California Real Estate License

California Real Estate License Requirements

This article provides useful information about the California real estate licensee process. It will help anyone who has an interest in knowing how to become a real estate licensee or Broker. There is the insight provided on license requirements, approved education, examination, and specifics on the department responsible for overseeing the industry within the state. 

The Governor of California appoints the Commissioner, who served as the chief executive of The California Department of Real Estate (DRE). This department located in Sacramento, is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Real Estate Law. This also includes all real estate matters of regulation, licensure,  and education. Under the department’s mission statement, it states their aim of being “an effective consumer advocate by monitoring and regulating industry practices while promoting public awareness.”

When it comes to basic eligibility, to get a California real estate license, a person needs to be 18 years or older when they are applying for the state exam and be a U.S. citizen. Honesty and truthfulness are also listed under the requirements of the DRE’s website related to the approval of a license. 

First-time licensee candidates must take 135 hours of pre-licensing education through an accredited school. These courses must be completed in three categories for 45 hours: Real estate Principles, Practice, and an elective within 12-course options. One can take these courses either in person or online for the state of California.

After course materials are done, final course exams need to be passed in the presence of a proctor. For an applicant, these 100 question exams must have a 70% or higher score to pass. 

Once the course exams are passed and complete, the DRE manages state licensing exam scheduling and facilitates the licensing Application process on their website. The state exam is $60 to take and can be done at one of the California Department of Real Estate offices. These tests are held 3-4 times a week. More information on dates and availability is found here. A person must also have a score of 70% or higher to pass. There are no limitations on how many exams a person can take in a 2 year period if they do not pass. Before receiving a license, each person must verify identification through an electronic fingerprinting program called Live Scan and have a background check submitted with an application to be approved by the DRE.  

A salesperson is required to be sponsored by an Active Licensed California Broker before any transactions are done. A real estate salesperson license is good for four years until it needs to be renewed. In order to renew, 45 hours of approved continuing education courses and the renewal fee are needed. These hours can be completed any time within the 4 years but the certificates should not be turned in until 90 days before a license expires. 

Someone wanting to have a Broker’s license in CA must have at least two years of full-time licensed salesperson experience within the previous five years. In addition, eight specific college-level courses that the DRE lists have to be completed.  A score of 75% or higher is necessary on the state’s Broker Examination.

consider getting your California real estate license.  Beautiful sunset through the palm trees, Los Angeles, California.
Beautiful sunset through the palm trees, Los Angeles, California.

California Real Estate Salesperson License Requirements

Passing the California real estate license exam takes time and dedication. Unlike many states that require several hours of education to become eligible to take the state exam, the California Bureau of Real Estate requires all applicants to complete a staggering 135 hours of pre-license coursework and meet other stringent requirements. If you want to become a realtor in California, you must know the requirements beforehand. You must be at least 18 years old, a resident of California, and you disclose any criminal history you have.

Must be at least 18 years old.
No residency requirement.
Pre-license Education
Must complete 135 hours of approved pre-license courses.
Must pass the California state real estate exam.
Must provide proof of honesty. This often involves background checks or other methods to ensure the individual is trustworthy.

For Broker License Requirements in California:

Must have at least two years of full-time licensed salesperson experience within the last five years.
Must complete eight college-level real estate courses.
Must pass the California Broker State Exam.

Continuing Education Requirements in California:

Must complete 45 hours of continuing education every 4 years.

Post-Licensing Requirements in California:

Post-License Education
There are no post-licensing requirements in California.

Please note that these requirements can change, so it’s a good idea to check the official California Department of Real Estate (DRE) website or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


To get your California real estate license ll applicants must take 135 hours of coursework from a BRE-approved higher education facility. These courses include Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice, and one course from a long list of other subjects, including:

– Common interest developments
– Real estate appraisal
– Computer applications in real estate
– Property management
– Mortgage loan brokering and lending
– Real estate finance
– Escrows
– Real estate economics
– Business law
– Legal aspects of real estate
– General accounting
– Real estate office administration

You get to choose the third course per your desires. Only attorneys who have previously passed the California State Bar are exempt from this education. You must pass each course to move on to the next step of the real estate license process. The cost of each course varies depending on where you take it, how you take it, and the additional materials you purchase.


Once you pass your coursework, you can take the California real estate license state exam to become a licensed realtor. You can take this exam at any of the BRE-approved locations and take it as many times as you need to pass. The fee for this test is $60, and you have to pay each time you take it if you don’t pass the first time.

It may be a good idea to simultaneously plan out your real estate business while you are studying for the exam. Be sure to check out our technology and budgeting advice.


When you pass the state exam, it’s time to send in your application. The application is found on the BRE website and must be 100 percent factual and complete. The fee to send in your application includes all the smaller fees for things such as your background check, and it is $245. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your license in the mail and become eligible to work for a broker. You will take continuing education classes as required by your license every few years prior to your license’s expiration.

Disclosure:: Please be aware that these requirements change from time to time, we do our best to monitor the changes but it is always best to go to the source to confirm the requirements!

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