How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Ohio

Ohio Real Estate License Basic Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Should be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien
  • You must be truthful, honest and have a good reputation
  • Should not have been convicted of any crime of moral turpitude or felony
  • Should not have violated any real estate civil right laws within 2 years of application

Ohio Real Estate License Costs

  • Real Estate Agent Education in Ohio: $300 to $900 (approx.)
  • Exam Fee: $61
  • Background Check Fee (Federal and State): $65
  • License Fee: $60

Helpful Tips

STEP 1: Pre-license Education

To get your real estate salesperson license in Ohio, you should complete 120 hours of approved pre-licensing education, which consists of:

  • 40 Hours: Real Estate Principles and Practices
  • 40 Hours: Ohio Real Estate Law
  • 20 Hours: Real Estate Finance
  • 20 Hours: Real Estate Appraisal

After you complete each course of pre-licensing education, you must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher.

STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application

Once you complete the pre-licensing education, you need to take the real estate salesperson examination, for which you must complete the application and submit it along with the course completion certificates and a fee of $61 to the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.

Once all the information is received by the Division, they will process your application, which will then be sent to PSI, the testing vendor.

Where to Apply

For the Ohia real estate salesperson license exam, you need to sign up with PSI, which is the state-approved testing vendor. You can get all the information you need about the exam from the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin.

The exam locations in Ohio are Akron, Cincinnati, Cambridge, Cleveland, Columbus North, Columbus South, Toledo and Troy.

Exam Fees

At the time of registering to take the exam. You need to pay an exam fee of $61 to take both the national and state sections of the exam. If you want to take any one of the sections, then the fee for either the national or state portion of the exam is $41.

The registration is valid for 1 exam and the exam fees are non-transferable or refundable. If you do not take the exam within 1 year of the date that the fee is received by PSI, you will forfeit the fee.

STEP 3: Pass the State License Test

The Ohio real estate salesperson exam consists of 2 parts—national and state. Both sections comprise a total of 120 multiple-choice format questions for 180 minutes. The 120-minute national portion of the exam has 80 questions of which you need to get at least 60 correct to pass and the 60-minute state portion has 40 questions of which you must get at least 30 correct to pass.

Topics Covered in the Test

The topics and the breakup of the questions in the National portion of the exam include:

  • Property Ownership: 8%
  • Land Use Controls and Regulations: 5%
  • Valuation and Market Analysis: 7%
  • Financing: 10%
  • General Principles of Agency: 13%
  • Property Disclosures: 6%
  • Contracts: 17%
  • Leasing and Property Management: 3%
  • Transfer of Title: 8%
  • Practice of Real Estate: 13%
  • Real Estate Calculations: 10%

The topics and the breakup of the questions in the State portion of the exam include:

  • State Governance of the Real Estate Profession: 4 items
  • Licensing Requirements: 6 items
  • License Law and Rules of the Ohio Real Estate Commission: 16 items
  • Brokerage Relationships: 14 items

What to Bring to the Exam Venue?

You must carry two forms of identification to the exam venue.

  • One must be a valid government-issued ID that has your photo and signature such as passport, state ID or driver’s license.
  • The 2nd ID should have your pre-printed legal name and signature.
  • You must pass both sections of the exam within 12 months of registration.
  • If you fail one/both parts of the exam, you must submit a retake application along with the appropriate fee.
  • Once the division has notified PSI of your eligibility to retake the exam, you can register and schedule the exam.
  • You must retake the exam within 12 months as indicated on the bulletin. If you exceed the 12-month eligibility period, then you need to restart the entire application process again.

STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License

Once you have completed the pre-licensing education, written the exam and have a broker sponsorship on hand, you must apply for a real estate salesperson license. To apply for the license, you must submit the following:

  • A Salesperson Exam application
  • Proof that you have completed the pre-licensing education requirements
  • License fee of $60

Background Check

Ohio requires that all applicants for real estate licenses must get a fingerprint criminal background check as of 1st November, 2019. You must wait until you have passed your real estate exam and submitted the application before submitting your fingerprints. The fingerprints must be submitted within 10 days of filing the real estate license application and not before filing the same.

