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How to Get Your Real
Estate License in

Have you ever wanted to sell luxury apartments in Columbus or the nicest homes in Cincinnati? If you’ve made it to this page, then you’re likely looking to get your real estate license in Ohio. Maybe it’s been your dream to get your license and start selling for a long time now, or maybe you’re looking for a new career with a higher earning potential and more freedom. I can certainly understand that.  

I got into real estate because I didn’t want there to be a ceiling on my career performance, and I didn’t want anyone else to be able to tell me how I earned my money. Now, I’m the top real estate agent in New York City, I’m on my ninth season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” and I’m running the most-followed real estate brand in the world. I couldn’t have possibly chosen a better career, and the best time to get started in real estate is right now! 

Let’s get started with the basic list of requirements you’ll need to meet to get your real estate license in the state of Ohio.  

  1. Meet the license course pre-qualifications. 
  2. Complete your pre-licensing education. 
  3. Pass your course final exam. 
  4. Select your sponsoring broker. 
  5. Submit your real estate license application. 
  6. Pass the Ohi0 real estate salesperson exam. 

Fortunately, the basic education requirements and other parts of the licensing process are fairly similar across states; you’ll just notice that some of the finer details change. Let’s take a closer look at each of these, so you can prepare to become a real estate salesperson. 

1. Make sure you fulfill the prerequisites. 

Meeting the pre-qualifications is your first step for how to get a real estate license in Ohio. According to the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age before you can start your license education. You’ll also need to be a U.S. citizen or legal alien. If you were born after 1950, you’ll be required to have your high school diploma or GED. 

The Division of Real Estate in Ohio also has some additional character requirements. You must be considered honest, truthful, and of good reputation. You also must not have been convicted of a felony or any crime of moral turpitude. Lastly, you must not have violated any civil rights laws in the realm of real estate within the past two years. That’s it for pre-qualifications. 

2. Complete your pre-licensing education courses. 

couple with computer taking exam

The next step to get your real estate salesperson license is to complete 120 hours of approved pre-licensing education. This can be done in a traditional classroom in person, or you can take online courses to fulfill your requirements. Just make sure that it’s with an approved school, like Hondros College or Davis College through the CE Shop. You may also be able to find approved programs at a local community college while you pursue an associate degree. Your required education will be divided into the following categories. 

  1. Real Estate Principles and Practices – 40 hours 
  2. Ohio Real Estate Law – 40 hours 
  3. Real Estate Appraisal – 20 hours 
  4. Real Estate Finance – 20 hours 

 You can take each of these courses individually, or you can take all of them at once through an approved course package. Some advanced course packages online will include exam preparation materials, ebooks, and other helpful resources, so it can be a good idea to shop around for education providers. 

3. Pass your coursework final exam. 

Once you’ve completed your license coursework, you’ll just need to pass your course exam. To earn your official course completion, you’ll need to score a passing grade of 70 percent or above. Once your certificate program exam is passed, you’ll receive your official course completion certificate, along with a copy of your official transcript, which will be valid for 10 years after issuance. 

4. Choose a real estate broker to sponsor you. 

Before you can take the Ohio real estate license exam, you’ll need to work for a current and active broker. Essentially, the biggest difference between a salesperson and a broker is that a real estate salesperson has to work for a broker, whereas a real estate broker can act on their own. If you wish to become a real estate broker later in your career, there is an entirely different process and post-education requirements you’ll need to fulfill.  

Even if the state didn’t require salespeople to work for a brokerage, I would still highly recommend it. Remember to find a broker who fits your needs — not the other way around. When looking for a sponsoring broker, the first thing to consider is each real estate broker’s reputation. You’ll want to see how they’re regarded both in-state and nationally, when applicable. You’ll also want to ask each active Ohio broker you’re considering about their training, educational approach, and consider whether you’ll have room to grow at their brokerage. 

The compensation package will likely be different from your usual job experience when working for a brokerage. Many brokers will want a 50/50 split on commissions when you’re first starting out. Others may charge a desk fee in exchange for letting you keep more of your commissions. Again, it’s important that you find the right brokerage for your needs at the time.  

5. Submit your real estate license application. 

Once you have your sponsoring broker, you can start looking for a testing vendor to take your Ohio real estate license exam. The Ohio Division of Real Estate will require fingerprints in addition to the usual background check information. When you submit your application, you’ll need to provide your contact information, date of birth, and Social Security number. The testing center will also require your sponsoring broker’s agency file number and signature and an application fee of $81. 

