How to get a Real Estate License in Illinois

by | May 26, 2022


This gives a VERY brief of the full article below and you can click each point to learn more on each topic.

Total Cost: $484-$833, depending on education selected.

Let’s get started…

First off, nothing makes us more happy to see new individuals interested in representing clients as real estate brokers.

Second, before we dive into the process, let’s breakdown a few common terms:

  • Managing Broker: A Managing Broker is the highest real estate license in Illinois. These managing brokers may self-sponsor and/or may sponsor brokers (salespeople / agents). They can also create a real estate firm (company) who will become a sponsoring broker where they serve as a Designated Managing Broker. Other states may call this a broker, someone who oversees salespeople or agents.
  • Broker: In Illinois, a Real Estate Broker is one of two licenses for an individual or corporation who are can represent a client in the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate.  With this license you’ll need to work for a sponsoring broker. Other states may call this license a real state salesperson or agent.
  • Residential Leasing Agent: This type of license allows individuals to lease residential real estate only – no commercial leases or any type of purchases or sales.

What are the requirements to get an Illinois Real Estate License?
  • Age: 18+
  • ID: Government issued photo ID, SSN or Federal Tax-payer ID
  • Education: High School graduate or GED -AND-
  • Real Estate Education: 75 hours: 60-hours of pre-license topics and 15-hours of broker pre-license applied real estate principles
  • Other: Must have sufficient moral character, not been convicted of certain crimes, and not delinquent in court ordered child support.
What is the education to get an Illinois Real Estate License?

You’ll need to complete quite a bit of education – 75-hours of education to be precise (15-hours for residential leasing agents). This education can be taught in multiple ways – self-taught, in-person, online, or a combination. Below are a few links to different companies that offer various courses. They all offer promotions or discounts from time to time. We aren’t making a recommendation of a single business or method. Please do your due diligence.

IL Realtors Assoc.

Cost: $339-$544

CE Shop

Cost: $339-$629

Real Estate Express

Cost: $339-$629

How do I take the Illinois Real Estate Exam?

When you’re just getting started this seems to be the $1M question with no easily available answer. Here’s the big secret:

Upon completion of your real estate education you’ll be provided the links and instructions to register with PSI Services – the Illinois contracted testing administrator. PSI contracts with various businesses in the community to offer testing. These locations offer quiet rooms, computers, and make sure the test is completed fairly and equally to all individuals. Locations may be at business who only serve to test individuals or maybe a room at an H&R Block.

The exam will be broken into two sections – state and national. The state portion has 40 multiple-choice questions and the national portion has 100 multiple-choice questions. You may take the exam up to four times before needing to complete the education again. Each exam attempt is $58. If you pass one part but fail the other, you’ll only have to take the failed portion on your retake. The cost is the same regardless of if you’re taking one or two portions. Your passed exam certification is valid for license application for up to one year.

You’ll be emailed a copy of your test results. KEEP THESE DOCUMENTS!

I passed my licensing exam. Now how do I get licensed?

Well, it’s time to find a sponsoring broker – an individual or company who will sponsor you and “hold your license”. Shameless plug – we’re hoping you pick The Pineapple Brand Company – but we’ll help you no matter what! We’ll even link you to a few other sponsoring brokers below. We have a whole post on this topic – click here.

So, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker. Examples may include the following businesses or their franchisees: 

Each of these businesses would love to work with you. They’ll each offer some various form of commission split and transaction fees. Do you due diligence – speak to the designated managing broker. Ask about commission splits, support, transaction fees, marketing costs, employment or independent contractor. These will all make a big difference to your success as a broker. We’re 100% up-front about all of these items and we post the answers right online. Check out this link for more.

I found my sponsoring broker. Now how do I get my license?

Congrats on making it to your last step! You’ve completed your education, testing, selected a sponsoring broker. Now you’ll need to complete your written agreement. This is a requirement under Illinois law and certain items like sponsorship, compensation, the type of employment or independent contract status need to be included. Each sponsoring broker will have a slightly different form. Upon completion you’ll be issued a 45-day permit that’ll allow you to practice real estate while your actual license application is in process. Now it’s time to actually apply. 

  • First, collect your documents. You’ll need the digital copies of your transcripts and test results. You won’t need your sponsoring broker agreement but you will need the 45-day sponsor card – digitally, of course.
  • Second, head over to
  • Third, create an account and login.
  • Fourth, create your application, answer the questions, upload the necessary documents, pay the $125 fee, and submit!

The final steps will be completed by IDFPR and your sponsoring broker. The former will review your application and issue the licenses after the later confirms your sponsorship. Once complete, you’ll receive your shiny, brand-new broker’s license in your email!

It’s Closing Time! Every broker loves closing time!

That’s it! Congratulations will be in order as you’ll be one of the newest licensees in the State of Illinois and off on your new and exciting real estate career. From here your sponsoring or managing broker will show you the ropes, get you set up with the REALTOR’s association, and create a plan for your success.

Good luck! 

Want to read more on the topic – check out the story of my wife, Amber, and me getting our licenses. This breaks down the timeline, costs, association membership, everything!

Have any questions? Please leave them below or reach out to us. We’re happy to answer any questions to help you through this journey.

Erich Schwenk Headshot

Written By Erich Schwenk

Erich Schwenk is the Designated Managing Broker & Designated Association Manager for the The Pineapple Brand Company. He has a passion for hospitality and created a real estate & management company around high levels of customer service, communication, transparency, and above all - trust. Before launching The Pineapple Brand Company, Erich served 20+ years as a Flight Attendant. He has a background in web development, videography, photography, and digital marketing. Bringing years of service, knowledge and these skills to real estate and its digital marketplace.

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