Steps to Getting a Real Estate License in California

If you connect well with others, enjoy a commission based career, and love working variable hours you are off to a good start for a career in real estate. On the other hand, if you require a stable monthly income and a standard Monday through Friday nine-to-five type job, a real estate career will not be the best match for you. Before beginning your career as a real estate agent you want to make sure that your personality is an ideal match. 

Getting your California real estate license may seem like a daunting task at first. You may be wondering, “How hard is it to get a real estate licensee in California?” or “How to become a real estate agent in California?” We’ve simplified the process for you. Follow these five steps to get your real estate license in California:



Complete 135 hours (3 courses) of approved Pre-Licensing education.

Successfully complete 135 hours of California Pre-Licensing education.

  1. CA 45-Hour Real Estate Principles

  2. CA 45-Hour Real Estate Practice

  3. CA 45-Hour Real Estate Finance

Pro Tip: Pick a method of education that works best for your style of learning. Visual learner? Maybe an interactive online class is for you. Like getting instant feedback? You should consider a live, in-person real estate class. Whichever method you choose make sure you set a goal and stick to the plan. You're well on the way to obtaining your California state real estate license and selling million dollar listings! 

Remember: Each state has its own pre-licensure requirements and procedures for becoming a real estate agent. It is important that you contact the Real Estate Commission for your home state to find out what these requirements and procedures are. In many states, you will need to be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma (or GED), and be able to pass a criminal background check. (Did you know: There is a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent. So if you want to know how to become a Realtor in CA, you first need to get licensed as a real estate agent and then join your local association of Realtors.



Complete every course final exam.

Once you’ve completed your real estate program and are confident with everything you’ve learned you can schedule and take your state licensing exam. Make sure you have adequately prepared for the exam beforehand.  In many states the exam will take three to four hours to complete. If you do not pass initially, you may retake the exam after a designated waiting period.




Choose Your sponsoring broker.

As you prepare to obtain your license, you should begin to consider which real estate broker to affiliate with so that you can hit the ground running once you are issued your California real estate license. It is very important to find a good fit when choosing which brokerage to work with and it’s a determining factor to becoming a successful real estate agent in California. There are many wonderful brokerage firms to choose from. Visit a few real estate agencies before committing to one. You will want to choose the brokerage firm that you resonate with the strongest. 

The following questions should help you find the right broker.

  • What is their reputation, both locally and nationally?

  • What kind of real estate agents are they looking for?

  • Are they technologically advanced and up-to-date with the latest systems?

  • How do they support their agents with education and training?

  • What kind of commission structure do they offer?

  • Do they offer benefits?

  • Do they provide their agents with leads and marketing material?

  • Is there room to grow with the brokerage?




Submit your exam and your licensing application.

The California Department of Real Estate (CalDRE) website manages state licensing exam scheduling and facilitates the licensing application process. For more information on scheduling your salesperson exam in California and submitting your application license, please click here.




Finally, Receive your license!

Once your application is approved and you pass the California real estate salesperson exam, CalDRE will issue your California real estate salesperson license. You can check the status of your new real estate license on CalDRE’s eLicensing website within 4-10 days of passing your exam by clicking here. There will be a fee to have your license issued. 

Becoming a real estate agent isn’t complicated at all. It does require research, an investment of time, and dedication to completing each necessary step. It is a goal that can be accomplished in as little as a month (for the truly dedicated) or one that can be accomplished in a couple of years. 


Bonus Step!

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California - Affiliate with Ashby & Graff Real estate

It's really a no-brainer, Ashby & Graff Real Estate offers you a pick-your-own commission structure including 100% commission splits, 21st century technology for you and your clients, a stream of buyer, seller and renter leads, unlimited broker education and support and so much more. Get your real estate license in California and sign up instantly here.  Questions about how to obtain your real estate license in CA? Feel free to reach out for help!