How to Get a Real Estate License in Washington

Getting a Real Estate License in Washington

Navigating the world of real estate can be both rewarding and challenging. One of the primary steps to establishing yourself in the field is obtaining a real estate license.

If you’re in Washington and considering a career in real estate, this guide will walk you through the steps needed to get licensed and begin your journey.

Understanding the Importance of Licensure

Before diving into the requirements, it’s essential to understand why licensure is crucial.

A real estate license ensures that agents and brokers have met the state’s education and training standards, ensuring that they can professionally and ethically serve their clients.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

Before starting the licensure process, you’ll need to meet some basic eligibility requirements:

  1. Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Residency: You don’t need to be a Washington resident, but if you’re not, there are some additional requirements.
  3. Background: Washington will check your criminal background to ensure you have a record demonstrating trustworthiness and competence.

Required Education

Washington State mandates that candidates for a real estate license complete 90 hours of specific pre-license education.

  1. 60 Hours in Real Estate Fundamentals: This will cover the basics of real estate practices in Washington and ensure you’re equipped with foundational knowledge.
  2. 30 Hours in Real Estate Practices: This dives deeper into the day-to-day operations and ethics of the real estate profession.

It’s crucial to ensure your courses are approved by Washington’s Department of Licensing (DOL). After completing your courses, the school will provide a certificate, which you will need for your license application.

Passing the Exam

Once you’ve completed your education, the next step is the licensing exam.

  1. Register for the Exam: The Washington State Department of Licensing uses a specific testing service for real estate exams. Register with this service and choose a testing date.
  2. Preparation: While your courses should have given you a solid foundation, it’s always good to review. Many candidates invest in study guides or join study groups to enhance their chances.
  3. Taking the Test: The exam will cover both national and state-specific content. You’ll need a passing score on both sections to get licensed.
  4. Exam Fee: There is a fee associated with the exam, which you’ll need to pay when registering.

Application and Fees

Once you’ve passed your exam, you’re ready to apply for your license:

  1. Submitting an Application: You can do this online through the Washington State Department of Licensing’s website. They will require proof of your completed education, passing exam scores, and background check details.
  2. Paying Fees: As with most licensing processes, there’s a fee involved. The cost can vary, so it’s best to check the current rates on the DOL’s website.
  3. Fingerprinting and Background Check: As part of the application, you’ll need to submit fingerprints for a background check. Some testing centers might offer fingerprinting services, or you can visit a local law enforcement agency.

Finding a Broker

In Washington, new real estate agents must work under an established broker for at least two years. This mentorship period allows new agents to gain experience and learn from seasoned professionals.

  1. Research Potential Brokers: Look into local real estate firms and brokers, considering their reputation, training programs, and how they support new agents.
  2. Interview and Choose a Broker: Once you have a list, arrange interviews. This is a two-way street – while they’re evaluating you, you’re also assessing if they’re the right fit for your career goals.

Continuing Education and Renewal

Your real estate license in Washington isn’t a one-time deal. To maintain your license, you’ll need to:

  1. Complete Continuing Education: Every two years, before renewing your license, you’ll need to complete 30 hours of approved continuing education.
  2. License Renewal: Licenses in Washington are valid for two years. Ensure you renew on time and have met all the required education to avoid lapses.


Obtaining a real estate license in Washington is a structured process designed to ensure agents are well-prepared to serve their clients professionally and ethically.

By following the steps outlined above, and with dedication and hard work, you can join the ranks of licensed real estate professionals in the state and begin a rewarding career.