Becoming a North Carolina real estate broker is a strong step forward in your career. Not only does this advanced license look great on a resume, it also allows you to work independently, open real estate brokerage firms, and manage other agents within these firms.
Getting the North Carolina Real Estate Broker License is a fairly simple process, but it does require you to complete five steps, and have a few prerequisites before applying or taking the broker’s exam.
This guide covers all of these requirements in a simple, easy to understand way that will make it easier for you throughout this process.
North Carolina Real Estate Agent vs Real Estate Broker
North Carolina offers two different types of real estate license: Sales and Broker.
A sales agent’s license is the initial license that real estate agents get in order to sell real estate.
A broker’s license is an advanced license that allows the license holder to operate at a higher level within real estate businesses in North Carolina.
People often confuse sales agents and brokers. A simple way to look at the difference is that holders of the sales agent’s license are called real estate agents, while holders of the broker’s license are called real estate brokers.
North Carolina Real Estate Broker License Requirements
First, to be eligible for a real estate broker’s license, you must meet the prerequisites to become a real estate broker in North Carolina.
These prerequisites are:
- Have at least two years of active experience as a licensed real estate agent or broker during the 60-month period before application.
How to Become a Real Estate Broker in North Carolina
Once you meet all the requirements listed above, you can follow these five steps to easily help you get your real estate broker license in North Carolina.
Step 1: Complete a North Carolina Broker Pre-Licensing Course
The first step to getting your real estate broker license in North Carolina is to take 75 classroom hours of qualifying real estate courses.
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These real estate courses mostly cover the fundamentals of working in real estate and must be completed within two years of your broker’s license application. This requirement is divided into two sections:
The required 75 classroom hours of qualifying real estate hours comprise one course: The 75-hour North Carolina broker pre-licensing course.
To fully satisfy your course requirements, you must take additional eight credit hours in related qualifying education courses acceptable to NCREC or approved continuing education (CE) courses every year.
In addition, you must take 4 hours of CE consisting of the state-mandated General Update Course (GENUP). This course must be completed in a live classroom. The remaining four hours can be fulfilled by completing four hours of state-approved elective CE.
North Carolina offers no reciprocity, so if you’re an agent (or broker) in a different state during the previous two years, your experience and those CE credit hours won’t count towards your prerequisites.
After completing the courses, you must also pass the final broker course exam. The minimum passing grade is 70%. The final pre-license exam is to be supervised by a proctor, whether on-site or online. This is not the same as the state broker exam.
After passing your broker course exam, your pre-license education provider will provide you with your course completion documents. NCREC recommends submitting your completion documents via NCREC.gov.
Step 2: Submit a North Carolina Broker License Application
Once you meet the broker pre-licensing education requirements and pass the course exam, you can now apply for your license.
To submit your broker license application, you must use NCREC’s system. The application fee is $100. Use your registered username with NCREC or the North Carolina Appraiser Licensing and Application Board to log in and submit your application.
Step 3: Get a Background Check
After submitting your license application, you must have a background check.
To begin the process, enter your information into the NCREC criminal records check. This website will allow you to apply for your background check online or with a paper application.
The fee is $15 for North Carolina, but you may need to pay more if you’ve recently lived in other states and/or countries. A license will not be issued if you do not submit to a background check.
Note:If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for a real estate broker license based on your history, check out our article on Real Estate License Eligibility.
Step 4: Pass the North Carolina Real Estate Broker Exam
After completing the steps above, you must take the real estate broker licensing exam via PSI.
The North Carolina real estate broker licenses are issued at no charge, but the application fee is $100 and the exam fee is $56.
In North Carolina, brokers take the same national section as real estate agents which consists of 80 scored questions. The state-specific section of the broker’s exam consists of 40 scored questions. You must complete the North Carolina real estate broker exam within 240 minutes (four hours total).
To pass the exam, you must get a certain score in both sections. You need to correctly answer at least 57 of the 80 questions on the National section and 29 of the 40 questions on the State section. You must pass both sections of the exam within the same 180-day period to get your license.
For more information on the exam, review the Real Estate Licensing in North Carolina Booklet.
Taking an exam prep course provides you helpful tools and materials, such as quizzes and specific state-only practice exams, to increase your chances of passing your broker license exam the first time.
Step 5: Application Review
After passing your broker exam, you will only need to wait for NCREC to review and approve your application.
The process should take between 5-10 business days. After this, you should receive a notification from NCREC (via the Online System account or email) with a copy of your broker license.
NCREC updates the documents they are currently processing. If any additional information is required with your application, you will be contacted directly by NCREC’s Enforcement Division. For information on tracking your application, visit the NCREC website on https://www.ncrec.gov/.
Now that you’ve successfully passed the broker licensing exam and obtained your license, there are a few things you need to do to keep your broker license active and updated.
North Carolina Real Estate Broker License Renewal and CE
To renew your license, you must use NCREC’s Online System. The renewal fee is $45.
Your license will have to be renewed by June 30 every year. As part of renewing your broker license, you must also complete the CE requirements. Once you log in, click “CE License Information” to see a complete historical transcript of your CE credits (NCREC approved courses).
NCREC recommends completing your CE at least 10 days before your expiration date to make time for processing. You will also need to renew your North Carolina privilege license with the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The privilege license tax is $50 each year.
North Carolina Post-Licensing Education
You must complete all 3 post-licensing education (PLE) courses within 18 months of getting your broker’s license to be eligible to actively engage in real estate brokerage.
The post-licensing courses are:
- Post 301-Broker Relationships & Responsibilities
- Post 302-Contracts & Closing
- Post 303-NC Law, Rules & Legal Concepts
Please note that the PLE courses are not the same as CE courses and they do not provide CE credit. Visit NCREC website for the PLE course syllabi.
North Carolina Real Estate Broker License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in North Carolina?
The costs of getting a real estate broker license in North Carolina can range between $380 and $570.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Pre-license education courses: $209-$399
Application fee: $100
Background check: $15-plus
Broker exam fee: $56
How long does it take to get a real estate broker license?
The steps that typically take the most time when getting a broker license include taking pre-license education courses and exams. The average amount of time to get a broker license is generally three to six months.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Real estate agents focus on working with clients on individual real estate transactions, while real estate brokers have more experience with the added responsibility of managing a team of real estate agents or brokerage business.
See our Real Estate Agent vs Broker vs Realtor page for more information.
How much does a real estate broker make?
Real estate brokers get paid just like real estate agents by earning commissions on their agents’ sales. Brokers can also charge the real estate agents they manage with a fixed monthly fee or have the option to earn money on commission sales by helping their own clients buy and sell property. According to Payscale data, brokers earn $61,314 per year in base salary, with anywhere between $10,000 and $147,000 in commissions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median broker salary is $62,010.
How do I get a job as a real estate broker in North Carolina?
Browse through available real estate broker jobs in your area using our StateRequirement Job Board!
NCREC – North Carolina Real Estate Commission
North Carolina Real Estate Commission
1313 Navaho Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: (919) 875-3700
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in October 2022.
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