Similar to other professional licenses out there, a California real estate license is not a certification for life. Once your license expires, you’ll need to complete a renewal process, which includes completing mandatory continuing education. Some agents out there see this process as a nuisance, but periodic renewals with education requirements benefit everyone involved– brokers, salespersons, and the general public. It’s an opportunity for agents and brokers to excel in their careers, learn new skills, and brush up on important concepts. The process also gives the public assurance that the agents they deal with are trained, skilled, and won’t get them into a mess of legal trouble.
In California, a real estate license is valid for four (4) years. If you find yourself with an expired license, you are no longer legally allowed to perform the duties of a real estate agent, as outlined in the California Business and Professions Code, Section 10131.
That expiration date is sneaky and will always approach quicker than you think. You’ll want to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to complete the renewal application and education requirements. The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) will send you a reminder 60 days prior to the expiration date as a courtesy, but don’t always bank on this. Sometimes addresses change, things get lost in the mail, etc. Non-receipt of the reminder doesn’t exempt you from renewal.
California has made it easy for agents by allowing you to renew your license online using eLicensing system. If you’d prefer to stick to the old school method, applications are still accepted by mail. Make sure to visit the Department of Real Estate website to get a complete list of documents and application materials that need to be sent in. Your real estate license renewal application is considered “on-time” if submitted or postmarked by midnight on the date of expiration. Regardless of whether you renew by mail or online, you must complete the necessary continuing education requirements before submitting or mailing your application. This means undergoing all of the hours, passing all necessary exams, and receiving the certificate of completion in time to include it with your renewal application.
Once you’ve completed and submitted your application, you can check the status of your renewal on the license information public database. As long as you submit your renewal application on time, you are permitted to continue to perform the duties of a licensed salesperson, even if your renewal isn’t approved until after the expiration date.
All real estate license renewals require 45 clock hours of continuing education that has been approved by the California Department of Real Estate. Specific class hour requirements vary depending on how many times you’ve renewed your license and whether you are a licensed salesperson or broker.
First time salesperson renewal: If it is your first time renewing your license, you are required to take at least 18 hours of consumer protection courses, as well as five separate 3-hour classes on the following topics: risk management, trust fund handling, agency, ethics, and fair housing. The remaining hours (at least 15) are to be spent on courses related to consumer protection or consumer service.
First time broker renewals: For brokers renewing their license for the first time, the requirements are nearly exact to the first time salesperson renewal, but with one added 3-hour course: management and supervision. The management and supervision course is designed to give brokers the extra knowledge and skills needed to run a real estate office effectively and lead their agents to success. The requirement for 18 hours of consumer protection courses and five 3-hour classes on risk management, trust fund handling, agency, ethics, and fair housing is the same. The remaining hours must also be used on consumer protection or consumer service classes.
Second and subsequent renewals for both brokers and salespersons: These differ slightly from initial renewals. Instead of taking individual classes for risk management, trust fund handling, agency, ethics, fair housing, and management and supervision, you have the option to take one 8-hour survey course over the six subjects. A survey course covers each topic, but in less depth than taking individual classes for each one. Students, if they choose, can opt to take the individual, 3-hour classes. Like the other renewals, 18 hours must still be spent on consumer protection courses, and the remaining time must be spent on consumer protection or consumer service courses.
Note that all of these time requirements are “clock hours” as opposed to course credit hours. This means that the Department of Real Estate requires students to be logged into the online provider’s platform for at least the specified amount of time. This means you can’t expect to breeze through a three-hour course in 30 minutes. Keep this in mind when allocating time to complete your CE.
There is no set price for California's real estate continuing education. Costs can vary depending on the class type (in-person, correspondence, or online) and the provider. Online courses are typically cheaper than their brick-and-mortar school counterparts and offer more providers and classes to choose from. You’ll find that some online courses cost less than $10 while bundled packages may reach upwards of $150.
When it comes to online classes, don’t confuse low prices with subpar quality– schools like At Your Pace Online offer comprehensive, informative courses at affordable prices. With At Your Pace Online, 3-hour courses are only $9. Longer courses range from $18 to $36, while complete CE packages cost $65. And when you purchase the AYPO CE package, you’ll receive access to all of the courses you need to satisfy the renewal requirements.
Has it already been four years?! Whether you’re looking to renew your real estate license for the first time or the fifth time, At Your Pace Online has you covered. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your California real estate license renewal, don’t hesitate to reach out today!