5 Best Online Real Estate Schools in California for 2024 (Updated!)

chris-heller-headshotChris Heller, Licensed California Agent2/8/2024

Editorial Note: We sometimes earn a small commission from partners listed. This never affects editor opinions or evaluations. More

Need to get your real estate license in California? I’ve spent over 155 hours evaluating the 11 most popular courses approved by the California Department of Real Estate. I’ve checked out each and every course, and there are clear winners and losers – so be sure to read my guide thoroughly!

5 Best Real Estate Schools in California

What did I evaluate?
my-online-florida-real-estate-school-comparison

I looked at the 5 most important factors for each course, including course value, ease of use, unique features, student satisfaction, and pass rates.

I also took into account thousands of online reviews from other agents who have attended the courses. Each course is different, so I’ve included video walkthroughs so you can really understand what you’re getting. My video reviews include my opinions too (I promise, they’re short and sweet).

How’d I do it? I “secret-shopped” each and every course in California. I got access to the courses, I contacted their support team as if I were an active student, and I took a look at the content. These California real estate schools may appear to be really similar when you’re first taking a look, but trust me – as probably the ONLY person who has actually evaluated all these California courses – they are very, very different!

A bit about Pass Rates:

You’ll see me refer to Pass Rates in my article – these are estimated using a variety of sources – pass rates directly from the providers, estimations from other states where providers operate in multiple states, and user-reported qualitative information.

SchoolEstimated Pass Rate
AceableAgent
92%
The CE Shop
90%
OnlineEd
79%
Colibri Real Estate
71%
RealEstateU
68%

Alright, let’s get to it…After spending hundreds of hours evaluating each course and taking into account all these factors, I have narrowed down the list to the 5 best online real estate schools in California. Here they are!

Best Online Real Estate School in California: AceableAgent

Top Features

: Super high pass rates, best-in-class test prep, engaging content

When it comes to California real estate schools, Aceable’s course stands out as my personal favorite. If you’re looking to avoid tedious content, this is the perfect course for you. With its impressive track record of high pass rates, it offers you the greatest chance of success.

In terms of pricing, Aceable’s course falls somewhere in the middle—not the most expensive, nor the cheapest. However, due to its exceptional quality and success rates, I consider it the best overall real estate course in California. Additionally, there is a sale going on right now, which adds to its appeal.

Unlike other courses, even the most affordable package offered by Aceable is enough to get the job done. However, I highly recommend the “Deluxe” package for the level of preparedness it provides, giving you confidence as you walk in to take the test.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.7 out 5. I was thoroughly impressed by the captivating content I came across in Aceable’s course. It has a multimedia learning approach that incorporates videos, interactive games, infographics, and knowledge checks. This kept me engaged throughout the entire 135-hours, which I really enjoyed. This method also effectively broke away from the tedious amount of traditional reading that many other schools require, making it easier for me to absorb the material. When compared to other leading California schools like OnlineEd or Colibri, Aceable undoubtedly emerged as the clear winner, with none of the others even coming close.

On top of that, the mobile app proved to be a game-changer. It allowed me to study on-the-go, significantly helping me manage my time effectively. The convenience and flexibility provided by the app truly made a HUGE difference in my overall learning experience.

Pass Rate: 5 out 5. Impressively, Aceable boasts an outstanding 92% pass rate among California students, which is truly remarkable. In comparison, many other schools hover around the 70% range. Aceable’s pass rate surpasses that of other leading California schools, making it a standout choice. When selecting a real estate school, the pass rate is undeniably one of the most crucial metrics to consider. Opting for a school with a high pass rate ensures that you have a significantly better chance of successfully passing the exam and achieving your goals.

Course Duration: 4.5 out of 5. The California real estate course is known for being a tedious one, requiring 135 total hours to complete. Because of that, students often prefer having extra time in case they become busy with other commitments. When it comes to their extension policy, Aceable’s approach is somewhat less generous compared to schools like OnlineEd or Colibri Real Estate. If the course is not finished within 12 months, Aceable offers an option to extend access for an additional 6 months at a cost of $49. However, it’s worth noting that this time limit may not be a significant concern for most students, as the majority typically finish the course within 5-6 weeks. In fact, it is possible to complete the course in as little as 3 weeks with a focused effort.

Support:4.8 out of 5. Aceable’s customer support team is truly top-notch. Whenever I had a question or needed help, they were quick to get back to me, and their support was consistently helpful. I particularly appreciate the availability of chat support, as it allows for faster resolution of quick questions without the need to wait on the phone or listen to a hold line. It’s also worth noting that their customer support team is based in the United States, ensuring a smooth communication experience without language barriers (woohoo!).