 Once a PSI testing center has your information and you’ve passed your background check, you’ll be able to schedule your license exam. If you want to take your exam online, you’ll need to schedule an e-proctor as well. Once you’ve submitted a completed salesperson examination application, you’ll receive a candidate information bulletin from PSI, which will guide you through your options. 

 6. Pass the Ohio real estate exam.  

person taking online exam

You’re almost there! Now, you just need to pass your real estate license exam. Then you’ll be ready to receive your full license.  

You’ll have a total of three hours to complete the real estate examination. It consists of 120 multiple choice questions, and it’s divided into two sections. The first section is a national portion, which will test your knowledge of general real estate practices. The second is a state exam, which will test your knowledge of Ohio real estate law. There’s an additional exam fee of $58 for each portion of the exam. 

You’ll learn whether you passed immediately upon completion of the exam. If you passed, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ready to receive your real estate license. If you didn’t pass on your first try, you’ll be given a detailed report of the percentage of questions you got wrong on each section. Focus on those that you missed to better prepare to retake the test and become a licensee. 

It’s important to point out that completing your real estate education and becoming a new licensee doesn’t make you an Ohio REALTOR. This is because REALTOR is a copyrighted term owned by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Their members have their own requirements for admission, and REALTORS are governed by a specific code of ethics. 

 FAQ Section 

Does Ohio have reciprocity agreements with other states? 

Yes, you may be able to bypass some of the Ohio education requirements if you’ve practiced real estate law or have had an active license in one of the reciprocity states in the last two to five years. However, you’ll still need to take the Ohio Real Estate Law course at an institution of higher education. Ohio has reciprocity with the following states. 

  • Arkansas 
  • Connecticut 
  • Kentucky 
  • Mississippi 
  • Nebraska 
  • Oklahoma 
  • West Virginia 
  • Wyoming 

 See this form from the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing for additional information. 

How long does it take to get a real estate salesperson’s license? 

That’s really a question for you more than it is for anyone else. Some people are able to complete their coursework and pass their state’s salesperson’s exam within a couple of months, whereas some may take up to half a year or longer. If you’re at all familiar with my books and other work, then you’ll know that “initiative” is my favorite word. I credit initiative for the success I’ve been able to achieve. Let me tell you, the best time to start working on your license is RIGHT NOW. You have the power to get started on it as soon as you want.  

If you feel like your back is up against a wall with all of the requirements from the Ohio Real Estate Commission, or you feel trapped in your current career, that can be a good thing! In my full Real Estate Core online course, Sell It Like Serhant, I like to start by outlining my Four W’s. These are some basic tenants you can use to evaluate your work ethic and change it for the better. One of my 4 W’s is “the wall.” This is basically a situation or a feeling that you know you can’t go back to, and you use your wall to propel yourself forward every day.  

How much does it cost to get your license in Ohio? 

This can vary quite a bit depending on your real estate school and the course programs or real estate practice exams you purchase. Some fees are set, like the exam fees and application fees, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into with those. You can probably expect to spend about $2,000 for the entire licensing process, but it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal for you. 

Is there anything aspiring licensees can do to gain an advantage? 

Absolutely! The Sell It Like Serhant: Prelicensing Accelerator course is the advanced course package that I wish I had when I first started out. This is a state-qualifying course combined with my own sales system that my team members and I use at my brokerage in New York City. 

With this course package, you’ll be getting all 120 hours of state-approved coursework, three important textbooks, and expert instructor support. We also provide you with all the exam prep materials you’ll need to pass your state exam on the first try. We’re so confident, in fact, that Ohio students get our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass your exam on your first attempt, we’ll give you your money back! As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll even receive a membership to my Real Estate Core video course to help jumpstart your sales career after you get your license. 

There really has never been a better time to get involved in the real estate industry. Start scheduling your initial courses, and put yourself on the road toward success today! 


Additional Content


  • Ryan Serhant is a founder, entrepreneur, producer, public speaker, bestselling author, star of multiple TV shows, and Chief Executive Officer of SERHANT., the rapidly growing tech-forward real estate organization comprised of two core businesses: brokerage and education. Founded in 2020, SERHANT. is a content-to-commerce technology ecosystem revolutionizing the sales industry. SERHANT. is home to the first ever full-service, award-winning, in-house film studio solely dedicated to real estate content, and its digital education platform is comprised of more than 14,000 members across 110 countries.