Becoming a Realtor in California: It's Easier Than You Think

May 14, 2024

Becoming a Realtor in California: It's Easier Than You Think

If you're considering a career in real estate, California is a great place to start. The process to become a Realtor in California is straightforward and accessible, even for those new to the industry. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started.

1. Meet the Basic Requirements

To become a Realtor in California, you need to meet a few basic requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a legal U.S. resident.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.

2. Complete the Required Education

California requires aspiring Realtors to complete 135 hours of pre-licensing education. This includes three courses:

  • Real Estate Principles (45 hours)
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)
  • An elective course (45 hours) such as Real Estate Finance, Legal Aspects of Real Estate, or Property Management

These courses are available through various accredited real estate schools, both online and in-person. Online courses offer the flexibility to study at your own pace, making it easier to balance with other commitments.

3. Pass the Salesperson Exam

After completing the required education, you need to pass the California Salesperson Exam. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering various real estate topics. You need a score of 70% or higher to pass. Many resources are available to help you prepare, including study guides, practice exams, and prep courses.

4. Find a Sponsoring Broker

Once you pass the exam, you need to find a licensed real estate broker to work under. This broker will mentor you and provide the necessary support as you begin your career. Choosing the right broker is important, as they will play a significant role in your professional development.

5. Apply for Your License

With a passing exam score and a sponsoring broker, you can apply for your real estate license through the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). The application process includes submitting fingerprints for a background check and paying the necessary fees.

6. Join a Real Estate Association

To become a Realtor, you need to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Membership in NAR grants you the title of Realtor, access to valuable resources, and adherence to a strict code of ethics. Most Realtors also join their local and state associations, such as the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

7. Continue Your Education

Even after obtaining your license, continuing education is essential. California requires Realtors to complete 45 hours of continuing education every four years to renew their license. This helps you stay updated on industry trends, laws, and best practices, ensuring you provide the best service to your clients.


Becoming a Realtor in California is a straightforward process that involves meeting basic requirements, completing pre-licensing education, passing the salesperson exam, finding a sponsoring broker, and applying for your license. With the flexibility of online courses and numerous resources available, it's easier than ever to embark on a rewarding career in real estate. Once licensed, joining professional associations and continuing your education will help you grow and succeed in the dynamic California real estate market.

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