However, one aspect to consider is that Aceable’s technical support team may not be as active or responsive during weekend hours. If you intend to dedicate your Saturdays or Sundays to knocking out coursework, this is something to keep in mind. While their customer support remains reliable during weekdays, the weekend support may be less accessible.

Refund Policy: 4.7 out of 5. While I personally did not require a refund, it’s worth noting that Aceable offers a generous 30-day refund policy, provided that the course has not been completed. This is a standard practice, and similar refund policies are offered by other schools such as Agent Advice Real Estate School and OnlineEd. However, Aceable goes the extra mile with their Ace or “Don’t Pay” Guarantee, which provides added peace of mind. This guarantee ensures that if you complete the course but do not pass the exam, you will not be required to pay for the course again. In comparison, other providers may charge an additional fee, often around $49 or more, for such a feature. The Aceable guarantee sets them apart by offering this benefit without additional costs.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend Aceable’s California pre-licensing course. For new agents, I’d suggest taking a look at the Deluxe package. The extra perks like the 75 videos & audio lessons and PrepAgent Deluxe Exam Prep make it a good value. You don’t want to have the take the California real estate exam twice, so you might as well go in with the best option in the market to really prepare you, if your budget allows it.

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  • In-course audio feature
  • EXCELLENT test prep
  • Mobile app for studying
  • Have to pay to extend course access
  • Some bugs on the mobile app

Easiest Online Real Estate School: The CE Shop

aceable logo

Top Features

: Free trial offer, high exam pass rate, self-scheduling flexibility

The CE Shop’s course in California is known for its straightforwardness and ease of understanding. It is considered one of the easiest courses to grasp in the state of California. If you find yourself indecisive about taking the course, the five-day free trial offer makes The CE Shop a no brainer choice. This trial period allows you to assess the course before committing fully.

In terms of affordability, The CE Shop provides great value for your money. While it may be slightly more expensive than RealEstateU’s course, the higher quality and multiple package options make it a superior choice.

Plus, this is one of the courses available for our Tuition Reimbursement program, which is a big help. All you have to do is attend at least 1 interview with one of our recruiters (+ provide feedback) after passing the state exam & before joining another brokerage, and we’ll reimburse you for the entire cost of the course that you purchase from us.

Just like Aceable, the cheapest package will do – though I’d recommend the “Premium” package. The perks of the Pass Guarantee alone make it worth the extra cost.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.8 out 5. The CE Shop truly stands out because of its user interface, which is designed to be used across multiple devices. The seamless transition, such as moving from a computer to a tablet without concerns about progress saving, adds a level of convenience and enjoyment to studying. The ability to study on the go without any inconvenience is also a huge plus.

The dashboard is another impressive feature, in my opinion. Additionally, the backend system of The CE Shop allows you to skip ahead or review previous sections easily, making studying convenient if you need to refresh your understanding on a particular topic.

In terms of content, The CE Shop strikes a good balance by offering a variety of learning materials. These include videos, slideshows, audio recordings, and interactive quizzes. While there is some reading involved, the inclusion of video recaps at the end of each section provides a helpful summary.

Pass Rate: 4.7 out 5. The CE Shop maintains an impressive 90% pass rate among California students, which is commendable. While it may not be the highest pass rate in the state, it’s definitely higher than the average pass rate by a significant margin. Many other real estate schools, which did not make it onto our list, have pass rates of less than 50%, making The CE Shop’s rate particularly noteworthy.

One of the reasons behind The CE Shop’s consistently high pass rate is their unlimited practice tests. Students have the opportunity to take as many practice tests as they desire. Each practice test provides valuable feedback by highlighting sections that require revisiting before attempting the test again.

Course Duration: 4.6 out of 5. The California real estate course typically takes 135 hours to complete, and while it may sound relatively short (or maybe not), having options available in case of any issues or a busy schedule is always beneficial. The extension policy for The CE Shop can be a bit intricate, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

After purchasing the course, it will remain accessible for six months. However, if you require additional time, you can request a one-month extension at no extra cost. Beyond that initial extension, for each subsequent 30-day extension or partial 30-day extension, you will need to pay 20% of the current retail price of the course. This allows you to extend the course for up to six months in total. After this six-month extension period, the course will expire and no further extensions will be available.

Support: 4.6 out of 5. The support team of The CE Shop, while not without its flaws, offers several notable wins. One of the significant benefits is their availability around the clock, seven days a week, throughout the year. This ensures that you can reach out for assistance whenever you need it. The support team also responds quickly through a number of channels, including email, phone, and live chat. They are great at addressing technical issues and providing troubleshooting support.

However, when it comes to content-related questions or inquiries about licensing requirements, they may not be the most knowledgeable. This could be an area where improvement is needed.

