Unlocking Your Real Estate Career in Washington
If you're a Washington resident with aspirations of becoming a real estate agent, there's a clear path to follow. By understanding the licensing process in Washington, you can craft a plan that aligns with your career goals and kickstart your journey in this thriving field. Continue reading to discover how to obtain your real estate license in Washington.
Essential Criteria for a Washington Real Estate License
To be eligible for a real estate license in Washington, you must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, you need to be a legal US resident or a legally present immigrant. Possessing a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification, such as a GED, is also mandatory. If you don't meet these prerequisites, devise a plan to fulfill them before embarking on your career path.
The Road to Your Washington Real Estate License
Step 1: Begin with a Pre-Licensing Course
A total of 90 hours of pre-licensing education is required to qualify for a real estate license in Washington. This coursework should include:
- 60 hours in Real Estate Fundamentals
- 30 hours in Real Estate Practices
Before diving into your pre-licensing coursework, register as a student with the testing vendor 'Applied Measurements Professionals, Inc.' This enables your education provider to submit your course completion certificate electronically.
To register as a student with AMP, follow these steps:
- Visit the Applied Measurements Professionals website.
- Click on the Portals tab at the top of the page.
- Select 'Washington Student User' and follow the registration instructions.
Note that you can only schedule an exam appointment if your school submits your course completion certificate to PSI electronically.
Pre-licensing coursework can be undertaken online or in person, depending on your schedule. Both full-time and part-time study options are available. Upon completing the course, you'll need to pass a final exam with a score of at least 75% to progress to the next stage of licensing.
This final exam, administered by your education provider, will evaluate your competence in real estate practices and related fundamental concepts. It's a closed-book test, so you can only bring a basic-function calculator and scratch paper to the exam center.
Note: Make sure your pre-licensing course is state-approved. If in doubt, contact the licensing department during office hours for clarification. You don't want to invest time and money in a program that will be invalidated when applying for the licensing exam.
Step 2: Ace the Washington Real Estate License Exam
After completing your course and having your education information submitted, you can register for the Washington real estate exam. Washington collaborates with the PSI testing agency to administer the licensing exam, so visit the PSI Washington Real Estate page to register and pay the $138.25 exam fee.
You'll need to bring two forms of identification to the test center.
The Washington real estate exam consists of 130 multiple-choice questions: 100 on national topics and 30 on state-specific issues. Passing this challenging exam requires more than just knowledge acquired from pre-licensing education.
The exam's question structure and complex vocabulary can trip up even the most well-prepared test taker. As such, consider investing in exam prep – either via a test prep class or software – to increase your chances of success. While free practice exams are available online, they may not be as rigorously reviewed as paid prep work and courses.
You have 3 1/2 hours to complete the exam. Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly, so make an educated guess if in doubt.
The test is computer-based, so you'll know your pass/fail status immediately upon completion. If you don't pass, don't fret – you can retake the exam as many times as needed. Reapplication instructions for retaking one or both exam sections within six months will be provided.
Step 3: Fingerprinting and Background Check
Once you've passed the state exam, your next stop is fingerprinting for a background check. You must use the Morphotrust IdentoGO process to take and submit your fingerprints electronically at one of their fingerprinting centers throughout Washington.
Your scanned fingerprints will be sent to the Washington State Patrol before being forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a background check. Results will be shared electronically with the Washington Real Estate Licensing Department.
The licensing department will review your background report for eligibility and may contact you to clarify any findings. If you have a criminal offense, you'll need to upload documents that explain the situation, such as court orders, charging documents, disciplinary letters, and so on.
Step 4: Apply for Your Real Estate License
With your exams passed, background check completed, and pre-licensing education requirements met, it's time to apply for your real estate license. Submit your application online through the Washington State Department of Licensing or opt for the slower paper application process.
The application process typically takes 3-5 days. Once approved, you'll receive your license from the licensing department. You can print your license for a $5 fee. For more information regarding your license, contact WREL at RealEstate@dol.wa.gov
Step 5: Secure a Real Estate License Sponsorship
To activate your real estate license, your sponsoring broker must approve your application by completing page 2/2 of the Washington real estate license application form. Alternatively, you can work as an independent agent, but you'll miss out on the support and guidance provided by a managing broker.
The Costs and Timeline for a Washington Real Estate License
Here's a breakdown of the costs associated with obtaining a real estate license in Washington:
- All Washington fees: $327.30
- Pre-licensing education: $239-$379
- Total estimated cost: $570-$710
Most applicants take 2-3 months to secure their real estate license in Washington. However, this timeframe depends on various factors:
- How long it takes to complete your pre-licensing course
- How long it takes to schedule and sit for the license exam
- How much time you dedicate to the entire licensing process
By choosing full-time in-person classes during your pre-licensing course, you could have your license in as little as six months.
What's the Earning Potential for Real Estate Agents in Washington?
Real estate can be a rewarding career path, particularly in Washington, where the average annual wage for real estate agents is $112,793. This figure is slightly higher than the national average.
Individual earnings will vary based on factors such as experience, certification, specialization, and commission structure or employment setting.
If you want to see some examples of questions that will be on the actual real estate exam, check out our free real estate practice exam. We have been named as the best real estate exam practice for 7 years in a row!
If you need to get your required educational hours done, check out our partners for online real estate education that can be done at your own pace from home or where ever you have internet access.
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