How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Rhode Island?

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This article lays out the different costs of meeting the requirements for obtaining and maintaining a salesperson’s license in the state of Rhode Island.

We explain the factors that impact what those costs can be when acquiring your license and keeping it active.

Ready to jump in? Here’s what you need to know to tally up a total and create a budget.


Getting Your License

Preparatory Coursework: $300-$500

There are two education requirements for licensure as a Rhode Island real estate salesperson. You must complete the following:

  • 45 hours of approved pre-licensing coursework
  • 3-hour course on lead hazard awareness and mitigation

The 45-hour course covers the basics of real estate transactions and laws affecting real estate practice. You learn how to deal with lead paint issues impacting transactions in the 3-hour class.

The price range for the 45-hour course runs from $300 to $500. However, you’ll readily find providers priced in the $300 to $350 range.

The cost of the lead paint class is around $35. This course can be taken online.

State rules and regulations require that you complete the 45-hour coursework in an in-person or live virtual classroom. The cost of the two delivery methods tends to be comparable.

Online real estate schools offer a workaround if you need an on-demand option. You can get a Massachusetts license online and then obtain a Rhode Island license by reciprocity.

Your costs will be different if you opt to go that route.

See our articles on the cost of getting a Massachusetts license and the requirements for Rhode Island reciprocity to gain insight into how that would impact your licensure budget.


Exam Prep Course: $60-$100

If you want to include extra exam prep in your study plan, you’ll need to budget at least $60 to $100 to cover the cost of an online course.

The prep courses within that price range provide access to targeted lessons, interactive study tools, and practice tests. The difference is the scope of the course.

Those that cost $60 to about $75 generally focus on only one part of the exam. So, you can prepare for the national portion of the test or the section focused on state-specific content.

Plan to spend $100 at a minimum for a prep product to help you pass the national and Rhode-Island portions of the test.


Criminal Background Check: $5

A Criminal History Record (CHR) must accompany your application for a salesperson’s license. Rhode Island’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) conducts this background check.

You don’t have to be fingerprinted for this records search. Instead, it’s performed using your name and date of birth.

The cost of the CHR is $5. You’ll pay that exact amount if you do a mail-in transaction for which a check or money order are the payment forms accepted.

You’ll incur a processing fee of 2% plus 50 cents if you go to the Attorney General’s Service Center to complete this. They only accept credit cards for in-person transactions.

Know the steps to submitting a background check by reading our article on the topic – Getting a Rhode Island Real Estate License with Violations on the Record.


Errors and Omissions Insurance: $110+

When setting your budget to get a real estate license in RI, cost figures need to include errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.

As an agent, you’re mandated to be covered by a policy. You must provide proof that you have one when applying for your license.

What is E&O insurance? This professional liability insurance helps to protect you from losses or damages resulting from mishaps in the performance of professional real estate services.

Your cost for E&O insurance depends on several factors:

  • The insurer
  • Coverage amount
  • Policy term
  • Who carries the policy

If you purchase your own policy, you’ll pay the premium. According to an E&O insurer website, a one-year policy that meets the state’s coverage requirements costs about $110.

Some policies coincide with a two-year license renewal in even-numbered years and cost just over $200. In this case, you might pay a prorated amount based on when the coverage begins.

If your broker’s blanket policy covers you, you’ll pay an agreed-upon amount. That could be more or less than $110 based on the specifics of the broker’s coverage.


Exam Fee: $70

The salesperson exam is an in-person test. It’s not open to walk-ins. So, you need to make an advance appointment. The cost is $70, which you must remit when scheduling.

Ideally, you’ll pass both parts of the exam (national and state) the first time. If not, you’ll have to retake the portion you failed. In this case, you’ll pay $70 more whether you retest on one part or both.

To avoid incurring additional costs, read our article on the best way to pass the Rhode Island real estate exam, which provides pointers on what and how to study for the test.

You must also check out our tips on how to pass the real estate exam the first time.

Other instances in which you’ll have to come out of pocket for an additional exam fee include the following:

  • You cancel or change your exam reservation without a 48-hour notice.
  • You’re late or absent without proper notice, and it’s not an excused absence.

You can read up on the policies for changes, cancellations, and absences in the Pearson VUE Candidate Handbook. It also details the required items for admission to the exam.


License Application: $165

The deadline for filing for your license is one year from the date you pass the exam. You can submit a paper application. Or, you can register for an account and apply online.

The fee that must accompany your application is $165. That total is made up of two amounts:

  • $140 for your original salesperson’s license
  • $25 for the Real Estate Recovery Account

What does the $25 fee go toward? It’s deposited into a fund that compensates individuals who suffer a monetary loss due to the wrongdoing of a licensed real estate salesperson or broker.