Refund Policy: 4.8 out of 5. The new 5-day free trial is my favorite feature that also sets The CE Shop apart from other real estate schools in California. This offer allows potential students to sign up, explore the course, and evaluate it before committing to the full purchase. This level of flexibility and opportunity to assess the course’s fit is unique and not offered by any other real estate schools in the state.

In terms of the refund policy, The CE Shop’s offering is relatively average. They provide a full refund within the first 30 days, as long as you have not completed more than 50% of the course. This policy aligns with the standard practices seen in other real estate schools such as Aceable and Agent Advice Real Estate School, which offer similar refund options. While it may not stand out, it is fair and reasonable.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I would recommend taking The CE Shop’s California pre-licensing course if you are looking for something that is easy to navigate. I’d suggest taking a look at the Premium package because the extra perks like the business building courses and downloadable resources make it worth the extra money. Those are things you can take with you after passing your exam and starting your career, so they will help you feel more prepared.

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  • Practice tests are unlimited
  • 96% student satisfaction rate
  • Lots of packages to choose from
  • A la carte options
  • Broad practice exam questions
  • Interface can be glitchy

Quickest Online Real Estate School: OnlineEd

onlineed logo

Top Features

: Courses include real-world examples from industry-leading experts, exam simulator

OnlineEd is a great choice if you’re looking to get your real estate license in a pinch. With the ability to navigate through the lessons at your own pace, you can complete the course in a matter of weeks. This flexibility is great if you have a busy schedule, as there are no time restrictions imposed by OnlineEd, giving you the best chance to balance your studies with other commitments.

In terms of cost, OnlineEd falls in the middle range. While it offers competitive pricing, it is important to be comfortable with self-guided learning as you do have to navigate through the course materials on your own. OnlineEd provides convenient on-the-go audio options and downloadable PDFs, which contribute to its reputation as one of the quickest California real estate courses out there.

To streamline the licensing process further, OnlineEd allows you to print your own certificate, eliminating the need to rely on others to do it for you. This feature adds convenience, making sure that you have your certificate ready for exam day without any delays.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.4 out 5. One of the standout benefits of OnlineEd is the instructor help, which sets it apart from many other online real estate schools. When you have questions or need clarification, you have access to live assistance from the instructors who designed the course. This direct interaction means that instructors can review and provide feedback on quizzes, helping to solidify your understanding before taking the state exam.

The course’s overall flow is another thing I really enjoyed about OnlineEd. It starts with an easy introduction and gradually increases in complexity as you gain a solid foundation of the basics. This format makes for a smooth navigation through the material without feeling repetitive.

You can also log in on any platform, including iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and the course adapts to different screen sizes. This guarantees a seamless learning experience regardless of the device you choose to use.

Pass Rate: 4.7 out 5. OnlineEd has a pretty high pass rate amongst California students (79%). The exam prep they offer is really great, especially when you compare it to other schools like Colibri Real Estate or RealEstateU. There are specific bullet points that help summarize the importance of each module as you go, and the practice test questions are very similar to those that will appear on the state real estate exam. This is a something to take into consideration, as you want to pick a school that will make you feel confident about the real estate exam.

Course Duration: 4.6 out of 5. OnlineEd is your best bet if you’re looking to get your California real estate license as quickly as possible, as they have specific policies in place to speed up the process. You can request a free information packet that provides the exact steps you need going forward. This packet assists you in navigating the background check requirements and understanding the deadlines involved.

In California, you also have the advantage of being able to take the real estate exam multiple times if needed. While the course offered by OnlineEd expires after one year, you do have the opportunity to retake the exam over and over again if you don’t pass on your first attempt. This flexibility provides you with the chance to continue working towards achieving your license, even if you encounter challenges along the way.

By combining the expediting policies of OnlineEd and the opportunity for multiple exam attempts, you can optimize your path towards getting your California real estate license efficiently.

Support: 4.2 out of 5. OnlineEd has made significant improvements to their customer support team’s response time in recent months. The new live chat feature enhances their support capabilities, allowing you to quickly get in touch with someone regarding course details, licensing requirements, and other pressing questions.

You can also contact OnlineEd’s customer support team via phone during regular business hours from Monday to Friday, providing an additional avenue for direct assistance. If those don’t work for you, there’s also an online contact box. While customer support availability may be limited on weekends, OnlineEd ensures that they respond to email inquiries within two days. Not bad for a relatively small school.

Refund Policy: 4.9 out of 5. I was not looking for a refund, but I’ve reviewed the policy here for those that are wondering. OnlineEd does not offer any refunds at this time for their California course. While you can cancel it any point, you will lose your money in the process. So if you think you might change your mind about becoming a real estate agent, then you may want to consider picking a school like Agent Advice Real Estate School or Aceable who do offer a return policy.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: All in all, I really enjoyed OnlineEd’s California licensing course. It’s a great option if you are looking to get your license ASAP, and are on a budget. The exam simulator is a great value, and allows you to get used to the questions that will appear on the test. That mixed with the digital flashcards will leave you feeling confident and ready to pass the California exam on your first try.

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  • Free information packet available
  • Live instructor support
  • Good student reviews
  • No refund policy
  • Slow response times on the weekends

Best Refund Policy: Colibri Real Estate

Top Features

: Several packages to choose from, lots of practice exams

Colibri Real Estate’s refund policy is widely regarded as the best in California. They provide a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, ensuring that if you don’t pass the course, you won’t have to pay for it. This guarantee offers peace of mind to students who may be uncertain about their decision to pursue a career in real estate. Additionally, Colibri Real Estate offers a course swap option, allowing students to switch to a different course within a specified time frame if they find that their initial choice isn’t the right fit for them.

Another notable feature is the opportunity to demo the student dashboard before making a payment. This allows prospective students to explore the platform, experience its features, and make an informed decision before committing financially.

In terms of pricing, Colibri Real Estate’s course falls on the higher end of the spectrum. However, they offer three different packages priced between $244 and $349, allowing students to select the package that best suits their needs and preferences. It’s worth mentioning that there are frequently discounts and sales going on, providing valuable cost-saving opportunities for those considering Colibri Real Estate.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.6 out 5. One standout feature of Colibri Real Estate’s course is the “readiness assessment.” This assessment evaluates your preparedness for the licensing exam and provides a score ranging from 1 to 10. This score serves as a guide to determine if you should continue studying or if you’re ready to sign up for the exam. This assessment can be a valuable tool in gauging your readiness and ensuring that you approach the exam with confidence.

Overall, Colibri Real Estate’s courses offer a range of features and options to cater to different learning styles and needs. The inclusion of coaching videos, the readiness assessment, and the availability of premium features in higher-priced packages contribute to a comprehensive and personalized learning experience.

Pass Rate: 4.2 out 5. While Colibri Real Estate has assisted over 500,000 aspiring agents get their real estate license, it’s worth noting that their pass rate among students is relatively low compared to other schools. With a pass rate of 71%, Colibri’s performance in terms of exam success is around the average for the state. While this pass rate may still be considered acceptable, there are other schools on this list with more impressive pass rates.

Evaluating different schools based on their pass rates, course features, and overall value can help you make an informed decision about which school aligns best with your learning needs and budget. It’s important to choose a school that provides bomb exam prep if you want to maximize your chances of success.

Course Duration: 4.5 out of 5. Although the California pre-licensing course takes 135 hours to complete (wowza!), some people like more to know early on if they have extra time to knock it out in case they get busy. You can pay to extend your course access by selecting a 7, 30, or 60-day option (prices go up the longer you want to extend). You can also choose the “retake” option which will give you a $25 discount to start the course over. Colibri’s policy is fairly generous compared to other schools, although you do only have the initial access for 6 months before you’ll have to look into extending your course.

Support: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri Real Estate has built a strong reputation as a trusted provider of online real estate education, and their commitment to excellent customer support reinforces this reputation. They offer multiple avenues for students to reach out to a real person, with dedicated phone lines for enrollment and support issues. Additionally, their “live education specialist” is always available through live chat, responding to queries within seconds.

Colibri also maintains an active presence on their social media platforms. They regularly update them to inform students about scheduled maintenance and keep them engaged with the community. Students can easily connect with fellow learners in their area through active Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Refund Policy: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri stands out as an excellent option for students who value a robust refund policy. They have tons of safeguards to ensure that students have options in case they are unhappy with the course. For self-paced online courses, which are highly popular, students can receive a 100% refund if they decide they don’t like the course within the first week of enrollment. If the course has not been started yet, a full refund can be requested within a month.

For those who opt for the livestream package, there is a 24-hour window to change their mind and request a refund or switch to an online-only format. This flexibility allows students to make informed decisions and provides a safety net in case their circumstances or preferences change.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: I would recommend Colibri’s California pre-licensing course. For aspiring agents, I’d suggest taking a look at the Ultimate Learning package. The extra perks like the career success tools, the coaching videos, and the CompuCram Exam Prep make it a great value that will help you find success long after you finish your real estate course.

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  • "Career Starting" coaching videos
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Decent student reviews
  • Must pay for physical study materials if you want them
  • Only 6 months of access before having to extend

Most Affordable Real Estate School (The CE Shop): Tuition Reimbursement

aceable logo

Top Features

: Easy way to get your real estate school paid for by someone else (us!) and know you have a brokerage you can join that’s dedicated to helping new agents build their real estate career.

