How To Get Your Real Estate License In California

Sun-kissed beaches, sprawling vineyards, and mountain majesty – California beckons with a siren song of opportunity, and at its heart lies the vibrant world of real estate.

Do you dream of trading in beach bum status for deal maker extraordinaire? Of swapping sandcastles for sold signs and ocean views for closing keys?

Then buckle up, future California realtor, because this guide is your compass to unlocking your California real estate license and stepping into a career as transformative as the landscapes you’ll help shape.

With actionable steps, inspiring real-world examples, and a healthy dose of California sunshine, we’ll equip you to navigate the licensing process with confidence, turning those real estate dreams into a thriving reality.

Getting your California real estate license isn’t a one-size-fits-all sprint; it’s a strategic journey fueled by passion, dedication, and a dash of California charm.

With the right tools, a sprinkle of marketing magic, and a whole lot of California spirit, you can transform your real estate dreams into a thriving career, one satisfied client at a time.

How Do I Get My Real Estate License In California?

The California real estate market is one of the most dynamic and lucrative in the United States.  Whether you’re looking to embark on a new career path or expand your professional horizons, obtaining a real estate license in California can be a rewarding endeavour. 

However, the process can seem daunting at first glance. This article provides a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the requirements and procedures to become a licensed real estate professional in the Golden State.

1. Meet the Basic Requirements.

Before you begin the licensing process, ensure you meet the basic eligibility criteria:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Residency: You do not need to be a California resident to obtain a license.
  • Honesty: Applicants must be honest and truthful. A criminal background does not automatically disqualify you, but you must disclose any convictions.

2. Complete Required Pre-Licensing Education.

California mandates pre-licensing education to ensure aspiring real estate agents are well-versed in the industry’s fundamentals. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Choose an Accredited Provider: Select a state-approved real estate education provider to complete the mandatory coursework. The coursework typically consists of 135 hours of approved classes.
  • Complete the Courses: Ensure you attend all classes and fulfil the required hours. Topics covered include real estate principles, practice, and elective courses.

3. Pass the California Real Estate Salesperson Exam.

Once you’ve completed the pre-licensing education, the next step is to pass the California Real Estate Salesperson Exam. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Apply for the Exam: Submit your exam application to the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and pay the necessary fees.
  • Study: Dedicate ample time to prepare for the exam. Utilize study materials, and practice tests, and consider enrolling in exam prep courses.
  • Take the Exam: Schedule and take the California Real Estate Salesperson Exam at a designated testing centre. The exam consists of both national and state-specific portions, testing your knowledge of real estate principles and California real estate laws.
  • Pass the Exam: Achieve a passing score on both portions of the exam to move forward in the licensing process.

4. Submit License Application.

Upon successfully passing the exam, you’re one step closer to obtaining your real estate license. Follow these steps to finalize your application:

  • Complete Live Scan Fingerprinting: Undergo Live Scan fingerprinting to facilitate a background check by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Obtain a Certificate of Completion: Submit your course completion certificates to the DRE as proof of fulfilling the pre-licensing education requirement.
  • Submit Required Documents: Complete and submit the Salesperson License Application along with all necessary documentation, including exam results, fingerprints, and any additional forms or disclosures.
  • Pay Licensing Fees: Ensure you pay all applicable licensing fees to the DRE to process your application.

5. Activate Your License.

Once the DRE processes your application and approves your license, you’re ready to embark on your real estate journey. 

Consider affiliating with a reputable brokerage to gain mentorship, resources, and opportunities to kickstart your career.


Obtaining your real estate license in California requires dedication, commitment, and adherence to state-specific requirements and procedures. 

By completing the necessary education, passing the state exam, and submitting a comprehensive application, you can navigate the licensing process successfully. 

Remember, continuous learning, networking, and ethical practice are essential components of a prosperous real estate career in the vibrant California market.


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