Real Estate

How to Get a Massachusetts Real Estate License in 5 steps

Whether you live in the bucolic pastures of western Massachusetts, downtown Boston or the shores of Cape Cod, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers lucrative opportunities to buy and sell unique properties. If you want to learn how to get a Massachusetts real estate license, you should know that it can be completed in about six weeks. State law requires you to complete a 40-hour course at an approved Massachusetts real estate school to begin the process.

Here’s a look at the step-by-step process for completing the prerequisites to start an exciting real estate career in Massachusetts. 

How to get a real estate license in Massachusetts in 5 steps

The estimated costs of getting a Massachusetts real estate license fall between $300 and $800. To be eligible for a Massachusetts real estate license:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must have a high school diploma
  • You must have a social security number

Here are the five steps to get a Massachusetts real estate license:

1. Complete a 40-hour prelicensing course

Before you can sit for the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam, you must complete 40 hours of approved prelicensing education. Available online or in person, most approved Massachusetts real estate courses will teach you about the Commonwealth’s real estate law and provide the training you’ll need to move forward to take the licensing exam successfully.

Pricing for prelicensing courses vary, but they generally cost between $200 and $600. You’ll need to pass the Massachusetts real estate exam within two years or retake the course if the second anniversary of your course completion passes. 

Ideally, your 40-hour real estate course in Massachusetts should also set you up to succeed as a newly licensed agent. There are a variety of approved, online real estate schools in Massachusetts, including The CE Shop, Freedom Trail Realty and Colibri Real Estate. To see our top picks, check our our guide to the best real estate schools in Massachusetts:

2. Get three candidate endorsements 

After completing your 40 hours of coursework, you must obtain three complete endorsements from individuals unrelated to you. They don’t need to be Massachusetts residents, though they can’t be classmates from your real estate course.

Massachusetts real estate course exemptions

Attorneys who are in good standing with the Massachusetts Bar Association are exempt from taking a 40-hour course, but still must complete the application process outlined below. If you think you may qualify for an education exemption, head to the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Education Waiver.

3. Mail your Massachusetts real estate license application

It’s time to prepare your application for the exam. In Massachusetts, the school will provide you with a “Candidate Handbook” that verifies you completed the course, and instructions on how to apply to take the examination.

If you have any questions, you can always contact the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons via email at [email protected].

4. Pass the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam

Next, it’s time to pass the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam. The four-hour exam costs $85 and is given by PSI Services. Your exam fee is non-refundable and is valid for one year, meaning you can take the exam more than once during that timeframe. 

If you’re a no-show for your exam appointment or you don’t cancel your reservation at least two days in advance, you’ll lose your $85 registration fee. You’ll need to pay in advance for all exam appointments, including retake appointments.

The real estate licensing exam can be taken online or in person at one of these examination centers located in:

  • Auburn
  • Boston
  • Fall River
  • Lawrence
  • West Springfield

You can take the Massachusetts real estate exam online, but you’ll need to run a computer compatibility check here to ensure your device is compatible. The state recommends you run this check 24 hours before the exam, just to be safe.

The two-part exam is made up of 120 questions. You need to score at least 70%  to pass. If you pass one portion but fail the other, you only have to retake the portion that you failed. That said, you need to pass all portions of the exam within two years of the completion date list on your Educational Certificate form.

If that expires, the portion of the exam that you passed expires as well. If you have to get a new Education Certificate, you must retake the entire exam. 

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5. Pay the licensing fee to get your MA real estate license

The great news is that you’ll get your real estate license at the testing center as soon as you pass the Massachusetts real estate exam. But first, you’ll have to pay the license fee at the testing center. Be prepared to pay a licensing fee that ranges from $103 to $150, as well as a $12 processing fee to PSI. Cash is not accepted so bring your debit or credit card.

If you take the Massachusetts real estate exam online, you’ll be sent email instructions on how to complete the licensing process online with PSI Services.

The full picture: How to get a Massachusetts real estate license 

You’ve done it! Welcome to the real estate industry. Now what? It’s time to start building your network of potential clients. How do you do that, you ask? How do you get your first listing and start finding buyers? HousingWire is here to help you navigate your real estate career in the Commonwealth by providing helpful news, insights, and valuable information for every stage of your career. Check out our homepage for valuable career advice from licensed agents, brokers and other industry experts!

How to get a real estate license in Massachusetts: FAQs

  • How much money does a Massachusetts real estate agent earn?

