Real Estate Sales Agents
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Speciality
Overview
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Rent, buy, or sell property for clients. Perform duties such as study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property site, discuss conditions of sale, and draw up real estate contracts. Includes agents who represent buyer.
Titles for this career often contain these words
AgentRealEstateSalesConsultantLeasingApartmentRentalSpecialistProfessionalRightWayClosingLandAssociateRealtorAgriculturalBuildingBuyers'CoordinatorContractsHomeIndustrialCloserListingSalespersonResidenceResidentialPropertyBuyerRepresentative
Education
About 51% of real estate brokers and sales agents have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by real estate brokers and sales agents
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More real estate brokers and sales agents have bachelor's degrees than 67% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Real estate sales agents, with 369,200 workers, form a larger workforce than 86% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for real estate sales agents are expected to grow by 7%, and should have about 38,900 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Real estate sales agents are more likely to be automated than 69% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for real estate sales agents compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most real estate sales agents earn.
$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Gender
Women account for 52% of real estate brokers and sales agents -- that's a larger percentage than 63% of other jobs.
Gender of real estate brokers and sales agents
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For real estate brokers and sales agents, the median men's salary was 28% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 14% of real estate brokers and sales agents are minority, and 13% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of real estate brokers and sales agents
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (13%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Real Estate Sales Agents per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of real estate sales agents who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (91%)
  • Consequence of Error (50%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (38%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (37%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do real estate brokers and sales agents earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (real estate sales agents). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for real estate sales agents (BLS Salary Data)
$49K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$49K$0$50K$100K$150K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all real estate brokers and sales agents.
Distribution: Salaries for real estate brokers and sales agents (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$50K$100K$150K
Real estate brokers and sales agents: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $52KAll jobs' median $45K$56K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire real estate sales agents.
Employers of Real estate brokers and sales agents (ACS)
Private for-profit (48.0%)
Private not-for-profit (0.8%)
Local government (0.4%)
State government (0.4%)
Federal government (0.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (21.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (28.9%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of real estate brokers and sales agents by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of real estate brokers and sales agents, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$51K$50K$63K$48K$62K$55K$52K$69K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of real estate sales agents by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty real estate sales agents, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$49K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for real estate brokers and sales agents

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$54K$53K$53K$53K$50K$27K$53K$53K$40K$0$50K$100K$150K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
020K40K60K80K100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Real estate brokers and sales agents and gender

With 52% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 63% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
52%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Real estate brokers and sales agents
Men (48%)
Women (52%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for real estate brokers and sales agents tops that, with the median salary for men 28% higher than the median salary for women.

$45K$57K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Real estate brokers and sales agents have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 77% of other jobs.

28%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of real estate brokers and sales agents

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority real estate brokers and sales agents than for 78% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of real estate brokers and sales agents
White (84% )
Black (6% )
Asian (5% )
Other (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
13%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for real estate brokers and sales agents by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$38K$41K$41K$51K$51K$51K$52K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherBlackHispanicMultiracialAsianAmerican IndianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for real estate brokers and sales agents by nativity
$45K$52K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Real estate brokers and sales agents and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 22% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 71% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time real estate brokers and sales agents is shown following.

$21K$51K$0$50K$100K$150KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by real estate sales agents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), real estate sales agents typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as real estate brokers and sales agents as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for real estate sales agents

Real estate brokers and sales agents must complete some real estate courses to be eligible for licensure. Although most brokers and agents must take state-accredited prelicensing courses to become licensed, some states may waive this requirement if the candidate has taken college courses in real estate.

As the real estate market becomes more competitive and complex, some employers are preferring to hire candidates with a college degree. Some community colleges, colleges, and universities offer courses in real estate. Some offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in real estate, and many others offer certificate programs. Courses in finance, business administration, economics, and law also can be useful.

Brokers intending to open their own company often take business courses, such as marketing and accounting.

In addition to offering prelicensing courses, many real estate associations have courses and professional development programs for both beginners and experienced agents. These courses cover a variety of topics, such as real estate fundamentals, real estate law, and mortgage financing.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for real estate sales agents

All real estate brokers and sales agents must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most have similar basic requirements:

Candidates must:

  • be 18 years old
  • complete a number of real estate courses
  • pass an exam

Some states have additional requirements, such as passing a background check. Licenses typically are not transferable among states. However, some states have reciprocity agreements in that they will accept some requirements used to get a license in another state (such as course hours).

To obtain a broker’s license, individuals generally need 1 to 3 years of experience as a licensed sales agent. They also must take additional formal training courses. In some states, a bachelor’s degree may be substituted in place of some experience or training requirements.

State licenses typically must be renewed every 2 to 4 years. In most states, brokers and agents must complete continuing education courses to renew their license. To verify exact licensing requirements, prospective brokers and agents should contact the real estate licensing commission of the state in which they wish to work.

Education attained by real estate brokers and sales agents
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for real estate brokers and sales agents? Below we see the distribution of real estate brokers and sales agents salaries based on the education attained.

$37K$42K$45K$48K$58K$60K$67K$76K$0$50K$100K$150KNone (1%)High School (12%)Some College (26%)Associate's/Cert. (10%)Bachelor's Degree (40%)Master's Degree (9%)Professional Degree (1%)Doctorate (0%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
College majors held by real estate brokers and sales agents

This table shows the college majors held by people working as real estate brokers and sales agents.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Real estate brokers and sales agents with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as real estate brokers and sales agents, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Specialized ManagersAccountants and AuditorsFirst-Line Supervisors of...Wholesale and Manufacturi...Chief executives and legi...Financial ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Retail SalespersonsElementary and Middle Sch...Customer Service Represen...Labor Relations Specialis...Marketing ManagersSales ManagersMarket Research Analysts ...Sales Representatives of ...Personal Financial Adviso...Financial and Investment ...Securities, Commodities, ...Lawyers, and judges, magi...Loan OfficersSecretaries and Administr...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsPostsecondary TeachersRegistered NursesEducation and childcare a...Management AnalystsFirst-Line Supervisors of...Bookkeeping, Accounting, ...Paralegals and Legal Assi...Secondary School TeachersEditorsWriters and AuthorsGeneral BusinessBusiness Management andAdministrationMarketingFinanceCommunicationsPsychologyEconomicsAccountingPolitical Science andGovernmentEnglish Language andLiteratureAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 51% of people working as real estate brokers and sales agents have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%2.0%4.0%6.0%8.0%10.0%12.0%Percentage with this major$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000$140,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for real estate brokers and sales agents

What jobs will most real estate brokers and sales agents hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of real estate brokers and sales agents reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list? For real estate brokers and sales agents, there isn't a lot of action in this chart! This isn't a career that invites much moving around.

Real estate brokers and sales agentsProperty, Real Estate, and Community Association ManagersChief executives and legislators
Lateral job transitions for real estate brokers and sales agents

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 2 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as real estate brokers and sales agents as well as 1% of respondents after working as real estate brokers and sales agents. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for real estate brokers and sales agents: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as real estate brokers and sales agents? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of real estate brokers and sales agents surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most real estate sales agents? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as real estate sales agents. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all real estate brokers and sales agents, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Real Estate Sales Agents per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.0
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where real estate sales agents earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for real estate brokers and sales agents compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for real estate brokers and sales agents.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all real estate brokers and sales agents, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Real Estate Sales Agents (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which real estate sales agents earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?