California Real Estate License

California Real Estate License Requirements

Article Summary: 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, 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 are required to take 135 hours of pre-licensing education through an accredited school. These courses must be completed in three categories for 45 hours in each: 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, there are final course exams that need to be passed in the presence of a proctor. For an applicant, these 100 question exams are required to have a score of 70% or higher 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 have a score of 70% or higher as well 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. 

For someone wanting to have a Broker’s license in CA, they are required to have at least two years of full-time licensed salesperson experience within the previous five years. In addition, eight specific college-level courses that are listed by the DRE 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 License Requirements

Passing the California real estate license exam takes time and dedication. Unlike many other 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 in addition to meeting other stringent requirements. If you are interested in becoming a realtor in California, it’s imperative you become familiar with the requirements beforehand. You must be at least 18-years-old, a resident of California, and you disclose any criminal history you have.


All 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 get to 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 you can 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 it 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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