How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in South Dakota

Requirements for Real Estate License in South Dakota

To obtain a license to pursue a career in real estate as a broker associate in South Dakota, you need to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years of age or above
  • Be a citizen of the United States or a resident of South Dakota
  • Complete 116 hours of pre-licensing course
  • Score 75% or above in the exam
  • Get approval for your application
  • Non-residents with a license from another state must submit the application along with a certificate of licensure showing good standing to obtain the equivalent one in South Dakota
  • Provide a background report as applications by candidates with a previous conviction for felony, unpaid judgments or misstatements will be rejected.

STEP 1: Prep Education

Sign up and Complete the Pre-licensing Education

To become a real estate broker associate in South Dakota, you must satisfy certain conditions.

  • You must be a minimum of 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States or a resident of South Dakota.
  • You must complete 116 classroom hours of pre-licensing education from one of the real estate schools approved by the South Dakota Real Estate Commission.
  • It may cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $1,250. On completing the course, you must apply to PSI AMP for the exam.

There are two parts to the examination, the national and state multiple-choice examinations and a simulation examination. You must pass them with 75% at least.

On passing, you must submit a duly filled application form for licensure available on the South Dakota Real Estate Commission website within 60 days of passing both portions. In case you hold an active license from another state, you do not have to submit proof of education.

The Commission may reject your application for funds if the check you submit is not honored due to insufficient funds. If you have been convicted or have faced disciplinary action by a regulatory, if you do not meet the criteria for licensing or if you have failed the pre-license exam.

On completing the exam and passing, apply to the Commission for your license. The form and details are available on the Commission website.

STEP 2: Applying to State Licensing

Where to Apply

On passing the exam you must apply to the Commission for your license. The application is available online. You must apply within 60 days of passing after which your score will expire and you will have to take a re-exam.

Meanwhile, you are also required to submit your fingerprints for a state and federal criminal background check. You can obtain a set of DCI and FBI fingerprint cards from the Commission’s office. When you complete the application and submit it at the Commission office, return these cards too and pay a check of $43.25, payable to DCI, for your background check. The back of the fingerprint card should contain your signature as well as the date or it will be returned and delay the process. Completing the fingerprints at a law enforcement agency or fingerprint office may prove to be more effective.

After you apply for licensure, it will take the Commission around four to six weeks to process your license.

Application Fees

The application fee for an associate broker is $225.

If you take the state and the national multiple-choice examinations in the same session, you must pay $98. If you take them separately in different sessions, you must pay $98 for each session. Also, pay $98 for the simulation examination.

You must pay $43.25 as a fee for fingerprint testing.

Proof of Pre-licensing Requirements

When applying for the license, the following are mandatory:

  • Complete the form by filling up the answer for every question as incomplete forms will be returned
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee of $225.00 with the application

In addition to these two, you must submit the following proof:

  • The original course completion certificate (Form 101) except in the case of applicants who have an active and in good standing license in another state
  • Errors and omissions certificate of coverage
  • Original score reports
  • Completed SD and FBI fingerprint cards along with the fee of $43.25, payable to DCI

Ensure that you submit the application within 60 days of passing the examination.

Legal Document Requirements

Provide your Social Security Number. If you currently hold any professional license, submit details about that separately. If you have been licensed as a real estate professional in any capacity in any other state or jurisdiction, submit the certification of licensure from the real estate regulatory agency in the jurisdiction where you are holding the license.

Your license will be activated only when it is signed by a qualifying broker.

Submit your fingerprints for a background check as well as provide information on any litigation or disciplinary action against you or the license you currently hold.

STEP 3: Pass the State License Test

On completing 116 hours of pre-licensing education from a Commission-approved real estate school, you must pass an exam delivered by PSI AMP. The exam has two parts, a national portion and a state portion, and you must pass in both. There is a simulation exam that you must write and pass. Only after that can you apply for the license.

The state and national exam is in a multiple-choice format and to pass you must have a scaled score of at least 75. The simulation portion also has two parts, information gathering (IG) and decision making (DM). The minimum passing level for this also a scaled score of 75.

You will receive your scorecard right at the end of the exam. You must pass in both the exams to apply for licensure and you must submit the original score reports within 60 days of passing your last portion.

If you fail in any portion of the examination, you can register again for just the portion you did not pass. You cannot register at the center but must do so online or by phone and pay the fee like before.

