Best Real Estate Schools in California

Thinking about getting your real estate license? Former students have rated the top real estate schools in California below - and we've also included all the information you need to become a real estate agent. Good luck!

Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express
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3.91/5

based on 35 reviews

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Real Estate Express Customer

I liked Real Estate Express because I was able to work at my own pace. I suggest CAREFULLY reading the information and definitely having good time management. When you do work on a chapter, be sure to finish it; otherwise, the work you complete will not be saved. There are a few issues with the curriculum, where it was hard to understand some sections that were a bit outdated. I do think they need to keep up to date with the state real estate commission so that users are not confused when it comes to testing.

RealEstateU

RealEstateU
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4.38/5

based on 24 reviews

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RealEstateU Customer

It was convenient, and the instructor was informative. If you want something very educational and easy to attend without having to go in person, I recommend it. I thought it was a good school, and I passed my exam the first time.

Allied Real Estate Schools

Allied Real Estate Schools
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4.25/5

based on 20 reviews

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Allied Real Estate Schools Customer

I thought that it was great. I initially failed the state exam the first time because the class I took for pre licensing did not include anything on the ethics portion of it. But when I did the Allied test prep, it had the exact information I needed to know, and I passed the exam right after.

The CE Shop

The CE Shop
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4.65/5

based on 20 reviews

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Noah D.

I liked it, especially the formatting and multiple choice. For anybody thinking of doing this course, make sure you're consistent and make time on your schedule to work on your courses. The price was affordable, and it was entertaining enough to stay engaged. I do recommend it.

360 Training

360 Training
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3.75/5

based on 16 reviews

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360 Training Customer

I liked that it was an online platform. Absolutely everything in the state and national exam was covered in their curriculum, I passed on the first try. I recommend that you stay focused and complete the whole program on a specific date. It was a great program.

Kaplan Real Estate Education

Kaplan Real Estate Education
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4.55/5

based on 11 reviews

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G.G.

I liked that I was able to get everything online and that it was user friendly. Everything was easy to access, and it was incredibly well informed. I'd definitely recommend this program, and I suggest to study all the material they provide, especially the book material. I thought the program was fun and entertaining overall. I felt very confident when it came to that state and national exam, especially after using outside material on YouTube for extra studying. They have excellent pricing, and I highly recommend it.

CA Realty Training

CA Realty Training
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4.86/5

based on 14 reviews

Review from: Google logo

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Very supportive and helpful. Even with o...

Arinee -

Very supportive and helpful. Even with online courses and videos, I feel as though I am getting an in-person experience. I am very confident about taking exams and obtaining license. Thank you CA Realty Training

Rockwell Institute

Rockwell Institute
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3.40/5

based on 5 reviews

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I did the online courses and it was real...

RealEstateVladimir

I did the online courses and it was really easy to pass the exam from the first time would recommend to anyone who needs to get licensed as a broker

McKissock Learning

McKissock Learning
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4.50/5

based on 4 reviews

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McKissock Learning Customer

The staff was extraordinary, and they always went the extra mile for their users. I thought the program was good, but it was a little dry. I think they should add videos to make it more interesting because reading throughout the curriculum was the worst. They also need to try to shorten the length of the information because there is way too much content, and users forget it by the end of reading everything.

Hondros

Hondros
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5.00/5

based on 3 reviews

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Compucram

Hondros Customer

The Compucram questions are majorly helpful. Some of the questions are word for word what you see on the exam...

California Real Estate School FAQs

For starting a brand new career, it’s not that hard.

California has one of the most rigorous requirements to become a real estate agent in the country. Depending on how fast of a learner you are, the 135 hours of courses can be taxing.  That said – you can complete the courses on your own schedule, which helps make it a bit easier than being on someone else’s course schedule.

The state real estate exam is relatively difficult if you don’t take a test prep course first, but if you’re prepared, it isn’t too bad. One requirement of becoming an agent is finding a brokerage – but it’s not too hard to find one willing to take on new licensees isn’t particularly difficult.  In general, students who take a prep course before the final exam have a higher chance of passing on the first try.

According to statistics issued by the California Department of Real Estate, there’s currently more than 425,000 brokers and sales agents in the state. Real estate in California can be tricky, but it’s also a very lucrative career path. It’s been estimated that the average annual salary for real estate agents in California is over $70,000, which is substantially more than the national median of $61,720 reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. And of course, if you’re a top agent, you could earn a lot more.

California is considered one of the top five states in the country for the real estate industry, with an average of over $70,000 annually. By comparison, Florida, Georgia, and Washington report an average between $50,000 and $65,000.

To get your real estate license, you need to take a pre-licensing course, and pass the California real estate exam.

All courses must be completed through a “regionally accredited college or university” or an approved real estate school.  The good news is you going to physical classrooms isn’t required – you can take the course online through an approved real estate school.

Most real estate schools allow you to buy a single package with everything you need to become an agent.  As far as the official state requirements, you’ll need to take these courses:

  1. Real Estate Principles (mandatory)
  2. Real Estate Practice (mandatory)
  3. And one elective of the following courses:
    • Accounting
    • Business Law
    • Common Interest Developments
    • Escrows
    • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Mortgage Loan Brokering & Lending
    • Property Management
    • Real Estate Appraisal
    • Real Estate Economics
    • Real Estate Finance
    • Real Estate Office Administration

All applicants for a California real estate license must be 18 years of age and submit to mandatory electronic fingerprint identification.

