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How to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio 2023: All Requirements for Taking the Exam

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In this article, we will show you how to get a real estate license in Ohio. We’ve gathered all the necessary information that will help you throughout your journey to becoming a licensed real estate agent or broker.

Let’s start with a list of requirements.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio

Ohio Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople

To qualify for a salesperson license, an applicant must:

  1. Be honest, truthful, and of good reputation.
  2. Be at least 18 years old.
  3. Be sponsored by an Ohio broker.
  4. Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Not have violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years as determined by a court of law or violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate.
  5. Have a high school diploma or its equivalent as recognized by the Ohio Department of Education if you were born after 1950.
  6. Complete the education requirements:
  • Real Estate Principles and Practices (40 hours)
  • Ohio Real Estate Law, including instruction in civil rights, housing discrimination, and desegregation problems (40 hours)
  • Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
  • Real Estate Finance (20 hours)

It is important to note that if you have not been licensed as a salesperson or broker within a four-year period immediately before applying for the sales exam (for license), then you must complete the above list of courses within a 10-year period immediately before applying.

The education must have been completed at an institution of higher learning that awards at least a two-year degree, such as an associate degree.

When selecting a broker to sponsor you, know that there are factors to consider to make the right choice.

Before taking the plunge, our guide on how to choose the right real estate brokerage to work for can help you arrive at the best decision.

Upon knowing the ins and outs of how brokerages work, head over to our directory of the best real estate brokerages in Ohio, which provides a list of residential and commercial brokers you can choose from.

Once you complete the education requirements, you may submit the Salesperson Examination Application, the application fee, and proof of the education you took.

The application fee is $81.00 and copies of your transcripts or course completion certificates are acceptable.

An applicant must also complete a criminal records check of both state and FBI records before the applicant can test.

The background check information is included with the Salesperson Examination Application.


Ohio Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers

In order to apply for a broker license, real estate agents in Ohio must hold an active salesperson license for at least two (2) of the last five (5) years and comply with the following requirements:

  1. If you were licensed prior to 1/1/1972, no further education is due.
  2. If licensed from 1/2/1972 to 1/3/1984, you must have taken the required 120 hours (courses #1-4 listed below)
  3. If licensed on or after 1/3/1984, you must have taken courses #1-8 listed below AND possess a minimum of two years of post-secondary education (#9), or the equivalent hours of sixty (60) semester or ninety (90) quarter hours.

The following is a list of the education requirements:

  1. Ohio Real Estate Law (40 hours)
  2. Ohio Real Estate Principles & Practices (40 hours)
  3. Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
  4. Real Estate Finance (20 hours)
  5. A Financial Management course
  6. A Human Resources or Personnel Management course
  7. An Applied Business Economics course
  8. A Business Law course
  9. A minimum of two years of post-secondary education, or equivalent hours of sixty (60) semester or ninety (90) quarter hours. Courses #5-8 may be included in your post-secondary education.

You must also meet the experience requirements totaling twenty (20) transactions.

The Division uses the following formulas to calculate if an applicant meets the transaction requirements:

  • Listing agent in the sale of a property owned by another = ½ transaction
  • Selling agent in the sale of a property owned by another = ½ transaction
  • Listing agent in the lease of commercial or industrial real estate owned by another for a term of at least one year = ½ transaction
  • Procuring agent in the lease of commercial or industrial real estate owned by another for a term of at least one year = ½ transaction
  • Listing and/or procuring agent in the lease of four residential real estate properties owned by another for a term of at least one year = 1 transaction

Upon accomplishing the above-mentioned requirements, you must submit proof of the education you completed (copies of your transcripts or course completion certificates are acceptable), along with the Broker Examination Application form and the application fee amounting to $135.00.

When applying for a broker license, the applicant is required to undergo a criminal records check of both state and FBI records before being accepted to take the exam.

Information about the background check can be found within the Broker Examination Application.


Reciprocal States

What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is when another state recognizes an Ohio license as meeting that state’s licensing requirements and grants an equivalent license in that state.

Reciprocity can be full (meaning no further education or testing is required) or partial (some education or testing may be required).


US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Ohio

The following states currently have a reciprocal agreement with Ohio:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Ohio

Survey of Experts

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

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

Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses and Pre-Licensing Online Courses

Due to the nature of the coursework required for an Ohio real estate license, only Ohio’s community colleges provide the necessary pre-licensing courses.

Please note some real estate schools in Ohio may offer the required hours of pre-licensing education, BUT be careful about taking those courses if you have not been licensed before.

Those courses may not be acceptable to the Division as pre-licensing coursework.

Remember, if you have not been licensed as a salesperson or broker within a four-year period immediately preceding your application for a license, then those courses must have been taken at an institution of higher learning that awards at least a two-year degree.

You may take the required coursework from the institutions listed below:

  • Belmont College
  • Cincinnati State
  • Clark State
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Cuyahoga Community
  • Eastern Gateway Community College
  • Edison State Community College
  • Hocking College
  • Lakeland Community College
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Marion Technical College
  • Northwest State Community College
  • Rhodes State College
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Southern State Community College
  • Terra State Community College
  • Zane State Community College

Information as to whether the courses are provided online or in the classroom can be obtained from each school.

