Obtaining a Real Estate License in Washington

A lushly forested and populous state, Washington draws in visitors and residents alike with its inviting natural landscape and urban center of Seattle. More than half of the population in this state lives in Seattle, and realtors in Washington will find ample opportunity to develop a business here. Individuals interested in a real estate career in Washington may wonder how to get a real estate license. Like all states, Washington manages its realty regulations via an entity designed for the task. In this case, the Washington State Department of Licensing handles all aspects of the realty profession in this state. This article addresses the process for getting a license on an entry-level basis in the state of Washington.

Basic Prerequisites

Washington mandates certain prerequisites of its realty licensees. Generally speaking, every applicant for a Washington real estate license must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a high school degree or equal education
  • Complete 90 hours of prelicensure coursework
  • Pass the broker’s licensing exam
  • Pay the original licensing fee of $146.25

Candidates for a real estate license in Washington must submit to a fingerprint background check, for which there is a processing fee of $35.25. This does not include the fee charged by the fingerprinting service.

Training & Education

Washington state requires applicants to complete 90 hours of prelicensure coursework, with 60 hours in fundamentals and 30 in practical application. The department offers a handy guide on the course outlines and descriptions, including a list of approved providers and whether the courses are live or distance-based.

The testing provider for the state of Washington licensing exam is Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP). Applicants must register and pay for the exam directly through the testing service, for which the fee is $138.25. Applicants have one year from the date of the exam to submit an official application for licensure; if they fail all or a portion of the exam, they must retake the failed portion(s) and have six months to do so. The retake fee is the same as the original fee.

Broker licenses in Washington are valid for two years. For the first renewal, realtors must complete a 90 hours of continuing education, of which 3 hours must be a core course. All subsequent renewals require only 30 hours of CE. The 3-hour core course is still mandatory for subsequent renewals. The renewal fee is $146.25 plus fingerprinting fees if necessary.

Additional Information

Realtors from other states who wish to apply for a Washington license may qualify for education and testing waivers. They must submit an official occupational history report from their licensing state and take the Washington portion of the licensing exam. Other conditions may apply, so realtors from other states should check with the department before assuming any waivers.

The basic realty license in Washington is a broker’s license, and this article addresses this as an entry-level position for educational purposes. More advanced licensing requires additional education and experience. Those interested in other licenses, such as managing and designated brokers, should check out the state licensing website concerning eligibility, testing and associated fees. 

While the Washington licensing department handles real estate licensing on a state level, other entities manage the real estate profession on a global level. The National Association of Realtors and the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) are two major organizations that work to regulate the real estate profession worldwide. These associations develop and maintain standards of ethics and behavior for all real estate professionals and commissions.

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