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Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Sales Agents


Schools and Education

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What's Needed:

  • Agents must obtain a license after attending schools offering real estate courses while brokers must complete a few additional hours of education.
  • Real estate agents and brokers must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Although many complete some college coursework, usually in business, to supplement their education, it is not necessary.
  • State requirements vary, so check local educational requirements through the National Association of Realtors' website.

What courses you'll take

Below are examples of courses that you might take as a real estate agent student.

Course Studies Purpose
Principles of Real Estate Introduces real estate topics such as: agency; disclosure; ethics; titles; legal terminology and descriptions; deeds; liens; appraisals; finance; regulations; closing procedures; and real estate calculations. Covers regulations and laws related to discrimination and community reinvestment. Gives core expertise needed to practice as a real estate sales agent and fulfills much of the educational requirements for licensing.
Real Estate Marketing Reviews topics including: professionalism in marketing properties; types of representation; time management; psychology of sales and marketing; targeted marketing and selling; direct and indirect marketing; listing procedures; use of print, phone, and internet; networking with colleagues, buyers, and sellers; exclusivities; negotiations; and closing financing. Give real estate agents the broad knowledge and specific practices expected as they market and sell properties for their clients.
Real Estate Transaction Management Reviews principles and practices at the heart of completing transactions, including: organization of documents; due diligence during completion of transactions; resolving conflicts; dealing with unexpected title issues; getting ready for closings; and post-closing activities. Prepare real estate students to take on their role as licensed agents in finishing transactions for their clients.
Real Estate Computer Applications Presents the latest in information technologies useful to real estate agents, including: databases; mapping applications; mortgage interest calculations; contact management; and presentation software. Teach real estate agents how to be as productive as possible through the use of information technology.
Real Estate Brokerage Management Covers basics and principles of managing a real estate brokerage, including: business planning; budgeting; marketing strategies; customer service; recruiting; policies; conflicts; demographics; regulations; reporting, and overall operations. Help students interested in management roles be ready to pursue these jobs.

Video Overview

Shows a brief overview of a real estate agent career. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

All real estate agents and brokers must be licensed. Many must also undergo a background check although this requirement varies from state to state. After taking state-accredited classes in the field, agents must take a test to receive their license. After working as an agent for a number of years set by their state, a realtor becomes eligible to test as a real estate broker. College coursework can also make a candidate eligible to be a broker.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Real estate agents can set their own hours to some extent. Many are part-time workers, but others put in 60-hour work weeks as a full-time job. They frequently work evenings and weekends to accommodate sellers' and buyers' hours. However, they also enjoy greater flexibility in their schedules than most office workers and can schedule their showings to permit more free time in their days.

Work location:

Agents may work in a real estate office with other agents, but the majority are self-employed. Some work from home; others pool with other agents to rent office space, giving them a place to meet with sellers and buyers.