Generally speaking, classroom courses are ideal for students who learn best in person and benefit from class discussion.

Online courses are usually ideal for students who are able to drive their own studies and stay on schedule and enjoy self-study.

A college classroom course would give time for questions and discussion, and keep the student on pace to finish the class in a definite time period.

A college online course may be an interactive virtual course or a self-study. That could vary by college or even professors at the same college.

If you don’t know the type of course format that suits you best, I would recommend comparing beforehand the differences of real estate courses online vs. classroom to give you a better idea of how each learning approach works.

Regardless of the type of online class provided, the student would still need to be diligent with their own studies and mindful to complete the class on a timely schedule (if the course did not have a definite end date).


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?

What is the name of the school where you completed your pre-licensing course?

Expert Insight

Do you see any advantages of taking an online course over the in-person class?

Online classes can save you time, but you miss out on so much with the interaction with the instructors.

I got so much out of the interaction with my instructors, who are all actual, practicing real estate agents. I would have missed out on this so much had I taken the online courses.

Online courses, though, would be the ideal solution if you are a parent with kids and can’t afford a babysitter.

Or, if you don’t have your own transportation, it may be worth taking the courses online.

Laurie Sickles, Keller Williams Excel Realty, REALTOR

Taking online classes is beneficial if you have other obligations or commitments during the typical work day or have a family that requires your attention in the evenings.

I also believe that not being present at home during most weekends can also take a toll mentally and perhaps become a distraction to the coursework.

The online system offers flexibility, which I believe most people require.

— Joshua Anton, RE/MAX Above & Beyond, Real Estate Agent/REALTOR

I took in-person classes. I was able to chat with the instructor before, during class, and after classes. I also picked their brains on selling techniques.

After passing my exam, I was able to put into practice their suggestions.

— Mike Erb, Star One Realtors, Professional Real Estate Agent

The greatest advantage to the online course is the convenience of time.

By taking it online, you set the schedule, you determine how fast or slow you proceed, and you can go back as much as you want to review everything.

— Jeff House, Keller Williams Advisors-Dayton/NEXT MOVE Network, REALTOR/Director of Coaching

I think it truly matters how you study. I personally could not do the online class because I need the structure to stick with it but others excel online.

— Jerri Barlage, HER Realtors, Partner/Team Co-Founder

I love the interaction and back-and-forth conversation of an in-person class. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Aaron Rich, Keller Williams, REALTOR

Online courses allow you to learn at your own pace, while in-person classes follow an 8-hour schedule.

— Alexandra Spino, Keller Williams Greater Metropolitan, REALTOR


What tips would you give future agents to help them pass the Ohio real estate exam?

Practice, practice, practice. Learn the material to pass the test, but then forget it right away. Most of it is not relevant to the day-to-day activities of an agent, so don’t get bogged down.

Jennifer Murtland, Team Synergi — eXp Realty, Partner

Keep taking the practice exams over and over until you score an 85% or better consistently. Work on the math problems and memorize your formulas, and you will be all set!

— Jeff House, Keller Williams Advisors-Dayton/NEXT MOVE Network, REALTOR/Director of Coaching

Read the material and study how the test is structured. Read the questions twice!

— Aaron Rich, Keller Williams, REALTOR

Read the questions carefully because they may try to trap you.

Quivari Jackson, Key Realty, REALTOR

Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Ohio

Upon completion of the requirements, the Division processes the application and sends the applicant’s information to PSI.

After processing the applicant’s information, PSI sends a Candidate Information Bulletin, which includes detailed instructions on how to make an appointment for the exam.

PSI administers the Ohio real estate exam at the following locations:

  • Akron
  • Cambridge
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus North (in Dublin)
  • Columbus South (in Groveport)
  • Toledo
  • Troy

The exam consists of two sections. The state portion should be completed within 60 minutes. The national portion should be answered within 120 minutes.

An examinee needs a passing score of 70 in order for a license to be issued.

Acing the exam as a first-time taker can be a tall order, so you have to thoroughly study for the test before making any appointments with the testing center.

Read our article How Hard Is the Ohio Real Estate Exam? to get an idea of what you should study for the test.

For additional study tips, read my article on how to pass the real estate exam on the first attempt.


How to File for Your License After the Exam in Ohio

Since the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing requires you to apply before sitting for the exam, you will have already filed for a license application before you take the exam.

After passing the exam, PSI will send your scores to the Division the next business day.

As you count the days to receiving your license, read useful resources to give you a headstart on your real estate agent career.

Our article on the pros and cons of becoming a real estate agent lets you in on what’s involved once you start working as a realtor.


How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Ohio

The Division will send your license to your broker in the mail within 1-2 business days upon receipt of your scores.

A congratulatory letter will also be sent to your address, along with detailed instructions on the requirements you need to accomplish in your first year as a licensed Ohio real estate agent.

Now that you are licensed, you get the opportunity to choose the right career path you want to take when practicing real estate in the state of Ohio.

We have a 6-step plan of what happens after you pass your real estate exam and get your real estate license that you may want to consider.