    When it comes to being a real estate agent in Massachusetts, incomes vary extensively. According to ZipRecruiter, first-year real estate agents in Massachusetts make an average of $104,395, while Salary.com lists an agent’s average earnings as $50,077 (as of this writing).

    Ultimately, your earnings are based on commissions, and they’ll depend on the commission split you negotiate with your brokerage, property values in your area, and the level of hustle you’re able to bring to the profession. You best bet is to ask some new and experienced agents that you know and trust in your area what you can expect to earn.

    We can help you hone your skills and learn to build a healthy pipeline of clients. Check out the helpful articles listed at the bottom of this article and start building up your client roster.

  • How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Massachusetts?

    While several variables contribute to how much it costs to get a real estate license in Massachusetts, you should expect to spend between $400 and $800. This includes:

    • The prelicensing course, which can cost between $200 and $600
    • The $85 exam registration fee
    • A licensing fee that ranges from $103 to $150
    • A $12 PSI licensing fee
  • How long does it take to get a real estate license in Massachusetts?

    You can expect it to take about 6 weeks to get a real estate license in Massachusetts. However, the amount of time depends on how fast you finish the 40-hour pre-licensing course. To be safe, expect the process to take a couple months.

  • Can I take the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam online?

    You can sit the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam at one of the state-approved locations, or you can take the MA real estate licensing exam online. To take the online exam, you must read and submit the Candidate Information Bulletin as instructed on the application here.

  • How hard is it to pass the Massachusetts real estate exam?

    The Massachusetts real estate license exam for salespeople is a two-part exam that consists of 120 multiple choice questions. It’s broken out into two sections that cover Massachusetts law and general real estate knowledge. You’ll be given four hours to complete both sections of the exam.

    While the exam is known for being challenging, people who have taken the 40-hour prelicensing course are sufficiently prepared to pass the exam with the necessary 70% passing grade.

    If you want to level up and take the Massachusetts broker licensing exam, you can expect 115 115 multiple choice questions and a four-hour exam.

  • What should I bring to the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam room?

    You must bring two forms of valid, non-expired, signature-bearing ID to the exam, otherwise, you’ll be denied admission.

      1. Primary identification with a photo can include any of these options:
      2. Government-issued driver’s license
      3.  U.S. Learner’s Permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
      4.  National/State/Country Identification Card
      5.  government-issued Passport or Passport Card
      6. U.S. government-issued Military Identification Card
      7.  government-issued Military Identification Card for spouses and dependents
      8. U.S. government-issued Alien Registration Card (Green Card, Permanent Resident Visa)
      9. Secondary identification may include:
      10. Signed credit or debit Card Social Security Card

Please note: Be sure you bring the forms of ID mentioned above, because a student or employment ID will not be accepted. If you don’t have the proper ID, or if the ID doesn’t matter your registration information, you won’t be allowed to enter the test center and will have to forfeit your exam fee. 

  • What can’t I bring to the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam?

    There are specific items you can bring with you into the examination room. You aren’t allowed to bring your own calculator into the test, but an online one will be provided. As for personal belongings, you can stash them in a stage space onsite.

    These items include:

      • Electronic devices (cell phones, recording devices, electronic watches, cameras, laptops, tablets, smart watches, radios or electronic games)
      • Bulky or loose clothing or chats that could hide items inside
      • Outerwear like jackets, vests and coats, or cardigans, scarves, and shawls
      • Hats and headgear that have no religious origin
      • Personal items like purses, reading materials, notebooks, writing devices, drinks, food or good luck items

    There are also restrictions to what you can do if you’re taking your exam remotely. During that process, a proctor will communicate with you onscreen. If someone who isn’t authorized to be there enters the room, the proctor will pause the test.

    In a remote test, you are not allowed to have the following:

      • Earbuds, earphones, hats, caps, hood, shades or anything that would normally be placed on your face or head
      •  Food and drink

    In a remote test, you are not allowed to take breaks or leave your station, and your work area must be cleared of personal items. Talking during the test is also not permitted, and your hands must be kept above the desktop. Photographing your exam is also forbidden. If you get caught doing any of these things, you may have to forfeit your exam.

  • Can I apply for a Massachusetts real estate license online?

    Yes. You can apply for a Massachusetts real estate license by mail or online. To apply for a real estate license by examination, visit the Mass.gov website and click on “apply for examination online.” That will take you to the PSI website, where you’ll select the state of Massachusetts, then “All MA Real Estate exams.” To renew your real estate license, head to the Real Estate Brokers and Salesperson Licensing page and click “renew online.” There, you’ll continue through to the ePlace portal.

