Becoming a Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Real Estate Broker License is a fairly simple process, but it does require you to complete six 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.
Rhode Island Real Estate Agent vs Real Estate Broker
Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island.
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.
Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island.
These prerequisites are:
- Must have two years of full-time experience as a real estate salesperson, validated by the employing broker
- Must have proof of completion of 90 hour pre-license education, 3-hour course in Lead Poisoning/Lead Hazard Mitigation and a Certificate of the 3-hour New Agency Law Course, if it is not included in the 90-hour curriculum
How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Rhode Island
Once you meet all the requirements listed above, you can follow these six steps to easily help you get your real estate broker license in Rhode Island.
Step 1: Complete a Rhode Island Broker Pre-Licensing Course
The first step to getting your real estate broker license in Rhode Island is to take 90 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 90 classroom hours of qualifying real estate courses, including the following mandatory courses are:
- Rhode Island law defining relationships between licensees and consumers
- Rhode Island law pertaining to real estate licensure
- Rhode Island landlord-tenant law
- The law of contracts
- Federal, Rhode Island, and local law pertaining to fair housing and the treatment of any individual in a protected class as designated in the Rhode Island Fair Housing Practices Act
- Lead hazard mitigation or other environmental issues pertaining to real property
- Local ordinances and regulations pertaining to residential real estate
- Financing the purchase of real estate
- Ethical considerations in real estate transactions, or
- Coastal real estate, wetlands, flood plains, and sea-rise
To help prepare you for the examination, you will need to take a pre-license course to fulfill 24 of your 90 required hours. The courses must be acceptable to the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (RIDBR) or approved continuing education (CE) courses.
Note:These approved CE courses that you take as an agent during your agent license renewal build towards that 90-hour requirement. Having a bachelor's degree or higher with a major or minor in real estate from an accredited college or university will also count for the 90-hour requirement.
The approved courses include at least six core hours in the following subjects:
- Federal, Rhode Island, and local fair housing laws
- Rhode Island agency law
- Rhode Island license law
- Rhode Island landlord/tenant law
- Contract law
- Local real estate ordinances and regulations
- Ethics of real estate
- Lead hazard mitigation and other environmental issues
- Coastal real estate, wetlands, flood plains, and sea-rise
- At least 18 hours of additional approved CE
Rhode Island has licensing reciprocity with Connecticut and Massachusetts only. So, if you’re an agent (or broker) in a different state during the previous four 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. Get the submission form and the RIDBR requirements via the site here.
Step 2: Pass the Rhode Island Real Estate Broker Exam
Once you meet the broker pre-licensing education requirements and pass the course exam, you must take the real estate broker licensing exam via Pearson VUE.
The fee for the broker exam is $70.
In Rhode Island, 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 60 scored questions. You must complete the Rhode Island real estate broker exam within 240 minutes (4 hours total).
To pass the national section of the exam, you must answer 56 out of the 80 questions correctly to pass (70% correct).
The state specific part of the Rhode Island Real Estate Broker Exam consists of 60 questions and you must answer 39 questions correctly to pass (70% correct).
In Rhode Island if you pass one part of the Real Estate Broker Exam, you can retake only the part you failed as long as it is taken within one year of the date on your authorization to test card.
For more information on the exam, Pearson VUE provides a Candidate Handbook containing the Rhode Island Real Estate Broker Exam content outline.
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 3: Get a Background Check
After completing the requirements above, you must undergo a criminal background check.
You can obtain a Criminal History Record through the Bureau of Criminal Identification at the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General (DAG) location.
The fee is $5 for the state background check and $35 for the national background check.
For further questions about this process, you may contact DAG at (401) 274-4400.
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. Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance
Rhode Island requires broker license applicants to obtain Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance.
RIDBR has commissioned Rice Insurance Services Center (RISC) to provide real estate E&O policies designed specifically for Rhode Island licensees.
The insurance carrier for the program is Continental Casualty Company, a CNA insurance company.
Step 5: Submit a Rhode Island Broker License Application
Upon successful completion of your broker exam, background check, and E&O insurance coverage, you can now apply for your license.
To submit your broker license application, you can use RIDBR’s online application. The application fee is $205. (Submit two separate checks: $180 payable to the “RI General Treasurer” and $25, payable to the “Real Estate Recovery Account.”)
Along with your application, you must submit the following documents:
- Lead Poisoning/Lead Hazard Mitigation Certificate of Completion for three hours, which is from your broker pre-license education course
- Original test score report from Pearson VUE
- Criminal History Record from the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General
- Certificate of E&O insurance
Step 6: Application Review
After passing your broker exam, you will only need to wait for RIDBR to review and approve your application.
The application process should take between 7-10 business days. You may contact the RIDBR with questions about obtaining or maintaining your license after passing the exam.
Send your inquiries via:
Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation
John O. Pastore Center
Division of Commercial Licensing and Racing & Athletics
Real Estate Section
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Blg. 69-1
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-9506
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.
Rhode Island Real Estate Broker License Renewal and CE
In Rhode Island, you must renew your real estate broker license every two years. RIDBR will send you a renewal notice within 90 days before your expiration date. The renewal process is not the same for the broker license and sales agent license.
Your broker license renewal deadline is on April 30 if you were licensed before January 1, 2020. If your license is issued after January 1, 2020, your renewal deadline is your anniversary dates from every 2 years from the date on your license.
The renewal fee is $170.
If your application is late, there is a late fee of $100. Renewal notices and instructions are emailed and mailed to all active Rhode Island real estate Brokers approximately 60 days before your license expiration date.
Rhode Island Real Estate Broker License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in Rhode Island?
The costs of getting a real estate broker license in Rhode Island can range between $524 and $714.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Pre-license education courses: $209-$399
Broker exam fee: $70
Background check: $5 for the state background check and $35 for the national background check
Application fee: $205 (two separate checks: $180 payable to the “RI General Treasurer” and $25, payable to the “Real Estate Recovery Account”)
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 Rhode Island?
Browse through available real estate broker jobs in your area using our StateRequirement Job Board!
RIDBR – Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation
Rhode Island Real Estate Commission
1511 Pontiac Ave.
Cranston, RI 02920
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am-4:00 pm
Phone: (401) 462-9500
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in October 2022.
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