Real Estate Education

How to get a real estate license in Ohio (OH) in 5 steps

We'll also share tips and key information to help you launch an exciting new career in the Buckeye State.

Wondering how to get a real estate license in Ohio in 2024? Your path to real estate licensure begins with 120 hours of classes in an approved Ohio real estate license education program. From completing your required coursework to taking the licensing exam, keep reading to learn how to become a real estate agent in Ohio.

Requirements to get a real estate license in Ohio

Before you enroll in the required 120 hours of sales associate prelicensing education, you’ll need to know some of the requirements for obtaining an Ohio real estate license. Here’s a helpful checklist to get you started:

120 hours of qualifying real estate education are required before you can sit the Ohio real estate licensing exam

Requirements checklist [1] [2]

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Be a United States citizen or an alien lawfully admitted to the U.S.
  • Be honest and truthful
  • Not be convicted of a disqualifying offense. Not have violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate or civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years
  • Complete the prelicensing education requirements
  • Be sponsored by an Ohio broker
  • Submit your application form, education requirements, and required fee to the State of Ohio’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing (REPL)
  • Complete the background check, including fingerprinting
  • Take and pass the Ohio real estate licensing exam

Ohio real estate licensing examination

  • How hard is it to pass the Ohio real estate exam?

    Ohio does not publish an average pass rating for the real estate examination, but you can expect the level of difficulty to be dependent on how prepared you are! Consisting of two portions, the exam’s state-specific section has 40 questions and the national-based section has 80 questions.

    You’ll have one hour to complete the state questions and two hours to answer the national questions. To pass the exam, you’ll be expected to answer 70% of the questions correctly.

    3 hours: The time you’ll be given to answer all 120 multiple-choice questions on the Ohio license exam

    While the thought of correctly answering 120 questions in 180 minutes (that’s an average of 1.5 minutes per question!) can be intimidating, the right study tools can make all the difference on exam day. Check out the best schools for exam prep courses with helpful study aids in our article 7 best real estate classes in Ohio for 2024.

  • How long does it take to get a real estate license in Ohio?

    Many students complete the 120-hour required coursework in about one month, but others will need three or four months. This will largely depend on your schedule and your obligations outside of studying. For those that are balancing coursework with a full-time job, family, and other responsibilities, don’t fret! Most Ohio prelicensing packages will allow you access to the coursework for up to six months.

    6 weeks to 6 months
    Time it takes to get an Ohio real estate license

    As far as your background check, allot for a few days to a week for processing. After clearing your background check, you can apply to take the Ohio licensing exam. Depending on the availability of seating, you may be able to schedule your exam within two weeks.

    You can take the prelicensing course online, study, and schedule the exam based on the pace that works best for you, but for planning purposes, know that it typically takes six weeks to six months to get a real estate license in Ohio.

    Pro Tip:
    Keep in mind that the more time you spend studying for the Ohio licensing exam, the more prepared you’ll be to pass it the first time around and be eligible for your Ohio real estate license. On top of completing the required prelicensing coursework, a course in exam prep can give you the confidence you need on exam day.

  • How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Ohio?

    When it comes to getting an Ohio real estate license, think of the associated fees as an investment in your career. Here’s what you need to budget for:

    • Prelicensing exam coursework = from around $199 to over $2000
    • Salesperson license examination application fee = $81
    • Background check processing fee, U.S.Treasury = $18
    • Background check fees, BCI and FBI = $50 to $100
    • Salesperson exam registration fee, state and national = $63
    • License renewal fee after first year = $182

    Estimated total = $593 to $2,444 [3]

5 key steps to getting your real estate license in Ohio

There are five fairly straightforward steps to getting a real estate license in Ohio.

Step 1: Complete the prelicensing education requirements

Applying for an Ohio real estate agent license starts with fulfilling the 120-hour sales associate pre-licensing education requirement. To qualify to take the Ohio real estate licensing exam, be prepared to enroll in and successfully complete the following education requirements:

  • Ohio Real Estate Law: includes instruction in civil rights, housing discrimination, and desegregation problems (40 hours)
  • Real Estate Principles and Practices (40 hours)
  • Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
  • Real Estate Finance (20 hours)

By taking an approved courses of study, you’ll be eligible to apply for the licensing exam. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the information needed to thrive as an Ohio real estate agent. 

