To earn a commercial real estate broker's license, it is necessary to meet minimum eligibility and training requirements that are laid out by their state for individuals who want to take the licensure exam. Individuals who pass the exam must also periodically complete continuing education courses.
Licensing requirements for commercial real estate brokers often differ depending on the state. However, all U.S. states require the passing of a written test. Most states require taking pre-licensing education courses, and some measure candidates against experience or equivalency standards. To be eligible for the licensure exam, aspiring brokers typically need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Have a high school diploma or GED
• Have several years of experience as a licensed real estate agent or have a relevant bachelor's degree
After completing the required training and passing the state licensure test, the licensed broker may work for a company or independently.
Education and Training Options
Although only a high school education is required to become a licensed commercial real estate broker in most states, many community colleges, universities and private education institutes now offer real estate courses within associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, usually in business or closely related subjects. In addition, students may find courses through local real estate associations. These groups are often members of the National Association of Realtors. Brokerage firms may sponsor private classes, as well.
Course topics may differ between states depending on the particular topics covered on the licensure exam within that state. Some of the most common subjects of study include:
- Property development
- Human resources management
- Business law
- Real estate law
- Real estate appraisal
- Real estate accounting
- Real estate practices and procedures
- Mortgage loan brokering
- Property management
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Exam and Continuing Education
The licensure examination requires that students understand basic real estate laws and transactions of property consistent with both federal and state-specific laws. In addition to this, states can require anywhere from 60-900 hours of classroom instruction to sit for the exam, which may depend on previous sales agent experience. After applying for licensure and passing the exam, brokers must complete their state's continuing education requirements for license renewal, which usually has to be done every two to four years and includes more coursework.
Students may find information on both licensing and license renewal through the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials. This association focuses on real estate regulations and offers both membership and continuing education courses in real estate brokering. There are also other organizations that provide continuing education opportunities, many of which are available online in order to support the needs of working professionals.
In addition to providing the credits necessary for licensure renewal, they give real estate brokers the chance to increase their knowledge in relevant topics, such as agency law, green building consumer protection, fair housing, marketing, risk management, handling trust funds and ethics.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects real estate brokers to experience a slow employment growth of 2% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS does note that demand for brokers depends on the overall economy and has periods of decline. As of May 2016, real estate brokers were paid a median annual wage of $56,790, according to the BLS.
In order to become a real estate broker, it is necessary to meet state eligibility requirements and pass a state-specific licensure exam. Licensed brokers must also fulfill continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification.