How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Canada

Did you know REALTOR® is not actually a job title…but broker is?

To become a REALTOR® you must be a licensed real estate professional who’s a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and adhere to the REALTOR® Code. Both salespeople and brokers, along with other real estate professionals, can be REALTORS®.

The difference between a salesperson and broker often comes down to education and responsibilities.

There are many job titles in real estate such as: salesperson, sales representative, agent, real estate associate, associate broker, alternative broker, courtier immobilier or dirigeant d’agence. Some job titles may have different definitions in different provinces or territories. For the purposes of this article, when we say “broker” we’re talking about real estate professionals whose responsibilities align with the definition below (even if their title may be different, depending on the province).

Broker: Typically, a licenced individual who manages or owns a real estate brokerage and is responsible for supervising the salespeople within the brokerage and the transactions processed through the brokerage. They also have regulatory compliance responsibilities for the brokerage. There are additional requirements a person must meet (such as years of experience and additional education) before receiving this title.

Though the requirements for being a broker vary somewhat from province to province, there are some commonalities regarding education and licensing, which are established by provincial/territorial regulators (CREA is a national association, not a regulator).

Let’s look at some of the requirements to become a broker in Canada.

Note: requirements may change. Please consult with the regulator in your province or territory for full details.


In Ontario, all real estate professionals must follow a defined education path to become registered and maintain registration. They must also adhere to regulations stipulated in the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act and be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).

To take the next steps to becoming a broker, you must fulfill the requirements of the Real Estate Salesperson program before taking the broker qualifying exam and then the Real Estate Broker Program offered through Humber College.

To register as a broker with RECO, you need to have completed the Real Estate Broker Program and you need to have been registered as a salesperson for 24 of the 26 months preceding the date of application.


Courtier immobilier, which translates to broker, is sometimes used in the same way that many other provinces use salesperson. So, in Quebec when we’re talking about people who manage a brokerage or real estate agency, we’re talking about a “dirigeant d’agence” (agency executive officer (AEO)) or courtier immobilier agréé DA (chartered AEO). In order to be qualified to act as an AEO, you must be a chartered AEO license holder. To become a chartered AEO, you must first hold a courtier immobilier license. Then you need to complete a training program recognized by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), such as the hybrid program offered at the Collège De Immobilier Du Quebec. Finally, you’ll need to pass the exam and maintain the qualification through mandatory continuing education activities.

You may also see “courtier immobilier agréé” (or chartered broker). If a broker’s licence just says agréé, this means they were qualified as a dirigeant d’agence or courtier immobilier agréé DA in the past but have not maintained their qualifications and are not qualified to act as an AEO.


In Alberta, real estate licensees hoping to become a broker must have at least two years experience within the last five years, must complete the Real Estate Broker Program and the accompanying exam. Associate brokers do not need two years of experience, but still need to meet the same educational requirements.

The Real Estate Council Alberta (RECA) has a list of recognized course providers for credentialing programs as well as a wide range of information for licensees and learners.

British Columbia

You need at least two years of experience as a representative before you can upgrade your real estate licence to becoming a managing broker (in charge of a brokerage) or an associate broker (not in charge of a brokerage). You also need to successfully complete The Broker’s Business Planning and Financial Management Licensing Course with a licensing test administered on behalf of the B.C. Financial Services Authority at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. You can register for the courses after you’ve had six months of experience as a representative, but your licence won’t be upgraded until you’ve completed your two years of experience.

You can add service categories to your licence when upgrading to the broker level (trading and/or rental and/or strata management services, for example), but you’ll need to complete the necessary supplemental courses.


The Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission governs the licensing of real estate professionals in the province and oversees mandatory educational requirements, including mandatory continuing professional development. Courses are administered through University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.

To register as a broker, you need to have worked at least two of the past five years as a registered salesperson. Also, you must complete two phases of education before enrolling in Phase 3: Office Management and Brokerage.


The Manitoba Real Estate Association develops, administers, and delivers real estate licensing courses including that of real estate brokers. To become a broker in Manitoba, you need to have at least two years experience as a licensed salesperson, completed the Real Property Law and Principles of Appraisal courses or completed the module program, then you can enroll in the real estate broker program. The program includes three self-study courses to be completed within 18 months.

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, under the Real Estate Agents Act, which regulates the real estate industry in the province, there are four classes of licensing: for agents, managers, salespersons and branch offices. The act requires that a manager be licensed for each real estate agency’s office location. In that sense, real estate managers work like brokers do in other jurisdictions and must complete a manager’s course through the New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA). NBREA also requires all members complete mandatory annual continuing education courses.  

Nova Scotia

To become a broker in Nova Scotia, you need to have experience as a salesperson for three years or the equivalent as approved by the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission. Additional criteria for eligibility include conducting at least 20 residential real estate transactions or at least 10 commercial real estate transactions. The Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® administers the two-week broker licensing course and the commission administers the exam. You must achieve a minimum of 70% to pass. Applicants are also required to submit a criminal record check with their licence application.

Prince Edward Island

On Prince Edward Island, real estate brokers are known as real estate agents or designated representatives of an agent. To become a real estate agent (broker) on Prince Edward Island, you need to pass the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association (PEIREA) licensing course as well as the associated exam, in addition to having been a licensed real estate salesperson for at least two years. 

Agents may be required to complete continuing professional development through PEIREA.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The NL Association of REALTORS® administers pre-licensing and licensing exams on behalf of the provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador. To get a broker’s licence, you need to complete the Office Management and Brokerage course, a home-based study course which students have one calendar year to pass. You must have held a salesperson licence in the province for two of the past three years.

The territories

In the Yukon, there are three types of real estate licence: salesperson, agent, and agency. In this territory, agents act in much the same way as brokers and every agency trading in real estate must have a licensed real estate agent. To become an agent, you need to work for a licensed real estate agency and hold a real estate salesperson licence for at least one year before submitting an application.

In the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, brokers are also referred to as real estate agents and they are governed under the Real Estate Agents’ Licensing Act. For more information on becoming an agent, contact the Municipal and Community Affairs division of the Government of Northwest Territories or Consumer Affairs with the Government of Nunavut.

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The article above is for information purposes and is not legal or financial advice or a substitute for legal counsel.

The CREA Café team is responsible for the official blog of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The CREA Café is a cozy place for CREA to connect with our valued members and friends by sharing our thoughts and insights over a virtual cup of coffee.

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