Obtaining a Real Estate License in North Carolina


North Carolina encompasses a happy blend of Southern comfort and modern growth. Its two major cities are ranked among the fastest growing cities in the county. This means that realtors in the state of North Carolina will find ample opportunity to grow their own business. Those pondering how to get a real estate license in North Carolina might wonder where to begin. North Carolina handles realty licensing differently from other states in that they only recognize broker licenses. However, they classify broker licenses in three distinct levels: provisional broker, broker and broker-in-charge. Each category requires different educational and experience requirements. The following guide offers information regarding the first of these designations, as it is intended for those unfamiliar with real estate or new to the state of North Carolina. 

Basic Prerequisites

Provisional brokers in the state of North Carolina must adhere to the guidelines established by the commission. In addition, all applicants for a realty license must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legally eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Possess a social security number
  • Meet one of several educational qualifications (see below)
  • Submit to a federal background check
  • Submit a complete application and pay the associated fees
  • Pass the licensing exam

In addition, applicants must prove to the commission that they possess the right character for the profession. The following comes directly from the commission’s licensing booklet, a link to which appears at the end of this article: “Every applicant for a real estate license has the burden of satisfying the Commission that he or she possesses the honesty, integrity, good moral character, and general fitness, including mental and emotional fitness, necessary to protect the public interest and promote public confidence in the real estate brokerage business.” 

Training & Education

North Carolina outlines four ways a person can meet the educational requirements for obtaining a provisional broker’s license. The following may be used to meet the prerequisite educational qualification:

  • Complete 75 hours of prelicensure coursework in a North Carolina school.
  • Complete 75 hours or equivalent prelicensure coursework in another state.
  • Possess an equivalent combination or education and experience that would satisfy the educational prerequisite.
  • Hold an active real estate license from another state.
  • If option 1 is selected, then candidates will follow the normal application procedures. The other options require additional paperwork and proof. Assuming candidates choose options 2-4, the commission will determine on a case-by-case basis whether candidates meet the educational requirements for a provisional broker’s license.

Applicants must also complete the licensing exam, which is administered by Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP). Candidates must correctly answer 75% of both portions (state and national) in order to qualify for licensure. Detailed information regarding testing policies may be found in the licensing handbook referenced above.

North Carolina licenses are renewed annually, for which there is a $45 fee and an 8-hour continuing education requirements. Realtors must complete 4 hours of a real estate update course and a 4 hour elective to satisfy the CE requirements. New licensees are offered a one-time waiver of the education requirement based on the issue date of their license.

Additional Information

The application fee is $30, and the exam fee is $64. The exam fee is paid directly to the testing service.

As mentioned in the introduction, North Carolina recognizes different levels of broker licenses. Brokers and brokers-in-charge have been excluded from this article to simply information for potential realtors. Those interested in learning more about additional licensing, including education and experience qualifications, for advanced real estate professions in North Carolina should check out the information provided on the state commission’s website. 

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission operates as a licensing agency for realtors in the state of North Carolina; however, national and international associations have been created to enhance the realty profession on a global scale. The National Association of Realtors and the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) actively develop and maintain rules and regulations for the conducting of real estate across boundary lines, ensuring that realtors and commissions across the world provide an equal level of service and adhere to a set standard of ethics.


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