No, a college degree is not required to become a California real estate agent – you just need to make sure you’ve met all of the other requirements described on this page.

The California Department of Real Estate requires at least three college-level courses as part of your preliminary training for a real estate license. However, they do not need to be from an accredited college or university. Any of the schools listed on this page will be able to help you fulfill this requirement.

The cost per license for a real estate agent in California is $245 annually, as well as a $60 examination fee in addition to the cost of the preliminary course requirements as listed above.  The pre-licensing courses range wildly in price – from $99 to $500 if you’re taking the course online. When you’re budgeting for the new career, be sure to include the cost of a test prep course – it can significantly improve your chance of passing the state real estate exam.

California pre-licensing courses are required by the state real estate commission to be 135 hours of “credit.”  The preliminary three-semester units should take approximately 135 hours. The exam itself is made up of 150 multiple choice questions given over three hours.

Keep in mind that the length of time is entirely contingent on passing a minimum 70 percent of the examination itself – so it’d be wise to pay attention to the course content to make sure you’ll pass.

Acceptable forms of ID for the real estate examination in California include a driver’s license or DMV identification card, a government-issued passport (including your country of birth), or a U.S. military-issued identification card.

It depends. California state law requires you to disclose any previous criminal conviction to the Department of Real Estate including, both misdemeanors and felonies. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of your real estate license. That said – a previous criminal conviction is not necessarily a bar to obtaining your real estate license. The California Department of Real Estate is your best resource to let you know if you’re eligible or not.

Thankfully, there’s no hard limit on the number of times you can take the California real estate license exam during a two year period, but a good recommendation is to wait at least 18 days between each exam. Each attempt must be accompanied by a new application and a non-refundable fee of $60. 

While some agents indicate that it can take up to four times to pass the sales agent exam on average, much of it will depend on how prepared you are and how thorough your understanding is of the required preliminary courses. It’s certainly not unheard of for agents to have passed after having taken the exam only once.

There are seven areas covered during the exam. Your pre-licensing course, along with a simple test prep course, should prepare you to succeed on the state real state exam. The seven pieces of the real estate exam are:

  • Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulations,
  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duties
  • Property Valuation and Financial Analysis
  • Financing
  • Transfer of Property
  • Real Estate Practice and Disclosure
  • Contracts

Roughly fifty percent of all people who take the California real estate examination complete it with a passing grade of 70 percent or more. That said, don’t let the state pass rate dissuade you. Many people don’t even prepare with a prep course – which of course, is highly recommended. If you’re prepared through a prep course, you’ll be in much better shape to pass the state exam.

Yes – and the difference is very important to understand.  A real estate agent is someone who is licensed to help people buy, sell, or rent properties, both commercial and residential. A broker, on the other hand, is as much responsible for the oversight for the day to day operations of an agency as they are for sales. It requires more of an understanding and experience of the real estate industry than just a standard real estate sales license.

However, becoming a real estate broker associate with a qualified brokerage firm is generally considered to be one of the most thorough and quickest ways to gain experience in property sales. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy.  But it will give you the confidence, knowledge, and tools necessary for success in real estate.

Finding a real estate brokerage to sponsor you as a recent licensee isn’t very difficult. In other words – most brokerages are “qualified” to sponsor you. 

Think of this process of one where you are interviewing the broker to decide if you want to work there – not the other way around.  Use third-party informational resources like those available on AgentAdvice.com to help you make the right decision.

As you’re selecting a qualified real estate brokerage, make sure you choose one who excels in training new agents, and who will be happy to show you the ropes of real estate sales.

It’s a common misconception that a real estate agent is the same as a licensed Realtor. They aren’t. Only an official membership in the National Association of Realtors gives you the right to call yourself a Realtor. Why is this designation so prestigious? It’s simple.

An agent is 100% licensed to sell properties – and if you earn a real estate license, this is entirely your right.  That said, most brokerages in California insist on the Realtor designation. A licensed Realtor has sworn a professional oath to put their clients’ interests first. This doesn’t mean a licensed real estate agent is unqualified or not professional– far from it. But the official license of a Realtor grants an agent the added qualification that home buyers actively look for. 

There are portions of the exam you’ll need to take that are more broad national questions, as well as testing your state-specific knowledge of California real estate.  Real estate law is particularly stringent in California and requires that a successful agent will have a fair understanding of California-specific obligations, including conveyance, contracts, transactions, and deeds.

No. Only an official license in the state of California grants you the right to act as either an agent or broker in the real estate industry.

The only exception: If you’re an attorney who is barred in California, you may be able to just sit directly for the exam – no pre-licensing course needed.  However, to be sure – it’s a good idea to double-check with the California Department of Real Estate.

Being licensed as an employing broker in California indicates that you can choose to work independently or for a full-scale brokerage firm. Employing brokers typically don’t tend to be salaried. Instead, each successful close will result in a commission-based fee—sometimes more than thirty percent of closing costs.  If you don’t have your license yet, you should be focusing on becoming a sales agent first.