We’ve built the most affordable way for you to get your Real Estate License. All you have to do is attend at least 1 interview with one of our recruiters after passing the state exam & before joining another brokerage, and we’ll reimburse you for the entire cost of The CE Shop course that you purchase from us.

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That’s right – we’ll reimburse you whether you choose to join our team or not (but we hope you do!).  About 50% of our tuition reimbursement graduates choose to work for our team after interviewing with us.  The other 50% of our tuition reimbursement students that choose to join another brokerage still get their course costs fully reimbursed.

Why are we the only real estate company that reimburses your course costs even if you don’t join our brokerage?  There are a few key reasons that we’ve decided to set our program this way:

  1.   Our 50% join rate is way higher than the industry average for recruiting, and we really want agents to be excited when they join us, which only works if they love what we have to offer.  Most brokerages only want experienced agents, but we specialize in helping new agents build their real estate careers from the ground up.  We have hundreds of agent training courses that range from helping you build out your social media presence to learning the ins and outs of commercial real estate; we have mentors dedicated to new agents to help them through their first sales; we even have a dedicated coach to help with mindset and motivation; and more.  So we don’t need to force new agents to join our team to save a few bucks.
  2.   If you choose to join another team, we also hope you change your mind someday and come back to join us.  Many agents reach out to us months or years after trying another brokerage first, and this gives us a chance to keep the door open for the 50% of new agents who don’t join us immediately.  If we can’t be the right brokerage for you right now, then we still hope to be the right brokerage for you some day in the future.
  3.   Too many real estate organizations fail to live up to their promises.  We’re not perfect, but we really try to follow-through on every promise we make, including our tuition reimbursement promise.

At the end of the day, we’re betting on you becoming a great agent, and if we can make obtaining your real estate license more affordable, then hopefully you’ll return the favor and join us after graduation or come back to us any time you’re ready for a new brokerage.  It’s that simple, and we’re happy to invest in you.

Get Started

How does the reimbursement work?

Email us (support@agentadvice.com) once you receive confirmation from the state that you’ve passed the state exam, and one of our recruiters will reach out to you to get to know you and share any and every thing you’ll want to know to decide if our brokerage is the right fit for you.

We’ll schedule the interview at a time that works for you.  All you have to do is attend the interview and provide a little feedback to our support team, and our support team will reimburse your credit card for the amount that you’ve paid us within 2 business days.  All in, it’s about an hour commitment between the interview and feedback.  No other strings attached.

Tip:  If you’ve already started a different course at your own expense, or prefer to pick your own school at your own expense, we’d still love to interview you.  Just reach back out when you’re licensed, and we can connect you with our hiring team, however, we’re unable to reimburse your course costs at this time unless you purchase the course directly from us. 

AgentAdvice.com is not the provider of any courses, and all state certifications, ongoing support questions, etc. will be provided by and fulfilled directly through the school. 

Think you have what it takes to be a successful real estate agent?

jim gray headshot“When I interview people who have just passed their real estate course, I’m looking for agents that meet a couple of characteristics. If you have these characteristics, it will determine who is successful and who is not in real estate.

It’s not an easy industry. If it was easy, we’d all be rich. First, I’m looking for agents that have a vision for what they want to be, people who want more than what they have. Now, I’m not talking about money, motivated people necessarily. If money motivates you that’s fine, but in most cases, money’s not the motivator.

I am looking for agents that are in touch with their motivations to grow. Is it having a house for your family? Is it providing an education for your children? Is it providing security for your future retirement? It doesn’t matter, I’m looking for agents that have a vision, and are passionate about taking care of present and future concerns, whatever they are. So that’s number one: ambition.

Financial,Concept.,Make,Money,On,The,Internet.,Businesswoman,Works,AtNumber two is looking for people that have a little bit of courage. This business requires courage. In my experience, having now been in conversations with well over a thousand agents over the last 18 months, and recruited more than a hundred, there’s one characteristic successful agents have. They don’t shrink from a challenge. They don’t, they still take action even if they don’t know all of the answers to all of the questions. They know that if they get faced with a question that they don’t really answer to, they know they can find the answer.

I’m looking for people that are ambitious, are courageous, and then finally are ready to grow. I want to help give people the opportunity to be the best version of themselves.

Usually, it’s not easy, and many times there are tears, and sweat, and frustration involved, but you go through that because you are so ambitious and in love with the future you’re trying to create. That passion for your future, it gives you courage to press through the hard times. So if you’re ambitious, courageous, and you’re ready to grow, and you think being in a conversation with a guy like me might be helpful to your future then let’s get you the tuition reimbursement you deserve!”

