Is it possible to use the GI Bill to get a real estate license? It’s technically possible, but there are requirements and things applicants will want to know prior to deciding how to fund their real estate license path. You may have state-level resources in addition to federal GI Bill funds, so it’s crucial to check your state government official site in order to learn what benefits might be open to you in replacement of or in addition to GI Bill benefits.
Using The GI Bill To Get Licenses And Certification
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site says GI Bill benefits may be used to pay for licensing and certification tests which may include approved real estate certifications. You may be required to claim these benefits under “test reimbursement”.
Veterans who qualify for the GI Bill can use their GI Bill entitlement to cover testing fees up to two thousand dollars in 2020. This amount is mentioned as a reference only–you will find that over time these numbers can and do change.
Applicants will need to use a search tool on the VA official site to find approved tests in a given state or even the entire country. Using the search tool at the time of this writing returns a variety of approved license and certification testing for the real estate industry including a range of career paths including but not limited to:
- Real estate sales
- Real estate appraisals
- Real estate brokers
- Real estate inspectors
The search tool is not restricted to real estate careers, so you’ll do better using the most targeted search terms for the type of exam you seek. The search tool returns results that include the tests and their associated costs.
Here’s an example from the VA official site. All price numbers are included for reference only–expect these numbers to be different depending on the state, the current year’s test costs, state law, and other variables. You won’t find consistent numbers across multiple states, so you’ll definitely want to do your own research in any given state.
State of Utah Professional Licensing
Sales Agent Test Fee $151.00
Associate Broker Test Fee: $118
Principal Broker Test Fee: $118
Here’s an example from another state for real estate appraisers:
Missouri Department Of Insurance Financial Institutions And Professional Registration
“State Licensed” Test Fee: $135
Certified Residential Test Fee: $135
Certified General Test Fee: $135
Which GI Bill Can You Use?
At the time of this writing, applicants using the following GI Bill programs may be able to apply to be paid by by the VA through the GI Bill for real estate exams and licensing tests:
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Montgomery GI Bill
- Veteran Rehabilitation and Employment
- Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- The Fry Scholarship
Using The VA Test Reimbursement Search Tool
One important caveat to note when searching for approved real estate license tests on the VA official site–there may be tests or reimbursement opportunities that you don’t see when searching. This may not necessarily mean the program or test you want to take is disapproved and not eligible. It may be that the valid test has not fully passed the approval process and is in the queue to be published at a later date.
The VA official site advises that in cases where you do not find your test or certification, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to get more information or if you have taken the test already, submit an application for reimbursement anyway just in case.
How To Apply
Complete and submit a VA Form 22-0803, Application for Reimbursement of Licensing or Certification Test Fees. You are required to submit proof of payment for the exam with the application. You can submit the form and proof electronically via the VA official site or mail it to your nearest VA Regional Processing Office. Search for the nearest VA regional processing office before submitting.
Official VA Policy On Using Testing And Certification Benefits For A Real Estate License
The VA has pledged to pay “for as many approved licenses or certifications as you’d like” to take, and these payments (for approved tests only) are made even if you don’t score well enough to pass or be approved for certification. That means if you don’t pass your initial real estate certification test you can still retake the test.
You can also retake any approved test in cases where you technically passed but need to retake the exam in order to score higher in order to be recertified or keep the existing real estate license.
Real Estate Licenses: What The VA Won’t Pay For
The GI Bill cannot pay for fees related to the actual awarding of your license–just the test itself. The same goes for certification documents. The VA caps reimbursement fees for a single test or exam at $2000 in fiscal year 2020. This number is subject to change based on VA policy, legislation, or other variables. We list the number here as a notification that there ARE test reimbursement caps for each test you take. VA reimbursement is calculated on the actual cost of the exam.
Rules For Applying For GI Bill Reimbursement For Real Estate Licenses
You must apply for GI Bill benefits in order to get your exam fees reimbursed. You will need to take your exam and then apply to be paid after the fact. You have one year from the time you take your test to apply. Those who have already used some GI Bill benefits should know that you are required to have remaining GI Bill entitlement, and according to the VA, “your delimiting date must not have passed.”
Finding An Approved Program That Meets Standards
A piece of legislation known as the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 required the Department of Veterans Affairs to verify that all licensing and certification tests paid for by the GI Bill are approved by the states they are administered in and meet a set of minimum requirements. These rules apply to all licensing exams that could be reimbursed with GI Bill funds including:
- Real estate license
- Maritime license
- CDL license
- Nursing certifications
- Project management certification
- Paralegal certificate
In cases where you are required by the state to obtain the license prior to employment, the state licensing agency AND your state’s education department must approve the training program before GI Bill funds can be claimed.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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