To obtain and renew a real estate license in Illinois, you need to meet certain educational requirements set by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Division of Real Estate. You need pre-license education to qualify for a license, post-license courses to set you up for success, and continuing education for license renewal.
Regrettably, we don't offer real estate courses in Illinois at this time. Check IDFPR's website to find a school that does – you'll find links below.
We know how convoluted state licensing regulations can be. That's why we're going to summarize the training and additional steps below for earning and maintaining your real estate license in Illinois.
What Does "Broker" Mean in Illinois?
Most states call an entry-level licensee a "salesperson" or "sales agent" and reserve the term "broker" for the next level of licensing, which enables a real estate professional to legally process transactions, supervise new real estate agents, own a brokerage firm, and more.
But in Illinois, the IDFPR uses the term "broker" for entry-level licensees, instead. The next level of licensing is referred to as a "managing broker."
It's a little confusing, but we're going to use Illinois' terms when talking about their process.
What Are Illinois' Real Estate Pre-Licensing Education Requirements?
As of 2/1/2020, the IDFPR requires 75 hours of education from an approved provider in order to earn your broker's license. That includes:
- 60 hours of Broker Pre-License coursework
- 15 hours of interactive Applied Real Estate Principles coursework
Who is Eligible to Become a Real Estate Agent in Illinois?
To be eligible for a real estate license in Illinois, you need to be at least 18 years old and to have a high school degree or the equivalent.
What Else Do I Need to Do to Earn My Illinois Real Estate License?
After completing your required 75 hours of pre-license education, you need to:
- Pass the official broker licensing exam
- Find a sponsoring broker
- Submit your application
What is the Illinois Real Estate Licensing Exam Like?
The official licensing exam is administered by a third-party testing company named PSI at a number of testing sites throughout the state. The exam is a multiple-choice test with a 4-hour time limit. It includes 100 national topic questions and 40 Illinois-specific questions.
You'll find out whether you passed before you leave the test center.
What is the Deadline for my Illinois Real Estate License Application?
You have one year from the date that you pass the state license exam to complete your application and meet the requirements for licensure.
If you only pass one portion of the exam on your first attempt, you have one year to pass the other portion and complete your application.
What Are the Real Estate Post-Licensing / First Renewal Requirements in Illinois?
Post-licensing / first renewal requirements have changed recently.
If your initial broker license was issued before 8/9/2019, you need to complete 30 hours of post-license coursework, including sexual harassment prevention training, before your first renewal. The required curriculum includes:
- A 15-hour Broker Post-License Topics course
- A 15-hour broker post-license interactive Applied Real Estate Principles course
If your initial broker license was issued on or after 8/9/2019, you need 45 hours of post-license coursework, including sexual harassment prevention training, before your first renewal. The required curriculum includes:
- A 15-hour post-license course covering applied brokerage principles
- A 15-hour post-license course in risk management and discipline
- A 15-hour post-license course covering transactional issues
The sexual harassment requirement can either be met as part of one of the required courses or as a separate course.
How Often Does an Illinois Real Estate License Have to Be Renewed?
You need to renew your real estate license every 2 years in Illinois. The expiration and renewal deadline for all licensees is April 30th. Broker renewals are due every even-numbered year, and Managing Broker renewals are due every odd-numbered year.
What Are Illinois's Continuing Education Requirements for Real Estate?
Moving forward, Illinois requires you to complete 12 Continuing Education hours from an approved provider every 2 years, including:
- 4 hours of mandatory core
- 8 elective hours
Since the renewal rules are changing, the IDFPR will accept either the new format (above) or the old 6 core hour / 6 elective hour format for the 2020 renewal.
Additionally, you must complete 1 hour of mandated sexual harassment training. It can either be met as part of your elective curriculum or as a separate course.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with an Illinois Real Estate License?
Earning a real estate license in Illinois will qualify you for a number of career paths, including:
- Residential real estate agent
- Commercial real estate agent
- Managing broker
- Property manager
Your career will also be shaped by the niche and specialty you choose. Some specialties are more lucrative than others, but often, you need additional certifications or licenses for those.
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Commission-based occupations like real estate have earnings that vary a lot from person to person. Some people work part-time to earn supplemental income. Others make big bucks. For example, the top 90th percentile of brokers in Illinois make $80,900.
You can learn more about career opportunities, niches, specialties, and how commissions work by checking out our Resources page for more information.