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How to Get an Ohio Real Estate License: Career Guide

How to Get an Ohio Real Estate License: Career Guide

Want to learn how to get an Ohio real estate license? If so, you’re in the right place.

Our complete guide covers pre-license requirements, costs, and things to consider before taking a job. Read on to learn more.

Why Get an Ohio Real Estate License?

Ohio has one of the nation’s lowest median home prices. The Buckeye State also boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the country. This makes it a great place to buy a home.

Ohio is attractive to relocating residents and real estate investors seeking affordable housing with the potential to appreciate. This demand makes the state a great place to start a real estate career.

The process of getting an Ohio real estate license has gone through some recent changes, so there are some things to consider. The state modestly increased some fees and added new license requirements for fingerprint background checks.

A view of a picturesque red, white and blue Ohio Bicentennial Barn that was painted in 2003 in Vinton County, Ohio as a piece on how to get an Ohio real estate license

Sherman Cahal/Shutterstock

While the process is a bit complicated, we’ve broken it all down in our guide below. Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting a real estate license in Ohio.

Ohio Real Estate Agent License Basics

Ohio Real Estate License Requirements
The basic requirements for an Ohio real estate license are:
  • Honest, truthful and of good reputation
  • At least 18 years old
  • Sponsored by an Ohio broker

Also, you must not have:

  • Been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
  • Violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years as determined by a court of law
  • Violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Complete the required 120 hours of pre-licensing real estate education
  • Pass the state and national portions of the Ohio real estate agent exam
  • Pass a state and federal fingerprint background check 

Ohio has reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

If you have a real estate salesperson license in one of these states, you can qualify for a reciprocal license if:

  • You live in a state that has a reciprocity agreement
  • You have had an active agent’s license in the state for at least one year
  • Take an Ohio real estate law course at an institution of higher learning and supply proof of completion
  • Are affiliated with an active Ohio licensed broker
  • Submit a complete Salesperson Reciprocity application
  • Submit a consent to service of process form
  • Pay a $60 fee
  • Provide a letter in good standing from the state where you are licensed
  • Pass the state portion of the Ohio real estate salesperson test with a score of 70 or higher

Basically, reciprocity means applicants can skip the pre-licensing educational requirements, except for the state law course. They can also skip the background check. And they only have to pass part of the exam.

Ohio Real Estate Regulatory Agency

Ohio department of real estate home page

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In Ohio, real estate professionals are overseen by the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing (ODRE). The ODRE is part of the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The ODRE also oversees appraisers. And it registers cemeteries as well as real estate developments located elsewhere but marketed in Ohio.

Here’s how to contact the ODRE:

Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing
77 South High Street, 20th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6133
Telephone: 614-466-4100
Fax: 614-644-0584
Email: [email protected]

Ohio Pre-Licensing Education

The first step in acquiring an Ohio real estate salesperson license is to complete pre-licensing education. Ohio requires 120 hours of license education courses. The 120 hours are to be divided into the following main topics:

  • Real estate principles and practices (40 hours)
  • Ohio real estate law, including instruction in civil rights, housing discrimination and desegregation problems (40 hours)
  • Real estate appraisal (20 hours)
  • Real estate finance (20 hours)

The courses have to be completed at an institution of higher education. And this institution has to award at least two-year degrees.

The Ohio Realtors Association partnered with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges to provide a list of schools that meet the state requirements and offer pre-licensing classes.

The community colleges have campuses all over the state that offer both classroom and online courses. Students can complete the four pre-licensing courses in one semester, or they can schedule classes over multiple semesters.

Completing the courses may qualify students for a Real Estate Short-Term Technical Certificate. And they can be counted toward a two-year associate of business degree with a major in real estate.

Other institutions of higher learning in Ohio also offer approved pre-licensing education. The typical cost for the 120 hours is approximately $600.

However, our favorite online education provider is Real Estate Express. Not only are they affordable, but their courses present the information in small bits, which is easy for most people to digest.

Picking a Sponsoring Broker

Human Resources Interview Recruitment Job Concept as a featured image on how to pick an Ohio real estate brokerage to work for

Getting a broker to sponsor you is the next step in obtaining an Ohio real estate agent license after completing the pre-licensing course. In many states, this is one of the final stages of getting a license.

Most states require obtaining a broker sponsor after passing the test. In Ohio, applicants have to be sponsored before applying for a license. While taking the pre-licensing courses, brokers may recruit students.

