To get a real estate license in The Golden State, you need 135 hours of prelicensing education and 45 hours of continuing education (CE) every 4 years. Then, to upgrade to a broker license, you need to complete another 360 hours of coursework approved by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). To help you make the most of all these hours, we’ve identified the schools with the best online real estate courses in California based on factors such as affordability, convenience and overall value for students at all stages of real estate careers.
California-specific licensing education for all stages of your real estate career
Aspiring agents seeking a self-paced learning environment for prelicensing education
Experienced agents who are looking to upgrade to a broker license
CE for agents who need to complete license renewal education
Text-based courses for future agents seeking their initial license or experienced agents who need CE
Those who need the most affordable prelicensing education, best study, and best exam prep before their licensing exam
Things you need to know before enrolling for your California real estate license courses: Along with education requirements, there are additional steps to completing your real estate licensure. Check out our Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in California to help you get started.
How We Evaluated the Top Real Estate Schools in California
Since California requires so many course hours to become a real estate agent or upgrade to a broker license, it’s necessary to find schools with the real estate courses with the flexibility to fit your schedule as well as your learning needs. We examined course features, cost, type of education, support, and customer reviews to rank the best online real estate schools in California. These schools stand apart from others because of their affordability and various course formats to match the learning preferences of diverse types of online learners.
Through our research, we found that California Realty Training, with a score of 4.42 out of 5, to be your best overall choice for online real estate courses in California. It earned this rank due to its variety in course formatting, reasonable pricing, and career assistance.
Additional categories we used to judge the accredited schools in California for real estate professionals are as follows:
40% of Overall Score
Pricing is based on the cost for prelicensing and post-licensing, CE courses, and exam prep for each online institution.
The level of courses provided by each site according to licensing stage, such as real estate prelicensing classes for aspiring agents, CE for licensed agents looking for license renewal, and courses for upgrading to a broker license.
30% of Overall Score
Consists of various formatting and learning styles for each course to meet the specific needs of the agent as well as ease of course accessibility.
15% of Overall Score
Convenience and attainability of customer service support for technical support and instructor assistance.
15% of Overall Score
Based on customer feedback for each program, with particular attention given to value for money, to certify the course meets user satisfaction.
California Realty Training: Best Overall Real Estate School
The best overall California online real estate courses come from California Realty Training, which, as its name suggests, is specific to The Golden State. Learners can pick from a variety of course formats depending on their learning needs, such as live webinar, on-demand video, or self-paced learning formats.
Whether you’re looking for a self-paced option or an in-classroom feel, California Realty Training has you covered. The school’s courses feature real-life scenarios to break down difficult concepts so you’ll be prepared to take your exam and for success in your real estate career.
California Realty Training has excellent reviews with customers raving about the instructors, and especially the crash course review for exam prep. For those who are looking for a slightly more budget-friendly course, consider Aceable Agent.
The affordably priced packages from California Realty Training school offer a mix of learning formats to choose from, so you can tailor your education to your learning style and preferences.
Prelicensing: Starting at $75
- Individual courses: $75 each
- Online only bundled package: $154.99
- Online and video bundled package: $284.98
- Live and online bundled package: $399
Broker Prelicensing: Starting at $270
- Individual courses can be purchased for $270 each
Continued Education: Starting at $59
- First renewal package or subsequent renewal package available
Exam Prep: Starting at $50
- Live and online exam prep and crash course: $175
- Online and videos state exam prep $150
- Online state exam prep: $50
Real Estate Express: Best School for Self-paced Prelicensing Education
With an assortment of packages and course formats at a lower than average price point, Real Estate Express is a great school to complete your California real estate prelicensing classes. While it is not as economical as 360 Learning, it still allows you to pick packages that include additional post-licensing career resources not offered by other providers and from format choices that include self-paced or on-demand videos.
Exam preparation and live instructor question and answer (Q&A) sessions assist new agents with passing their exam on the first try. If not, Real Estate Express offers a “Pass or Don’t Pay” guarantee in most packages to make you eligible for a refund, which can help with student peace of mind during a stressful time and is a guarantee not offered by other providers.
