How to Get a Real Estate License in Colorado 2021: All Requirements for Taking the Exam
Interested in getting your real estate license in Colorado? Within this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about the process, from start to finish.
We’ve gathered information to answer all your questions about qualifying for a real estate license in Colorado – from how to apply and what pre-licensing work is required, all the way to taking the exam.
Continue reading to learn exactly what steps you need to take to get a real estate license in Colorado.
Colorado Licensing Requirements for Associate Broker
When you apply for a real estate license in Colorado for the first time, you become an Associate Broker.
In order to receive your license as an Associate Broker in Colorado, you must be at least 18 years old. You are not required to have a high school diploma or GED.
To get started, you can fill out the real estate broker license application online. You also must submit your fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to initiate a fingerprint-based criminal history background check. Applications that come in without a fingerprint submission won’t get processed.
Total costs for these services are over $500. The application fee for a real estate license in Colorado is $485. Fingerprinting costs vary based on which approved location you have them done at, but the range is between $20-$40. The cost of the full background check is $39.50.
You’re also required to complete 168 hours of coursework offered both in person and through online programs. Once you’ve completed all the pre-licensing educational courses, you have to pass the final coursework exam and obtain a certificate of completion (REC-33) to move on in the process.
The only way to avoid taking the assigned classes is to have a degree from an accredited college or university with a major course of study in real estate. Providing original transcripts from your degree program may get you out of the 168 hours.
At this point, you become eligible to take the final, comprehensive exam. The exam costs $44.95, and you can schedule it through PSI Services. A leading private administrator of state licensing exams, PSI makes it easy to schedule your exam at a facility that’s convenient to you. They also have online options. To make a reservation to take the exam, visit the PSI Candidate Care Center or call 800-733-9267.
As you schedule your exam, you should also apply for Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. Having this particular policy is another requirement to getting your actual real estate broker license. You should also find a sponsoring employing broker. They’ll file your actual application once everything is complete.
Colorado Licensing Requirements for Independent Brokers and Employing Brokers
After gaining two years of experience as an Associate Broker in Colorado, you may want to take the appropriate steps to advance your career. This means either becoming an independent broker or an employing broker.
An independent real estate broker in Colorado can operate their own brokerage but cannot supervise or employ other real estate licensees. To become eligible, you must:
- Have two years of verifiable, active real estate licensure.
- Have passed, or plan to pass, the state portion of the broker’s exam.
- Submit an application to change your license status.
An employing broker in Colorado can have their own firm and manage other licensed real estate people. They must pay their licensees commissions for all applicable transactions. To become eligible, you must:
- Have two years of verifiable active real estate licensure.
- Complete a 24-hour course in Brokerage Administration.
- Have passed, or plan to pass, the state portion of the broker’s exam.
- Submit proof of experience.
- Submit an application to change your license status.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
Reciprocity allows you to obtain your real estate license in one state, and apply it to work in another. It occurs when more than one state accepts each other’s standards because of similar educational practices and requirements.
You may have some requirements to complete in order for your existing real estate license to become valid in another state. Most commonly, you’ll have to pass the state-specific portion of their license exam to demonstrate you understand local processes and procedures.
Colorado accepts real estate licenses from every other US state or territory with certain provisions. Eligibility in Colorado for reciprocity depends on:
- Passing the state portion of Colorado Real Estate Broker’s Exam.
- Completing a fingerprint background check.
- Providing a certified license history dated within 90 days of your application. It must also include any disciplinary actions that occurred while you had your license as well.
Those coming into the state with less than two years of real estate experience will qualify as an Associate Broker. Those with more experience can apply to become an Independent Broker as long as they complete the same general requirements.
Additional requirements for those with less than two years of real estate experience vary based on what license they’re entering the state with. For those who are already brokers, you must complete a 72 credit hour course in Contracts and Closings in addition to the items above. Those coming in with a real estate salesperson license must complete a 120 credit hour program in addition to the items above.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Colorado
Although there’s no guarantee a state will have reciprocity with another when you’re looking to relocate, as of right now there are a variety of states with full or partial reciprocity if you’re coming from Colorado.
Depending on where you’re headed, requirements to apply a Colorado real estate license out-of-state will vary from state-to-state.
States accepting a real estate license from Colorado with full reciprocity include:
States accepting a real estate license from Colorado with partial reciprocity include:
- New York
States that don’t have any reciprocity require current real estate license holders to begin the process over in their new home. You’ll have to apply and take all the pre-licensing education classes and exams, complete a background check if it’s required, and sit for the final real estate exam to obtain a new license.
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Colorado
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
Colorado requires real estate license applicants to complete 168 total hours of coursework before you can sit for the exam. The pre-licensing curriculum is broken into six required courses:
- Real Estate Law and Practice – 48 hours
- Colorado Contract and Regulations – 48 hours
- Practical Applications – 32 hours
- Real Estate Closings – 24 hours
- Trust Accounts and Recordkeeping – 8 hours
- Current Legal Issues – 8 hours
Choose from our list of real estate schools in Colorado that offer these courses in a physical or online classroom setting.
