How to get your San Diego real estate license

Sunset,And,Marine,Layer,At,The,Terry,Pine,Beach,,SanSan Diego’s red-hot housing market is starting to cool off. However, it’s still a seller’s market with a median listing home price of $820,000. On average, homes in San Diego CA sell after just 42 days on the market which means San Diego realtors are raking it in. The median listing home price per sq ft in San Diego is currently $591, and the median sold home price is $795,000.

Other statistics:

  • The Median Sales Price is up 14.7%
  • The Average Sales Price is up 17.7%
  • Closed Sales decreased 12.3%

There are 100 neighborhoods in and around San Diego including Rancho Bernardo, East Village, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and City Heights. On the cost front, La Jolla has a median listing home price of $2.4M, making it one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the county. East Village is on the affordable neighborhood end, with a median listing home price of $500,000.

One thing to note is that there is no specific real estate regulatory agency or organization specifically for San Diego County. Instead, there is a regulatory body for all of California.

San Diego, CA Real Estate License Requirements

  • You have to be 18 or older.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must reside in California. (You should know that there are special procedures for non-California residents to get licensed.)
  • You must meet the California Department of Real Estate’s (DRE) honesty requirements. This means you must ensure that your application is honest and truthful all information provided must be correct and up to date.

If you’ve fulfilled these requirements, you can proceed with the following:San,Diego,Ca,Usa,04,08,2015:,The,Gaslamp,Quarter

  • Pre-licensing education: To get your real estate license, you need to sign up for, and complete 135 Hours of the required pre-licensing course
  • Real estate licensing exam: Take And pass the California Real Estate Exam through a “regionally accredited college or university” or an approved real estate school.
  • Fingerprints: You must submit your details for a background check including your fingerprints for prior legal identification.
  • Sponsor broker: After completing the steps listed above, you will be given an inactive license which is activated when you find a sponsor. The sponsoring broker needs to be located in California.
  • Take Post-licensing Education and Renew Your License: Upon completing all the requirements to be a real estate salesperson, you will need to keep renewing your license. This will enable you to keep practicing in the state of California, to update your knowledge and skills.

What To Look Out for When Choosing a Real Estate School

Choosing a proper real estate school is probably the most important step you can take towards starting a great career. A proper real estate school will teach you the basics of real estate. Ensure that:

  • The school is certified by the California State Department of Real Estate (DRE).
  • They have a high student pass rate. If a school is good, it will be reflected in the number of successful students they’ve had pass their course and the real estate licensing exam.
  • Their programs, services, location, and prices are compatible with what you want.

The Best Real Estate License Schools in San Diego

You’ll find many real estate schools in San Diego. However, apart from teaching what you need to know, they are usually your first means of networking with other people in the real estate industry. Here are some of the best real estate schools in San Diego.

CA Realty Trainingca realty training logo

CA Realty Training offers licensing courses to aspiring California real estate agents. CA Realty is specific to the state of California, which enables them to provide in-depth materials needed to ace the California licensing examination. This gives them an edge over other licensing schools. CA offers students online courses, textbooks, and in-person learning methods. It is one of the most popular real estate schools in the state, and boasts a high pass and success rate. Strictly online learning starts at $154, and goes up to $400 for live training. CA Realty training is also one of the top continuing education providers in the state. They have 75 locations across the state, so there is always an in-person option close to you.


The CE Shopce-shop-logo

The CE Shop has an incredibly high pass rate of 70.64%. They help you fulfill the 135-hour real estate salesperson education requirement, and they offer 4 ARELLO accredited packages. The course only is the basic package that gives materials needed to pass the exam and enter the real estate world at $129, the standard package which is $189 is similar to the course only package, but in addition, has a pass guarantee that refunds student if they don’t pass the exam. The value package entails the standard package and resource that will help in building a business when a student gets licensed at $229, and the premium package at $269 is the value package and 45-hour first renewal package.


Allied Real Estate Schoolsallied real estate school logo

Allied Real Estate Schools also have a highly respected online real estate package, and they have a working partnership with Real Estate Express. This means you will be getting a course overseen by two respected institutions for the price of one, they offer both real estate licensing pre-licensing and continuing learning courses.  Allied Real Estate School has ARELLO and IDECC accreditations.  Allied schools has 3 packages including the Fast Track Career Program at $131.60, Premium program at $201. 60 and the Premium plus program which includes a CE membership at $243.60.


USA College of Real EstateUSA-College-Of-Real-Estate-San-Diego-California

This school is in the San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla. Besides the pre-licensing classes, they offer private coaching and continuing education courses. They offer some of the best in-person classroom training that can be calibrated specifically for California pre-licensing requirements and the San Diego market. Their agents are reported to average over $200,000 gross commission per year. This is in no small part due to their comprehensive course lists that take one from a newbie to a pro quickly. Their package costs $300 tuition for the primary program and an additional $180 for the online state-required courses.