Considerations for attorneys in Ohio 

If you are an active, licensed attorney in the state of Ohio, you may be able to apply some of your law degree credits toward the Ohio prelicensing course requirements. If you believe you have completed some of the qualifying courses, you can send an unofficial transcript to Ohio’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing (REPL) for a courtesy review at: [email protected]

Other considerations

Even if you aren’t an attorney, there is a possibility that you may have already completed some of the real estate prelicensing courses. To be sure, send an unofficial transcript to REPL for a courtesy review at [email protected]. Once approved, you can then apply to take the state and national portions of the Ohio licensing exam. [3] [4]

Step 2: Select a sponsoring real estate brokerage

The state of Ohio requires anyone who wants to be licensed as a real estate agent to be sponsored by a brokerage before they take the licensing exam.

Ready to find a real estate brokerage?

Culture, cutting-edge technology, marketing assistance, and training are key to succeeding as an Ohio real estate agent, so look for a brokerage that provides the agent services and resources you need to maximize reach for your clients. To select the brokerage that’s best for you, here are a few things that potential Ohio real estate agents should consider:

1. Size and culture 

Do you have a specific real estate area or category you’re interested in? Look for a broker who specializes in that niche. Some real estate professionals prefer brokerages committed to fixer-uppers and first-time homebuyers, while others are looking for an ultra-luxury firm. A locally-based, boutique brokerage may be perfect for one person, while another agent may feel more at home at a larger, national brokerage. Ultimately, your decision about a brokerage comes down to personal preferences and professional goals.

2. Commission split

For a new real estate agent, a good commission split is important. Since your commission checks will be larger if the brokerage has a fair rate, consider each brokerage’s rate before making a decision. Between 50/50 (the broker and real estate agent receive equal sums of money from a commission split) and 70/30 (the real estate agent gets a larger sum of the money than the broker) is fair.

3. Mentorship opportunities and training

When selecting a firm, look for a brokerage that will offer mentorship programs and comprehensive new agent training. You’ll also want a sponsoring real estate brokerage that offers administrative support, including inputting MLS information, helping with contract follow-up, and handling other office tasks.

4. Tools and technology

Cutting-edge tools, technology, and market insights are more important than ever, so select a brokerage that provides the marketing prowess you need to maximize reach for your clients and innovative agent services.

Step 3: Submit your exam application form and fee 

Once you’ve completed your prelicensing education and found a brokerage to sponsor you, it’s time to submit your Ohio real estate license examination application form. Need to get your hands on a license application? Check with your prelicensing education provider or your local real estate board. You can also download the license exam application here:  

Along with your application form, you’ll submit your proof of education requirements and $81 payment to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. You can mail these or submit your application online. Either way, REPL will process your completed application. After that, your information will be sent to the testing vendor, who will process it and send you the Candidate Information Bulletin with instructions on how to schedule your exam.

Step 4: Complete fingerprinting for your background check

According to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, you should not have your fingerprints taken before filing an application. You should, however, complete your background check within 10 business days of submitting your application. [5]

Did you know?
According to REPL, you can take your licensing exam while waiting for your background check results to be processed.

You can schedule your fingerprinting appointment with Webcheck, a criminal record check provider. The U.S.Treasury will charge you an $18 fee for processing. On top of that, the BCI and FBI will charge you additional fees for the background check. Find the Ohio Webcheck locations and background check fees here:

Be sure to bring your government-issued ID and be ready to have your fingerprints digitally taken. You should also bring instructions stating that the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and FBI background check results are to be sent to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. Include REPL’s address and reason codes, which are BCI Reason Code: 4735.143 and FBI Reason Code: 4735.143

Did you know?
According to REPL, remote proctored testing is available for both Ohio real estate agent and broker examinations. Together with testing vendor PSI, REPL created a remote testing model that is as secure as in-person exams taken in a traditional testing center.[6]

Step 5: Schedule and take the licensing exam 

When you’re ready to take the Ohio real estate exam, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing requires that you schedule your exam by visiting the PSI website. If you already have a PSI account, you can log in to begin the booking process and schedule your test. If not, you can select “TESTS” to create your PSI account. From there, you’ll choose your test format: “Test Center” or “Remote Proctored.” [7]

If you’re not taking the remote, online exam, you’ll need to select your preferred testing center. Next, you’ll choose an exam date and time to book at that location. If you are taking the exam remotely, you’ll still need to select a date and time to book an appointment with a remote proctor. Your last step will be to pay the $63 state and national exam registration fee. [8]

Where to take the exam: Exam locations

The Ohio real estate licensing examinations are administered at the following approved testing locations:   

  • Akron
  • Cambridge
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus North
  • Columbus South
  • Toledo
  • Troy

Once you’ve scheduled your real estate licensing exam date and site, it’s time to prepare. [8]

How to prepare for the Ohio real estate exam: Helpful study tips

To prepare for your Ohio real estate licensing exam, here are a few tips you’ll find helpful:

  • Start with a current copy of the Candidate Information Bulletin
  • You can base your studies on the bulletin’s Content Outline section and use study materials that cover the topics found in the outline. 
  • Take notes as you study. It’s proven that the act of putting something in writing helps you retain the information better! 
  • It helps to have a study group or even one other licensee to study with. You’ll be able to discuss confusing concepts and new terms with each other, as well as drill each other on your understanding of the topics. 
  • Going through the bulletin’s Sample Questions section will also be beneficial. As you do so, consider only the actual information presented in the question. Avoid reading into the question too much. 
  • Many people find that the most effective approach is to study for scheduled periods of 45 to 60 minutes. Take a break before you lose concentration, then start studying again when your mind is fresh.

SEE ALSO: 7 best real estate classes in Ohio for 2024

Beyond the required 120 hours of education, spend some extra time studying for the exam. It will increase your chances of passing on the first try. Good luck!

What to bring to the exam: Be prepared

When the day comes for you to take your Ohio real estate licensing examination, you should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. You’ll need the extra time for signing in, showing your identification, and getting familiar with the exam process.

You’ll need to present one form of ID that matches the name you used when you scheduled the exam. The ID must also have your photo and signature, and be valid and unexpired. The following are forms of photo ID accepted for the exam: [8]

  • Current state-issued driver’s license 
  • Current state-issued identification card  
  • U.S. government-issued alien registration card  
  • U.S. government-issued military identification card  
  • U.S. government-issued passport 
  • Canadian government-issued identification card 

80 National and 40 State
The breakdown of questions on the Ohio real estate licensing exam

The Ohio in-person real estate exam

During the check-in process, you will be asked if you possess any prohibited items and may also be asked to empty your pockets so that the exam proctor can ensure that there is nothing in them. The proctors may also carefully inspect eyeglass frames, ends of sleeves, pant leg bottoms, or any other apparel that could be used to hide notes or a recording device.

If you are testing in person at a PSI test site, you will be given a pencil and a piece of scratch paper, which you’ll return during check-out.

Here are a few of the items that you cannot bring into the exam room:

  • Chewing gum, food, drinks, smoking, or chewing products
  • Pagers, cellular phones, cameras, mobile devices, or electronic devices of any kind
  • iPads, laptops, tablets, or computers
  • Radios, iPods, earbuds, electronic games, electronic watches, or smart watches
  • Handheld calculators, headsets, or recording devices of any kind
  • Baseball caps, visors, hats, or headgear not worn for religious reasons
  • Coats, jackets, vests, scarves, or shawls
  • Bulky or loose sweatshirts or sweaters 
  • Backpacks, briefcases, purses, or wallets (don’t forget to remove your photo ID!)
  • Reading or reference materials of any kind
  • Pens, pencils, notebooks, paper or other materials to write on

The following are also strictly prohibited during the exam:

  • Having guests, family members, or friends in the testing room, the building, or on the building’s property
  • Attempting to copy, communicate, or record exam content of any kind
  • Conversing with other candidates during the exam
  • Giving or receiving assistance on the exam
  • Using the internet, instant messaging, a computer, a mobile phone, an app not provided by PSI, or other outside references or resources during the exam
  • Taking photos or video of exam items
  • Engaging in disruptive behavior during check-in or during the exam, including using abusive language, reading questions aloud, or causing noise other than keyboard typing
  • Changing spaces during the exam without the proctor’s approval
  • Leaving the exam room without the proctor’s approval 

Secure storage will be available for any prohibited items. Any prohibited possessions or behavior will result in disciplinary measures, including termination of your exam, surrender of all exam materials, and a report of the incident to the exam sponsor.

You will have three hours to finish the Ohio real estate licensing examination and you will not receive extra time to complete the exam once the time is up. You may only leave the exam room to use the restroom after obtaining permission from the proctor, or when you’ve completed the exam. [8]

The Ohio remote online proctored exam 

Here are a few of the requirements for the online exam:

  • Sufficient internet service to administer the exam
  • Placement of the web camera for ideal viewing by the proctor
  • Adequate lighting for the proctor to see your activity
  • Adherence to the proctor’s instructions, which may include keeping eyes on the computer screen and keeping hands on the desktop 

Here are a few of the prohibited possessions and behaviors for the online exam:

  • Taking breaks during the exam
  • Changing computers or changing spaces during the exam
  • Temporarily moving out of the camera’s line of sight 
  • Putting your hands near your face or covering your mouth unless absolutely necessary
  • Talking or whispering
  • Having scratch paper during the exam

3 hours the time allotted for taking the Ohio licensing exam

How to get your exam score

At the end of the examination, you will see your score displayed on screen. You can also have your score report emailed to you. If you fail, you can see the diagnostic report by exam type (including your strengths and weaknesses) on the emailed score report.