Also, keep in mind to join a real estate team to learn from experienced agents and network with your peers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a real estate license in Ohio when studying online or in the class?

You are required to complete 120 hours (for both salesperson and broker licenses).

The time varies depending on the format of the class (online or in person) and the number of hours per week.

On average, it takes about three months. If you are taking online classes and have enough time for studying, you can complete the program sooner.


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?

I got it as fast as possible. At the time, they only offered in person, and the shortest time frame was 3 weeks. I did that and took the exam at the soonest available time.

— Jennifer Murtland, Team Synergi — eXp Realty, Partner

I would have started taking sample exams online as soon as I was halfway through the course.

— Candace Papotto, eXp Realty & Mancuso Homes, REALTOR

Is there a background check for an Ohio real estate license?

Yes. All applicants must complete a criminal records check of both state and FBI records.

An applicant must have their fingerprints taken by a Webcheck user approved by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation within ten (10) days after the date of filing the application.

The applicant is responsible for contacting Webcheck and making arrangements with them to be fingerprinted, upon choosing from a list of Webcheck users.

The Bureau submits results directly to the Division within thirty (30) days of the Bureau’s receipt of the applicant’s fingerprints.

Failure to comply with the background check requirements can result in application denial.


How much does an Ohio real estate license cost?

The salesperson application fee is $81.00.
The broker application fee is $135.00.

Please note this cost does not include the cost of education or PSI exam fees (find this information in the following FAQs below).

To help you set a realistic budget, read our guide – How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio?


Survey of Experts

In your opinion, was the cost of getting your real estate license reasonable?

Approximately how much did it cost you to get your real estate license? Including school fees, study materials, and other related expenses.

Expert Insight

What were your ‘surprise costs’?

I didn’t run into any surprise costs while taking the mandatory courses to obtain my real estate license to practice in the state of Ohio. In fact, it cost much less than I expected.

I attended Hondros College located not far from my home in Central Ohio.

The courses themselves were $1,600. Other expenses include:

– Exam Prep Materials: $129
– Ohio Real Estate License Application Fee: $81
– Ohio Real Estate Exam Fee: $58
– Fingerprinting Fee: $50-$80
– Total costs: Approximately $1,917-$1,947

Pretty darn good for the career you are now prepared to endeavor on.

— Laurie Sickles, Keller Williams Excel Realty, REALTOR

Everything was very straightforward in terms of the financial cost of becoming licensed.

But, you definitely need to budget for time. It takes time, energy, and commitment to learn all that’s needed to ace your exam.

— Candace Papotto, eXp Realty & Mancuso Homes, REALTOR


What costs could have been avoided and how?

Sometimes the brokerage a new agent chooses will pay for their classes, books, etc., if they sign up with their brokerage for a 2-5 year commitment.

Also, if you become part of a team, the team leader may pay for your schooling and license fees going forward.

— Kerry Seitel, Comey & Shepherd REALTORS, REALTOR

With the CE shop, you’re able to purchase the modules individually without an additional cost which I found to be a huge perk.

— Erin Thomas, Keller Williams Citywide-EZ sales team, Salesperson

How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Ohio?

If you fail one or both parts of the Ohio exam, you will be given a retake application before you leave the testing center.

This application must be submitted to the Division, who will then notify PSI of your testing eligibility.


How many times can you retake the Ohio real estate exam?

There is no limit on how many times you can retake if you fail the exam.

You are required to pay the testing fee again, and you must submit the retake application at least once within 12 months of the failed exam.


Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Ohio?

Yes. PSI charges a testing fee each time.


How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Ohio?

If you take one portion of the real estate exam again, it is $39.00 for a salesperson or broker license.

If you take both portions at the same time again, it is $59.00 for a salesperson and $39.00 for a broker license.


Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor or felony in Ohio?

It is unlikely you can be licensed with a criminal history.

One of the requirements for a salesperson license is to not have been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.

This also applies to broker applicants since anyone applying for a broker license must have previously been a salesperson.

However, it is possible for the Division to disregard a conviction or violation in some circumstances.

Anyone with a previous conviction of any type, misdemeanor or felony is encouraged to seek pre-determination of eligibility with the Division prior to taking courses or the real estate licensing exam.

You must complete the Pre-Determination Form and send it to the Division for review.

Unfortunately, any decision made on the Pre-Determination form is not binding.

The Division CAN still decide to not approve an applicant’s criminal records report when it is received from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Our article on getting an Ohio real estate license with violations on the record provides more information about this topic.


Survey of Experts

Is it more challenging to get a real estate license with violations on one’s record?

Do you know any people who got a real estate license with violations on their record?


Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Ohio?

It is very likely that you can get a real estate license in Ohio if you have a DUI report, depending on how it was classified on your criminal record.


Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Ohio?

If you were born after 1950, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent to obtain a real estate license.


I hope you have fully immersed yourself in the information provided by this guide to help you get a real estate license in Ohio.

Getting licensed in the state is a straightforward process. Just make sure to complete all the requirements, and you will get your license in no time.

Our article – How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio? – walks you through the time it takes to complete each requirement.

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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