Obtaining a Real Estate License in South Dakota


A Midwest state with ample room and beautiful hills, South Dakota draws thousands of visitors each year to see the historic Mount Rushmore statues. This landmark isn’t the only thing that attracts visitors and residents to South Dakota, and realtors in this state may find great opportunity for successful business. Those wondering how to get a real estate license in this state should start with the information contained in this article. Each state manages its realty licensing differently, and South Dakota is no exception. Operating under the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, the South Dakota Real Estate Commission oversees all aspects of the realty profession in this state. This article addresses the entry-level position for realtors, which in South Dakota is a broker associate. The following guide offers practical information for those interested in a real estate license in the state of South Dakota.

Basic Prerequisites

The South Dakota Real Estate Commission prescribes certain prerequisites for obtaining a broker associate license in the state. A real estate applicant in South Dakota must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a high school degree or equivalent
  • Complete the required pre- and post-licensure coursework
  • Submit an official application and fees ($225)
  • Pass the licensing exam
  • Obtain Errors & Omission insurance

A broker associate license will be issued as “inactive” until a letter from the broker with whom the associate wishes to be associated is sent to the commission. If a broker associated wants the status to be “active” immediately, then he or she will need to include the broker letter with the application. Applicants will need to submit to a federal background/fingerprinting check, for which there is a $43.25 fee payable directly to the testing service.

Training & Education

The South Dakota commission requires applicants to complete 116 hours of prelicensure coursework in order to obtain a broker associate license. The commission keeps an active list of approved schools that meet these prelicensure requirements. Once licensed, broker associates must also complete 60 hours of post-licensing coursework, to be divided equally during the first two years after receiving a license. In other words, broker associates must complete 30 hours during the first period and 30 during the second, with designated subject areas to be covered. Realtors may complete the post-licensing coursework in person, via distance learning or by independent study.

South Dakota licensing exams are administered by Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) via computer at two physical locations in the state, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Detailed information concerning eligibility, testing requirements and scoring procedures may be found on the company’s website. Each portion of the exam (state and national) is $95; both sections together cost $190. Applicants have 60 days after passing the licensing exam to submit an official application. 

Broker associate licenses must be renewed every two years, for which there is a $125 fee and a required 24 hours of continuing education. Half of the CE hours must be in a mandatory subject matter. Renewals must also include proof of Errors & Omission insurance.

Additional Information

South Dakota does not offer reciprocal licensing, but realtors from other states may apply for a waiver of certain educational requirements. Interested individuals should study the nonresident guidelines of the commission.

As mentioned in the introduction, South Dakota recognizes broker associates as entry-level real estate professionals. The state also regulates licenses for brokers, property managers and other realty professionals. This article addresses entry-level information for purposes of instructing those who are unfamiliar with the profession or with South Dakota’s regulations. Those interested in advanced real estate licenses should check out the commission’s website regarding additional licensing requirements.

While the South Dakota Real Estate Commission oversees licensing and regulation of realtors in the state, national and international organizations oversee real estate professionals on a broader scale. Two prominent associations are the National Association of Realtors and the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO). Both of these associations work to develop and maintain a set of standards to which all realtors and real estate commissions must adhere. This ensures that everyone in the global real estate community offers universally acceptable professional conduct.


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