How to retake the exam 

If you fail the Ohio real estate licensing exam, don’t be too discouraged! You can retake the licensing exam as many times as you need to within a 12-month period, beginning on the date written on your testing bulletin. Here’s some more good news: You only need to retake the portion of the exam that you failed.

On the day of your exam, the failing score report and retake application will be given to you before you check out. You will need to wait for the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing to notify PSI of your new eligibility, however, before you can register and schedule your next exam.

Be prepared to apply to retake the failed portion by submitting a retake application and paying a fee to REPL for every exam you retake. You’ll need to do so by the date indicated on the initial Candidate Information Bulletin’s label. If you do not pass both sections within the given 12 months, you will need to resubmit an exam application to REPL. [8]

FAQs to help you launch your Ohio real estate career

Still wondering if real estate is the best career for you? Have some questions you need answered before you decide? We’ve got answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your Ohio real estate license.

  • Can I apply for an Ohio real estate license online?

    Once you have passed the real estate licensing exam, you can save time and money by applying for an Ohio real estate salesperson license online at the eLicense website. Along with your application form, you’ll submit your completed education requirements and $81 payment to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive an email receipt. Keep in mind that once your Ohio agent application is submitted, the principal or management level broker sponsoring you will need to accept/approve it. [9]

    Pro tip: If your brokerage plans to incur the application costs, consider having them present during the application process to make the payment. Alternatively, your sponsoring broker can reimburse you for the application fee. [10]

    Your own birth date determines when you should first renew your real estate license in Ohio. On the first birthday following your licensure, your first-year renewal is due. Renewal information and $182 is due with the first renewal, and you can renew online here.

    Double-check your due date if you were licensed within 60 days of your birthday, as your renewal date may actually be your second birthday following licensure. One year from the date your license was first issued, your 20-hour post licensure continuing education course certificate is due. It’s worth noting that this may or may not coincide with your first-year renewal. Be sure to email your actual certificate to [email protected] on or before your due date so your requirement can be marked as complete.

    And three years from your first-year renewal? You guessed it! Your third-year renewal is due. This is the first renewal that requires 30 hours of CE. To remind you, you’ll be sent a renewal notice 60 days before your due date that includes instructions on how to submit your renewal information, CE certification, and fee to REPL. You can find the renewal form here.

  • What are the continuing education requirements for renewing an Ohio real estate license?

    One year from the date your license was first issued, your 20-hour post licensure continuing education course must be completed and your certificate submitted. This is one specific course that is 20 hours long. It is not a compilation of courses that total 20 hours. For your third-year renewal, you’ll need to complete a total of 30 hours of CE courses, including three hours each of Canons of Ethics, Core Law, and Civil Rights.

    After that, Ohio requires that you complete 30 hours of continuing education by your birthday, every three years. The 30 hours must include nine hours in three separate mandatory core courses. [11]

  • Where and when can I take continuing education classes?

    When it comes to your continuing education courses, there are many real estate classes in Ohio to choose from. From nine-hour core requirement packages via livestream and 12-hour core courses to 20-hour post-licensing courses and 30-hour CE packages that include mandatory core and elective CE courses, it’s important to select a school that offers courses to help you advance in your real estate career. To find the best school for your budget, schedule, and goals, check out our guide on the top online real estate schools in Ohio.

  • How can I renew my real estate license in Ohio?

    When your Ohio real estate license renewal period opens, you should receive a renewal form in the mail. You can renew your license up to 60 days before your due date, either by mail or online.

    To renew by mail

    • Send the renewal form, education compliance form, and $182 salesperson fee to REPL
    • Include certificates for any courses not listed under your name on the eLicense Center

    To renew online

    • Log in and answer the ethical questions
    • Upload any missing certificates, certify your CE, and pay the fee

    Once processed, your due date will be updated on REPL’s website in real time. [12]

  • What forms of payment does REPL accept?

    You may pay your renewal fees through the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing’s online portal or in person at the Tussing Rd. location in Reynoldsburg, OH using a credit card. If you are mailing in your application, include a check or money order for your payment. REPL cannot accept credit cards over the phone or cash under any circumstances.

  • Does Ohio have real estate license reciprocity with any other state?

    Yes! Ohio has reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming. If you are licensed in a reciprocal state but have already moved to Ohio, you will need to apply with the Salesperson License Examination Application.