Going to class at a set time, on a specific day, can really help you maintain a schedule as you work toward your real estate license. You’re also given a chance to network with future colleagues and educators who are most likely already established in the field.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
The same set of coursework is also available online in Colorado. Combined into a single package, this option may provide you with additional resources such as exam prep and even a pass guarantee.
Taking classes online enables you to work at your own pace, which may be much faster than the one set by an in-person curriculum. In Colorado, it can take anywhere from 2-6 months to finish the required hours of coursework. Going online can keep you closer to the two-month mark for completion.
To get insight into the pros and cons of each type of real estate curriculum, check out our video guide — Real Estate Classes Online vs. Classroom.
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Colorado
PSI is the current exam vendor in Colorado. You’ll need to make a reservation to take the exam by registering at PSI Candidate Care Center or calling 800-733-9267. You’ll find testing centers in:
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins
- Grand Junction
- Wheat Ridge
The exam is broken into two parts. You’ll have 120 minutes to complete the national portion, and 110 minutes to complete the state portion. This is not an open-book exam, and no materials are allowed in the testing area.
To pass, you must answer at least 60 out of 80 questions correctly to earn the minimum passing score of 75% on the national section. The state section consists of 74 questions. You must answer at least 53 correctly for a minimum passing score of 71.5%.
If you want to ace the exam, be sure to read the article of one of our experts, Kristina Morales, who has some great tips on how to pass the real estate exam the first time.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Colorado
Once you’ve passed both sections of the Colorado Real Estate Exam, and submitted your fingerprints for the background check, you can apply for your license through the Colorado Division of Real Estate. They provide online eLicense services to make it easier.
Applications can take up to 10 business days to process upon receipt, and the cost is $485.
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Colorado
After your application has been processed, you will be notified your license is active.
The broker license for a first-time licensee is only good through December 31 of the year in which it was issued. You’re then required to renew it, but without any obligation to finish any continuing education.
After the initial renewal, your license is valid for three years. During this time, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education to renew it. This continuing education is required for each renewal of your license.
Once you’ve finished the entire process, and are now one of the professional real estate agents in Colorado, there are a few more necessary steps before you begin working. Make sure you’re prepared with this helpful article explaining what to do after you get your real estate license.
Also learn how to join a real estate team. Beginning as a member of a real estate team can make your start easier.
How long does it take to get a Colorado real estate license when studying in the class?
From start to finish, the classes can take anywhere from two to six months. If you take two hours every weekday, you’ll finish in about three months.
Processing your fingerprints specifically takes anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks but can happen concurrently while you complete coursework. It shouldn’t prolong the process of preparing yourself for the state exam.
How long does it take to get a Colorado real estate license online?
Because of the flexible scheduling, it may take less time to complete coursework online. Based on how many hours you complete each day, you can bring the time down to around two months or less.
Is there a background check for a Colorado real estate license?
Yes, it’s a required component of the process and starts when you submit your fingerprints.
How much does a Colorado real estate license cost?
Total costs vary based on the amount you spend on the pre-licensing courses and the price of your E&O insurance. On average, you’ll pay between $950-$1000 in total.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Colorado?
You can retake all or a portion of the exam as soon as the next day after failing.
How many times can you retake the Colorado real estate exam?
Should you fail the exam, you have an unlimited number of opportunities to retake either one or both parts until you pass. However, your current scores are only good for one year. If you pass one section, and only need to retake another, that passing score is only good for a year. After that, you’ll have to retake both sections.
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Colorado?
Yes, you pay each time you retake the exam.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Colorado?
The cost is $42.50 for retakes. You’ll pay a little more the very first time you take the test.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Colorado?
As part of the application process, you’ll have to complete a criminal background review. Should you respond yes to any of the questions, you’ll need to provide actual court documents pertaining to the charge. Once submitted, the appointed board and/or commission will review and make a determination on your eligibility to receive a license.
You can use the online application to obtain an opinion regarding the potential effect a felony will have on your ability to get a real estate license in Colorado.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Colorado?
You’ll have an opportunity to share this type of information when you fill out the real estate license application. If you do have a misdemeanor, you’ll need to submit the actual court documents related to the charge. After you do this, the appropriate board and/or commission reviews your application and makes a determination on your eligibility to get a license.
The online application allows you to get feedback regarding the potential effect a misdemeanor will have on your ability to get a real estate license in Colorado.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Colorado?
It’s possible to get a real estate license if you have a DUI as long as you disclose the charge on your application and submit the appropriate and relevant court documents pertaining to the charge.
You can even get feedback prior to filling out the application on whether you’re eligible for a license using the online application.
Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Colorado?
Yes. The only pre-requirement to apply is that you’re at least 18 years of age.
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