real estate license in California

By Elias Magers | Jan. 12, 2019 10:00 AM

A real estate license makes you eligible to become a real estate agent. No other career provides limitless upward success than one as a real estate agent.

In real estate, you determine your success.

You control how often you work, where you work, and how much money you make.

Deciding to become a real estate agent will set you on the path to a lucrative career. But, before you start selling, you first need to get your real estate license in California.

How to Get Your Real Estate License in California

Like any state, California has its own requirements to get a license. Here is how you get your real estate license in California:

  • Meet the real estate license requirements
  • Enroll in an accredited real estate school
  • Pass the California state exam
  • Sign with a brokerage

You’re eligible for a real estate license in California after you complete the first 3 steps. Below is a thorough breakdown of each step.

1. Meet the Requirements in California

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 Real Estate School

Like any career, you need the right academic experience. You must study the industry’s practices to get a real estate license in California.

You can meet your real estate pre-licensing requirement at a California accredited school. With so many school choices, you should choose a program based on your needs.

You can attend an accredited real estate program online or in person. Regardless, every California real estate school will cover three (3) pre-licensing courses:

  • Real estate practice
  • Real estate principles
  • One elective course

These are the three pre-licensing courses needed to get a California real estate license. The elective course option is up to you. Choose whichever course you think is beneficial to your career.

The real estate elective courses offered in California are:

  • Finance
  • Property Management
  • Legal Aspects
  • Economics
  • Office Administration
  • Appraisal

Enrolling online is always convenient. This is because you can take courses whenever you want and wherever you want. It’s hard to beat the convenience! But, you miss out on the in-person experience.

Real estate agent trainers, with years of experience, guide each in-class program. That means you can get real-world examples of the material you learn in class. What’s great about this is it will help you identify and apply what you learn in class to your career.

3. Pass the State Exam

The next step is to pass your state exam. You can schedule your state exam testing date after completing the pre-licensing curriculum. You can schedule your state exam testing date through the DRE website.

To become eligible to take the real estate state exam, you will need:

  • A valid photo ID
  • Completed live scan form
  • State exam fees
  • To be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • 3-licensing course certificates (proof of course completion)

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. Others offer a weekend training called a “crash course.” These training courses give you thorough course reviews and test-taking strategies.

4. Sign with a Brokerage

You are eligible to receive your real estate license in California once you pass the state exam. To become a real estate agent, you need to “hang your license” with a brokerage.

This is a colloquial term used to describe the process of committing yourself to a brokerage. To sign with a brokerage, you must find a good fit and pass the brokerage interview.

Signing with a brokerage is an exciting process. It puts you in a space with professionals, brokers, and colleagues. This is where your real estate career flourishes. The brokerage is a space for collaboration, helpful resources, and mentorship.

That’s why you should always choose a brokerage that fits your personality.

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 Real Estate License in California 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:

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. CA Realty Training is also the most reviewed real estate school in California with the most locations.

If you’re curious to learn more about our program then you can try our program for free. Click here to sign up.

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.


Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. If you thought this article was helpful, we’d appreciate you sharing it with a friend or colleague. Doing so helps us make more helpful articles – like this one.
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