Discount: For Fit Small Business readers, use promo code FSB25 for 25% off your purchase of any Real Estate Express class. Click here to get started.
Students appreciate the flexibility of the self-paced online real estate courses from Real Estate Express and find them easy to follow and comprehend. Others hoped for more interaction, similar to an in-person classroom experience. If that sounds like you, consider California Realty Training or Kaplan.
Although the pricing may appear complicated, Real Estate Express differs from the other schools in giving you full-course packages with the ability to add on features to enhance your learning experience further.
Prelicensing: Starting at $119
All packages include the135 hours of California-required prelicensing classes, three e-books, and instructor support.
- The Basics: $119 includes the items listed above
- Exam Preparation: $225 includes everything in the Basics plus “Pass or Don’t Pay” guarantee and exam prep
- Exam Preparation Plus: $349 includes everything in the packages above plus dictionary, exam-cram video, and instructor Q&A
- Ultimate Learning: $449 includes everything in the packages above plus printed textbook and one-year professional development membership
- Individual California real estate courses available for $99 each
Broker Prelicensing: Starting at $319
Both packages include the California-required 225 hour broker courses, e-books, instructor support, and a discussion board.
- Broker Basics: $319 includes only above
- Broker Ultimate Learning: $339 includes above plus printed textbook and one-year professional development membership
Continued Education: Starting at $18.95*
- 45-hour First Renewal package: $68.95 includes five 3-hour courses
- 45-hour Second and All Subsequent Renewals package (for Salespersons and Brokers): $68.95 includes five additional continuing education courses
- CA McKissock CE PLUS Membership: $92 includes access to all CE courses in California, a real estate coaching tool, access to an extensive pro-series on-demand webinar library, how-to videos, Sherri Johnson 90-day Boot Camp, 100-plus job aids―worksheets, scripts, and checklists―product and service discounts, and knowledgeable education specialists.
- Individual courses can be purchased from $18.95 to $99 based on credit hours
*Offered through its partner company, McKissock Learning
Exam Prep: $99
Kaplan: Best for Upgrading to a Broker License in California
When you are ready for the responsibilities and increased earning potential of a broker, check out Kaplan for the online post-licensing education needed to upgrade to a broker license in California. To complete the 225 required broker prelicensing hours, you can take courses via live stream, on-demand videos, or self-paced online classes, depending on your schedule and learning preferences.
There are a variety of course packages to choose from, and you can combine classes and class formats to create a truly customized learning experience. The option of live stream courses for your post-licensing education is beneficial to California real estate agents because you can also interact with other agents who are also embarking on the next step in their career, making it a great option for building your network in addition to meeting licensing requirements.
Kaplan’s reviewers praise the knowledge of the expert instructors stating they passed the exam on the first try. Although a lot of features are included, it does come at a higher price than competitors. If you are comfortable not mixing and matching course bundles or would prefer not to live stream a class, you could try the education from Real Estate Express or The CE Shop for more reasonable costs.
As a national provider, Kaplan’s expansive online California real estate course selection offers tiered options that allow customers to choose classes based on format preferences, specific learning needs, and additional features.
Prelicensing: Starting at $179
All courses include 135 hours of courses, workbooks, exam prep and materials, interactive study group, and live sessions with a career mentor. Higher tiered packages include extra features for career advancement.
Choose from OnDemand (on-demand video), Home Study, or Live Online learning packages, which are further differentiated by the addition of extra features, such as textbooks, exam prep, and more, for each price option:
- OnDemand packages: $399, $599, or $799
- Home Study packages: $179, $279, $479, or $679
- Live Online packages: $549, $749, or $949
Broker Prelicensing: Starting at $93
- Courses can be purchased as a 360-hour bundle for $448
- Individual courses can be purchased from $93 to $439 based on credit hours and course format preference
Continued Education: Starting at $16
- Available for salespersons or brokers for first time or subsequent renewals
- Full 45-hour packages are available for $144
- Prices range from $16 to $49 based on credit hours
- Classes available for home study, live online, and on-demand formats
Exam Prep: Starting at $24
- Available for salespersons and brokers in OnDemand or Online packages up to $199
The CE Shop: Best for Customizable Continuing Education
Renewing your real estate license can be pretty gnarly, no matter if it’s your salesperson or broker license renewal. With options to individually customize or purchase a full package, The CE Shop is your best California real estate school for fulfilling license renewal hours for new or experienced agents.
