How To Become A Real Estate Agent In California (2021)

How To Get Your Real Estate License In California

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#1 General Requirements For Real Estate Salesperson

Last Update: December 2, 2020

Before we go over the process. Let’s cover a few general requirements that must be met in order to obtain a real estate license in California. It is a good idea to be aware of these requirements before you begin to avoid paying for any training or testing, should you not qualify.  All applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • If you are not a resident of California see out of state applicants
  • Conviction of a crime may result in the denial of a license

*Failure to disclose any criminal violation or disciplinary action in an applicant’s entire history may also result in the denial of a license

how to become a real estate agent in California

#2 Education Requirements To Become A Real Estate Agent In California:

  • After determining that you do or will be able to meet all of the requirements to become a California real estate agent. The 2nd step is to understand the training requirements in order to be able to take your real estate exam.
  • California requires 135 hours of real estate education. These are broken down in to 3 “college level courses”:
  • Real Estate Principles (45 hours)
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)
  • And ONE of the follow courses (45 hours), Real Estate Appraisal, Property Management, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Economics, Legal Aspects of Real Estate, Real Estate Office Administration, General Accounting, Business Law, Escrows, Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending, Computer Applications in Real Estate or Common Interest Developments

These courses can be taken at either an accredited state college/university or a private real estate school certified by the California Department of Real Estate.

#3 The Final Exam:

The real estate salesperson examination is a proctored exam:

  • 150 multiple choice questions
  • 3 Hours
  • Requires a score of 70% (105 correct questions) to pass
  • Generally, testing is conducted in San Diego, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland.

*View exam locations and dates

#4 Applying For Your California Real Estate License:

  • Your non refundable application may be filed either after you pass your real estate exam or at the same time you are taking it (before you pass). In Addition, a Live Scan (finger printing) request must be made.
  • If you decide to apply after passing your exam, you have 1 year from the date of testing to submit your application to the California Department Of Real Estate.

How Much Does A CA Real Estate License Cost?

The Break Down

The real estate license cost in California is broken into two parts; government fees and school fees. For this article we will cover these items in regard to initial issuance of a real estate salesperson license only (not a broker, renewal, etc).

As a note, all fees are current at the time of this article’s writing and may have changed since. Here we cover to the best of our knowledge, the cost of a typical real estate license in California (minus school fees as they will vary). Exceptions do always exist and the cost may far exceed these numbers.  Please confirm the fees with the appropriate agencies.  We’ve included some links in this article to help you out.


State Fees To Obtain A California Real Estate License

  • Examination Fee: $60 (each attempt)
  • State Original License Fee: $245
  • Live Scan Service Request (Finger Printing): $49 (resident of California)
  • Total Government Fees: $354

*You can verify testing/state fees here.

School Cost

Real estate schools normally charge for your:

  • Pre-License Course
  • School Exam Fee