Becoming a real estate agent in California might be a great career move—but there are some steps you'll need to complete first. We've researched the subject of real estate licensure to give you the most accurate information possible along your journey.
In California, getting a real estate license involves:
- Taking local or online educational courses
- Being age 18 or older
- Not having a record with criminal convictions
- Take (and pass) a written exam
- Apply for a license with the California Department of Real Estate
- Pay the required application fees
- Find a licensed broker to work with
Often, completing your education is the most time-consuming part of becoming a real estate agent.
Obtaining a real estate license in California can be challenging, and there's a lot you need to know to get through the process successfully. You'll also need to know where to take the required educational courses. Here, we'll cover how to qualify for a California real estate license plus where to take classes in Stockon, CA.
How Can I Become a Real Estate Agent in California?
In California, all real estate agents (or real estate salespersons, as the California Department of Real Estate, calls them), must have a clean criminal record, take real estate courses, pass an exam, and file an application.
You must also pay the requisite fees at each step in the process.
What Are the Pre-Requisites to Becoming a Real Estate Agent?
In California, you must be 18 years old to become a real estate agent. You also can't have a criminal record, per the state website.
A criminal conviction on your record can be grounds for denial of your licensing application.
What Courses Do Real Estate Agents in CA Need to Take?
In California, real estate salesperson applicants only need to take three college-level courses in specific subjects.
Those courses include Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice, and one elective in an area of real estate like Appraisal, Property Management, Economics, Business Law, Escrows, or others. Classes are available both online and in person. Unfortunately, the only way to skip this requirement is by being a member of the California State Bar (being a lawyer).
Or, if you have taken broker courses in real estate, those may qualify you to skip the educational minimums for becoming a real estate salesperson.
Want to know more about what it takes to become a real estate agent in other states? See How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Texas?
Read on for recommendations for courses local to Stockton, California.
Is the California Real Estate Exam Hard?
While some test-takers say the real estate exam is hard, anywhere from 2,900 to 3,000 people pass the test each month. That said, the pass rate is between 49 and 60 percent for the salesperson exam, which seems to mean it's a challenging test. But if you study hard and pay attention in class, it shouldn't be impossible to pass on the first try.
What Do I Need for a Real Estate License Application?
According to the State of California Department of Real Estate application forms, you need to submit a Salesperson Exam/License Application. You also need official transcripts or course completion certificates for your classes, a Live Scan Service Request (for your fingerprints), and the license fee.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a CA Real Estate Agent?
The cost of becoming a real estate agent can vary, especially depending on what type of courses you enroll in (and where). But the examination and licensing fees are set by the state.
You can expect to pay $60 for the examination. The license fee is $245, and you'll also pay a fingerprint processing fee of $49 (to a third party). You can also choose to file the exam and license applications at the same time for $305, plus the fingerprint fee directly to the vendor that processes your background information.
Learn more about expenses for real estate agents in our related article, How Much Does a Real Estate License Cost?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent in California?
The timeline for becoming a real estate agent in Stockton, CA, depends on what type of certification you pursue, how long your application process takes, and whether you pass the licensing exam on your first (or subsequent) try.
Your education will probably take the longest to complete. As the state website explains, each of the three required classes involves a minimum of 45 hours of instruction. Scheduling will also affect your timing, however, since some programs (especially community college options) begin twice per year on a semester schedule.
Therefore, completing your required program could take a full semester at college (or longer). In contrast, some programs expedite the process, and you can finish online courses early if you study thoroughly and complete the materials.
In total, studying, taking the test, and waiting for your application to be approved can take anywhere from a month to six months in California.
Where to Take Real Estate Classes in and Around Stockton, CA
Getting a proper education in real estate is required no matter where you live, but what are the options available in Stockton, California, and nearby?
Here are the locations where you can take local classes.
San Joaquin Delta College
San Joaquin Delta College is a local community college in Stockton. The school offers many two-year degree and certificate programs.
For real estate, you can choose from a Real Estate Certificate of Achievement and an A.S. degree in Real Estate. In pursuing the Certificate of Achievement, you'll take Real Estate Principles and Real Estate Practice (state requirements). You'll also take Real Estate Finance, Legal Aspects of Real Estate, and Property Management as part of the core requirements. In addition, you'll choose electives from specific areas to a total of 24 units.
For the A.S. option, you'll complete the necessary courses for pursuing a license, plus Real Estate Finance and a total of 24 units for the major. Then, you'll round out your education to 60 units with general education courses to obtain your associate's degree.
Taking classes at a community college means a quality education. Such courses are also more affordable than university-level options, though you can expect to pay $46 per unit in enrollment fees with this route.
San Joaquin Delta College website
Catalyst Real Estate Professionals
While Catalyst Real Estate Professionals have an online component to their courses, you'll also travel to their Stockton campus for in-person learning.
You get to take online courses that cover Principle, Practice, and Finance, receive books for all the courses, have live Principles training with an instructor, and get access to an online "cram course" for exam preparation. Courses tend to go "on sale," but the maximum cost is $416, according to Catalyst's website. Loan Officer School is also available via Catalyst.
Catalyst Real Estate School website
Modesto Junior College (in Modesto)
Modesto is about a 30-minute drive from Stockton (depending on where you live). At Modesto Junior College, you can either earn an A.S. degree in Real Estate or receive a Skills Recognition SR Real Estate Sales Person credential. Broker education is also available.
An A.S. degree requires a total of 26 units in your major plus relevant units to equal 60. The Skills Recognition program involves nine to ten units and adequately prepares you to sit the licensing exam and meet all state requirements.
Tuition at MJC is $46 per unit.
Modesto Junior College website
Accredited Real Estate Schools, Inc. (in Fair Oaks)
In the Fair Oaks neighborhood of the greater Sacramento area is Accredited Real Estate Schools, Inc. The real estate school is about an hour from downtown Stockton, making it a doable trip for many students.
This real estate school offers the required courses for obtaining your license plus help with preparing for the licensing exam. However, most of its options are online. Instructors at Accredited Real Estate Schools, Inc. are real estate brokers and experienced teachers, so you know they have real-life experience in real estate.
The basic package, which includes the three state-required courses, costs $169.
At the other end of the scale is the complete classroom package, which is $678 but covers the required classes, exam prep, additional online resources, an eight-night on-campus exam prep session, and on-site tutorials.
Accredited Real Estate Schools, Inc. website
Los Rios Community Colleges (Sacramento Area)
While Los Rios Community Colleges don't specifically serve central Stockton, they offer four main campuses (one in Elk Grove, two in Sacramento, and one in Folsom) plus satellite locations all around Sacramento County.
Three of the campuses offer real estate courses, including a Real Estate Certificate, A.A. in Real Estate, and a Real Estate Sales Certificate. According to the college catalog, American River College, Cosumnes River College, and Folsom Lake College campuses all offer real estate education.
Plus, when you enroll at Los Rios, you can take courses at any of the campuses plus online. That said, you must complete a specific percentage of your courses at your 'home campus' (or online via the school) to earn your degree or certificate from said institution.
What's great about the Los Rios colleges is that they offer many financial programs to help you afford your education. Costs amount to $46 per unit, but you can apply for waivers for the fees, too.
American River College website, Cosumnes River College website, Folsom Lake College website
Wherever you choose to take real estate classes, be sure to verify the school's credentials and course offerings. You don't want to waste time in classes that aren't necessary or relevant to your license, as that could delay your ability to apply quickly.
Of course, learning more is always better, and you may even decide to continue your education and become a broker in California next.