How to Get a Real Estate License in Tennessee

Do you enjoy meeting new people and helping others?

If you do, then a career in real estate may be a great option for you. Even if you are not totally convinced, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get licensed. In fact, most people who get licensed already have a full-time job.

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) is the state agency that oversees everything related to real estate for Tennessee, including establishing the qualifications for obtaining a real estate license. There are two main types of real estate licenses in Tennessee: Affiliate Broker and Broker.

If you are new to real estate, you will begin with the Affiliate Broker license. This is pretty easy for anyone to obtain and doesn’t require any previous real estate experience. Once you are licensed as an Affiliate Broker, you will have to work under a company that is a licensed real estate broker.

The Broker license is a more advanced license that requires 3 years of actively licensed experience, 120 hours of approved classroom education including 30 hours in Office/Broker Management. The purpose for this license is really for people who want to start their own company and potentially hire employees.

Right now, there are 29,595 Affiliate Brokers and 7,601 Brokers who are actively licensed in Tennessee.

I’ll walk you through the steps on how to get the Tennessee Affiliate Broker license.

Short Answer
  1. Complete 90 total hours of pre-licensing education
  2. Pass the Affiliate Broker exam
  3. Submit license application
  4. Find a broker

From start to finish, the whole process takes about 6 to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements:

  • 18 years or older at the time of applying for the state exam
  • High school diploma
  • Have not been under probation, convicted, or released from incarceration within two years of scheduling the state exam date

1. Complete 90 Total Hours of Pre-licensing Education

The 90 total hours of coursework is actually broken up into two courses:

  1. 60-hour Pre-licensing course
    2. 30-hour New Affiliates course

While you need to have both courses done to obtain the real estate license, you only need the 60-hour pre-licensing course to apply for the exam. So, if you are in a rush, the fastest option is to apply right after you finish that course. Then, you can just work on the 30-hour course later. However, from my experience, it would be advantageous to do both courses upfront. The additional 30 hours of knowledge will only help you on the exam. Plus, it is only 30 hours, so you should be able to knock it out very quickly.

Online Courses vs Classroom

When you go looking for a real estate school to fulfill this education requirement, you will see there are a lot of choices. Most people take the courses in a traditional classroom. However, the format that is the cheapest, and believe it or not, has the highest pass rates are the online courses. The table below shows you the exam pass rates that compare the top 2 schools with an online program and the top 3 schools that have classrooms.

TestedPassedPass RateTestedPassedPass Rate
The CE Shop (Online)60037462%47441186%
Real Estate Express (Online)98955956%79064181%
Continual Learning Institute (Classroom)153564041%1,20579466%
TREES (Classroom)121058648%93874079%
Tennessee Real Estate and Comprehensive Sales School (Classroom)80434242%56645380%

There’s a pretty big difference, especially on the National portion of the exam. 

If you decide to take an online course, you will be reading the book online with multiple-choice quizzes at the end of the chapters. Typically, you get 6 months of unlimited access to the course, and you can just move at your own pace. If you already have a full-time job, this will definitely be the best option for you.

2. Pass the Affiliate Broker Exam

After you complete the 60-hour pre-licensing course, the real estate school that you attended should be notifying the testing company called PSI Services. You will not be able to register for the exam until they have been notified.

Registering for the exam is a quick and easy process. You just go to their website at and pay the examination fee of $39.

The Affiliate Broker exam consist of 2 sections:

  • National portion – 80 questions – 160 minutes maximum time allowed
  • State portion – 40 questions – 80 minutes maximum time allowed

You will need to pass both portions with a 70% or higher to get credit for passing the exam. If you don’t pass one portion, you only have to re-take the one that you missed, and you can re-attempt it as soon as the next day if you want. After the second attempt, you will have to wait 30 days for every additional attempt.

The actual test is administered on a computer at one of their seven testing centers listed below:

6918 Shallowford Road, Suite 314
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Availability: Tuesday through Saturday

Dyersburg State Community College
1510 Lake Road, Room 126 Student Center
Dyersburg, TN 38024
Availability: Wednesdays only

368 North Parkway #3
Jackson, TN 38305
Availability: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday

904 Sunset Drive, Suite 7A
Johnson City, TN 37604
Availability: Monday through Saturday

301 South Gallaher View Road, Suite 114
Knoxville, TN 37919
Availability: Monday through Saturday

Apple Tree Center
6099 Mt. Moriah Extended, Suite 17
Memphis, TN 38115
Availability: Monday through Saturday

The Oaks
1102 Kermit Drive, Suite 101
Nashville, TN 37217
Availability: Monday through Saturday

3. Submit License Application

After you completed all 90 hours of pre-licensing education and passed the Affiliate Broker exam, you will be ready to submit your application to TREC. The fastest and easiest way to apply is online at

You will also need to provide the following:

  • Proof of high school diploma
  • Certificates of completion for 60-hour and 30-hour courses
  • Proof of Errors and Omissions insurance
  • Electronic fingerprinting
  • Eligibility Verification form
  • License application fee of $91

4. Find a Broker

When TREC has finished reviewing your application, they will issue your Affiliate Broker license. However, this does not mean you can just go off on your own and start working. You will have to find a broker to work under.

This is the easiest part. Because this position is typically 100% commission-based, companies are always trying to recruit new agents. When you are first starting out, I suggest going with a broker that has a strong mentorship and training program. The first year will be the hardest and most agents take six months on average to close their first deal. This is a great time to learn as much as you can and develop a solid business plan to launch a successful long-term career.

If you want to become a Broker yourself, TREC does require three years of experience. However, the vast majority of real estate agents are Affiliate Brokers. You do not have to deal with overhead expenses, marketing budgets, payroll, etc.., and you can focus on helping other people achieve their dreams.

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