Topics Covered in the Course

National Portion:

  • Real Property Characteristics, Legal Descriptions and Property Use
  • Forms  of  Ownership, Transfer and Recording of Title
  • Property Value and Appraisal
  • Real Estate Contracts and Agency
  • Real Estate Practice
  • Property Disclosures and Environmental Issues
  • Financing and Settlement
  • Real Estate Math Calculations

State Portion:

  • Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Statutory Requirements Governing the Activities of Licensees
  • Other Topics
    • Subdivided or Out-of-State Sales
    • Securities
    • Recovery Fund
    • Condominium Act

Time Given to Take the Test

It is a 7-hour exam, divided into 1.5 hours for state portion, 2.5 hours for national and 3 hours for simulation. At the end of the duration, your exam will expire so keep track of time and pace yourself. The more questions you answer, the better the chances of passing.

Do not arrive at the testing center any later than 15 minutes after the scheduled time as you will not be allowed to write the exam. If you arrive on time, you can get your identity verification done as well as take the practice exam to become familiar with the computer. This will not be counted as part of your exam time. 

What to Bring to the Exam

You are required to present two forms of identification at the testing center. The primary form must be a government-issued, current ID such as the driver’s license or the state identification card. These should include your name, signature and photograph. Temporary identification is not accepted.

The secondary form of identification is anything like your credit or debit card that contains your name and signature. The signature should be verifiable and this should also be active. On reaching the exam venue, sign a roster for identity verification.

In case of a mismatch between the name you registered with and in your identification, bring proof of name change such as marriage license, divorce decree or court order, as applicable.

STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License

On completing your pre-license course and passing the end-of-course exam, apply for the license at the Commission office along with the license fee and the required proof. The Commission will need 2-4 weeks to process the application.

You will receive an email once your license has been approved. It will remain inactive till a responsible broker with whom you wish to associate requests for it. To activate the license immediately, the responsible broker must complete the Qualifying Broker section that is given in the license application.

Once your license becomes active, you will need to be covered by an errors and omissions insurance. You can as part of the group policy by reaching out to If you have a separate errors and omissions insurance policy, provide your certificate of coverage from your insurance company to the real estate commission before you are issued a license.

In case you wish to keep your license status as inactive, provide the Commission your email and mailing address so that they can send you communication.

STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage

Even after your license application is approved and you receive your license, it will remain in an inactive status till a qualified broker requests for it. Therefore, if you are keen to start practicing as a broker associate, then find a broker quickly. But in a rush to see yourself in the field, selling houses like hotcakes and making a million bucks, don’t join a brokerage firm without first assessing their suitability.

To find the right brokerage firm, you must first understand your goals and needs. You must then scout the market and speak to other agents in the field to see which one of the firms meet your criteria. Don’t stop with that. Interview the firms and ask questions that will give you an insight into the scale of their operations, how they compensate their agents, the kind of training and support they provide and who generates leads.

Take notes or get it in writing and then compare before choosing the right one.

National Franchise

A national franchise pays a reputed national brand a fee to use their name and resources for local operations and is driven by the brand’s rules and processes. Such firms are typically strong on the training they provide to their feet on the field, the administrative and other marketing support they provide as well as access to technology. This also gives you the opportunity to move to other locations they operate in.

However, such firms also do not allow their sales team too much freedom and it can seem a little impersonal.

Boutique Brokerage

These have smaller scale of operation and are localized. This does not mean they are not successful or do not have a good reputation. You will find a greater intimacy and teamwork in such places, a little informality and bonding that you may enjoy.

However, they may not be strong on training, support and technology.


Most real estate firms work on a commission basis though a few may offer salary and benefits or a mix of both. Evaluate which of these meet your financial goals. Those who offer commission, make sure you get the higher split. Sometimes, the split may be really high where you get 70 to even 100% but there may be desk fees. This requires you to pay them rent for the use of their resources even when you do not have any business.

If you are just starting your career in real estate, then training and support can be very critical and help you in the long run. So think well before you decide on a broker to work for.

STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

Step 6: Post-learning Requirements

The Commission requires new broker associates to further their knowledge on real estate principles and practices learned during the pre-licensing education courses by completing 60 hours of post-license continuing education. This they must do over two active license cycles.

Once you receive your new broker associate initial license, you must complete 30 hours of required continuing education between the current license year and the following license year.

You must complete another 30 hours of required continuing education from January 1st of the year after completing the post-licensing period in the following two license years.

The CE Shop offers some of the best training on their platform including both, post-license packages and continuing education packages, with individual courses starting from $29 per course (for both, CE and post-licensing courses) and the comprehensive all-encompassing packages starting from $199 for CE packages and $239 for post-licensing packages.

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RE Agents Team