Texas residents interested in becoming a real estate agent must first complete 180 hours of approved coursework to be eligible to sit the state licensure exam. That’s a longer program than in most states. We estimate that it’ll take three to six months to get up and running as a licensed real estate agent in the Lone Star State.
In this article, we’ll take you through the Texas real estate licensing process step-by-step, sharing the costs, time commitment and all the details you’ll need to launch your new career
Overview: How to get a real estate license in TexasOnce you find a broker and file your TREC request, your active license will be issued.
The Texas real estate license exam
Texas requires all students to complete a TREC-approved, qualifying course totaling 180 hours of classroom time. The Texas real estate exam is divided into two sections, with 85 national legal questions and 40 state-focused questions. Texas allots 4 hours to complete the real estate licensing exam. You’ll need a passing grade of 70% to get licensed in Texas.
Texas real estate license: Eligibility Checklist
Getting your real estate license in Texas comes down to fulfilling your qualifying education requirement, applying for your license, getting your background check and biometrics, passing the exam, and finding a sponsoring brokerage. Before you begin your journey, make sure you meet the basic eligibility requirements:Be at least 18 years of age or older Be a citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien Meet TREC’s qualifications for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity
Step 1: Complete 180 hours of approved classes
Your first step to an exciting real estate career begins with your qualifying education. You’ll need to enroll in and complete the following TREC-approved, qualifying real estate courses. Each course is 30 classroom hours, for a total of 180 hours. After you complete all six courses, you’ll have to take and pass the prelicense course exam.
- Principles of Real Estate I
- Principles of Real Estate II
- Law of Agency
- Law of Contracts
- Promulgated Contract Forms
- Real Estate Finance
Although optional, requesting an FD is a wise move to make before you enroll in qualifying education courses, pay for an application, and take the exam. The results will give you the confidence to take that first step, knowing you are eligible to become licensed in Texas.
Step 2: Submit your state license application
Cost: $185 application fee
You can apply for your sales agent license online or by mail using TREC’s paper application. To apply online, you’ll submit your sales agent application and fee using TREC’s online licensing service.
After you create an account as a new user, you will pay the $185 application fee and receive a payment confirmation. Be sure to download and save this confirmation on a cloud drive. It doesn’t hurt to print a copy to have as backup. Next, you’ll be prompted to email your payment confirmation.
Upon approval, you’ll receive an email from TREC with your eligibility letter and your TREC user ID number. Carefully read the eligibility letter and follow the provided instructions to the letter.
After your online application is submitted and you email your documents, you’ll need to wait for TREC to approve your application. You can track your application status using Texas’ Application Status Tracker.
You will have one year from the date your application is filed to complete these steps: completing your 180-hour course of study, submitting to biometrics and a background check, passing the state exam and finding a sponsoring broker.
Upon completion of your 180 hours of prelicensing classes, you’ll need to submit your course completion documents to TREC. You can email all six of your prelicensing course completion certificates to TREC at email@example.com.
Should you complete any of the six qualifying real estate courses through an accredited college or university for academic credit, you can submit a transcript to TREC for evaluation and possible exemption.
Note: Your confirmation and course certificates MUST NOT be sent as one document. They must be sent as individual attachments to your email.
Step 3: Complete a background check and biometrics
Applicants for a real estate license with TREC are legally required to have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) so that a background check can be performed. You can schedule a fingerprinting appointment through IDEMIA once you receive your exam eligibility letter from TREC.
Scheduling the mandatory fingerprinting is as easy as searching for your account using the TREC user ID number emailed to you when you applied for your license. You can look it up using your name and date of birth, as well.
From there, you’ll be able to obtain your IdentoGO ID, which is required to schedule a fingerprinting appointment. IdentoGO by IDEMIA is a provider that collects and submits fingerprints via the Texas DPS. Since IndentoGO doesn’t accept walk-ins, you’ll need to schedule your fingerprinting appointment in advance by booking it through their website or calling 1-888-467-2080.
To cover the cost of the criminal history report, a fingerprint processing fee of $38.25 must be paid to IdentoGO. You’ll find a list of biometrics locations here.
Your Texas real estate license will not be issued if your fingerprints were taken elsewhere. What’s more, your license will not be issued until TREC receives your criminal history report from the DPS and the FBI clears your background history check.
Step 4: Schedule and pass the exam
You’ve met TREC’s qualifications, completed your required prelicensing coursework, studied hard, and passed your background check… now what? With one year from the date your application is filed to take and pass your exam, it’s time to shift your focus to the Texas Real Estate Salesperson Exam!
You will have four hours to finish the Texas real estate licensing exam and the exam will automatically end when the time is up. When you leave the test center, you will have your official score report in hand – there’s no waiting around anxiously for your results in Texas!