You can contact one of the private businesses or agencies belonging to the Webcheck system that has been approved by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. You can get an online list of Webcheck locations to submit your fingerprints provided by the Ohio attorney general.

The Ohio Division of Real Estate (ODRE) requires both federal (FBI), as well as state background checks. The cost of both federal and state background checks is $65.


If you have a real estate license from any of the following states, then your license is reciprocal with Ohio, which means that you don’t have to take the pre-licensing courses. Ohio shares reciprocity with the following states:

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

STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage

How to Find a Real Estate Brokerage in Ohio?

Online Search

Do a simple Google search for “homes on sale in Ohio” and see which are the real estate brokers that come up. The brokerage you work with should ideally have a good reputation and strong market presence. Read employee and customer reviews about real estate companies in your area on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, etc.

Real Estate Ads

Check out the advertising done by the local real estate brokerages in your local area. See who is advertising on radio, television and billboards. Check out the ads and classifieds in the local newspapers. Visit three to five real estate brokerages and speak to the employees before deciding on which firm you want to join.


The best way to find a good real estate brokerage to work in is by networking. Speak to family members, friends and locals who have recently bought or sold properties and ask them about their experiences with various brokers. Find out which brokerages have the best reputation in the market and which are the ones that are growing. Check out the LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages and websites of real estate companies. Attend events, meetings, open houses, etc. to connect with real estate brokerages.

What to look out for?

The process of selecting the right brokerage to work with can be rather intimidating. Here are a few things that can help you choose a real estate broker:

Find out about the Commission Split

Real estate agents are usually paid on commission, which means that if you don’t sell, then you don’t get paid. And, when you sell, you have to split the sale proceeds with your broker. Different brokers offer different commission splits and you should pick a brokerage that offers a commission split that works for you.

The commission split depends on several factors such as the market, industry, support and resources of the broker, etc. Ensure that you understand the split and how you can get a bigger percentage in the future. So, it’s a good idea to shop around and find a brokerage that offers a commission split that is beneficial for you.

Check out the Culture

You must evaluate the culture of the brokerage and determine what you want from your coworkers, employer, etc. Would you like to work for a family-run brokerage firm or a national franchise? Do you want a firm that has several get-togethers, open house days, etc.? The best way to understand the culture of the brokerage is to speak with other agents working there and get their feedback or attend a function of the company.

Type of Brokerage

Decide whether you prefer to work for a large national franchise or an independent brokerage. National franchises have offices across the country and offer many advantages such as more support, training and resources, while independent brokerages have smaller teams that offer you greater flexibility and independence to conduct your business. 


While some real estate brokerages are very hands on and provide free training, mentoring and marketing collateral, etc., other brokerages may just offer you the option of using their facility, while you work independently to grow your business. You need to decide which type of corporate culture you prefer.

When choosing a real estate broker to work with, it is important to keep these considerations in mind. Finding the right brokerage involves doing research and homework. Evaluate many real estate brokerages in your area and finally choose one that matches your business style and goals the best.

STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

To renew your real estate license in Ohio, you need to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses. You must complete:

  • Core Law: 3 hours
  • Civil Rights: 3 hours
  • Canon of Ethics: 3 hours
  • Elective Courses: 21 hours

You need to complete 10 hours of post-license education; however, this does not count as part of the continuing education that is required for license renewal.

If you complete more than the required 30 hours, you can carry forward up to 10 hours of the education to the next renewal period; however, this will count as part of electives and not core courses. The CE Shop offers post-licensing education of 20 hours for $149. The CE Shop offers continuing education courses on their website. The website offers packages from $50 to $159 and individual courses for $19.

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RE Agents Team