We answer the most common questions we receive as a real estate school. These answers will help guide you to a more informed decision when choosing a career in real estate.

Is it worth becoming a Real Estate Agent?

It may seem like the real estate websites like,, and may be making Realtors obsolete. In fact, there are tens of thousands of real estate agents in Chicago and throughout Illinois who are making a very good living, and enjoying the freedom, independence, and opportunity that being a Realtor offers. Being in business for yourself, you should expect to work hard, but if you ask any agents you know, they’ll probably tell you that it’s a great business to be in!

How long does it take to get a Real Estate license?

Most people are surprised at how relatively easy it is to get a real estate license in Illinois. The whole process can be done in about 2 months. The steps are…
– take the 75-hour Pre-license Course
– pass the state exam
– find a Sponsoring Broker
– apply for the license, and begin selling immediately!
The course is typically 5 weeks long. As of this time, there’s a delay of a month or more to actually be able to take the state exam, but once you pass, you can find a Sponsoring Broker within days, and get started on your new (or additional) career!

How long is a Real Estate license good for?

An Illinois Real Estate License must be renewed every two years. Real Estate Agents actually have what is called a Broker License, but unlike other states, a Broker in Illinois does not work independently. Instead, they must have a Sponsoring Broker for at least two years, at which point they can get their Managing Broker license. A Managing Broker may have their own agency, or work on their own.

Is Real Estate a good career?

People who are frustrated by being stuck in a 9-5 job, where they have to count on their manager to decide they’re worthy of a raise, may look at real estate and think that it’s a dream job. And it can be! But first… it’s not a job! Real estate agents are Independent Contractors, not Employees, so they work for themselves. That means that you have the flexibility to choose your own schedule… the independence to decide how you’re going to operate your business… and the opportunity to earn a fantastic income. But you’re also taking the risk that you won’t generate income, since you’re paid only when you actually sell something. If that sounds exciting to you, a career in real estate may be the perfect fit!

How hard is Real Estate school?

It’s always tricky to answer the question “how hard is something”? But here are two things to consider:
1. The material isn’t complex or difficult to understand – there’s just a lot to remember! That’s why a good school will present the material in a number of ways – live classes / webinars, pre-recorded videos, audiobooks, review sessions, etc.
2. Math is often a top concern for people considering taking the real estate exam. Look for a realtor school that provides in-depth video explanations of the most important math concepts, along with hints regarding how the state tries to “trick” test-takers.

What is the process of becoming a Real Estate Agent?

Essentially, you need to…
1. attend an approved real estate school
2. pass the state exam
3. find a Sponsoring Broker
4. apply for the license
At that point, you can begin selling immediately under a provisional license. Note that your real estate school will help you through the process, up to the point where you find a Sponsoring Broker, and they’ll assist you from there!

What kind of degree do you need for a Real Estate Agent?

No degree is required in order to become a real estate agent. In fact, the only educational requirements are (1) completion of High School or equivalent, and (2) completion of the 75-hour pre-license course with an approved real estate school.

How much does it cost to become a Real Estate Agent?

Considering the fact that real estate can be an extremely lucrative career, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not expensive at all to get your license. Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on a college degree, you can get a real estate license for under $1,000. The costs include: (1) the pre-license course, ranging from $499 to $570, (2) the state exam ($58), and (3) the license fee ($125).  You’ll need to renew your license every two years (on even-numbered years), which will cost somewhere around $200 to $300.

What is the difference between the terms "Real Estate Agent" and "Broker"?

There actually is not a difference between these terms! Back in 2011, the State of Illinois changed the terminology, and what used to be known as a “Broker” is now called a “Managing Broker”. The first license you get is officially known as the “Real Estate Broker’s License”. 

What requirements must you meet to become a Real Estate Broker?

There are four requirements you must meet:

  1. Have a U.S. social security number
  2. Be at least 18 years old
  3. Be of “good moral character” (no criminal history)
  4. Have graduated High School or equivalent


How much money should a Real Estate Broker expect to make?

Last year, reported that on average Real Estate Broker’s made $80,000 per year. Now, this is an average and since your salary will be completely commission based, there is both the possibility to make less and the possibility to make a whole lot more. With Real Estate, YOU determine how much you make!

Can you work part time as a Real Estate Broker?

Absolutely! In fact, most agents start out part-time.

What jobs can I get with a Real Estate License?

You’ll have numerous options once you get your license – see this page for a list of some of them!

Where can I find out more about getting my license?

Much more information on getting your Illinois Real Estate License is available on our blog – click here

Do you have an audio version of the textbook?
Yes, CRES is the only real estate school in Illinois to offer its entire textbook in Audiobook format. Learn while you commute! Click for details.
Is there a final class exam?

As of January 1, 2018, students are no longer required to take a final course exam. In lieu of a course exam, students are required to take chapter quizzes and pass each of them with a score of 75% or more.

Why is the CRES Classroom Course only 35 hours? Will I have to study the other 40 hours at home?

The state calls the course the “75 hour course” because it should take the average person about 75 hours to learn the material. After years of experience, we have found that 35 hours is the optimal amount of time to spend in a classroom learning the material from an instructor. Any more than that, and the instructor would just be reading the textbook to you. We think your time is too valuable for that! With 35 hours of classroom instruction and time spent out of class taking the required quizzes and studying the text, you will be successful! In fact, over 90% of our students pass the Illinois Real Estate Exam on their FIRST TRY!

How long will it take to complete the course?

We have 2 different options, both of which take about 5 – 6 weeks to accomplish. More details are available at

How much is the course at Chicago Real Estate School?

Our instructor-led course is priced at $549, which includes the basics which are your textbook and class materials, plus a practice exam, audiobook, and more. You can see more details by clicking here.

For the online course, the price is $499, this includes Part I and Part II. You can read more about the online course here.

Is there a payment plan?

Yes, we do have a payment plan! Watch out for other school payment plans that charge as much as 30% interest – ours is a one-time fee of $20, that’s it! For the classroom course, the price of the course will be broken up into 3 payments: $199 on the day you register, 1/2 of the remaining balance one month after the registration date, and the remainder one month after that. To read more about the payment plan, click here.

Do you guarantee that I'll pass the exam?

No, we don’t. We know that a few schools do, but be careful to read the fine print – they generally say “we guarantee that you can keep taking classes over and over again if you fail the exam.” Nobody has time for that! Others may say that “as long as you pass all of these tests and do this extra work, we’ll give your your money back if you fail the exam.” But if you DON’T pass their tests, you often aren’t even allowed to sit for the state exam! Here’s the difference: CRES offers a quality experience, either in the Classroom or via Webinars, and because we do that, over 90% of our students pass the State Exam on the first try. Also, because our classes are so popular, we don’t have a bunch of empty seats to allow for people to repeat the course over and over!

Do you offer discounts if more than one person signs up at the same time?

We offer a 10% discount to any 2 or more people who sign up on the same day. Once you’ve all signed up, send an email to [email protected] that same day, and we’ll either refund 10% of your registration (if you pay in full) or take 10% off of your final payment (if you use the payment plan). So you can save $50 each if you purchase our Hybrid option!

When are the classes offered?

We have morning, evening, and Saturday classes. To see our full schedule for the next few months, click here.

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