How to Get a California Real Estate License


To become a real estate agent in the state of California, you will need to obtain your real estate sales person license. California real estate licenses are governed by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).

California Real Estate License Requirements

California requires applicants for real estate licenses to meet both general and educational requirements.

General Requirements

  • You must be 18 years of age
  • You must be a legal resident of the United States. You do not necessarily need to be a California resident as out-of-state applicants may still apply for a California real estate license.
  • Applicants must demonstrate honesty. Conviction of a crime may result in a denial of a real estate license.

Academic Requirements

In addition to the general requirements above, real estate license applicants must successfully complete three college-level real estate courses.

  • Real Estate Principals
  • Real Estate Practice
  • One course from the following list:
    • 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
    • Common Interest Developments

Take The California Prelicensing Courses Online

You can take California 135 Hour Basic Salesperson Prelicense Package completely online and at your own pace. If you are considering getting your real estate license, this is the easiest means of meeting the educational requirements. If you have already taken the prelicensing course, there is a California Salesperson Exam Prep intended to help you study and increase your chances of passing the state exam. This is not a mandatory product but is intended to further your study.

Apply To Take The Salesperson License Examination

Once you have successfully completed the real estate courses outlined above, you may apply to take the Salesperson Examination by completing the Salesperson Exam/License Application from available on the Licensing Form page of the California DRE site. This form may be used for both the application to take the exam as well as the application for licensing.

A non-refundable fee of $60 is required to take the pre-licensing exam. The current license fee is $245. If applying to take the exam and receive a license, the total fee due with your application is $305. The license fee is valid for two years.

Before a license can be issued, you will need to submit:

  • Proof of legal residence such as a birth certificate or passport.
  • Transcripts for your real estate courses.
  • A copy of your Live Scan Service Request if you plan to be fingerprinted before taking your pre-licensing exam. Fingerprints can generally be taken at a California law enforcement agency.

What To Study For The California Real Estate License Exam

The California Department of Real Estate publishes a helpful guide with the important topics to study. The real estate license exam study reference is organized by chapter and available for free. For a broad overview of topics, consult the Salesperson Examination Content guide, also available for free.

Exam Locations

The examination to earn a California Real Estate License can be taken in Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, or San Diego. Additional satellite locations may be available so check with the California Department of Real Estate.

Taking The California Real Estate License Examination

The examination for a California real estate license consists of 150 multiple choice questions and lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes. Pencils and basic calculators are provided for your use. Once you pass the exam, you will not be able to review the questions or your answers.

Official Resources


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