Its California online real estate courses are self-paced via The CE Shop’s LEAP 2.0 platform so you can access your course 24/7. It includes interactive activities and a student forum for live conversation with other course participants. The customizable aspect is perfect for agents that are looking to learn about a variety of real estate industry topics.
Users find The CE Shop platform to be intuitive, easy to navigate, and love the self-paced class format. Others had a few issues regarding customer service communication. If you’re looking for a real estate school with customer service representatives located in California, check out California Realty Training.
As a national provider, The CE Shop offers tiered packages as well as individual courses tailored to your educational needs.
Prelicensing: Starting at $129
All prelicensing packages include the 135 required hours of California prelicensing education as well as business e-books, career resources, downloadable resources, digital flashcards, real estate glossary, study schedules, and instructor-led webinars.
- Basic: $129 includes the above only
- Standard: $189 includes everything in the Basic package plus exam prep and pass guarantee
- Value: $229 also includes everything in the packages above plus a building business course
- Premium: $269 includes everything in the packages above plus 45-hours of post-licensing classes
Broker Prelicensing: $105
- Includes 135 hours of broker prelicensing education purchased in separate packages for $105 each
Continued Education: Starting at $19
- Full 45-hour packages can be purchased for $69 for salesperson and broker courses
- Individual courses can be purchased from $19 to $35 based on credit hours
Exam Prep for $119
- Available for salesperson or broker exam
Aceable Agent: Best Self-paced & Text-based Prelicensing & CE Courses
For real estate agents who need to save up money for the next Lakers’ game, Aceable Agent is your best bet for affordable online real estate education. The self-paced course is text-based but still packed with information, and perfect if you need to fit learning in around a busy lifestyle.
Aceable Agent’s instruction style focuses on setting agents up for success with real-world scenarios and practical coursework they can apply in their business every day. It also offers free exam prep on the school’s website so you can see if you’re ready to tackle the California real estate exam.
Customers of Aceable Agent applauded the organization and convenience of courses and liked that they could be completed anywhere. A few customers didn’t like the supplemental materials included in the course, so if you’re looking for robust downloadable content, take a look at 360Training or The CE Shop.
Aceable Agent does not offer tiered packages like some other schools, but its simple and affordable packages include the necessary courses to fulfill your prelicensing requirements.
Continued Education: $119
360Training: Most Affordable Prelicensing & Best Exam Prep
If you need some extra study time before taking your exam, the materials available from 360Training will help you get past the real estate license finish line. There are countless practice exams to test your knowledge and they are framed similarly to the actual exam, 200 questions, and a 5-hour time limit.
Unlike the exam, 360Training uses a learning strategy that groups questions into subject areas to assist in retention. Question explanations and downloadable study guides assist agents in applying these answers to their final exam.
Individuals enjoy 360Training’s program and think it fits into their daily schedule easily. Others were disappointed in the lack of broker courses or customizable packages. If that is something you’re looking for, consider California Realty Training or Kaplan.
Similar to Aceable Agent, 360Training offers straightforward packages with little customization available.
Prelicensing: Starting at $100
- Basic Salesperson Prelicensing package: $100
- Premium Salesperson Prelicensing package: $160
- Courses available for purchase for $80 each
Continued Education: Starting at $15
- Full 45-hour packages are available for $60 each
- Individual courses are available from $15 to $19 each
Exam Prep: $79
- National or state preparation available for salespeople and brokers, customize your package for $79 each