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Real estate agents are vital to the real estate industry. They are the intermediaries between buyers and sellers and provide support and assistance in completing the final sales transaction. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, real estate agents make a median income of $44,090 (May 2016). Since real estate agents work on commission, motivated agents can make much more. Successful real estate agents can make over $100,000 per year.

So how do you become a real estate agent?

Take a Pre-licensing Course

Each state requires that real estate agents take a pre-licensing course. Courses can be taken in person and online and are available through certified institutions. Go to your state’s real estate commission website for more information on the exam and hours required as they can vary by state. Course costs vary, ranging from $200 to $300.

Take and Pass the Exam

After you finish the pre-licensing course, it’s time to take the licensing exam. The exam costs between $100 and $300. Information on the exam can also be found at your state’s real estate commission website.

If you don’t pass the first time, that’s ok. Hit the books again because you have an unlimited number of attempts to pass within the first two years after finishing the course.

You’ve Passed! Now What?

Congratulations, you passed your licensing exam. Now you can activate your license through the real estate commission’s website. The cost to activate varies between $200 and $400.

Obtain Membership With Your Local Multiple Listing Service

The multiple listing service, or MLS, is used to list properties for sale and obtain property tax information. You will also have access to information on properties before they go up for sale. Membership varies by location from a few hundred dollars a year to over $1000.

Join the National Association of Realtors®

Members of the National Association of Realtors® are able to officially call themselves licensed real estate agents and enjoy benefits such as access to real estate market trends, transaction management, and discounted cost on education.

Join A Brokerage Firm.

A broker oversees real estate agents and ensures that all laws are being followed in the marketing and sale of real estate. A well-known broker can be the gateway between you and a successful real estate career.