Recommended Websites

  • National Association of Realtors As the largest professional organization in the United States, the National Association of Realtors provides real estate sales agents and brokers with a code of ethics and offers them greater political clout as a group. For prospective sales agents, the site is a bounty of advice, tips, online education and legal information.
  • CCIM Institute Affiliated with the NAR, the CCIM Institute provides education and direction for sales agents who specialize in commercial properties. The initials are short for Certified Commercial Investment Member, and the site offers an extensive course for prospective commercial sales agents. The sections on resources and education are especially useful to new agents seeking direction.
  • Council of Residential Specialists This professional organization focuses exclusively on residential sales. With online classes, webinars and self-study programs, the site gives guidance to sales agents who choose to specialize in residential properties. Click on the community tab to find member blogs and get an inside look at what residential sales agents do.
  • Multiple Listing Service Real estate agents rely on this website to provide timely information about available properties and prices. It also features local real estate news for agents and brokers. Anyone going into the real estate market should become familiar with this valuable site.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column -- for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$71,060$37K - $95K1200.07%
AKFairbanks$62,700$41K - $104K500.13%
ALAuburn - Opelika$47,240$23K - $109K300.07%
ALBirmingham - Hoover$59,160$35K - $124K5400.11%
ALHuntsville$42,830$25K - $96K1400.07%
ALMobile$48,160$19K - $90K1900.11%
ALMontgomery$45,130$33K - $85K900.06%
ALTuscaloosa$35,330$19K - $124K1000.11%
ARFayetteville - Springdale - Rogers$26,580$17K - $78K2300.11%
ARFort Smith$28,700$16K - $45KN/AN/A
ARHot Springs$27,470$18K - $71KN/AN/A
ARJonesboro$33,790$26K - $47K300.06%
ARLittle Rock - North Little Rock - Conway$30,910$19K - $73K1800.05%
AZFlagstaff$27,930$22K - $71KN/AN/A
AZLake Havasu City $ Kingman$32,870$18K - $49K1400.32%
AZPhoenix - Mesa - Glendale$28,400$19K - $64K3,2300.19%
AZPrescott$33,690$18K - $59K700.14%
AZTucson$26,770$20K - $39K5500.16%
AZYuma$41,050$22K - $72K600.10%
CABakersfield - Delano$30,580$19K - $107K900.03%
CAChico$45,520$26K - $71K700.10%
CAFresno$52,860$31K - $72K2300.07%
CALos Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale (Metro Area)$36,530$22K - $100K2,9400.08%
CAModesto$36,940$20K - $80K700.04%
CAOakland - Fremont - Hayward (Metro Area)$28,810$18K - $80K1,1700.12%
CAOxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura$68,210$43K - $109K1300.05%
CARedding$66,020$36K - $82K300.06%
CARiverside - San Bernardino - Ontario$34,670$23K - $75K1,0900.09%
CASacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville$65,520$25K - $126K6500.08%
CASan Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos$38,030$23K - $83K1,6700.13%
CASan Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City (Metro Area)$59,850$27K - $130K8900.09%