When you apply, you must also submit all the required documents. You also need a sponsoring broker to certify your suitability for licensure.

Need some pointers on figuring out the pros and cons of different firms? Reference our guide on how to choose the right real estate brokerage firm to work for.

Then, browse our directory of top-rated real estate brokerage firms in Rhode Island and pick one that is closest to your location.

When you’ve allocated a budget, don’t forget to do some research on the timeline involved in acquiring your license in the state.

Our article – How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Rhode Island? – can help you with this.


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 encounter any surprise costs, but I do think it is important for the process and costs to be outlined to a candidate ahead of time to ensure they understand and can plan for it.

This is extremely important as real estate is typically a commission-only position.

Rhonda Mesenbourg, Alpern & Mesenbourg with Keller Williams Realty, Managing Partner/Broker Associate
Carl J. Coutu Realtor

I got my license 45 years ago, so I don’t recall any surprise costs. If anything, the cost today is too low as are the requirements to get licensed.

— Carl J. Coutu, Keller Williams Realty Central Rhode Island, Past Owner/Operating Principal

Keeping Your License Active

Continuing Education Courses: $85-$185 every renewal term

As well as initial, one-time expenses, Rhode Island real estate agents need to cover recurring costs to maintain their license and do business as an active agent.

One such expense for almost every licensee is continuing education (CE). This requires you to invest at least $85 to $185 for every two-year renewal term.

That amount covers a course package that meets the state’s requirements:

  • At least 24 hours of CE at a Rhode Island-approved school
  • A minimum of 9 of the 24 hours in core subject areas
  • Remaining 15 hours in any department-approved courses

What you pay varies based on the school you choose. You’ll find that the price point for many online providers hovers around $150. And 24-hour packages cost less than individual courses.

If you’re debating whether it’s more beneficial to take your courses online, read our article comparing the pros and cons of real estate classes online vs classroom courses.


License Renewal: $130+

Once you get your license, it’s valid for two years. You’re due to pay a renewal fee at that time and every subsequent two years.

Your deadline is each bi-annual anniversary of the date your initial license was issued. Your fee is $130 if you submit your renewal application and pay on time.

You can renew online and pay with a credit card. You’ll get a reminder from the Department of Business Regulation. They will let you know when your renewal window is open.

If you miss your renewal date, the amount you owe will be higher. At that point, you have to reinstate your license. That means you must add a $100 late fee to the renewal amount.


Survey of Experts

What were your ‘surprise costs’ after getting your license?

Board dues are always the most surprising to anyone obtaining their license. The cost of the board is typically around $650 per year, and newcomers to real estate are often surprised by this.

Also, I believe most new agents are surprised that they need to pay for their own marketing in many cases and business supplies, including having access to a computer.

— Rhonda Mesenbourg, Alpern & Mesenbourg with Keller Williams Realty, Managing Partner/Broker Associate

How to Reduce Real Estate License Education Costs

Between pre-licensing and CE courses, you’ll spend a good sum of money to meet education requirements. So, what can you do to lower those costs? Here are five suggestions.

  • Get a broker to support you. Some brokers will pay all or part of your pre-licensing education costs. In exchange, you agree to work with them for a specified period of time.
  • Bundle your CE. Look for opportunities to purchase your continuing education courses in an all-in-one deal. You’ll save over separate course enrollment.
  • Score a sale. All other factors being equal, take advantage of a promotion code or other markdown offering.
  • Use discounts you’re eligible for. Memberships in professional associations or sponsorship by a broker will typically reap savings of 20 percent or more.


Survey of Experts

What costs could have been avoided and how?

I don’t believe there are or should be any avoided costs. As real estate agents, we are business owners and it’s important to understand that you need to treat it as such.

There will be licensing fees, general business fees, marketing fees, etc.

— Rhonda Mesenbourg, Alpern & Mesenbourg with Keller Williams Realty, Managing Partner/Broker Associate


With this information, you can be prepared and save for the costs of each step in the process. Before you know it, you’ll be working alongside other Rhode Island real estate pros.

If you need more information on the licensing process in the state, read our guide detailing all the requirements for getting a real estate license in Rhode Island.

As a rookie agent, you’ll need a plan to help ensure that you’re set up for success. Read our article on what to do after you get your real estate license to help you hit the ground running.

Don’t forget to arm yourself with useful information that will aid your real estate career:

You also need to take advantage of invaluable tools that can help you gain marketing exposure, make connections, and generate leads.

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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