Changes in Broker Licensing Requirements Took Effect on October 16th

October 17, 2017…New broker licensing requirements went into effect on October 16th. Applicants for a broker’s license will be required to complete 90 hours of education approved by the R.I. Department of Business Regulation and work full-time as a salesperson for two years immediately before applying for a license instead of meeting only one of these requirements.  This law will now apply to applicants with a college degree in real estate.

Official DBR bulletin:


Background:    Buying or selling a home or other real estate is likely to be the largest investment that most Rhode Islanders will make in their lifetime. Real estate brokers are legally responsible for assisting members of the public; managing others who do this work; and for holding thousands of dollars of clients’ deposits in an escrow account; however, the legal requirements to qualify for a broker’s license in Rhode Island are minimal when compared with the requirements imposed by our neighboring states.  Connecticut and Massachusetts require an applicant for a broker’s license to meet both experience and educational requirements, while Rhode Island requires applicants to meet only one of these requirements, but that is about to change.

The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® filed legislation (see links below) in 2017 to raise the level of professionalism in Rhode Island by requiring applicants to meet both of these requirements in order to qualify for a broker’s license.   Other requirements, such as passing the broker’s examination have not changed.

What type of education can I apply towards the 90-hour requirement?

An applicant will be required to successfully complete “at least ninety (90) hours of approved classroom study in a school as defined in § 5-20.5-19, or equivalent in a correspondence course offered by an extension department of an accredited college or university.”   This includes broker prelicensing and other classes approved by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (“DBR”).

Approved schools from DBR can be found at:

Can I apply classes that I’ve taken online towards the 90-hour requirement for brokers?


Commercial Licensing Regulation 11, Section 7 (D) states, “All prelicensing courses must be taken in a classroom, and taught by an instructor appearing in person. Online or distance education credits will not be accepted for new license applicants.”

Can I apply classes that I completed more than four years before I file a complete application with DBR?  

No.  Commercial Licensing Regulation, Section 7(C) states, “At no time shall the forty-five (45) classroom hours used to qualify for a salesperson’s license be used to qualify for the ninety (90) hours required for a broker’s license. In addition, classroom hours completed more than four (4) years from the date the application will not be considered in meeting the 90-hour requirement.

DBR calculates the period of four years from the date that a complete application is filed.

When will the law go into effect? 

The Rhode Island General Assembly approved the legislation in a special fall session, and it became law without the Governor’s signature.  The Department of Business Regulation began plans to enforce the law starting on October 16th.   How much work experience do I need to obtain a broker’s license?  

An applicant for a broker’s license “must also submit satisfactory proof that he or she; (i) has been engaged full time as a real estate salesperson for at least two (2) years immediately prior to the date of application.”

How do I prove that I worked full-time as a salesperson?  

A salesperson’s supervising broker(s) would certify in writing as part of the application that the salesperson meets this experience requirement.

I have just completed 90 hours of education but don’t have two years of sales experience.  Am I grandfathered?   No.  Unless an applicant meets all of the existing requirements, including passing the examination and submitting an application to DBR before October 16th, the applicant must wait to reapply after meeting the experience requirements.

How will this legislation affect applicants with a college degree in real estate?  The legislation will eliminate the automatic exemption for an applicant with a baccalaureate degree in real estate from a college or university.  An applicant with a college degree will now be required to meet both the experience requirements and educational requirements before applying for a license.

Will the legislation apply to license renewals?  

No.  The law would apply to new applicants for a broker’s license.

Will the legislation affect a licensee who applies for a reciprocal license in Rhode Island? 


Will the legislation affect an attorney who applies for a broker’s license? 

No.  The exemption for attorneys has not changed.

I’ve been a real estate licensee for X amount of years, do I still need to have completed 90 hours of approved broker classes within the last 4 years?

Yes.  Please see above.

How do I know which classes can be applied towards the 90 hours?

Each real estate school is unique, and not all schools are approved by DBR for the 90 hours.  A listing can be found here:

Currently, at RIAR, all classes that are approved to go toward the 90-hour requirement can be found here:

How do I find how many credit hours I’ve taken in the past four years?  

The school where you attended classes would be able to provide that information for you.   If you’ve taken these classes at or through RIAR, they would appear in your education history.  RIAR members have access to this information by logging into the Gateway/Dashboard and selecting ‘Member Services’ > ‘Education Information’ > ‘Classes You Have Taken’ to view Credits and Completion dates.

The RI REALTORS® Professional Development staff is also able to assist you with this information.   Please email inquiries to with subject: Education Transcript.

For more information: 

Licensing requirements:  Please call the R.I. Department of Business Regulation at 401-462-9512.

Transcript of classes taken at RIAR:  Please email inquiries to with subject: Education Transcript

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