Tip: If these options sound intriguing, also consider checking out Agent Advice Real Estate School.

YouTube video

Agent Advice Success Stories: 

YouTube video

terricaTerrica C.
New Keller Williams Agent & Tuition Reimbursement Recipient

“I always wanted to become a real estate agent, and finally decided to take the next step. Getting started with my course was easy. Agent Advice just sent me a link, and I did the whole thing online. I finished the class, now I just need to get scheduled for the state test. I would definitely recommend Agent Advice to anyone looking to get their license, especially if they’re wanting to do it for free.”

 

rachelRachel K.
New Real Estate Agent & Tuition Reimbursement Recipient

“I was moving from Tennessee to Florida, so I was considering a career change. I always thought real estate might be something I’d be good at, so I connected with someone at Agent Advice and decided to take the course. It was easy to follow and understand, and the course I chose kept me interested. It didn’t take long for me to finish the class and I passed my state exam on the first try! I then reached out again to Agent Advice and set up an interview with a tuition reimbursement sponsor, and got my money back that same day. All in all, it was really simple and easy.”

 

marcusMarcus W.
New Real Estate Agent & Tuition Reimbursement Recipient

“The entire process was seamless, and the communication from the very beginning was great. When I first came across Agent Advice I had lots of questions, but I was able to get in touch with someone right away who helped explain the process from start to finish. Once I completed the course and set up an interview with a brokerage, they stopped the payments immediately. I also enjoyed the subscription payment option that Agent Advice has. It gave me the flexibility and motivated me to finish the course quickly. I’m still deciding on which brokerage is the right fit for me, but I enjoyed getting to interview with someone so that I could ask questions about what the day-to-day would look like at that company.”

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Best Continuing Education in California: CE Shop

aceable logo

Top Features

: Biggest continuing education provider in the nation

The CE Shop is hands down the easiest online provider to fulfill your continuing education requirements. The state of California requires all licensed agents to do 45 hours of continuing education every 4 years. Most agents are looking for a quick solution to knock these out, so CE Shop is your best bet.

The price point is slightly higher than other providers, but the convenience is what sets them apart. They also have several continuing education packages to choose from, so you can find the right mix of courses for you. For all of these reasons, The CE Shop is the best continuing education course in California.

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.8 out 5. The CE Shop’s continuing education courses are all online. I also really appreciate the custom-designed online learning platform that is easy to access on a tablet or phone. This allowed me to access the course material on the go, which made a huge difference in how efficient I was with my time.

Reporting is also a major thing to consider when you’re trying to finish your continuing education. Many agents wait until the last minute, so you want to find a provider that will immediately report your completed hours to the Department of Real Estate. The CE Shop has a policy that they will mark your hours as complete within 24 hours. You will also immediately receive a certificate upon completion, students can access an electronic copy of the certificate for a minimum of five years.

Pass Rate: 5 out 5. Passing a final exam is not required to receive continuing education credit in California so The CE Shop system is set up so that final exams can be passed with a 0% passing score. You just need to complete the hours to receive your credit.

Course Duration: 4.7 out of 5. You must complete 45 hours every four years to keep your license active in the state of California. Course expiration dates vary by course but are generally one year after you purchase the package or course. Each individual course will have an expiration date listed in your CE Shop account.

Support: 4.5 out of 5. I used the live chat feature, and the technical team quickly answered my questions and resolved the issue within minutes. However, it’s worth noting that direct access to instructors is not available. In the event of encountering a problem with the course materials, the support team pledges to provide a response within two days. Waiting for two days can feel like quite a stretch if you find yourself stuck in the middle of a lesson.

Refund Policy: 4.1 out of 5. The CE Shop doesn’t offer refunds for continuing education courses. Luckily, the price point is pretty low, so you won’t be out a ton of money.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend The CE Shop’s California continuing education courses. They are very quick and convenient, and provide a lot of flexibility. Agents are required to take 17 mandatory or “core” hours mixed with 28 “consumer protection” hours. That gives you the freedom to decide which courses are most important to you when picking your consumer protection courses. You can choose courses about short sales, commercial real estate, the art of negotiations, property management, taxes, and understanding investor strategies.

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  • Certificate provided immediately after completion
  • Don't need to pass an exam
  • Lots of elective courses available
  • Interface is glitchy
  • No refund policy

Best Test Prep in California: PrepAgent

Top Features

: Updated study material, engaging instructors

PrepAgent is designed to help future agents pass the real estate exam. They offer online group webinars, online training tools, e-books, and thousands of state-specific practice questions. 

I looked at dozens of different test prep vendors, including the ones that “come with” the courses – and frankly, all fall short of PrepAgent.

They are constantly updating their content as the exams change. While the questions cannot be the exact same as the real estate exam, PrepAgent strives to keep their content as close to what the exam will provide as possible. The material in the practice exams is written to reflect what an agent would need to know to pass the actual exam. 

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Convenience: 4.8 out 5. PrepAgent offers multiple ways for the students to study. They can focus on their weaknesses with category-specific tests, or go straight for the master exam preparation. Interactive flashcards and study guides are available to quiz yourself with, as well as worksheets to help track and remember all the information that has been provided.

PrepAgent also offers explainer videos to help keep the learning process fun. If students opt for the premium package they have access to live online group webinars 7 times a week with a variety of topics that cover the real estate exam. There is a live chat as well as recorded webinars to watch in the future in case you miss one.

In addition to California real estate practice exams and up-to-date information on the actual exam, PrepAgent also offers one-on-one tutoring for those that feel extra individualized attention may help them to better prepare. The tutors help focus on the struggles students are having with absorbing the material and helping to implement tips and study tricks to prepare for the exam. Students can schedule multiple sessions if necessary. 

Refund Policy: 4.1 out of 5. If you go with PrepAgent, you really can’t fail. If you aren’t satisfied with PrepAgent, their packages are covered with a 100% money-back guarantee. This sets them apart from some of their competitors, who have much more restrictive refund policies.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend PrepAgents’s California test prep. A feature I appreciated the most as a busy student is the ability to listen to the information in my car. Many students also applaud the instructors for their relatable way of teaching and how easy they made it to retain the information taught. Overall students seem very pleased with PrepAgent and their teaching methods, with many having stated they were able to pass the real estate exam on the first try using all the tools offered.

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  • Audio recordings available
  • Can get 1:1 tutoring
  • Several packages to choose from
  • Online only
  • Exam prep only available for a limited time

Best Option for Tuition Reimbursement: Agent Advice Real Estate School

agent-advice-logo

Top Features

: 100% online course, Work on any device (at your own pace), Engaging material in a variety of formats

Agent Advice Real Estate School is one of the best options if you’re in California. If you are in a time crunch and feel comfortable navigating through the material at your own pace, this is the perfect course for you. There are no time restrictions, so it gives you the best chance of passing the exam while juggling a busy schedule.

As far as price goes, there are several packages to choose from. You can pick from three different package options based on your preferred price. However, the added benefits of the Career Starter Package are totally worth it in my opinion (it’s also the most popular choice among students).

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Convenience: 4.4 out 5. The course starts with the basics and build from there, which makes it really easy to get the hang of, especially since the layout is broken out into smaller sections and modules. The courses are also very flexible for people who are looking to fly through the course quickly. The system is also up to date and uses the most effective technology & content to help students really grasp the material.

You also get:

  • 135-hour pre-licensing course
  • 100% online course
  • Work on any device, at your own pace
  • Engaging material in a variety of formats
  • Fully accredited course by the California Department of Real Estate
  • The #1 course endorsed by top producing California agents

Pass Rate: 4.7 out 5. Agent Advice Real Estate School has a pretty high pass rate among California students. The courses are written and published by industry-leading real estate pros who are very familiar with the California real estate market. This is one of the biggest pros of Agent Advice – because you’ll feel prepared to start your career as soon as you pass your exam. 85,000+ students have also gotten a CA license with these courses, so you’re in good company.

Support: 4.8 out of 5. Agent Advice’s customer support team is top notch. They are responsive, and can help you with any questions you have about the course or package options available. If you choose the Career Starter Package, you also get access to the largest private agent group on Facebook (150K active agents) who can help you navigate the industry. This is a huge help if you have questions about the exam, finding a broker, or just want to chat with like minded people from California.

Refund Policy: 4.9 out of 5. If you don’t pass your state licensing exam, you can get a full refund. To be eligible, students must purchase a course from AgentAdvice.com. You must attempt to pass the state licensing exam at least twice within 45 days of completing the course material. Just let Agent Advice know after failing the exam the first time, so we can help provide you with additional help. If you still don’t pass, you will receive a full refund. Read more about the tuition reimbursement option here.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend Agent Advices’s California pre-licensing course, especially if you’re on a budget and are looking to get your license ASAP.

For new agents, I’d suggest taking the Agent Advice Real Estate course and then upgrading to the Career Starter Package. The Free AgentAdviceU online course adds a $99 value and comes with a library of videos to help you kick off your career.

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  • Highest rated Test Prep in California (save $50!)
  • Pass or it's Free Guarantee
  • Tuition Reimbursement Option
  • Must purchase from AgentAdvice.com to qualify for tuition reimbursement

Honorable Mentions

We had a high bar in picking the best of the best real estate schools in California. These schools didn’t make the cut (frankly, they’re not as great as our top picks – but were also considered).