CASan Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara$82,730$34K - $136K4600.05%
CASan Luis Obispo - Paso Robles$59,200$22K - $82K500.05%
CASanta Ana - Anaheim - Irvine (Metro Area)$37,930$24K - $82K3,4900.25%
CASanta Barbara - Santa Maria - Goleta$53,460$25K - $78K800.05%
CASanta Rosa - Petaluma$72,170$27K - $143K1700.10%
CAStockton$50,580$30K - $73K1600.08%
CAVallejo - Fairfield$45,180$25K - $93K400.03%
CAVisalia - Porterville$63,220$38K - $87K400.03%
CAYuba City$36,580$31K - $69KN/AN/A
COBoulder$37,750$19K - $75K2100.13%
COColorado Springs$30,110$17K - $85K3900.16%
CODenver - Aurora - Broomfield$46,440$19K - $76K1,7300.14%
COFort Collins - Loveland$68,170$28K - $89K1500.12%
COGrand Junction$30,620$25K - $75KN/AN/A
COGreeley$35,650$17K - $63K300.04%
CTBridgeport - Stamford - Norwalk$55,700$29K - N/A1600.04%
CTHartford - West Hartford - East Hartford$54,340$20K - $115K4200.08%
CTNew Haven$52,500$36K - $126KN/AN/A
CTNorwich - New London$34,680$27K - $56K700.05%
DCWashington - Arlington - Alexandria (Metro Area)$44,130$24K - $93K4,8700.21%
DEDover$36,990$31K - $64K400.07%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$47,920$26K - $126K5200.16%
FLCape Coral - Fort Myers$46,370$22K - $95K9000.44%
FLCrestview - Fort Walton Beach - Destin$31,610$25K - $50K2900.39%
FLDeltona - Daytona Beach - Ormond Beach$28,820$18K - $61K5700.38%
FLFort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$39,360$20K - $72K2,8700.40%
FLGainesville$27,130$20K - $39K4700.39%
FLJacksonville$34,250$21K - $71K1,7500.30%
FLLakeland - Winter Haven$28,840$22K - $82K3800.20%
FLMiami - Miami Beach - Kendall (Metro Area)$33,220$21K - $95K3,7900.38%
FLNaples - Marco Island$38,280$18K - $91K8000.70%
FLNorth Port - Bradenton - Sarasota$34,960$23K - $74K1,0800.45%
FLOcala$26,720$19K - $40K1700.19%
FLOrlando - Kissimmee - Sanford$31,200$21K - $53K4,7600.47%
FLPalm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville$31,430$20K - $83K4800.25%
FLPalm Coast$28,600$22K - $67K1200.63%
FLPanama City - Lynn Haven - Panama City Beach$28,770$21K - $46K2500.36%
FLPensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent$28,370$21K - $55K2800.19%
FLPort St. Lucie$28,680$22K - $45KN/AN/A
FLPunta Gorda$29,780$23K - $56K1300.32%
FLSebastian - Vero Beach$33,630$26K - $47K1000.23%
FLTallahassee$32,040$18K - $70K3700.24%
FLTampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater$31,950$20K - $53K3,2800.29%
FLWest Palm Beach - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach (Metro Area)$30,630$20K - $80K2,0800.41%
GAAlbany$27,820$19K - $52K700.11%
GAAthens - Clarke County$24,140$18K - $54K2300.30%
GAAtlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta$43,040$24K - $111K6,0000.27%
GAAugusta - Richmond County$31,300$20K - $73K2300.11%
GABrunswick$35,200$20K - $62K700.19%
GAColumbus$26,480$17K - $52K2100.19%
GAGainesville$31,820$16K - $46K1000.14%
GAHinesville - Fort Stewart$38,090$26K - $49K300.19%
GAMacon$35,420$20K - $66K1400.15%
GARome$27,780$17K - $40K400.11%
GASavannah$36,050$19K - $61K3900.27%
GAValdosta$29,230$23K - $63K1000.20%
GAWarner Robins$29,870$24K - $48K600.12%
HIHonolulu$53,140$26K - $98K2000.05%
