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4 Licenses and Certifications To Pursue a Real Estate Career in Tennessee

By Jamie Richardson | December 24, 2023

Real estate is one of the most profitable career industries. Additionally, a career in real estate can offer a flexible work schedule and tons of money-making opportunities. While a real estate agent is what many people associate with a real estate career, it’s not the only option. One of the best parts about choosing a career in real estate is that there are so many position types that you can easily find one that matches your career goals and work preferences.

Many careers in real estate do require a license, so we have compiled a list of a few you might consider.

Real Estate Salesperson

A real estate salesperson license allows you to help buyers and sellers coordinate their residential and commercial purchases. While the requirements to become a licensed real estate agent vary by state, all states do require the successful completion of a licensing exam. For example, aspiring real estate salespersons in Tennessee must complete a 90-hour class. Then, they must successfully complete the real estate exam before choosing a sponsoring brokerage to hold their license.

Real estate salespersons often have flexible schedules, with income that depends on how many clients they work with and the number of deals they close. Real estate professionals may show interested buyers properties, help negotiate deals, and assist buyers in closing. They may also work with sellers, helping them set a fair price for their home, negotiate with buyer’s agents, and explain paperwork to their clients. Real estate agents often work with other industry professionals, including inspectors, appraisers, mortgage lenders, and real estate lawyers.


Contractors work with residential and commercial property owners to make repairs or upgrades, including installing floors, repairing drywall, fixing broken windows, or replacing broken doors. A contractor may also be involved in large-scale home or business projects, including erecting a building from scratch or working on a team to build a new restaurant or hotel.

Contractors must have a valid license before working on projects that exceed a certain monetary threshold. For example, Tennessee contractors must have a contractor’s license before working on a project with a value that exceeds $25,000. Obtaining a contractor’s license in Tennessee requires the successful completion of two exams, one that covers business and law and the other that covers construction and trade specializations. Tennessee also has different license levels, including a limited license electrician or limited license plumber, which may have different requirements.

Whichever license or specialization you choose, you’ll need to choose a Tennessee contractors license exam prep class that provides you with the information you need to successfully complete the exam. Of course, since the requirements vary, it’s important to review the ones specific to your state or where you want to work.

Mortgage Lender

Mortgage lenders help buyers obtain the funding they need to buy a home. They may work with buyers to screen their credit scores and help them choose the best loans. Mortgage lenders also typically help walk buyers through the home-buying process, which often involves a lot of paperwork.

Mortgage lenders must also hold a valid license. Tennessee requires mortgage lenders to complete a National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) course before taking an exam. Mortgage lender licenses also have minimum hours of training requirements. Some mortgage lenders may work with buyers in other states, but this may mean that they need additional state licenses. Mortgage lenders who work with clients in other states may have to work less-than-traditional work hours as they accommodate different time zones.


Appraisers evaluate homes and properties to determine their value. The appraiser often works for the mortgage company, ensuring them that the property they’re issuing lending for is worth the asking price. An appraiser requires a deep understanding of the local market, plus how different home features affect overall value. Appraisers must be comfortable with assessing all parts of a home or property, including attics and crawl spaces.

Becoming an appraiser in Tennessee also requires a license or certification. Tennessee appraisers must complete a minimum of 150 hours of qualified courses before taking the final exam. The state then requires the appraiser to work underneath a more qualified professional before receiving their full license. Similar to other certifications, the appraiser license also has different levels, which further affects how long it takes to complete. Tennessee breaks its appraiser licenses into three types: state-licensed, certified residential, and certified general.

Some careers increase and decrease in demand over time. A career in real estate typically stays consistent as people will always have the need to buy and sell property. Most real estate careers require the completion of a pre-licensing class and exam. Exploring your options, choosing the right career, and then enrolling in a class are the best ways to begin your career in real estate.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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