California Brokers License Requirements

Becoming a licensed real estate broker in California may be a great way to advance your career in the real estate industry. The state is home to some of the busiest and most competitive markets in the country, and a California broker license can open up a wide range of new opportunities for you.

Aspiring brokers must first meet several requirements, including applying for and obtaining their broker’s license. Below, we discuss each of the steps you’ll need to take in order to successfully apply for and obtain your California real estate license.

Minimum Requirements to Apply for the California Broker Exam and License

To obtain a California real estate broker license, you must first qualify for and pass a written examination. Those who pass the examination are provided a license application, which must be submitted to and approved by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).

Age: To apply for a license, you must be 18 years of age or older.

Residence: License applicants must provide Proof of Legal Presence in the U.S. If not a California resident, see Out-of-State Applicants.

Honesty: License applicants must be honest and truthful. Conviction of a crime may result in the denial of a license. Failure to disclose any criminal violation or disciplinary action in an applicant’s entire history may also result in the denial of a license. For further information, see Help Avoid Denial of Your License Application and Application Eligibility Information (RE 222).

Education and/or Experience: Effective January 1, 2013, broker applicants must have a minimum of two years full-time salesperson’s experience within the last five years, or two years of unlicensed experience, or a four-year degree from an accredited college or university that includes a major or minor in real estate. Further information on this topic can be found on the DRE website and in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.

Applicants for a California real estate broker license examination must have successfully completed the following eight statutorily required college-level courses.

Five required courses:

Three of these courses*

The four courses listed above are offered by Chamberlin Real Estate School by Home Study.
* If applicant completes both Accounting and Economics, only two courses from the second group are required.

Important Note: Quite often people have completed courses from a past college degree, or from a past attempt to receive a Broker License, that will satisfy California Department of Real Estate requirements. If you completed a course several (or even many) years ago, that course will be acceptable if you can provide the California Department of Real Estate with a course description and proof of completion.

Continuing education offerings do not satisfy the college-level course requirements for this examination.

Each college-level course must be a minimum of three semester-units or four quarter-units. The courses must be completed prior to being scheduled for an examination. Copies of official transcripts are generally acceptable evidence of completed courses. Transcripts of other courses, submitted as an equivalent course of study in lieu of the statutory courses, must be accompanied by an official course or catalog description in order to be evaluated.

Broker qualification courses must be completed at an institution of higher learning accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or by a comparable regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, or by a private real estate school which has had its courses approved by the California Real Estate Commissioner like Chamberlin Real Estate School (DRE Sponsor ID S0082).

Courses completed through foreign institutions of higher learning must be evaluated by a foreign credentials evaluation service approved by the Department of Real Estate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I take the required classes online?

Definitely. You can take the required classes either at an online real estate school or in person. However, all of your college-level real estate courses must be approved by the Department of Real Estate. Be sure to check with your educational institution and the Department of Real Estate before enrolling in any course to make sure it is approved.

What other types of real estate experience may be considered?

The Department of Real Estate considers other kinds of equivalent experience, including experience as an escrow or title officer or loan officer in a capacity related to the financing or conveying of real estate, experience as a subdivider or speculative builder performing comprehensive duties related to the purchase, finance, development, and sale or lease of real estate, or experience as a real property appraiser. If you have any other form of equivalent experience, please contact the Department of Real Estate to find out if you are eligible for a broker’s license.

I am not from California, but I have a real estate license in another state. Can I become licensed in California?

Yes, you can. California does not have a waiver program with any state, so you must apply for the real estate broker or salesperson examination and meet all the other requirements set by the Department of Real Estate.
You can verify if your out-of-state courses are accepted by submitting transcripts from accredited schools and colleges to the Department of Real Estate. Courses completed through foreign institutions of higher learning must be evaluated by a foreign credentials evaluation service approved by the Department of Real Estate.

I passed the State Bar. Do I still need to take college courses?

Great news! Members of the State Bar do not have to complete college-level courses. Although, you would still need two years of full-time licensed salesperson experience or equivalent real estate experience while working as a lawyer in California.

I have a Juris Doctor degree. Will this fulfill the educational requirements for a broker’s license?

No, your Juris Doctor degree is not enough. You would need to have taken college-level real estate classes and meet the other educational requirements set by the Department of Real Estate. Or, you must first pass the State Bar and meet the experience requirements while working as a lawyer in California.

Is it really possible to be a licensed broker at the age of 18?

Yes, but this is very rare. By 18, you either have to have been a licensed salesperson for at least two years or have finished a four-year degree under your belt. You can only be licensed as a salesperson from the age of 18, so you’ll need to wait two years before applying for a broker’s license.
However, the law also provides room for other types of real estate-related experience. if you have any form of experience related to real estate and have worked in the industry for more than two years, you may consider applying for a broker’s license. In addition, you will also have to fulfill the other educational requirements outlined by the Department of Real Estate.