how to become a real estate agent in california

How To Become A Real Estate Agent In California? [2024 Updated]

Are you stuck in the question of "How to become a real estate agent in California". Read this article to start a real estate career in California in no time.

December 30, 2021

You’ll need a California real estate license if you want to work in real estate in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, or any other city in the state. The answer to the question of how to become a real estate agent in California is easier to find than you may think, and you’ll be on your way to a flexible job with high earning potential in only a few months. If you follow these five simple steps, you’ll be on your way to starting a real estate career in California in no time. Let’s explore together with RealEstate-Prep now!

Requirements To Become A Real Estate Agent In California

To become a licensed real estate agent in California, you must meet the California Department of Real Estate’s (DRE) criteria.

1. Requirements for age and citizenship

To begin, you must be at least 18 years old and either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

2. Educational prerequisites

California requires three college-level real estate courses: Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice, and one DRE-approved optional course. These courses teach a foundational grasp and knowledge of real estate laws, contracts, finance, and ethics.

3. Courses for pre-licensing

Aspiring agents must complete 135 hours of authorized pre-licensing courses to fulfill the educational requirements. These courses are available at approved real estate institutions as well as online. It is critical to select a reputed institution with a thorough and up-to-date curriculum.

4. Examining and licensing procedures

You must pass the California Real Estate Salesperson Exam after completing the pre-licensing classes. The test evaluates your knowledge of real estate rules, regulations, and procedures. After passing the exam, you can apply to the DRE for your real estate salesperson license.

5 Steps To Get A Real Estate License In California

how to become a real estate agent in california

The fastest way to get California real estate license is to follow these five steps:

Step 1: Finish a 135-hour pre-licensing course

To become a real estate agent in California, you must complete 135-course hours at a state-approved real estate school. Your lessons will include property management, real estate finance, and mortgage loan brokering and lending.

To navigate through this dense information, you’ll need the assistance of a reputable California real estate school. The majority of consumers choose a real estate school based on the pricing and teaching method of the course. The most common alternatives are shown below.

  • In-person Classes: Regardless of where you reside in California, you should be able to locate a real estate school that meets in person during regularly scheduled sessions.
  • Scheduled Livestream lessons are webcast on Zoom (or a similar video conferencing application) at preset times.
  • At-Your-Own-Pace Online Training: Online real estate programs are quite popular among those who want to become real estate agents in California. The course topic may be presented through slides, videos, and interactive resources.

Step 2: Fill out the application for the California Exam

The Salesperson Examination Application from the California Department of Real Estate is the next step in becoming a real estate agent in the state. Check that you have your address, Social Security number (or ITIN), and driver’s license number on hand before filling out the form.

For your test application, you will be charged $60. You must wait for your application to be completed before receiving the date, time, and place of the exam (or you can tick the option requesting that the test be scheduled on your own).

Step 3: Pass the Real Estate Salesperson Exam in California

The following cities are where you may take the California real estate exam:

  • Los Angeles
  • Fresno
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego

You should arrive at the testing site 30 minutes early. Visit the State of California’s Department of Real Estate page to learn more about the types of government-issued identification they accept and the items you can’t bring into the exam room (Calculators, pencils, and mobile phones are examples of common things).

When you finish the multiple-choice Real Estate test, you will know whether you passed or failed it. If you don’t pass, you’ll receive a detailed score report to help you prepare for the retest. You have two years from the day you originally applied to repeat the test as many times as you like.

In case you need to retake the exam, don’t forget to take our Real Estate practice test to pass the exam with your highest score.

how to become a real estate agent in california

Step 4: Become a member of a California real estate brokerage

After completing the real estate salesperson test, you must work under the supervision of a broker in California. A broker has undergone further training, worked in the industry for at least a year, and passed the broker’s licensure exam. It will appear that you are seeking for work while also looking for a broker to deal with.

Once you’ve secured some broker interviews, you should question each broker about the split (or how you and the brokerage would share the commissions). Some brokerages will request a 50/50 commission split. Brokerages often do not impose monthly desk fees, resulting in an equitable split.

As a commissioned salesperson, your profits are totally determined by your talent and efforts. Some brokerages may offer

Step 5: Finish the Licensing Procedure

To become a licensed real estate agent in California, you’ll need to fill out the California License Application Form. The form costs $245 and asks for more background information. As part of your background check, you’ll need to find and contact a live scan fingerprint service provider. This service costs $45 to use.

Then you sit back and wait for your license application to be approved. The current wait times are available on the State of California’s website. While you wait for the bureaucratic wheels to revolve, you may set up social media profiles to advertise your new business and examine how other agents have fared in this interesting field.