  • What is the average value of Massachusetts homes?

    According to data acquired by Zillow in January 2024, the average Massachusetts home value is $506,205. That’s a 7.7% increase over the past year. The average home goes pending in around 15 days.

  • What is the Massachusetts real estate license renewal process?

    A Massachusetts real estate license stays active for two years. During a renewal year, your license comes due for renewal on your birthday.  Head to the Mass.gov website and click on “Renew Your Real Estate License.” Licenses are available for renewal 90 days prior to expiration. It costs $103 to renew your real estate salesperson license.

  • What are the continuing education requirements for a Massachusetts agent renewing for the first time?

    If you are renewing your Massachusetts real estate license for the first time, you must take 12 credit hours of classes.  Once your Continuing Education is complete, you will also need your Record ID and Authorization Code to renew. This information can also be found on the renewal form mailed to your address on record.  During a renewal year, your license comes due for renewal on your birthday. Business and school licenses must be renewed every 2 years from the date of issue.  This education requirement must be completed before renewing the license. If a candidate does not complete continuing education, his/her license will be renewed as inactive and he/she will no longer be able to practice real estate.

    For more information, check out the list of licensed Continuing Education providers here.

  • Where and when can I complete my real estate continuing education classes in Massachusetts?

    You’ll need to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years at a state-approved school once you’re a licensed agent in Massachusetts. Professional development is a requirement in most states, and it helps agents to develop new skills and keep up-to-date.

    Check out our list of the best real estate schools in Massachusetts or visit The CE Shop or Colibri Real Estate to find continuing education courses that interest you.

    Some schools bundle your first license renewal/continuing education courses with your pre-licensing course package, helping you to save money. For example, The CE Shop’s Premium Package includes your first 12 hours of continuing education upfront. Or you can purchase their 12-hour qualifying courses a la carte for $29 each.

    In Massachusetts, The CE Shop’s 12-hour continuing education courses cover topics like how to create a comparative market analysis, USDA (rural) home loans or developing a safety plan around open houses.

  • How can I renew my Massachusetts real estate license?

    During a renewal year (every two years) your license comes due for renewal on your birthday. To renew your Massachusetts real estate license, head to the ePlace Portal and create a new account, and then a $103 fee. Be sure to keep track of your username and password — you can apply for, amend, or renew your license through this portal.

  • Can I renew my Massachusetts real estate license online?

    Yes. Just pay the $103 fee and use the ePlace Portal located on the Massachusetts government website. See details in the question above on the steps you’ll need to take.

  • Does Massachusetts have real estate license reciprocity with any other state?

    Massachusetts currently has reciprocity agreements with the states listed below. Once you’ve obtained a real estate license in Massachusetts, you’ll be able to move to any of the states below and bypass their education and state exam requirements for licensure.

    As a licensed agent in one of the states listed below,  you’ll be able to move to Massachusetts and practice real estate without completing 40 hours of schooling or sitting the MA exam (though some stipulations may apply).

      • Connecticut
      • Rhode Island
      • West Virginia
      • Nebraska
      • Iowa
      • Tennessee
      • Mississippi
      • Colorado
      • Georgia
      • Pennsylvania
      • New Mexico
      • Salesperson & brokers licensed for two years from Oklahoma

    Licensed agents in other states may still get an education exemption. Complete this educational waiver form to learn more.

    Learn more about Massachusetts education and attorney waivers at this link.

  • What type of identification will they accept at the Massachusetts real estate exam?

    You must bring two forms of valid, non-expired, signature-bearing ID to the exam, otherwise, you’ll be denied admission.

    Primary identification with a photo can include any of these options:
    You must bring two forms of valid, non-expired, signature-bearing ID to the exam, otherwise, you’ll be denied admission.

    • Primary identification with a photo can include any of these options:
    • Government-issued driver’s license
    • U.S. Department of State driver’s license
    • U.S. Learner’s Permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
    • National/State/Country Identification Card
    • Government-issued Passport or Passport Card
    • U.S. government-issued Military Identification Card
    • Government-issued Military Identification Card for spouses and dependents
    • U.S. government-issued Alien Registration Card (Green Card, Permanent Resident Visa)

    Secondary ID may include:

    • Signed credit or debit Card Social Security Card
    • Any form of ID on the primary list, above

Helpful links & article sources

For a complete list of approved Massachusetts real estate license courses and schools, click here.


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