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California Real Estate Continuing Education FAQ




Have questions about your California real estate license renewal & continuing education? Check Rockwell's list of frequently asked questions (FAQ):


Question: How often is a California real estate agent required to renew his or her license?

Answer: A California real estate salesperson or broker's license must be renewed every four years, or it will expire. The license can be renewed as early as 90 days before its expiration date. (The expiration date is listed on the license.)

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Question: What if I miss the renewal deadline?

Answer: If a real estate license is not renewed by the expiration date, the license expires and the agent is no longer authorized to engage in any activities for which a license is required. However, late renewal is allowed within two years of the expiration date. (Exception: Late renewal is not allowed for a conditional license that was suspended for failure to meet the 18-month conditional license requirements.)

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Question: What are the requirements for on-time license renewal?

Answer: A real estate license can be renewed online, through the Bureau of Real Estate's website, or by mail. To renew, the agent must submit:

  • a completed renewal application form (for a salesperson, BRE form RE 209; for a broker, RE 208);
  • a completed continuing education course verification form (BRE form RE 251);
  • the appropriate renewal fee; and
  • if paying by credit card, BRE form RE 909.

Note that course attendance certificates for continuing education courses should NOT be submitted with the renewal application.

If you are a resident alien with temporary status, you will have to submit proof of legal presence in the U.S. along with your license renewal application (see the BRE website for more information). This is generally not required as part of the license renewal process for U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.

The renewal fee can be paid by check, cashier's check, money order, or credit card. A check or money order should be made payable to the Bureau of Real Estate. As noted above, if you're paying by credit card, BRE form RE 909 must be submitted with the other documents.

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Question: What are the requirements for late renewal?

Answer: Late renewal requires submission of all of the same documents as on-time renewal, but the fee for late renewal is higher than the regular renewal fee. If the completed documents and the late renewal fee are not received by the BRE within two years after the date the license expired, all license rights are lost. (To become licensed again, the former licensee would have to meet all of the requirements for an original license application, including passing the state licensing exam again.)

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Question: What are the continuing education requirements for a real estate salesperson?

Answer: You must complete the following courses in order to renew your license for the first time:

  • Five separate three-hour DRE-approved continuing education courses in Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, and Risk Management;
  • A minimum of 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • The remaining clock hours required to complete the 45 hours of continuing education may be either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

For each subsequent renewal, the agent is required to complete 45 clock hours of DRE-approved continuing education courses. These hours must include:

  • Either 15 hours of continuing education courses in the following subjects: Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, and Risk Management OR one eight-hour survey course that covers the five mandatory subjects (Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, and Risk Management);
  • At least 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • The remaining clock hours required to complete the 45 hours of continuing education may be related to either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

All courses used for license renewal must have been taken within the four-year period immediately preceding the effective date of renewal. (The effective date of renewal is ordinarily the day after the license expiration date.)

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Question: What are the continuing education requirements for a real estate broker?

Answer: Before renewing a broker's license for the first time, the broker must complete 45 clock hours of DRE-approved continuing education courses. These hours must include:

  • five separate three-hour courses in Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, and Risk Management;
  • a minimum of 18 hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • the remaining 15 hours in either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

For each subsequent renewal, a broker must meet the same continuing education requirements as a salesperson (see above).

All courses used for license renewal must have been taken within the four-year period immediately preceding the effective date of renewal. (The effective date of renewal is ordinarily the day after the license expiration date.)

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Question: Does continuing education course credit expire?

Answer: Yes. Continuing education credit expires four years after the course was taken. If a license is renewed on time, the continuing education courses used for the renewal must have been taken within the four-year period immediately preceding the effective date of renewal. (The effective date of renewal is ordinarily the day after the license expiration date.) If a license is renewed late, the continuing education courses must have been taken within the four-year period immediately preceding the date the renewal application is received by the BRE.

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Question: Is anyone exempt from continuing education requirements?

Answer: A licensee 70 years old or older is not required to fulfill the continuing education requirements if he or she has been a real estate licensee in good standing for at least 30 years. The licensee must submit proof that he or she qualifies for this exemption to the BRE.

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