IAAmes$30,990$22K - $69K300.08%
IACedar Rapids$67,460$26K - $91K900.07%
IADavenport - Moline - Rock Island$26,370$21K - $78K900.05%
IADes Moines - West Des Moines$52,850$25K - $72K1700.05%
IAIowa CityN/AN/A - N/A400.05%
IAWaterloo - Cedar Falls$78,540$33K - $115K400.04%
IDBoise City - Nampa$25,350$17K - $55K3100.12%
IDIdaho Falls$28,010$22K - $61K300.07%
ILBloomington - Normal$28,320$19K - $82K800.09%
ILChampaign - Urbana$35,820$21K - $49K600.07%
ILChicago - Joliet - Naperville (Metro Area)$65,830$20K - $180K4,0200.11%
ILDecatur$19,960$18K - $37K500.09%
ILLake County - Kenosha County (Metro Area)$61,380$32K - N/A3400.09%
ILPeoria$26,570$18K - $40KN/AN/A
ILSpringfield$24,250$21K - $84K400.03%
INBloomington$36,570$18K - $49K700.09%
INEvansville$33,820$20K - $61K1000.06%
INFort Wayne$33,850$18K - $56K1700.09%
INGary (Metro Area)$28,030$17K - $59K1100.04%
INIndianapolis - Carmel$37,770$22K - $132K5300.06%
INLafayette$27,070$16K - $76K500.06%
INSouth Bend - Mishawaka$29,390$17K - $38K600.05%
INTerre Haute$29,360$19K - $53K400.07%
KSLawrence$65,180$33K - $74K300.07%
KSTopeka$40,250$18K - $48K400.04%
KSWichita$34,200$17K - $74K1300.05%
KYBowling Green$33,830$19K - $57K600.10%
KYElizabethtown$20,320$17K - $65K800.19%
KYLexington - Fayette$28,310$22K - $58K3000.12%
KYLouisville - Jefferson County$34,430$17K - $74K6600.11%
KYOwensboro$29,250$19K - $69K500.10%
LAAlexandria$26,630$19K - $70K800.13%
LABaton Rouge$34,740$19K - $61K1700.05%
LAHouma - Bayou Cane - Thibodaux$35,090$19K - $73K300.03%
LALafayette$37,310$26K - $71K1300.09%
LALake Charles$30,300$24K - $39KN/AN/A
LANew Orleans - Metairie - Kenner$37,630$21K - $75K3300.06%
LAShreveport - Bossier City$37,280$25K - $84K1700.10%
MABarnstable Town$36,920$28K - $67K1200.13%
MABoston - Cambridge - Quincy (Metro Area)$59,200$35K - $95K1,3700.08%
MAFramingham (Metro Area)$68,590$19K - $100K1000.06%
MALawrence - Methuen - Salem (Metro Area)$36,570$19K - $94K300.06%
MALowell - Billerica - Chelmsford (Metro Area)$40,170$27K - $74K500.04%
MASpringfield$37,120$19K - $83K2400.08%
MAWorcester$44,340$39K - $81KN/AN/A
MDBaltimore - Towson$47,350$19K - $107K1,5800.13%
MDBethesda - Rockville - Frederick (Metro Area)$36,040$20K - $107K7600.14%
MDHagerstown - Martinsburg$53,810$28K - $84K600.06%
MEPortland - South Portland - Biddeford$40,150$24K - $55KN/AN/A
MIAnn Arbor$42,450$20K - $69K1000.05%
MIBattle CreekN/AN/A - N/A300.07%
MIDetroit - Livonia - Dearborn (Metro Area)$34,850$19K - $128K3000.04%
MIFlint$30,860$17K - $107K700.06%
MIGrand Rapids - Wyoming$32,170$19K - $60K900.02%
MIHolland - Grand Haven$26,720$19K - $31KN/AN/A
MIJackson$30,780$21K - $117KN/AN/A
MILansing - East Lansing$26,350$17K - $65K1500.08%
MISaginaw - Saginaw Township North$33,420$17K - $55K400.04%
MIWarren - Troy - Farmington Hills (Metro Area)$36,730$23K - $90K8100.08%
MNDuluth$29,150$24K - $71K400.03%
MNMinneapolis - St. Paul - Bloomington$36,360$23K - $76K1,8500.11%
MOColumbia$37,230$18K - $48K1500.17%
MOKansas City$35,110$22K - $87K6700.07%
MOSpringfield$28,100$21K - $72K2200.12%
MOSt. Louis$31,810$21K - $65K1,6800.13%
MSGulfport - Biloxi$29,060$17K - $67K400.04%
MSHattiesburg$23,150$17K - $58K600.10%
MSJackson$34,090$18K - $68K2300.09%