Top Real Estate Brokerages in San Diego

You need to be affiliated with a real estate broker to be able to practice in San Diego. Brokerages give you a quicker start to your career, get you connections, and teach you the norms and traditions of the industry. When trying to select a brokerage, consider the commission split, training, incentives, desk fees, and support incentives. Here are a few recommended San Diego rea estate brokerages.

Premier Home Teamspremiere homes logo

Address: 2820 Camino del Rio S, Ste 314, San Diego, CA 92108

A top dealer in the property market across San Diego County, Premier Homes Team provides the full spectrum of real estate services to buyers and sellers, including single-family residential, luxury homes, multi-unit properties, investments, commercial properties, new homes, and leasing. They also offer turnkey financial solutions through their network of professional partners. They have a reputation for selling homes faster than expected. They are web integrated, and they are recognized for the quality    they provide across the board.


RedFinredfin logo

Address: 7676 Hazard Center Dr, Suite 640. San Diego, CA 92018

RedFin is another great real estate company in San Diego that genuinely caters to their real estate agents. New agents, regardless of experience or sales, can get up to $20,000 per annum to cover expenses as well as holidays, leaves and health care benefits. It’s a great place to begin a Real estate agent journey.


eXp Realtyexp realty logo

Address: 5670 Oberlin Drive, San Diego, CA 92121

eXp Realty, founded in 2009, is one of the fastest-growing real estate brokerage firms in the world. eXp is a virtual brokerage that makes use of a cloud-based platform to connect her real estate agent community. At eXp, you work at your own pace and time. eXp Realty has a fixed annual cap of $16,000 and a commission split of 80 to 20 with 80% going to you. After meeting your annual cap, 100% of your commissions is yours with no desk fees, royalty fees, or franchise fees. As a perk of working with eXp, you can invest 5% of your commission into EXPI company stocks at a 20% employee discount. They also pay a percentage of the commission of an agent you recruit.


Keller Williamskeller-williams-logo

Address: 2250 4th Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego, CA

With many offices around San Diego, California and the country at large, Keller Williams is an especially great place to work as it supports beginner real estate agents and brokers. Keller Williams offer a lot of training and support, and the commission split is 70/30 in favor of the agent. The company also has an online learning platform; Keller Williams University, which provides education and useful tips to aspiring real estate agents.


Best Local Associations for San Diego Agents

As a real estate professional, you might want to join an organization of other professionals that will keep you in the know, lobby with the government to get you great deals, make market research, and offer you more benefits.

Greater San Diego Association of RealtorsSDAR logo

Address: 4845 Ronson Ct, San Diego, CA 92111

The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR) is the premier organization of realtors in San Diego. They offer professional services, education, and training for Realtors in San Diego. They actively serve as a pressure group that advocates for private property rights at local, state, and national levels. Politically, they lobby for the protection of property rights and the facilitation of professionalism and ethics among their members. They supply their members with mentorship programs, training materials, and other professional support services.


North San Diego County Association of Realtorsnsdcr

Address: 16766 Bernardo Center Dr Suite 107A, San Diego, CA 92128

Founded in 1994, North San Diego County Association of Realtors has been active in advocacy, education, and local affairs throughout North County. NSDAR is a progressive, forward-thinking Association that honors our communities by looking after their future, as well as neighbors and friends.

The association boasts about being accessible from the top down, and offering mentoring services to better help the real estate community.

They offer a broad array of advocacy, professional development and industry knowledge. Their mission: “We’re also a family. No concern is too small. We’re here to help our members grow and prosper, and to serve our community with unparalleled professionalism.”


Pacific Southwest Association of Realtorspsar logo1

Address: 880 Canarios Ct. #100, Chula Vista, CA 91910

Founded in 1928, PSAR has a rich history. History prior to the 1970s was documented by active members at that time.

PSAR would begin expanding their service area, gain a presence, and service our members in the Central San Diego area. PSAR’s Central Service Center opened its doors on January 23, 2019 at  4340 Genesee Ave. #203, San Diego, CA.

In 2012, The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors merged with the East County Association of Realtors to better represent the San Diego area. With this merger and the help of East County Association of Realtors, PSAR would begin expanding their service area and flourish into the diverse Association it is today!

For Further Help or Information

If you need more specific advice about your journey in getting into the San Diego real estate industry, we can help you. We help professionals and budding professionals like you with business advice, empowerment, and support. Let’s set you up on your journey to becoming a Real Estate Agent in San Diego.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/27/2022