Real Estate License in California: Everything You Need to Know

Elias Magers
Mar 15, 2022
7 min

Real estate licenses in California are a great way to put yourself on the road to making money.

Many people get a real estate license because they want to become a real estate agent. They know about the limitless income potential, workplace freedom, and the other perks that are associated with the job.

But, in this article, we want to highlight the real estate license. Specifically, how you can get your real estate license in 5 simple steps and more.

How to Get Your Real Estate License in California

In California, you can get your real estate license in 5 simple steps:

  1. Make sure you’re eligible to get a California real estate license
  2. Enroll in an accredited real estate school
  3. Schedule your real estate exam testing date
  4. Pass the real estate exam
  5. Sign with a real estate brokerage

That’s it! Once you complete all 5 steps, you’re an active agent ready to launch your real estate career.

1. Meet the California Requirements

To get a California real estate license, make sure you meet the requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • Eligible to work within the U.S.

The Department of Real Estate (DRE) created these requirements to maintain California’s real estate industry integrity.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you can still get a real estate license in California.

2. Enroll in an Accredited California Real Estate School

Once you become qualified for your real estate license, you will need to enroll in an accredited real estate school.

A California real estate school will educate you on the salesperson pre-licensing material approved by the Department of Real Estate (DRE). All students will have to have complete 3 courses:

  • Real Estate Practice
  • Real Estate Principles
  • One elective course

When you complete each course, you will be rewarded with a certificate of completion. Your certificate acts as proof that you have enrolled and passed your course.

Students must complete all 3-courses within 1-year of their enrollment date to be eligible for the state exam. So, stay focused and don’t procrastinate!

Once you collect all 3-course certificates, you can apply for the California real estate exam.

3. Apply to the California Real Estate Exam

To apply to the California real estate exam, you will have to send in an application with the following material:

  • A valid photo ID
  • Completed live scan form
  • State exam fees
  • 3-licensing course certificates
  • Completed DRE Forms

The completed DRE forms are as follows:

  • Exam/License Application: RE 435
  • Live Scan Service Request: RE 237
  • If paying with a credit card: RE 909
  • If you want to apply for the exam only (not license): RE 400A

To take the real estate exam, you will have to pass a live scan background check. This background check will identify any criminal history to see if you are eligible to become a real estate agent in California.

If you have a criminal history, the best thing you can do is to contact the DRE and be forthcoming and honest with your history.

4. Pass the California Real Estate State Exam

Once your application was approved, you can schedule your state exam testing date. 

The state exam is rigorous. So, you need to study the course material to pass with, at least, a 70% or higher.

Some schools have supplemental resources to help you pass the state exam. These training courses give you thorough course reviews and test-taking strategies.

5. Sign with a Brokerage

After passing the state exam, the DRE will email and mail you a copy of your real estate license. You can pick which brokerage you would like to interview with. When the real estate brokerage recruits you, it’s off to the races and you’re able to start this exciting new career.

Getting an interview with a real estate brokerage is simple. All you have to do is contact the brokerage, let them know you are a newly licensed agent, and that you’re interested in working together. Some real estate schools may even connect you with a brokerage they trust.

How Fast Can You Get Your Real Estate License in California?

The fastest you can get your real estate license in California is in 135 hours. In other words, a little under 8 weeks.

Compared to other careers, this is a low barrier of entry that comes with a fast start-up. Someone can go from knowing nothing about real estate to representing high-end clients in about 6-months. 

That’s impressive!

After you complete your schooling and apply to the state exam, you will have to wait for the DRE to schedule your test date. This takes about 3-months. During this time, we recommend studying as much as you can.

How Much Does a California Real Estate License Cost?

A real estate license in California can cost anywhere from $477 to $740. Here is a breakdown list of the fees and costs associated with your real estate license:

  • The real estate school (Pre-licensing program)
  • Real estate exam application fee
  • Live Scan cost (background check)
  • Real estate license fee

If you’re getting your license in California, there are tons of real estate schools you can pick from. Each one comes has its own program price.

Of course, we recommend enrolling in our program. Self-plug alert: we’re competitively priced and have the most robust, well-rounded programs in the entire state. 

Fit Small Business recently called us the best real estate school in California. But, we don’t want to make this about us!

Should You Become a Real Estate Agent?

So, now that you know how to get your California real estate license, the next question is: “should you?”

Is this career right for you?

We all know that real estate agents make a lot of money every time they close a deal on a new home. They make a small portion of the final sale, which is called their commission.

They also get workplace freedom. This means they can choose to work from anywhere in the world. From the brokerage office, their sofa, even at the beach.

Finally, this is a people-focused business. Meeting new and interesting people every day is exciting and you get to help them accomplish their dreams. Not only that but growing your network is a must, which means this job incentivizes you to be social and grow your network.

Nothing feels better than helping a family move into their dream home. You have the ability to leave a massive imprint on the lives of the people you help.

If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then check out one of our free intro sessions. This shows you what it’s like to work as a real estate agent and you also get a sneak peek of how our program works.

Before You Get a California Real Estate License…

Just remember this one thing before you start your journey to getting a real estate license in California. You have to let everyone know you’re a real estate agent.

So many people start this career and never tell anyone that they’re an agent.

When everyone you know doesn’t realize you’re an agent, they won’t ever call you for your services. And as a new real estate agent, the people you know become your clients.

They are the people most likely to work with you.

So, when you’re enrolling into an accredited real estate school, that is the time to start building your database of contacts. Because it takes about 6-months for a new contact to become a client. Coincidentally, 6-months is the average time it takes to get your license.

By the time you get your license, you can have active clients ready to work with you.

That’s how you start your career with an exciting, uplifting momentum.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Real Estate License in California

A career in real estate is best for those who enjoy working on their own terms. Deciding to become a real estate agent is easy. But, you need gusto to create a successful career.

A real estate career requires hard work and self-investment. But, the results are life-changing. By following the steps above and learning as much as you can, you will set yourself up for that success.

TL;DR: To become a real estate agent in California, you have to get your real estate license. That means you have to complete your pre-licensing education requirement and pass the real estate exam. Once you do that, you can get your license and sign with a brokerage, which will make you an official real estate agent. CA Realty Training will help you complete your pre-licensing education and connect you with a real estate brokerage.

Elias Magers
Mar 15, 2022
How To
7 min