Administered by PearsonVUE, a testing service company, the exam can be scheduled by clicking here: Texas Real Estate Exam. You can also schedule by calling (800) 997-1248 at least 24 hours before your preferred exam date. While you can schedule your exam up to one calendar day prior to the day you wish to test, this is subject to availability, so it’s a good idea to schedule the exam at least a few days before the date you have in mind.Where to take the exam: Testing centers
- Abilene area
- Amarillo area
- Austin area (3 sites)
- Corpus Christi area
- Dallas area
- El Paso area
- Harlingen area
- Houston area (5 sites)
- Lubbock area
- Midland area
- San Antonio area (3 sites)
- Sugar Land
- Tyler area
- Waco area
Considerations for active license holders
While you must pass both the state and national portions of the Texas real estate exam, the national portion of the exam may be waived if you currently hold an active license in another state and passed the national portion of an ARELLO-approved exam.
How to get your official Texas real estate license
Once you pass the real estate licensing examination, the scores are sent to the state real estate commission. After confirmation, you should receive your Texas sales agent license document from TREC by email, typically within five to 10 business days.
How to retake the Texas real estate exam
If you fail the examination the first time, your score report will indicate a numeric score relating to the failed portion of the exam. When you retake your exam, you’ll only need to retake the failed portion, but you must do so within one year from the date that the application was filed with TREC.
Be aware that you can’t schedule your re-examination at the test center. You’ll have to wait up to seven business days for processing and re-authorization to be submitted to Pearson VUE before you can reschedule the exam.
If you fail the exam three times, you’ll need to complete an additional 30 classroom hours of qualifying real estate education for each failed portion of the exam before you can register for re-examination.
Step 5: Find a Sponsoring Brokerage
You’ve passed your exam, met all the state requirements, and you’re excited to start conducting business as a licensed real estate agent in Texas!
According to the Texas Real Estate Commision (TREC), a sales agent is a person who is licensed by the Real Estate Commission to act as an agent on behalf of a real estate broker and their clients. Additionally, a Texas real estate sales agent must be sponsored by a licensed broker in order to perform any real estate services on behalf of their clients.
Until you are sponsored by an active Texas licensed broker, your license will be inactive. You can complete a sponsorship request using TREC’s online services. Once the broker has accepted your request, your active license will be issued, and you can work as a Texas real estate agent.
FAQs to help jumpstart your Texas real estate career
If you’re a prospective or new real estate agent in Texas, it doesn’t hurt to have some additional information when deciding if a career in real estate is right for you. Here, we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about getting licensed and practicing real estate in Texas.
How many real estate agents are there in Texas?
Currently, there are about 154,113 Realtors® in Texas, according to the National Association of Realtors. In fact, Florida and California are the only states with more real estate agents. When it comes to real estate, the old adage that “Everything’s bigger in Texas” holds true.
How hard is it to pass the Texas real estate exam?
As of July 3, 2023, there were 42,857 sales agent exams taken in Texas. Of those, 24,881 people passed the real estate licensing exam on the first try, according to TREC. That’s an average pass rate of 58% for exam takers.
What should I expect on exam day?
When it comes time to take the Texas real estate exam, be sure to arrive 30 minutes before the exam and check in with the test center administrator. To be admitted, you will be photographed for the score report.
Before you enter the exam room, you will be asked to pat yourself down to demonstrate that there is nothing hidden on your body, and empty your pockets so that the test administrators (TAs) can verify that there is nothing in them.
What types of identification should I bring?
On exam day, you’ll be asked present two forms of current signature identification.
The following are the only forms of primary photo identification accepted:
- A current government-issued driver’s license
- U.S. Department of State driver’s license
- U.S. learner’s permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
- National, state, or country identification card
- Passport card
- Military identification card, or military ID for spouses and dependents
- Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident Visa)
For your second form of identification with a valid signature, you can bring any form of ID on the primary ID list above or a current debit (ATM) card, credit card, or U.S. Social Security Card.
What can I bring or not bring to the Texas real estate exam?
There will be a locker or secure area for you to store your personal items. Don’t forget to turn off any electronic devices before storing them in.
The following items are strictly prohibited during the exam:
- Studying in the testing center
- Having visitors, friends, or family members in the testing center
- Possessing dictionaries, books, papers, scratch paper, or other reference materials
- Eating, drinking, chewing gum, smoking, or making noise that disturbs others
- Using books, notes, or other aids
- Giving or receiving help during the exam
Violation of any of these policies will not be permitted, and will result in being dismissed from the test center and forfeiting the exam.
The TA will give you materials to take notes during the exam and any other items specified by the exam sponsor. You will NOT be given a calculator, so it’s recommended that you bring your own. Acceptable calculators include battery, hand-held, or solar-powered financial calculators with no alpha characters (ABC, DEF). Calculators with mathematical symbols (Cos or Sin) are acceptable.
How long does it take to get a real estate license in Texas?
If you consider that the education requirement alone is 180 hours of coursework, that could take you four to five weeks should you choose to treat it like a 40-hour work week. The Texas real estate licensing exam is known for being challenging, so the more time you spend studying for the exam, the greater your chances of scoring 70% or higher the first time around.
Once you factor in the time it takes for fulfilling your education requirement, filling out the application, taking the exam, and finding a sponsoring broker, you’re looking at between three to six months to become a licensed real estate sales agent in Texas.
How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Texas?
When it comes to attaining your Texas real estate license, you’ll need to invest in your education up front. Considering the doors this could open for you down the road, it’s worth the cost. How much exactly? Here’s what you need to budget for:
- Sales agent application fee = $185
- Fingerprinting at a MorphoTrust location = $38.25
- Pre-licensing exam coursework = $500 to $1,600
- Sales agent examination fee = $43
- License renewal fee after 2 years = $110
- Other miscellaneous fees = about $100
Estimated total = Between $800 and $2,000
Miscellaneous fees may include courses you take as a supplement to the required coursework, such as an exam prep class. Another investment that is optional but very beneficial is a Fitness Determination that is used to determine if you satisfy the requirements for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity necessary to be a Texas real estate agent.
Does Texas have real estate license reciprocity with any other state?
No, Texas does not have reciprocity with any other states. While residency is no longer a requirement for becoming a licensed real estate agent in Texas, you will need to satisfy all current state licensing requirements to legally practice real estate here.
Can I apply for a Texas real estate license online?
To save time and money, you can and should apply for your Texas sales agent license online. Not only will an online application process faster than the paper application, but it’s more secure than snail mail and is less expensive (incidentally, TREC charges a $20 processing fee if you submit a paper document for a transaction that is also available online). To apply online, submit your sales agent application and fee using TREC’s online licensing service.
What is the Texas real estate license renewal process?
In Texas, you must renew your real estate license every two years. Don’t worry, you will be sent a renewal notice about 90 days before your expiration date. Until you receive this notice of renewal, you cannot renew your license. You can, however, renew your license up to six months after the expiration date. As part of the renewal process, be ready to complete certain continuing education courses.
If it’s been between six months to two years since your license expired, you can always apply for reinstatement of your license. Don’t let too much time pass, though. If it’s been over two years since the expiration date, you will have to reapply for your license … and retake the exam!
What are the continuing education requirements for a Texas real estate agent renewing for the first time?
To help you provide outstanding real estate services to your clients, the state requires that you complete a total of 270 hours of qualifying real estate courses within the first two years of obtaining your Texas real estate license.
If you already submitted 180 hours of qualifying courses to get your real estate license, you must still complete the following continuing education (CE) courses to renew your Texas salespersons license the first time:
- 90 hours of Salesperson Apprentice Education (SAE) courses
- This includes 30 hours of Real Estate Brokerages
- 4 hours of TREC Legal Update 1 course
- 4 hours of TREC Legal Update 2 course
The two Legal Update and Brokerage courses are mandatory. After that, you will need to pick two additional SAE courses to complete the hours needed for your first Texas real estate license renewal.
You can find the list of qualifying real estate courses here: Qualifying Real Estate Course List
- 90 hours of Salesperson Apprentice Education (SAE) courses
Where and how can I take continuing education classes?
You’ll want to complete your continuing education at least 10 days before your license expiration date, and your post-license CE courses must be through a TREC-approved provider. Fortunately, there is a long list of approved CE providers and the courses they offer, which you can find here: Approved Real Estate CE Courses
TREC-approved real estate schools and education course providers typically offer various Texas SAE courses and packages to fulfill your required 98 hours of qualifying (SAE) post-licensing education. Depending on the CE provider, there are several delivery methods available, from in-person classroom learning to online learning and virtual classes.
Once you complete your CE requirements, you need to:
- Submit proof of completion 10 days before renewing your license. Email proof to TREC at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Submit your license renewal application through the TREC online portal. Be sure to keep copies of your renewal confirmation for your records.
What are my options if my license is expired but I haven’t completed my CE requirements?
If TREC’s records do not reflect completion of CE requirements at the time you submit your renewal application, you will have to pay a $200 CE deferral fee or renew on inactive status. By paying the CE deferral fee before the expiration date, you can remain active for an additional 60 days from your expiration date while you complete your CE requirements.
How do I submit my license renewal?
To renew your license and pay the renewal fee online, you can visit TREC’s Online Services page. You may need to register if this is your first time renewing online.
To renew your license by mail, print out the Renewal Form for Real Estate Sales Agents and Brokers and mail it to the address on the form, along with $110 for the renewal fee. All fees should be in the form of a single cashiers check, personal check, or money order payable to TREC.
How much money does a Texas real estate salesperson make?