MTBillings$31,550$21K - $60K1000.12%
MTMissoula$34,530$18K - $48K1000.18%
NCAsheville$49,520$27K - $114K1700.10%
NCCharlotte - Gastonia - Rock Hill$44,000$26K - $91K1,3800.16%
NCDurham - Chapel Hill$73,650$33K - $145K900.03%
NCFayetteville$32,350$19K - $58K1600.13%
NCGreensboro - High Point$40,530$21K - $81K3900.11%
NCGreenville$28,640$17K - $58K600.09%
NCJacksonville$34,770$25K - $68K700.15%
NCRaleigh - Cary$53,660$26K - $126K6700.13%
NCWilmington$51,530$28K - $113K3300.24%
NCWinston - Salem$41,990$23K - $88K1600.08%
NDBismarck$31,020$21K - $61K1000.15%
NDFargo$26,700$17K - $42K3300.27%
NDGrand Forks$30,030$20K - $71K500.10%
NELincoln$36,310$27K - $76K700.04%
NEOmaha - Council Bluffs$42,880$19K - $94K3300.07%
NHManchester$30,490$19K - $70K400.04%
NHNashua (Metro Area)$33,960$18K - $46K700.06%
NJCamden (Metro Area)$37,920$23K - $115K2200.04%
NJEdison - New Brunswick (Metro Area)$35,410$25K - $48K4200.04%
NJNewark - Union (Metro Area)$34,920$25K - $71K3800.04%
NJTrenton - Ewing$50,030$26K - N/A1700.08%
NMAlbuquerque$70,250$25K - $110K1100.03%
NMLas Cruces$68,810$49K - $94K300.05%
NMSanta Fe$86,840$39K - $117K600.11%
NVLas Vegas - Paradise$31,230$18K - $95K1,3900.17%
NVReno - Sparks$31,010$18K - $73K1700.09%
NYAlbany - Schenectady - Troy$44,190$29K - $92K4000.09%
NYBinghamtonN/AN/A - N/A800.08%
NYBuffalo - Niagara Falls$47,210$29K - $86K4300.08%
NYIthaca$50,460$28K - $68K600.13%
NYKingston$73,520$52K - $97K900.15%
NYNassau - Suffolk (Metro Area)$63,960$37K - $161K1,9300.16%
NYNew York - White Plains - Wayne (Metro Area)$70,920$36K - $160K11,8600.23%
NYPoughkeepsie - Newburgh - Middletown$49,510$33K - $85K3300.13%
NYRochester$54,050$28K - $114K6900.14%
NYSyracuseN/AN/A - N/A3900.13%
NYUtica - Rome$51,690$36K - $74K800.06%
OHAkron$51,660$23K - $89K1900.06%
OHCanton - Massillon$25,170$20K - $84K300.02%
OHCincinnati - Middletown$36,880$20K - $99K8900.09%
OHCleveland - Elyria - Mentor$30,350$18K - $98K8300.08%
OHColumbus$35,270$22K - $78K8300.09%
OHDayton$28,810$21K - $80K2800.08%
OHToledo$37,450$21K - $103K1300.04%
OHYoungstown - Warren - Boardman$31,360$19K - $62K600.03%
OKOklahoma City$28,250$18K - $59K9500.16%
OKTulsa$43,000$21K - $95K6400.15%
ORBend$23,520$19K - $57KN/AN/A
OREugene - Springfield$68,690$28K - $92K400.03%
ORMedford$57,430$30K - $73K300.04%
ORPortland - Vancouver - Hillsboro$30,670$22K - $93K6300.06%
ORSalem$35,750$32K - $61KN/AN/A
PAAllentown - Bethlehem - Easton$51,440$32K - $71K2400.07%
PAAltoona$40,970$33K - $68K400.07%
PAErie$37,200$19K - $59K1200.09%
PAHarrisburg - Carlisle$43,710$19K - $65K3800.12%
PAJohnstown$38,180$26K - $61K300.05%
PALancaster$40,750$28K - $61K2700.12%
PALebanon$41,210$18K - $114K500.09%
PAPhiladelphia (Metro Area)$56,280$36K - $94K2,9800.16%
PAPittsburgh$46,350$32K - $81K1,4300.13%
PAReading$38,340$18K - $89K2000.13%
PAScranton - Wilkes - Barre$45,970$33K - $68K1300.05%
PAState College$44,340$26K - $78K800.13%
PAWilliamsport$44,390$26K - $61K400.07%
PAYork - Hanover$43,450$17K - $84K1500.09%
PRSan Juan - Caguas - Guaynabo$42,100$26K - $69K4000.05%
RIProvidence - Fall River - Warwick$54,550$29K - $96K2600.05%
SCAnderson$33,140$19K - $39K400.07%
