Do I Need a Degree To Get a Real Estate License in California?

Considering getting your California real estate license but don’t have a college degree? Don’t sweat it! Not only do you not need a college degree, you don’t even need a high school diploma to get that real estate license. So what do you need? Let’s talk about it!

The Basic Requirements

The basic requirements for getting your California real estate license are that you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Be a resident of California (out-of-town agents can apply but must complete the Consent to Service of Process form)

  • Be honest and truthful on the application

If you can check those boxes, the state of California doesn’t really care what kind of school you’ve finished in the past. They do care very much, though, that you’ve finished your required pre-licensing education requirement. Let’s take a look at what that entails.

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You Don’t Have to Attend College to Take Real Estate Courses

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) requires that all real estate license applicants complete three 45-hour college-level courses for a total of 135 hours of pre-licensing education. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to enroll at a university to fulfill the requirement (though most UCs do offer these classes, if you prefer to learn in person).

The DRE allows private real estate schools (like AceableAgent) to provide the required coursework through distance learning. In our case, that means the Aceable app. You can learn anywhere from any device and study at your own pace and on your own schedule. Nice!

The Required Courses

Applicants are required to take three 45-hour courses and pass the final course exams before taking the state real estate test. The required courses are:

  • Real Estate Principles

  • Real Estate Practices

  • One elective course

What elective course choices you have depends on your real estate school. The topic options include:

  • Business Law

  • Computer Applications in Real Estate

  • Common Interest Developments

  • Escrows

  • General Accounting

  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate

  • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending

  • Property Management

  • Real Estate Appraisal

  • Real Estate Economics

  • Real Estate Finance

  • Real Estate Office Administration

Here at Aceable, we offer Legal Aspects of Real Estate. It’s more fun than it sounds, I promise!

The Licensing Process

Education isn’t the only step to getting a license. You also have to:

  • File an application

  • Pass a background check and submit fingerprints

  • Pass the state exam

  • Pay the necessary fees: for a salesperson that’s a $60 exam fee and a $245 application fee

  • Find a sponsoring broker

Who Can Skip Pre-licensing Education Classes?

Almost everyone (including agents licensed in other states) needs to take the three 45-hour real estate courses before they can apply for a license. But there are two exceptions to the education rule:

  • Anyone who has completed the eight broker college-level courses can apply for a salesperson or broker license without taking more classes.

  • Anyone who has earned a law degree or apprenticed under a practicing attorney and is a member of the California State Bar is exempt from taking the required courses. If you’re an attorney, all you have to do is provide proof that you can practice law in California on the application and you’re good to go.

Ready to Get Started?

So as you can see, there aren’t many prerequisites for getting a real estate license in California, but there is quite a bit of coursework to do before you can start getting those fat commission checks. Ready to get started? Enroll in a California real estate course today!

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