Once you decide to get your California real estate license it’s understandable that you’ll want to make it happen as quickly as possible. Some things will be in your control, but the timeline is largely dictated by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).
Keep reading to learn how long it takes to get a real estate license in California.
Completing the Required Real Estate Courses - 7.5+ Weeks
The DRE requires that all applicants take three college-level real estate courses. You can speed things up a little bit by taking the courses at a DRE-approved private real estate school like AceableAgent. Correspondence courses are the quickest path, but the DRE has still mandated timeframes for completion.
Courses taken at an institution of higher learning are either three semester-units or four quarter-units. This means each course is either three hours a week for a semester unit (15-16 weeks) or about four hours a week for a quarter unit (10-11 weeks). Correspondence courses must be 45 hours each working at your own pace. But (and this is a big but) the DRE mandates that a single course can’t be completed in less than 2.5 weeks.
The class time invested is basically the same, but the timeframe at an institution of higher learning is typically spaced out over a longer period of time. If you plan to focus most of your time on completing the education 7.5 weeks is the shortest timeframe for completing correspondence courses.
Wait Time for Application Processing - 6+ Weeks
As soon as you complete the required real estate courses, it’s a good idea to get your Exam Application submitted. You’ll need to gather together certifications or transcripts that prove you fulfilled the education requirement. Applicants must also submit fingerprints from a live scan service provider when applying for a license.
Give yourself a few days to gather together all the documents you need to provide along with the application. If anything is missed your application approval will be delayed. It typically takes the DRE at least 6-8 weeks to process applications. If there are any discrepancies that will slow things down even more.
If you want to speed things up, submit the Combination Exam and License Application. You’ll have to pay both the exam and license fee at once, but you won’t have to submit a separate license application after taking the exam. You’ll also need to have a sponsoring broker lined up, which you can do while completing the courses.
Getting the Exam Scheduled - 0+ Days
When you submit your application you can choose to have the DRE schedule your exam for the earliest date available or you can self-schedule after getting approval. The DRE notes that choosing to self-schedule can cut down on the application processing time.
But if you don’t schedule within a week or so of getting approval it could actually take longer to get your exam time reserved. Exams are held in five locations across the state and are typically given weekly.
Passing the Exam - 1+ Week
Generally speaking, your exam will be a week or so after the application approval. Give yourself plenty of time on exam day to do a final study session and get to the test location at least 30 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start. You’ll be given three hours and 15 minutes to take the test. Waiting for the result is a lot quicker.
As soon as you’re done, you’ll find out whether you passed. Anything that’s a 70% or higher is considered a passing score. Congratulations, you’re now a licensed California real estate agent.
Didn’t pass? Don’t worry, it happens. You can retake the exam as many times as you need within two years after submitting your application.
So, how long does it take to get your real estate license in California?
If you really make earning a California real estate license your top priority, you can do it in as little as 14.5 weeks. Good luck!