Being a Realtor can provide you with a satisfying and diverse career. A career in real estate can include home sales, commercial sales, investment real estate, land development, rental property management, strata management, and more.

Each day is never the same. You can be closing a deal for a first-time buyer, then designing a marketing plan for your newest client. The next day could see you engaged in a tough sales negotiation, and then attending a Realtor's open house tour to look at new properties for prospective clients.

Step 1 - Language skills

The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) determined that English is the language used for real estate documents, education and communication in BC. Therefore, it’s important you-re able to demonstrate an understanding of written and spoken English to satisfy the Language Proficiency Requirement.

Step 2 - Education

There are two courses you need to take to become licensed. The first one is the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course, a correspondence course offered through the University of British Columbia. This course is taken by everyone who wants to become licensed regardless of whether they want to specialize in residential or commercial real estate. It introduces all aspects of how the real estate profession works.

The second one is either the Residential  or Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course. In addition to classroom and online learning, these applied courses provide you with practical training in either residential or commercial real estate. You’ll need to provide proof of registration in the Residential or Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course when you apply to BCFSA for your licence (in step 3).

Step 3 - Licensing

Have the brokerage you plan to work with sign your application for licensing. This brokerage must be a member of the real estate board in your area. Send your signed application to BCFSA for licensing. Once they approve your application you’re a real estate agent, but not yet a Realtor.

Step 4 - Join a real estate board

The last step to becoming a Realtor is to join the real estate board in your area. For example, if you work in Pitt Meadows, you would join our board, Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR).

As a member of a real estate board, you also become a member of the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Only members of CREA are entitled to call themselves Realtors.

Benefits of being a board member include:

  • Multiple Listing Service® access
  • Professional standards and business practices
  • Access to robust statistics
  • Ongoing education

For more information about becoming a Realtor in BC:

Costs associated with a career in real estate

Licensing fees (managed by BCFSA)

Program/Service Organization Fee
Licensing Course 
Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course
Real Estate Division, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia 1,150
Licensing Course
Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course or the Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course

Applied Practice Course | BCFSA

(used to be handled by BCREA, now it's BCFSA)

Licensing fee and assessments
Licensing and Assessment Fee 1,000
Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation 300
Errors and Ommisions insurance assessment 700
Total start-up licensing fee $4,025
Every two years after start-up $1,650

Fees updated August 2021, and are subject to change. Note: GST not included. 

GVR member fees

New member entrance fees $1,254.75
GVR 100.00
BCREA 895.00
CREA 200.00
GST 59.75
Annual  $1320.90
GVR 744.00
BCREA 204.00
CREA 310.00
GST 62.90

Fees updated February 2024, and are subject to change.
Annual fees are charged on a monthly basis.

There can be other costs you’ll incur in your new profession, including:

  • Real estate company costs
  • Contact management software
  • Website launch, design, and maintenance
  • Promotional and marketing materials
  • Business attire
  • A reserve to cover your costs while you develop your client base

For more information

Contacting a real estate brokerage may also help you learn more about what initial costs to expect.