Preparing For The Real Estate Exam

The California Real Estate Salesperson Exam is difficult, but with good study, you may improve your chances of passing.

Study materials and resources

Collect all of the required study materials, including as textbooks, practice examinations, and internet tools. Examine the course materials completely and take notes to ensure that you comprehend essential ideas. For more study resources and help, use trusted internet platforms and forums.

Practice exams and mock tests

Use practice examinations and mock tests to imitate the actual exam experience. These materials will assist you in becoming acquainted with the test structure, time limits, and question categories. Determine your areas of weakness and concentrate on strengthening them via targeted study.

Understanding key concepts and terminology

Make sure you grasp fundamental real estate ideas and terminology. Learn the definitions of key terminology relating to property ownership, financing, contracts, and agency relationships. This information will not only help you pass the test, but it will also provide the groundwork for your real estate career.

Building Your Real Estate Career

Becoming a licensed real estate agent is only the first step in your path. Consider the following steps to develop a successful career.

Developing a business plan

Make a business plan that details your objectives, target market, marketing tactics, and financial estimates. Set attainable goals and develop a plan to achieve them. As you acquire experience and react to market changes, you should review and alter your plan on a regular basis.

Building a network and marketing yourself

In the real estate sector, networking is critical. Attend industry events, become a member of professional organizations, and network with other professionals in comparable professions. Use social media sites to demonstrate your knowledge and interact with potential clients. To attract leads, have a strong online presence, and maintain a good website.

Continuing education and professional development

Real estate is a fast-paced market, so being current on industry trends and developments is critical. Take continuing education classes to improve your knowledge and abilities. Pursue additional certificates or distinctions to distinguish yourself and demonstrate your competence in certain real estate fields.

FAQs – How To Become A Real Estate Agent In California

Do you have any other questions? Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about how to become a real estate agent in California.

Is the real estate test in California difficult?

In the fiscal year 2019-2020, the California real estate test pass rate was at 58 percent. The California Department of Real Estate disclosed the number of tests given and licenses awarded this year for the first time. To help you improve your pass rate, we’ve designed this free California real estate practice exam┬ápack with hundreds of questions. Let’s check it!

What if I have an out-of-state real estate license?

There is no reciprocal agreement between California and any other state that allows you to avoid any of the criteria for obtaining a California real estate license.

If your out-of-state real estate school is recognized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or another regional accrediting organization, you may be allowed to use part of the credits toward your prelicensing education requirements.

If you have a real estate license in California, however, you can work as an agent in any of the following states without having to go through the entire licensing process:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Read more>> How To Get A Real Estate License In Utah?

how to become a real estate agent in california

Is it possible to get my California real estate license online?

Unfortunately, you will have to take your California real estate salesperson exam in one of the exam testing centers. The good news is that you may complete the required 135 hours of coursework from the comfort of your own home.

Real Estate Express is highly regarded. In our opinion, they are the best overall real estate school in California. They are a real estate education powerhouse that provides self-paced online or live-streaming courses that meet the regulations of the State of California.

How much does it cost to receive a California real estate license?

A real estate license in California costs between $900 and $1,300, including prelicensing courses. Some rates are fixed, such as state licensing and testing fees, while others vary.

To become a real estate agent in California, you do not need a college graduation, but you must go through a state-specific licensing process. The cost of the necessary 135-hour pre-licensing courses (as well as optional test study materials) may vary depending on the service you choose.

To become a real estate agent in California, how long does it take?

Depending on how long you need to finish the prelicensing training and how long the licensing office is backlogged, it takes around four months to become a California real estate agent.

Do California real estate agents make big money?

According to Indeed, the average salary for a real estate agent in California is $103,905.

Remember that real estate agents are paid only on commissions and do not receive a salary. However, because California real estate is among the most expensive in the country, you may not need to sell many to live comfortably.

Read more>> How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make In California?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a real estate agent in California?

For many people, the ups and downs of a real estate business, as well as fluctuating revenue, can be stressful. A paid employment demands more careful planning, budgeting, and financial management.

Working as a commissioned real estate agent, on the other hand, comes with several benefits. For many people interested in this career, having a flexible schedule in addition to a high earning potential is a significant trade-off.

While you may have to sacrifice some evenings and weekends, you will receive a commission on each property you assist your customers in purchasing, selling, or leasing, and you will be supporting them with one of their most critical financial decisions.


Obtaining a California real estate license may be difficult, but it is a terrific way to get started on the path to financial success. Many people obtain a real estate license in order to work as a real estate agent. They are aware of the job’s seemingly endless earning potential, workplace flexibility, and other benefits. You’re sure to have additional questions now that you know how to become a real estate agent in California. Fortunately, we are here to assist you with your questions.