Do you have to go to college to be a realtor?

Have you always loved the idea of becoming a realtor, but don’t want to go to college for four years? Then this blog post is for you!

Real estate is a fantastic career choice for individuals who want to access many opportunities and earn a good income. The most popular job in the industry is a real estate agent, where you buy and sell houses. As long as you are a diligent worker and have a knack for marketing and sales, you have the potential to go very far in this career and make a great living. 

If you have been thinking of entering this profession, you might have many questions about getting started. The most prevalent question people ask is: do you have to go to college to be a real estate agent? This post breaks down what it means exactly to be a real estate agent and how you can become one yourself. Keep on reading to determine whether or not you need an education or certifications to start practicing real estate and earning money. 


  • You don’t have to go to college to be a realtor! However, many firms prefer that you do have a university degree to work for them.
  • You will need to take the required courses and pass an exam to get licensure and practice real estate in your state. 
  • Having a degree makes you more competitive and gives you an advantage to working in this industry since you’ll have advanced knowledge of business and marketing fields.

What Is A Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents are the people who conduct the transactions between a buyer and seller over property or estate. They are in charge of all the negotiations and paperwork involved with settling the deal. Real estate transactions can be confusing and time-consuming. People rely on these agents to make the process easier to understand and hassle-free. Typically, real estate agents will specialize in either commercial or residential properties.

If you want to become a real estate agent, you will need to have strong social skills, and the ability to network and market yourself. This career demands positive interactions and good people skills since it is primarily based on reputation. It is all about working with clients to prepare a property, list it, show it to potential buyers, and deal with the lawyers to figure out the legalities and logistics. You will work closely with your clients and advise them on how to get the best deal possible. 

Key Skills of a Great Real Estate Agent:

– Knowledge of the local market

– Excellent negotiation skills

– Ability to work well with other people and businesses.

– Strong marketing skills including having a good understanding of how social media, internet advertising and print ads can be used to attract new clients.

real estate agent

How Do You Become A Real Estate Agent?

The leading question people ask regarding this industry and line of work is, “do you need to go to college to be a real estate agent?” The quick answer is no! You technically do not need to have a college degree to get started as an agent. The long answer, though, is that it depends. Having that degree will help your career trajectory and make you more competitive with other realtors in your area. You will likely understand marketing and business practices a bit better than someone inexperienced and just starting. 

If you decide to pursue a degree, you could study real estate directly. Although you don’t have to major in real estate, it could be best if you know you want to pursue it fully. Any similar finance or business-related major will be of great help in your career. It will give you a strong foundation of knowledge to better understand the basics of marketing and business tactics like economic theories and sales psychology. This educational groundwork will make you a better agent who can stay ahead of trends and make informed decisions. However, remember that you don’t need to take college courses to learn these subjects. The first-hand experience is always best, and you can always self-learn about the industry.

Overall, having a university degree is most beneficial if you want to join a brokerage company as an agent. You will be more competitive and more likely to get the job over other applicants because they will see you as more qualified. In most states, you are required to work with a licensed broker to start practicing real estate yourself. You should meet the firm’s needs and have the necessary education already completed before they hire you.  

Getting Your Real Estate License

You can’t sell any real estate property or call yourself an agent until you become legally licensed in your state. Like becoming a teacher or architect, you need to become licensed and adhere to your state’s regulations and requirements. If you want to move to a different state, you will need to fulfill get an entirely new licensure to practice there. For example, here’s a breakdown of Tennessee state requirements.

While you might not need to have a college education to practice real estate, you need licensure. There is no way around it! To get the license, you will generally have to take three 45-hour courses about the real estate industry. You can either take them at your local college or a specific real estate prep school. Each state has its own particular requirements, though, so you will need to do some additional research to determine your state’s real estate board demands. 

In general, you will need to take these courses and then pass an exam. If you pass, you can then send your application to your real estate board, pay a fee, and get your certification. You will then finally be added to the online list of licensed agents. There, clients can look you up and verify that you are legally allowed to practice real estate in your state. 

real estate license

Requirements to Become a Real Estate Agent

Remember that every state is different, but the typical basic requirements to enter this career are that you are:

  • At least 18 years of age,
  • A legal resident of the state
  • Are truthful on your application
  • Pass the exam

You don’t need a college degree, or even need a high school diploma, to practice it in most states. That means even high schoolers can get into this field as long as they are old enough! The requirements are fundamental, but you will set yourself apart by achieving more certifications or credentials, such as a university degree. You typically take courses at college, but there are many private real estate schools nowadays offering remote classes for a reasonable price.

Real Estate As A Side Hustle

Seeing as how you don’t need to have a degree to sell properties, becoming a real estate agent can be an excellent opportunity for high school and college students to start a side hustle and earn some extra money. Being a real estate agent is not a standard 9 to 5 job. It can give you the freedom to study while still making money on the side. 

You only need to meet state licensure requirements and start marketing yourself to potential clients as a real estate agent! Even if you don’t pursue it full-time, you can still put extra money in your pocket while you spend time focusing on your schoolwork. Who knows, your side business might become so profitable and enjoyable that you end up making it a full-time gig!

Building a name for yourself without a large firm to back you will be hard–not impossible, but challenging nonetheless. It takes extra time and strong social skills to develop a reputation and land clients. Nonetheless, you can find success as long as you are dedicated and work hard.

become a real estate agent

How much do real estate agents make?

While many individuals choose to work alone as agents and create their own business or firm, most real estate agents prefer to work for a brokerage or agency. When you are affiliated with a large firm, there is more significant potential for customers and business opportunities. Agents don’t make a salary–you get paid with commissions instead. So, the more properties you manage to sell, the more commission you get. Many agents opt to work for brokerages because they have more opportunities to sell properties and earn more money, despite having to split the money they make with the firm.

Realtor Salary Averages

On average, you might earn just under $50,000 per year as an agent when you begin, although it will increase depending on your experience, reputation, and location. A well-known and trusted agent will land more clients than a newbie. And someone selling homes in Beverly Hills, California will undoubtedly make more money than one selling in Louisville, Kentucky. The higher the property value, the higher your commission!

The average salary for the highest paid agents is $250,000. This group of professionals typically have an exclusive clientele or are able to command a higher commission percentage on their sales due to specialization in niche markets like luxury homes and commercial properties. The median income for this group was more than double that of all other full time real estate agents.

Real estate agents typically work about 40 hours a week. This is equivalent to working full time. Significant overtime may be necessary for the agent to complete their weekly workload in busy seasons. They often spend many hours each day on marketing, research, negotiation of contracts, appointments with clients and negotiations of sale prices in order to make an income sufficient.

Some people do real estate part time and some people make a living at it.

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Is a career in real estate for you?

It doesn’t matter at what stage of your life you are in or whether your degree is in a real estate field (or if you have one at all!). Real estate is a good career choice which anyone can get into as long as they pass the required courses and receive their licensure.

Take note, though: being a real estate agent is not an easy job. Just because the requirements seem basic doesn’t mean you will immediately find success and start earning six figures. You need to be dedicated to your job and work incredibly hard to make that kind of money since it is based on commission instead of a stable salary.

You are taking a risk by jumping into this industry. But it’s a risk that can can pay off if you are good at your job! So, do you have to go to college for real estate? No! Personality and quick wits are crucial in this field, more so than any degree.