RealEstateU

realestateu

Top Features

: Self-paced, affordable courses

RealEstateU is the cheapest course available in California. It’s the only course in the state that is less than $200, and frankly, it shows. While you can save a few dollars, you also won’t get the same benefits the other courses provide. Because it’s very run of the mill, RealEstateU didn’t make our list of the best real estate schools in California.

That being said, if you are on a tight budget and don’t have the extra money to spend, the course can get the job done if you put in the effort. I found the information was a little harder to retain in the text-heavy format (there are NO interactive games or quizzes AT ALL!) But, RealEstateU does makes it really easy to study at your own pace, and you can access the course on the go.

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Convenience: 4.3 out 5. OnDemand lessons are entirely online and can be taken at any time using a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The audio tutorials can be accessed on the go, and are 3-20 minutes long. You can also follow along with the transcripts of the audio recordings if you are more of a visual learner. While certain schools provide more a multimedia learning experience, that is not the case with RealEstateU. There are some infographics to help break up the text, but it’s not nearly as entertaining as other options.

However, I did enjoy the progress tracker that let me know how long each section was so that I was able to manage my time accordingly.

Pass Rate: 4.2 out 5. RealEstateU has the lowest pass rates on our list of California schools. While REU’s 68% pass rate is significantly lower than Aceable’s or The CE Shop’s, it’s still higher than many other online real estate schools. The state average is ~57%, so it’s actually not a horrible pass rate all things considered. At the end of the day, while it’s not a course I would recommend they have helped more than 140,000 professionals get their real estate license in California.

Course Duration: 4.1 out of 5. Many people are curious about RealEstateU’s extension policy, as they want to know upfront how much time they have to finish the course. Bottom line: You have access to the course for 12 months, and if you haven’t completed it yet, you’ll have to buy the course all over again. While there are no extension options available, 12 months is actually a longer window than many other schools. Some courses, like Colibri Real Estate, have a strict cutoff date after just 6 months. It’s also less expensive to re-purchase REU’s course than it is to pay an extension fee because the base pay is so low to begin with. The only downside to that is that you’ll lose your place and have to start over.

Support: 3.9 out of 5. RealEstateU’s customer support team is lacking…to say the least. They don’t make it easy to find a phone number or even an email address if you need to get in touch with someone. They also don’t currently have a live chat option. The only way to get help is to fill out a contact form on their website. They don’t monitor those requests often either, so it took me several days to hear back about a site maintenance issue.

Refund Policy: 4.6 out of 5. I wasn’t looking for a refund, but this is something many people are curious about, so I’ve reviewed the policy here. RealEstateU offers a 30-day refund policy for classes that are under 50% completed. Keep in mind that ~$20 may be deducted from your refund depending on the class you are enrolled in. I’ll also note that they don’t offer any money-back guarantees, pass or don’t pay policies, or free trial offers. If a refund or a money-back guarantee is important to you, then consider looking into Agent Advice Real Estate School.

Overall Value: Overall, I wouldn’t suggest taking RealEstateU’s California pre-licensing course, but it will get the job done if you’re looking for a cheap price. For new agents, I’d recommend taking a look at Aceable’s basic package instead. It’s the second cheapest option, but has some added perks like the best-in-class exam prep and interactive course material that make it a better value.

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  • 30-day refund available
  • Very affordable
  • Few study materials
  • Text-heavy content

Our Methodology: 

I ranked and rated each school on 8 different factors to come up with the very best real estate schools in California. Our full guide on how we rank courses is available here, but the short version of factors considered are: 

  1. Course value
  2. How easy the courses were to navigate
  3. If there were any technical glitches
  4. Return policies
  5. Overall performance of each school as a whole
  6. Reviews directly from agents who’ve attended the school

There are dozens of options (some of them not so great!), so we’ve taken the work off your plate by narrowing down the list to only the ones that scored high enough. Whether you’re dedicating yourself full time to your new career, are looking to fly through the courses quickly to get them over with, or are busy and looking to work through them when you have downtime, here is a list of the best online real estate schools in California you should consider.

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About the Author

Chris Heller is a licensed California agent who has built one of the most successful real estate teams in the United States. From his selection as Rookie of the Year in 1989, to being the top-producing agent in San Diego County and the #1 Keller Williams associate in all of North America, Chris has earned the respect of colleagues and clients for the exceptional results he delivers. For more than 32 years, Chris has succeeded in a highly competitive marketplace through his leadership, drive and ability to assemble and empower high-performing teams. Connect with me

Last Updated: 2/8/2024