It’s also possible for the prospective agent to recruit an Ohio real estate broker sponsor. A good sponsoring broker will provide the new agent with leads, mentoring, and support. And, most importantly, the broker should have a good pipeline of business for the new agent to tap.

Here are the busiest residential real estate brokerages in Columbus, Ohio’s largest city, in 2019. The list was compiled by Columbus Business First, which ranked brokers by the dollar volume of properties sold in Central Ohio.

Click to see the top Ohio real estate firms

4261 Morse Rd.
Gahanna, OH 43230
Telephone: 614-459-7400

Coldwell Banker King Thompson

8800 Lyra Dr. #690}
Columbus, OH 43240
Telephone: 614-792-0808

Keller Williams Capital Partners

100 E. Wilson Bridge Rd
Worthington, OH 43085
Telephone: 614-888-1000

Keller Williams Consultants Realty

5400 Frantz Rd. #100
Dublin, OH 43016
Telephone: 614-932-2000

e-Merge Real Estate

12910 StoneCreek Dr.
Pickerington, OH 43147
Telephone: 614-348-2030

Applying for an Ohio Real Estate Agent License

With education completed and broker sponsorship in hand, it’s time to apply for the Ohio real estate agent salesperson license. To do this, you’ll need to submit:

  • A completed Salesperson Examination Application
  • The $60 fee
  • Proof that you completed your education requirements

To prove you completed the education requirements, you’ll submit a photocopy of your official transcripts. Or you can send in your course completion certificates. The application itself has to be typed or handwritten with black ink.

Fax or mail the completed application to the ODRE at the Columbus address above for processing. If it is approved, the ODRE will send your information to the testing vendor, PSI. Taking this test is the next step.

Ohio Real Estate Salesperson Exam

After receiving your application, PSI will send you a letter with instructions for scheduling your test. The instructions include an application for taking the test. You should fax the completed registration or mail it to:

PSI Licensure: Certification
3210 E Tropicana
Las Vegas NV 89121
Fax: 702-932-2666

You can pay the fees for taking the test by phone with a credit card at 800-733-9267. PSI fees for taking the real estate salesperson test are as follows:

  • State and national portions taken together: $61
  • National only: $41
  • State only: $41

It should take up to two weeks to process the registration. If you haven’t heard from PSI within two weeks, you can contact PSI online or by phone to schedule the exam.

The exam to get an Ohio real estate agent license consists of two parts. One covers federal topics, and the other covers state real estate issues. The federal portion has 80 questions, and students get 120 minutes to finish it.

The state portion has 40 questions, and students get 60 minutes to finish it. You have to pass both parts of the examination by scoring at least 70 percent.

Applicants must pass the test within 12 months of the date on the label of the initial Candidate Information Bulletin from PSI. They must take both portions in the same session unless they previously passed one.

They cannot split it into two portions and take them in different sessions. The tests are computer-based, and scores are made available immediately after the exam.

Fingerprinting and Background check

Close-up Of Person Hand Filling Criminal Background Check Application Form as a piece on an Ohio real estate license application


As of November 1, 2019, Ohio requires all real estate license applicants to get fingerprint criminal background checks. To submit fingerprints, wait until you have passed the exam and submitted your application.

Note that fingerprints have to be submitted within 10 days of filing the application. However, they can’t be sent before filing the application.

Contact one of the agencies or private businesses that belong to the Webcheck system approved by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

The Ohio attorney general provides an online list of Webcheck locations where you can submit fingerprints.

The ODRE requires both state and federal (FBI) background checks. The cost of submitting fingerprints for both state and federal background checks is $65.

The Webcheck provider should be told to send the federal and state background check results to:

BCI&I Reason Code: 4763 05
Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing
77 S High St., 20th Fl.
Columbus, OH 43215-6133

Best Ohio Real Estate Markets

It’s much easier to be successful as a new real estate agent when you’re operating in a healthy, dynamic market. Here are the best Ohio cities for real estate investment in 2019, according to Mashvisor:

  • Colerain Township
  • Dayton
  • Hudson
  • Madison
  • Marion

Mashvisor rated the cities based on characteristics such as median property price, price per square foot, and price-to-rent ratio. Generally speaking, these Ohio cities offer low costs of living and low median property prices.

Should You Get an Ohio Real Estate License?

Ohio offers some of the most affordable housing markets in the nation.

Getting an Ohio real estate license can provide a great start to a successful career as a real estate professional.

And with our guide, you’ll be on your way in no time.