According to ZipRecruiter, a real estate agent working in Texas earns $78,719 per year on average (as of this writing). This is the equivalent of $37.85 per hour, $1,513 per week, or $6,559 per month.
With the potential to earn $6,559 per month as a real estate agent in Texas, the Lone Star State has ample financial opportunities for anyone pursuing a real estate career.
While ZipRecruiter is seeing agents’ salaries as low as $25,684, they can be as high as $132,089. And the majority of real estate agents’ salaries is currently between $59,600 and $91,700, with top earners making $114,661 annually in Texas. Keep in mind that this salary average can vary based on your employment setting, level of education, years of experience, and the property market.
ZipRecruiter scanned a database of millions of active jobs published locally across the nation to determine that Texas is ranked number 25 out of 50 states for real estate agent salaries. ZipRecruiter also reports that the top 5 area/cities where the typical salary for a real estate agent is above average in Texas are:
- #5 Wichita Falls, $82,180 annual salary
- #4 Amarillo, $82,614 annual salary
- #3 McKinney, $86,888 annual salary
- #2 Beaumont, $87,258 annual salary
- #1 Corpus Christi, $89,264 annual salary
Real estate agents in TX: By the numbers
There are 154,113 licensed and active real estate agents in Texas, according to NAR’s monthly membership report from December 2023.
What’s the real estate agent commission rate in Texas?
Based on several recent surveys, the average real estate agent commission rate in Texas is between 5.59% and 6%. This average reflects the total for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent, and is usually split between the listing agent (2.71% and up) and buyer’s agent (2.88% and up).
What are the average homes prices in Texas?
Texas housing prices: By the numbers (according to Zillow):
$300,090: the value of the average Texas home
22 days: the average time it takes for a Texas home to become pending
Tips for finding a real estate brokerage
As a new real estate agent, you’ll want a managing broker that you can depend on for employment, mentorship, and support. To select the best brokerage for you, here are 4 things to consider:
1. Size & Culture
As you look for a managing broker, you need to compare their listings to your personal preferences and professional goals. Is your goal to join a bigger brokerage with an expansive network or do you prefer a boutique brokerage with a local vibe? Do you want to sell high-value homes as part of a luxury firm or help first-time homebuyers make their dream of ownership come true? These are the questions you need to ask yourself as you decide on a managing broker.
2. Support & Training
Choosing a broker that provides all the support you’ll need as a new agent is integral, so look for a brokerage that offers comprehensive new agent training and mentorship programs. You’ll also want a sponsoring real estate broker that offers administrative support, including inputting MLS information, helping with contract follow-up, and handling other office tasks.
3. Lead Gen
While experienced agents may be able to generate business through referrals or past clients, new agents tend to need help with lead generation to get going, especially if you plan to use your license to represent buyers or listings. Your best bet is to find a brokerage that uses a system to generate leads to the office. You’ll also want to find out who gets the leads and how they are assigned.
As a new agent, make it a priority to pick a brokerage that is committed to helping you with marketing and exposure. When considering a brokerage, find out if it is going to promote your open houses and new listings. You’ll want to ask how the brokerage promotes agents’ listings too. Do they use lawn signs and postcards? What about optimized blogs, email marketing, Google Pay-Per-Click, social media, radio, or TV ads? Consider the brokerage’s internet and social media presence as well. This includes their amount of social media followers and client testimonials.
Lead gen tools, cutting-edge technology, marketing assistance, and training are key to succeeding as a Texas real estate agent, so look for a brokerage that provides the resources and agent services you need to maximize reach for your clients.
The bottom line
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Texas, you’re ready to start a rewarding career in real estate. Starting a new career in real estate should be exciting, not overwhelming! That’s why HousingWire provides you with the housing market trends, tools, news, and information you need for every step of your real estate journey.
Articles sources & helpful links
- The National Association of Realtors. “Monthly Membership Report – September 2023”
- TREC. “Become a Real Estate Sales Agent”
- TREC. “Can an attorney get a broker license without first being licensed as a sales agent?”
- TREC. “Application for Inactive Real Estate Sales Agent License”
- TREC. “Online Licensing Service” https://mylicense.trec.texas.gov/datamart/mainMenu.do
- IdentoGO. “11G7QT – Texas Real Estate Commission”
- PearsonVUE. “Texas Real Estate Candidate Handbook.”
- PearsonVue. “Texas Real Estate”
- TREC. “Reinstatement of Real Estate Sales Agent License or Broker License by Individual” https://www.trec.texas.gov/forms/reinstatement-real-estate-sales-agent-license-or-broker-license-individual
- TREC. “Renewal of Individual Real Estate License-Timely or Expired Less Than Six Months” https://www.trec.texas.gov/forms/renewal-individual-real-estate-license-timely-or-expired-less-six-months-0