


Get Professional Liability Insurance: Up to 5 Days

Licensees are required to carry errors and omissions insurance. It can help protect you financially if you’re sued for a mistake, or if someone files a false claim against you.

You can enroll in the Montana Board of Realty Regulation’s group policy, or purchase coverage outside the group, provided it meets the state’s requirements.

It’s faster to enroll in the group policy online versus by mail. You’ll get proof of coverage immediately after completing the enrollment.

Online is also the most expedient way to shop for your own policy. However, it can still take several days to identify potential insurers and receive and compare quotes.


Apply and Receive Your License: 2-4+ Weeks

The last step in the process is applying for your license and waiting for the Board’s review and approval.

The fastest way to get your application queued up for that review is to use the online portal. You can submit a paper application, but that can push the processing start date out.

It won’t likely take long to apply if you have a “clean” background. However, the time needed can stretch out if you’ve waited to get the paperwork together for criminal or disciplinary history.

In those cases, the Board requires you to submit a written explanation of the related event(s) and documentation from the official source (e.g., court, licensing board, and such).

Board staff will consider your application incomplete if you fail to provide all required documents. They will also hold off on processing it until they receive everything they ask for.

Once they do, a licensing decision typically takes two weeks to a month unless your application is categorized as “nonroutine.” That occurs if it involves scenarios such as:

  • Evidence of unprofessional conduct according to rule or law
  • Violent felony or violent misdemeanor convictions
  • Specific nonviolent misdemeanor and felony convictions

Read all about this topic in detail in our article – Can You Get a Montana Real Estate License with Violations?

Since professional members of the Board must review nonroutine applications, the processing time will extend to whenever their next regular meeting is scheduled.

You can use this waiting time to prepare yourself for what’s to come once you embark on this career. It would be helpful, for example, to know what it’s like to work as a realtor.

This is discussed in detail in our article that features industry experts giving their two cents on the pros and cons of being a real estate agent as a career.


Survey of Experts

How long did it take you to get your real estate license? From the time you signed up for school till your license was issued.

Expert Insight

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently to get your license faster?

Karen English Realtor

I took the exam in about 2 weeks. The rest of the time was waiting for an exam spot and then waiting for the license to be issued. There is nothing I could have done to change the timing.

— Karen English, Keller Williams Capital Realty, Realtor
Cevan Likness Realtor

I would select the best pre-licensing program based on what’s best for my learning abilities, not the cheapest because it’s the cheapest option.

— Cevan Likness, Keller Williams Realty, Realtor

Where to Study for a Real Estate License Exam?

The Board allows you to take the pre-licensing course online or in person.

The live classes tend to be concentrated in larger cities like Missoula and Billings. So if you live nearby, you’ll likely have convenient options for studying in a physical classroom.

Some of the real estate agent schools in Montana also teach the course in a virtual classroom, which means you can participate from home.

Just make sure your study space conforms to school rules. Typically, those rules include things like the following:

  • Find an uncluttered, quiet space with minimal distractions.
  • Ensure adequate lighting so that you are clearly visible.
  • Have a setup where you can sit up straight, facing the camera.

If you complete your coursework on demand, you have the freedom to pick any place that works for you. You can vary study spots if you find that it promotes memory recall.

The bottom line is that you can complete your online pre-licensing studies mostly anywhere, from your kitchen table to a coffee shop, or the local library to a coworking space.

You also get the same flexibility with exam prep courses as most are offered online.


As you can see, in some cases, you can be working as a licensed Montana real estate agent in about two months.

It also helps to speed up the process when you’re already prepared financially for the cost implications of getting licensed.

Refer to our article on how much to get a real estate license in Montana to get an estimated breakdown of the fees involved.

Don’t forget to have a checklist of all the requirements of getting a Montana real estate license to be able to complete the licensing process quickly and more efficiently.

Even if it takes longer, you’re on your way to a rewarding career once it happens.

You can find out more about setting yourself up for success in our article tackling the next step after passing the real estate exam. It includes a handy checklist of things to do before starting your work.

Take into consideration as well to join a real estate team to learn from experienced agents.

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals.

It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


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.

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