Real Estate Broker: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook and Educational Requirements

Research what it takes to become a real estate broker. Learn about license requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Real Estate degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Real Estate Broker?

Real estate brokers are owners and operators of their own realty businesses. While most brokers work with residential property, there are also positions in the market for other types of real estate, including commercial, agricultural, and industrial. Brokers also work with sellers and buyers, acting as a mediator during negotiations and drawing up contracts, agreements, deeds, and any other necessary documents that come with a real estate transaction.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent and pre-licensure coursework
Licensure Required by all states
Job Duties Seek out properties, determine client needs, negotiate contracts and pricing, arrange financing, conduct title searches
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 2%*
Median Salary (2015) $56,860*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Tasks Be as a Real Estate Broker?

As a real estate broker, you'll most likely deal in residential property, but you can also specialize in agricultural, industrial or commercial properties. You'll differ from sales agents in that you're licensed to operate your own business, whereas agents must work for a licensed broker. You'll determine clients' needs, seek out potential properties, help negotiate contracts and pricing, conduct title searches, ensure contracts are met and occasionally help arrange financing.

Real estate brokers are expected to have thorough knowledge of communities and neighborhoods before taking a home-buyer to a house. Some of the things you should know about communities are zoning laws, schools and crime rates. You also seek out properties to sell, set prices by determining the competitive market rate, stage the property, list the property for sale and put on showings.

What Can I Expect from this Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job opportunities for real estate brokers will grow by 2% from 2014-2024 ( The economy has a strong effect on the real estate market; when the economy is in decline, sales decrease, resulting in less activity and fewer sales for real estate brokers.

As of May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual income for real estate brokers was $56,860 annually. The top paying states for 2015 were Nevada, Ohio, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii.

What Education and Licensure Will I Need to Sell Homes?

All states require real estate brokers to become licensed. To gain licensure, you must complete 60-90 hours of classroom instruction. A Bachelor of Science in Real Estate should meet this education requirement. Many colleges and universities offer programs in real estate, providing coursework in law, statistics, finance and economics. Since real estate brokers often manage their own businesses, courses in business administration, accounting and marketing are also beneficial.

You must also have 1-3 years of selling experience and pass a written exam to gain licensure. The National Association of Realtors provides a professional designation as well as information on continuing education (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Real estate sales agents work under the supervision and employment of brokers; brokers focus on the business operation while agents work directly with potential clients and new owners. Outside of real estate, those interested in sales might consider a career as an insurance sales agent, an advertising sales agent, or a manager of property, real estate, or community association.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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