California License Requirements

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California Real Estate License Requirements

Learn about the California education requirements for real estate licensing and renewal.

Licensing Board/Commission: California Department of Real Estate 

California Real Estate Education Requirements:

  • California real estate salesperson license: Successful completion of three college-level courses, including: 
    • Real Estate Principles and Real Estate Practice, as well as one of the following courses --  Real Estate Appraisal, Property Management, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Economics, Legal Aspects of Real Estate, Real Estate Office Administration, General Accounting, Business Law, Escrows, Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending, Computer Applications in Real Estate and Common Interest Developments.
  • California real estate broker license: Successful completion of the following 8 statutorily required college-level courses: 
    • Real Estate Practice
    • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Real Estate Finance
    • Real Estate Appraisal
    • Real Estate Economics or Accounting*
  • They must also complete three of the following courses: 
    • Real Estate Principles
    • Business Law
    • Property Management
    • Escrow
    • Real Estate Office Administration
    • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
    • Advanced Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Advanced Real Estate Finance
    • Advanced Real Estate Appraisal
    • Computer Applications in Real Estate
    • Common Interest Developments

*Note: If both Real Estate Economics and Accounting are taken, only two courses from the above group are required.

California State Reciprocity:

California has no reciprocity with any other state to allow a waiver of any of the requirements to obtain a license. 

In applying for the real estate broker or salesperson examination, evidence of completion (i.e. transcripts) of the statutory courses in out-of-state institutions is acceptable if the institution is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or a comparable regional accrediting entity, and each course counts as three semester-units of credit or four quarter-units of credit. Courses completed through foreign institutions of higher learning must be evaluated by a foreign credentials evaluation service approved by the Department of Real Estate.

Unless prior approval has been granted by the California Real Estate Commissioner, no private vocational real estate school outside the State of California may grant credit for the required pre-license courses. Out-of-state residents must file a Consent to Service of Process with the California Department of Real Estate. This form must be completed, signed, notarized and submitted to the California Department of Real Estate with the original or renewal application.

Brokers must maintain a California business address if engaging in business in California. If not engaging in business in California, brokers must also file an Out-of-State Broker Acknowledgment. 

Salespersons must be licensed with a California broker if engaging in business in California.

Applicants for a California real estate license must submit one set of classifiable fingerprints, acceptable to the State Department of Justice (DOJ). Applicants who reside outside of California must submit their fingerprints directly to the California Department of Real Estate. A fingerprint card (FBI Applicant FD-258 Rev 3/10) will be provided to all out-of-state applicants with the original license application. It should be taken to a local law enforcement agency for completion. The appropriate fingerprint fee must be submitted to the California Department of Real Estate with the completed fingerprint card, original license application, and license fee.

California Continuing Education (CE) and License Renewal Requirements:

California real estate licenses must be renewed every four years from the date on the license.

License renewal requires the completion of 45 clock hours of California Department of Real Estate approved real estate CE consisting of:

  • One 8-hour survey course that covers the five required subjects (Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing and Risk Management) OR 
  • 15 hours of continuing education courses in the following subjects: Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing and Risk Management
  • Additionally agents must complete at least 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses, and can meet the 45-clock-hour requirement with any real estate classes related to either consumer service or consumer protection

California Appraisal License Requirements

The information contained below is designed to provide a summary of the minimum education, experience, and examination requirements established by the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers. The information provided below can be found on the Board’s website. However, we recommend you contact the Board for more detailed information and for any changes which may have occurred.

California Appraisal Licensure Levels:

  • Trainee License
  • Residential License
  • Certified Residential License
  • Certified General License 

California Appraisal Licensure Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Proved proof of legal presence in the United States
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Must meet the educational requirement for the applying level of licensure
  • Must meet the experience requirement for the applying level of licensure
  • For Certified Residential level:  A minimum of an Associates Degree OR 21 college semester hours in specific subject matters is also required. 
  • For Certified General level:  A minimum of a Bachelors Degree OR 30 college semester hours in specific subject matters is also required. 
  • Satisfactory completion of the state examination
  • Submit application, required documents, and associated fees.

California Appraisal Education Requirements:

  • 150 hours for the Trainee which consist of the following courses:  Basic Appraisal Principles (30 hours), Basic Appraisal Procedures (30 hours), 15 Hour National USPAP Course or its equivalent (15 hours), Residential Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use (15 hours), Residential Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach (15 hours), Residential Report Writing and Case Studies (15 Hours), Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approach (30 hours)
  • 150 hours for the Residential Licensed Appraiser which include the same hour requirement as the Trainee level
  • 200 Hours for the Certified Residential Appraiser which consist of the same 150 hours of Licensed Appraiser education AND:  Statistics, Modeling and Finance (15 hours), Advanced Residential Application and Case Studies (15 hours), Appraisal Subject Matter Electives (20 hours)
  • 300 hours for the Certified General Appraiser which includes the same 200 hours for the Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser education AND:  General Appraiser Sales Comparison and Income Approach (15 hours), General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach (15 hours), General Appraiser Income Approach (45 hours), General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies (10 hours), General Appraiser Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use (15 hours)

Experience Requirements:

  • Trainee – no work experience requirement 
  • Residential Licensed Appraiser – 2000 hours in no less than 12 months
  • Certified Residential Appraiser – 2500 hours in no less than 30 months
  • Certified General Appraiser – 3000 hours in no less than 30 months with at least 1500 hours of experience in non-residential appraisals

California Appraisal Continuing Education Requirements:

  • A full CE Renewal is the second renewal after the beginning of your CE Cycle. The required education for this renewal includes the 7-hour National USPAP Update Course taken in your USPAP-only renewal (above), but also must have an additional 7-hour National USPAP Update Course taken within the second 2 years of the license term and a 4-hour Laws and Regs course. 
  • Those three courses total 18 of the 56 hours required for the CE Cycle, leaving 38 hours of electives. In order to avoid a potential lapse in your license renewal applications should be submitted 90 days prior to your expiration date.
  • All acceptable continuing education must be taken within the licensees CE Cycle. A licensees original CE Cycle start date will begin with the issuance date of their initial license, and normally runs for a period of four years provided the USPAP Renewal is not renewed on a late basis. The ending date of a CE Cycle will be the expiration date of the CE Renewal. The CE Cycle then starts over and the licensees new CE Cycle Start date will be the issuance date of the CE Renewal.

California Home Inspection Requirements

Learn about the home inspection courses and qualifications needed for certification and renewal in California.

Requirements to Become a California Home Inspector: There are no current requirements, however many inspectors elect to join the California Real Estate Inspection Association

Home Inspection License Expiration: 6/30 even years for CREIA members

Home Inspection Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours of CE annually for CREIA members