Article Summary: This article will help anyone looking for information pertaining to a real estate license in the state of California or anyone looking to become a real estate agent or realtor in California. Contents of this article may include information on real estate education, schools, training courses, continuing education, tests and exams, laws, license requirements, renewal information, forms and more..


The State of California Department of Real Estate supervises all aspects of the real estate industry in California. Their main mission is to protect the public, and they have five district offices: Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego. There are over 127,000 people holding a real estate broker license in California, and over 321,900 people holding a real estate salesperson license. This means close to a half-million people with California real estate licenses are employed in real estate careers, with hundreds of thousands more in related real estate jobs. 

The requirements to become a real estate agent in California include being at least 18 years of age. The applicants for a real estate salesperson license must provide proof that they are a legal resident of the United States, and proof that they are honest and truthful. Conviction of a crime can result in the denial of a license. Fingerprints and a $56 fingerprinting fee are part of the application for the real estate exam. No experience is required for applying for a real estate salesperson license; however, the following educational requirements need to be met.

Three real estate courses, as specified by the Department of Real Estate, must be completed either before taking the examination or within 18 months afterwards. The California real estate education prelicensure requirements may be met by three semester-units or four quarter-units at college level from an accredited school or college, or from a private real estate school approved by the Department of Real Estate.



The applicants for a real estate broker license in California must also be at least 18 years of age and provide proof of legal residence. Residency in California is not required in order to hold a California real estate license. However, California does not have a reciprocity agreement with any other state to allow a waiver of any of the requirements. Out-of-state residents must file a Consent to Service of Process (RE 234) with the Department of Real Estate, and also provide fingerprints and the $56 fingerprint fee.

Applicants for the real estate broker license need a minimum of two full years, full time, during the last five years as a real estate salesperson. Applicant eligibility includes equivalent experience in many cases.

An applicant with a four-year degree from an accredited college may be exempt from the two-year salesperson experience requirement. This may be verified by submitting either a copy of the diploma or transcript showing the degree earned. Regardless of the degree, the applicant must show evidence (transcripts) of having completed the eight required college-level courses at the time of filing the application. The eight required courses, which is considered the equivalent of a minor in Real Estate, may be part of the degree requirements or they may be completed separately from the degree course work.

The examination application for the real estate salesperson license may be filed online. The examination fee for the real estate salesperson license is $60 and the license fee is $245. The examination fee and license fee may be paid together, and may also be paid by credit card online.

The examination application for the broker license may be filed online. The examination fee is $95 and the license fee is $300. Examinations are scheduled at least six weeks into the future from the time the examination application is filed.

Those holding a California real estate broker license must maintain a California business address if engaging in business in California. It they are not engaging in business in California they must file an Out-of-State Broker Acknowledgement (RE 235).

California real estate careers are strengthened by membership in the many organizations that provide real estate jobs for the industry. The professional holding a broker license joins with organizations like The California Association of Realtors, the California Association of Business Brokers, the California Building Industry Association and the California Association of Community Managers. On the national level, a connection with the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials benefits everyone in the real estate industry.

California Real Estate Forms

California Reciprocity States

  • Applicants from all other states must file an Out-of-State Broker Acknowledgment (RE 235).

(as of 2/23/2010)

California Approved Real Estate Schools Prelicensing and Postlicensing Education

Community Colleges

Check with your local branches of: University of California or
California State system schools, or your community college.


Many of their locations offer real estate related courses that can
apply toward California Real Estate Licensure.

Private Schools

Burton Real Estate School (Concord)
Cook School of Real Estate (Sacramento)
Cosmos Realty School (Los Angeles)
Eastland Real Estate School (Irvine)
First Choice Real Estate School (San Diego)
Home Real Estate School (San Francisco)
Shasta Association of Realtors (Redding)


Last Update:  3/1/2010
This list may not include all approved schools. Please visit the State of California Department of Real Estate website for the latest list of approved real estate schools.