How to Get a Real Estate License in Illinois

So, you are a people’s person, you like to make your own schedule, and you like to be on the go. Yes, you have decided to be a real estate agent in Illinois. The real estate market in Illinois is thriving, especially in Chicago. First step in starting your real estate career is to obtain a real estate salesperson license from the state of Illinois. In order to get the license, you must pass the real estate exam of Illinois.


Before getting to the real estate exam, certain requirements need to be fulfilled. You must be at least 21 years of age. You must be a high school graduate or have a G.E.D. The third requirement is a successful completion of the 45-hour, pre-license real estate education course. You should do something else, before taking the real estate license exam. Interview with several brokers that are in your area. You can learn more about the profession and even find out if they are looking for new agents.

45-Hour, Pre-License Real Estate Course

The pre-license course is a mandatory education course for most real estate salespersons. During the 45 hours, the course will cover all of the factors that are involved in real estate transactions. These factors include but not limited to finance, property, real property law, agreements, listing, taxes, legal descriptions, and Illinois License Law and ethics. I said that most real estate salespersons are required to take the pre-license course because there is one situation in which an individual is exempt from taking it. If you are an attorney that is admitted to practice law by the Illinois Supreme Court, you are exempt from taking the course. All you would need to do is to provide the appropriate documentation (photocopy of your current Illinois Attorney registration pocket card certificate and consent to audit form).

To Class or to Not Class

Here is where I recommend that you deal with IAR (Illinois Association of Realtors). IAR was founded in 1916, and it currently represents 55,000 Realtors, statewide. It is pretty much the “Mecca” of everything and anything that has to do with realty in the state of Illinois. IAR offers three ways by which you can take your pre-license, 45-hour course. You can choose the classroom option, the online course, or the home study. The classroom option is your traditional classroom setting. This option is great for people that like to interact with an instructor and others in the class. In addition, this option also offers extra motivation and a bit of an order. Because attendance is required, missing more than 10% of the course will result in failure. You are required to achieve 75% or better on the final exam. If you are comfortable and have the discipline, the online course might be right for you. All you have to have is a computer with an internet connection. If not, you might want to go with the home study option. A home study option is available in two formats, text-based or the CD-ROM version. You have a period of 12 months to complete the course. Home study is probably the most flexible way, but the downfall is that an instructor will not be available to answer your questions. If you have the time and the resources, I would recommend that you take the traditional, classroom course. In case you will fail, you are allowed to repeat the course and take the exam, within one year, at no additional charge.

Taking the Real Estate License Exam

After passing the course exam, you will be allowed to take the state exam. In case you should fail the state test, you can take it three more times. If your third attempt is unsuccessful, you will be required to take the pre-license course, from the beginning. Again, with the classroom option, this is free, if you do it within one year. Once you pass the Illinois Real Estate exam, you can apply for a real estate sales person license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Here is the contact information of the agencies and organizations that I have mentioned:

IAR (Illinois Association of Realtors)

Phone Number: 217-529-2600

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Springfield, Illinois Phone Number: 217-285-0800
Chicago, Illinois Phone Number: 312-814-4500

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