SCCharleston - North Charleston - Summerville$34,070$17K - $60K6800.23%
SCColumbia$31,900$19K - $63K5600.16%
SCFlorence$30,360$18K - $39K800.10%
SCGreenville - Mauldin - Easley$36,260$24K - $59K5100.17%
SCMyrtle Beach - North Myrtle Beach - Conway$25,930$18K - $45K5100.46%
SCSpartanburg$30,920$22K - $74K1000.09%
SCSumter$53,940$30K - $60K500.14%
SDRapid City$44,540$36K - $57K700.12%
SDSioux Falls$65,450$36K - $95K800.06%
TNChattanooga$28,460$20K - $94K1000.04%
TNClarksville$59,850$23K - $90K800.10%
TNKingsport - Bristol - Bristol$33,890$17K - $98K800.07%
TNKnoxville$35,080$22K - $98K700.02%
TNMemphis$26,630$20K - $44K2800.05%
TNNashville - Davidson - Murfreesboro - Franklin$31,130$22K - $72K4000.05%
TXAbilene$40,160$21K - $69K700.11%
TXAmarillo$28,980$17K - $66K700.06%
TXAustin - Round Rock - San Marcos$45,990$25K - $96K1,4400.18%
TXBeaumont - Port Arthur$29,500$21K - $39K500.03%
TXBrownsville - Harlingen$27,470$18K - $46K1600.13%
TXCollege Station - Bryan$25,550$18K - $160K1100.12%
TXCorpus Christi$20,430$16K - $53K1300.07%
TXDallas - Plano - Irving (Metro Area)$32,750$18K - $107K4,7100.22%
TXEl Paso$29,390$24K - $65K3000.11%
TXFort Worth - Arlington (Metro Area)$34,060$21K - $97K1,3300.15%
TXHouston - Sugar Land - Baytown$34,710$20K - $118K5,5100.21%
TXKilleen - Temple - Fort Hood$26,090$17K - $72K1300.10%
TXLaredoN/AN/A - N/A600.07%
TXLubbock$35,550$21K - $105K1900.15%
TXMcAllen - Edinburg - Mission$21,990$17K - $45K1300.06%
TXMidland$38,940$22K - $139K1000.13%
TXOdessa$26,730$17K - $88K500.07%
TXSan Angelo$23,760$20K - $39K500.10%
TXSan Antonio - New Braunfels$31,070$20K - $81K1,2800.15%
TXSherman - Denison$40,540$23K - $57K400.10%
TXTexarkana - Texarkana$29,660$18K - $109K400.08%
TXTyler$30,250$20K - $89K1100.12%
TXWaco$22,060$17K - $39K1100.11%
UTLoganN/AN/A - N/A900.18%
UTOgden - Clearfield$29,130$17K - $91K3700.19%
UTProvo - Orem$38,170$18K - $87K3900.22%
UTSalt Lake City$39,850$22K - $114K9600.15%
UTSt. George$44,380$25K - $61K1900.39%
VABlacksburg - Christiansburg - Radford$33,830$19K - $67K2000.32%
VACharlottesville$34,400$22K - $60K2900.30%
VADanville$27,380$18K - $63K400.11%
VAHarrisonburg$45,060$27K - $90KN/AN/A
VALynchburg$30,420$18K - $49K1800.19%
VARichmond$43,190$23K - $87K1,7300.29%
VARoanoke$43,470$21K - $76K3000.20%
VAVirginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News$36,290$20K - $88K2,5400.35%
VAWinchester$45,480$23K - $77K600.10%
VTBurlington - South Burlington$36,500$31K - $49K400.04%
WABellingham$29,160$21K - $97K300.04%
WABremerton - Silverdale$63,670$23K - $96K300.04%
WAKennewick - Pasco - Richland$60,790$24K - $137K800.08%
WAOlympia$61,220$25K - $67K1400.15%
WASeattle - Bellevue - Everett (Metro Area)$41,880$23K - $83K1,9500.14%
WASpokane$66,220$24K - $95K1200.06%
WATacoma (Metro Area)$47,420$26K - $85K1700.07%
WIAppleton$36,530$20K - $76K400.03%
WIEau Claire$42,200$33K - $65KN/AN/A
WIGreen Bay$38,040$21K - $63K700.04%
WIJanesville$46,010$24K - $121K400.07%
WILa Crosse$29,790$26K - $62K300.05%
WIMadison$37,830$19K - $113K2900.09%
WIMilwaukee - Waukesha - West Allis$31,040$20K - $74K6700.08%
WVCharleston$38,840$29K - $65K400.02%
WVHuntington - Ashland$34,310$18K - $76K400.04%