Is it too easy to get a Real Estate license? A lot of folks would say yes.

I hear many complaints from agents who think the licensing requirements need to be raised as they are fed up with dealing with untrained and unprofessional agents.   Changing the requirements would be a challenge as the wheels of change at the state grind slowly.

Pre-License Requirements

In 1988 when I became an agent only 30 hours were required and then I had to pass the state exam to get a license.  In the late 90’s it increased to 60 hours.  And in 2012 it increased to 90 hours.  Washington state has a fairly high requirement compared to the rest of the country.

At what cost?

Pre-license course, exam, license and getting into an office can be done for less than $1,000 today  –  that’s pretty cheap for someone who will be involved in transactions of several hundred thousand dollars  –  or a few million!

How do we compare?

But how do we compare to other places.  I stumbled across a post from a Canadian FB friend and decided to explore a little.  In British Columbia the pre-license course is taught through the University of British Columbia and costs $986.79 US dollars.   It takes at least 10 weeks to complete online as there are assignments they must complete and they can’t do more than 2 assignments a week.

Once they have completed the course they take an exam and that gets them a ‘temporary license.  Now they can really start spending money!!  The Practices course which they must pass to get a full license will cost another $749.21 US dollars.  Then they pay for the licensing fees and assessments.  By this time they have spent a few months and $2,844.97 US dollars.

And then they get to join the Real Estate Association  –  those annual dues are $864.81 US dollars.  And no, they don’t have a choice.  I have been told there is no Department of Licensing in Canada  –  it is all run by the Associations.

Renewals are every 2 years and the education costs around $1,000 to $1200 US dollars depending on the field they are focused on such as commercial, property management or residential.

Compared to the cost of University or a trade to become a journeyman it is still inexpensive in British Columbia to become a real estate agent.  However, the cost and time is high enough it would deter a lot of folks who want to “jump in” for a quick buck .

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on education requirements in Washington state?  Send me an email at and I will share them with the Department of Licensing.

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