    If you are a real estate agent who is legally residing in a reciprocal state, you do not have to take all of the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing’s prelicensing courses. You do have to qualify for an Ohio real estate agent reciprocal license by:

    • Being affiliated with an Ohio licensed broker
    • Holding an active salesperson’s license in one of the above states for at least one year before filing the application
    • Taking an Ohio real estate law prelicensing course at a higher education institution and submitting proof of the course’s completion
    • Completing a criminal records check of both state and FBI records, including a background check
    • Completing the Salesperson Reciprocity Application and Consent to Service Form
    • Submitting a letter of good standing from the state of licensure
    • Taking and passing the state portion of the Ohio real estate salesperson exam

    Once REPL receives your completed application, your information will be sent to the testing vendor. The testing vendor will then process the information and send you the Candidate Information Bulletin with instructions on scheduling your Ohio real estate exam. [13] [14]

  • Does Ohio have a real estate portability agreement?

    While real estate license reciprocity enables agents and brokers to obtain a license in a new state without having to fulfill all state licensing requirements, real estate portability permits out-of-state agents and brokers to conduct business within particular states. If you are a licensee from a state that does not have reciprocity with Ohio, the passage of Senate Bill 131 in January of 2023 means it is a cooperative state in terms of portability.[15]

    The law states that if you are licensed or certified in another state, the Ohio licensing authority must allow you to physically enter the state to conduct real estate business. Before an out-of-state agent can practice real estate in Ohio, however, you must pass the state law portion of the licensing exam and have a co-brokerage agreement with a firm licensed in the Buckeye State. [16]

    OH real estate: By the numbers

    35,743 licensed and active real estate agents in Ohio [17]

    $74,473 is the average an Ohio real estate makes per year

    $218,488 is the value of the average Ohio home and represents an increase of 4.3% over the past year

    6 days is the average time it takes for an Ohio home to go to pending [18]

  • How much money does an Ohio real estate agent make?

    According to, the average salary of an Ohio real estate agent is $74,473 per year
    as of October 27, 2023. This is the equivalent of $35.80 per hour, around $1,432 per week, or $6,206 per month. Note that this salary average can vary based on your level of education, years of experience, area of focus, and the property market. For instance, Ohio agents with six to nine years of experience earn an average of $83,548. [19]

    According to, the top five highest paying cities/areas for Ohio real estate agents are:

    • #5 Westerville, $77,429 annual salary
    • #4 Dayton, $83,176 annual salary
    • #3 Cleveland, $83,927 annual salary
    • #2 Cincinnati, $84,186 annual salary
    • #1 Springboro, $145,707 annual salary
  • What’s the real estate agent commission rate in Ohio?

    Based on several recent surveys, the average real estate agent commission rate in Ohio is around 5.81%, which is higher than the national average of 5.37%. This average reflects the total for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. Usually split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent, the average commission rate for listing agents is 3.19% of the final home price and 2.62% for buyer’s agents. Be aware that the commission you take home will be further reduced depending on the share that goes to your brokerage. [20] [21]

The full picture: Getting an Ohio real estate license

Cities like Springboro and Cincinnati continue to be very hot markets, and as a state, Ohio is gaining a reputation as an excellent place to invest in real estate for appreciation. Now is an ideal time to help those investors by becoming a real estate agent in Ohio. Equipped with all the details on getting licensed as an agent in Ohio, you’re ready to start your real estate journey.

From tips on applying for your Ohio license to national changes in the housing market, HousingWire is here to provide you with the news, information, and insights it takes to succeed as a real estate agent.

  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Requirements for an Ohio Real Estate Salesperson’s License”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Salesperson License Examination Application”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Real Estate FAQs”
  1. Ohio, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “SALESPERSON LICENSE EXAMINATION APPLICATION”
  1. Ohio Realtors. “Division to offer remote real estate license exams”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Salesperson License Examination Application”
  1. License Center. “Ohio Department of Commerce,”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Online Salesperson Application & Transfer”
  1. Ohio Realtors. “Get Your Ohio Real Estate License”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Real Estate FAQs”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “Salesperson Reciprocity Application”
  1., Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. “RE Consent to Service of Process Form”
  1. Ohio Realtors. “Passage of Senate Bill 131 brings license reciprocity to Ohio”
  1. Ohio House of Representatives. “License Reciprocity Act Signed into Law”
  1. “Number of Realtors in the USA by State | 2023”
  1. “Ohio Home Values”
  1. “Realtor salary in Ohio”
  1. Clever. “The Average Ohio Real Estate Commission in 2022”
  1. FastExpert. “2022 Survey Results: Real Estate Agent Commissions by State”

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