In 2021, the most popular “how to become” search on Google was for “real estate agent,” strongly suggesting a tidal wave of new agents may soon be coming to a housing market near you.

The pandemic inspired millions of people to reevaluate how they live and work, spawning the Great Resignation and, later, the Great Reshuffling as Americans switched dwellings, their home state and sometimes even their career.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly measures the unemployment rate and hiring activity across professions, new data released Wednesday from Google Trends goes even further with occupational data, perhaps even signaling the future career paths of millions of Americans — or, at least, millions of underemployed internet users.

To be sure, between January 2021 and the first month of 2022, the most popular “how to become” search on Google was for “real estate agents,” followed by “flight attendants” and “notary,” strongly suggesting that a tidal wave of new agents may be encroaching on a housing market near you in the future, not to mention adding to the membership rolls of the National Association of Realtors, which hit an all-time high of nearly 1.6 million members in 2021.

The search for “how to become real estate agent” hit a peak in traffic last month, between Jan. 9-15, 2022, nearly doubling the number of similar searches at a lower point amid the pandemic at the beginning of February 2020. Looking at its trajectory over the pandemic, searches for “how to become a real estate agent” are on an upswing amid a heated market that has left agents busier than ever.

By state, Google searches for “How to become a real estate agent” surpassed all other similar job inquiries, with the exception of Montana and New Mexico, where “how to become a personal trainer” and “how to become a flight attendant” reigned supreme, respectively. Indeed, large swaths of browsers in the Northeast, northern Midwest and West all searched for “how to become a real estate agent” in droves, according to the data.

A recent search by Inman for “how to become real estate agent” on Google revealed that the top five related queries over the past 12 months in the U.S. included, in order, “real estate license,” “how long does it take to become a real estate agent,” “how to become a real estate agent in Texas,” “how to become a real estate agent in California,” and “how to become a real estate agent in nc,” presumably meaning in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, top “breakout” topics — or topics also searched by individuals who queried “how to become real estate agent” — include “appraiser,” “experience,” “Redfin,” “leasing coordinator” and “side job,” according to an analysis.

The google metrics come on the heels of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that in January, amid a jobs report that surpassed expectations, real estate and leasing services added 5,300 jobs, despite the overall unemployment rate increasing modestly to 4 percent.

Beside “how to become a real estate agent,” other popular aspirational job searches on Google last year included similar queries for how to become a therapist, pilot, physical therapist and electrician, among others professions that, unlike, say, doctor or lawyer, require a relatively low barrier for entry.

Google Trends’ most-searched “how to become” jobs from January 2021-January 2022

  1. Real estate agent
  2. Flight attendant
  3. Notary
  4. Therapist
  5. Pilot
  6. Firefighter
  7. Personal trainer
  8. Psychiatrist
  9. Physical therapist
  10. Electrician


Credit: Google

Top searches in 2021 for different professional certification programs also reflected many of the same job search trends, including real estate and health, but also categories related to hair and beauty and data analytics.

Google Trends’ most-searched certifications and training programs from January 2021-January 2022

  1. Google data analytics professional certificate
  2. National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification
  3. Child development associate certification
  4. Eyelash technician training program
  5. Electrician training program
  6. Real estate training program
  7. Barber training program

Google search traffic for the phrase “how to become real estate agent” from Feb. 9, 2020 to Feb. 9, 2022 | Credit: Google Trends

Email Lillian Dickerson

NAR | Redfin
Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription