real estate agent california

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California

To become a real estate agent in California you must be 18 years old and you must disclose any criminal or disciplinary action. Applicants also are required to take 135 hours of college-level real estate prep courses and pass the licensing exam.

The licensing procedures in each state are unique. While California does not vary widely from the norm, its education requirements tend to be a bit higher than average. If you meet the minimum age requirement and have no disqualifying criminal record, you are ready to get started. Here are the steps to become a real estate agent in California:

Step 1: Complete the Education Requirement

California requires 135 hours of pre-licensing education with a school approved by the California Department of Real Estate. To complete the requirement, applicants must take:

Real Estate Principles (45 hours); AND

Real Estate Practice (45 Hours)

And one more 45-hour 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


Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending

Computer Applications in Real Estate

Common Interest Developments

Lawyers who have passed the California State Bar are exempt from the education requirements. The California Department of Real Estate has a list of approved schools on its website.

realtyna idx solutionStep 2: File Application

At this point you can file your license application. You should fill out form RE 435 and then mail it to the Department of Real Estate with a license application fee of $245 and an exam fee of $60.

Step 3: Background Check

First time applicants will need to submit to fingerprinting as part of a background check. You should visit a Live Scan location and then submit form RE 237.

Step 4: Pass the Exam

The California real estate exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions to be completed within 195 minutes. The exam contents include:

Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulations

Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duties

Property Valuation and Financial Analysis


Transfer of Property

Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures (Includes Specialty Areas)


Exam takers will need to have appropriate English reading and writing skills, and they should be able to make real estate and business mathematical computations. To help you prepare, the Department of Real Estate provides a reference book on its website.

Applicants must pass the license exam within two years of filing their application. But there is no limit on the number of times you can retake the exam within that period.

Now you know how to become a real estate agent in California. For more details check out the California Department of Real Estate page. Or for more Realtyna content, check out How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent? And Difference Between Agent, Broker, and REALTOR? Real Estate Titles Explained.

Rate our blogs


The opinions or information expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views, policy, or position of Realtyna. The information on Realtyna’s Website is general, for informational purposes only, and is not to be relied upon or interpreted as real estate, legal, accounting, or other professional advice or a substitute. Please discuss anything related to the certification process, professional advice or legal procedures with your MLS providers.

Stay Up To Date

Get the Knowledge you need Delivered Straight to your inbox

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.