Are you a California real estate agent that’s ready to take the next step in your career? Or maybe you’re a real estate professional that wants to go straight to owning a brokerage? If this sounds like you, this page explains how to become a real estate salesperson.
For any type of real estate license in California, applicants must meet three basic requirements:
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Want to be a real estate broker but need your real estate license first? Learn about the process needed to start your real estate career in California.
In addition to the basic requirements above, California real estate broker license applicants are also required to have a certain level of real estate experience before they can become a broker. This is a vital step of how to become a real estate broker in California. If you’ve been a full-time real estate agent for two of the last five years or part-time for four years, you’re good.
There are two other ways to meet the experience requirement:
You’ll need to document your experience and provide this information when you apply to take the broker exam. Even licensed full-time agents will need to submit an Employment Verification form signed by their broker. Those who are claiming equivalent experience must submit an Equivalent Experience Verification form with detailed descriptions of the experience and signatures from two people who can vouch for you.
Unless you’re part of the California State Bar, you’ll have to complete eight college-level broker courses before you can apply to take the broker exam. Those courses include:
Like the required California salesperson real estate courses, the broker courses can be taken at an accredited institution of higher learning or a private real estate school that’s been approved by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). Courses are either three semester-units, four quarter-units or 45 hours in length depending on where you take them.
Make sure to get an official copy of your transcripts and course completion certificates. You’ll need them when you apply to prove you’ve met the education requirements.
If you’re already a California real estate agent you can skip this step because it was already completed when you applied for a salesperson license. All other real estate pros that are getting a license for the first time will need to get down to a live scan service location in California to get fingerprinted.
California requires that all applicants get fingerprinted so that they can do a thorough background check before approval. Bring the Live Scan Service Request Form with you so that the provider can fill out Part 3. You’ll also need to pay the $49.00 fingerprint card processing fee at the time of service. A service fee may be required as well.
If you get your fingerprints taken before taking the exam, submit a copy of your completed Live Scan Service Request Form with your exam application or send it to:
Department of Real Estate P.O. Box 137002, Sacramento, CA 95813-7002 Attn: Fingerprint Desk
After completing the eight broker courses it’s time to apply! Fill out the Combined Broker Examination and License Application. Attach all the supporting documents that prove you meet the experience and education requirements. Don’t worry, the application has a handy checklist with everything you need to submit.
On the application, you’ll be given the option to have the DRE schedule the exam or you can choose to self-schedule. You’ll also need to note any fictitious business names that will be used.
The final step is to pay for the exam and license fees. You can pay by check, cashier’s check, money order or credit card. Don’t send cash!
All applications, fees, and transcripts must be mailed to:
Department of Real Estate Examination Section P.O. Box 137001 Sacramento, CA 95813-7001
*You can submit the Broker Examination Application on its own, but it’s quicker and easier to submit the Combined Broker Examination and License Application. The only difference is you have to pay the license fee upfront which is non-refundable if you don’t pass the exam within two years.
Now you’ve got to wait patiently. It takes the DRE at least 6-8 weeks to process applications.
If you choose to have the DRE schedule your exam for you then you’ll receive an Examination Schedule Notice with the date, time and location (based on what you selected on the application). If you choose to self-schedule, an authorization will be sent letting you know you can now pick a test time.
To self-schedule or reschedule the broker exam you’ll need to login to the eLicensing online system.
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You’ll have two years from the time your application is filed to pass the broker exam. Exams are given regularly during the week at one of five locations across the state. All you need to bring with you is a valid photo I.D.
You’ll have five hours (two 2.5 hour sessions) to complete the 200 multiple choice questions. The questions fall into seven categories:
Today the broker exam is taken in electronic format, which is good because you’ll get your test results immediately. You can also check the results using the eLicensing system five business days after taking the exam. As long as you make a 75% or higher you passed!
Didn’t pass the first time? No sweat, it happens to a lot of people. Once you receive your notification of failure and test results you can schedule a time to retake the broker exam using the eLicensing system without having to resubmit your application. You can take the exam as many times as you need in the given two-year period.
If you submitted the combo application passing the exam is the final step. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait a few days for your California broker license to be issued!
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