FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

DRE Sponsor No. 4295

Who are you?  Why are you here?

Mr. Chuck Milbourne is 45HourOnline‘s owner, author, and website developer.  He founded 45HoursOnline in May 2006 for the purpose of providing easy yet informative continuing education for California real estate licensees.

In the three decades prior to founding 45HoursOnline, Mr. Milbourne worked as a computer consultant developing applications on a wide variety of platforms (mainframes to PCs) using a number of computer languages but primarily FOCUS, a fourth-generation computer language, and Visual FoxPro.  In 2005, Mr. Milbourne began the development of this site while studying the real estate brokerage industry.  Since 2006 he has held a California broker’s license (DRE:  01765249) and since 2019 he has been a member of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors®.    

Why should I choose your school?

Inexpensive :  We know of no other continuing education (CE) school which offers a 45-hour renewal package at a price lower than ours (details).  Our prices are low because our students require little support, our business overhead is minimal, we write our own course materials, and we have built and maintain our own website.

Fast and Easy :  We designed our site from scratch for convenience and ease-of-use.

Unlimited Course Retakes :  Unlike many of our competing schools, should you fail a course’s final exam, you may automatically retake it until you pass (see this FAQ for details).

Specialized:  We provide CE only to California real estate licensees.  In contrast to most CE providers, we do not offer courses to agents licensed by other states and we do not offer pre-license courses needed to sit for DRE’s licensing exams.  We do not, unlike most of the larger schools, offer CE for other licensed professionals such as appraisers, contractors, and insurance brokers.  Because we are specialized, we keep current with California residential real estate law and our course materials are specific to California residential real estate brokerage.

Above Board :  Unlike most other schools, we provide a detailed explanation of how our courses are administered.  We provide samples of our materials and a Demonstration Course so you may know what to expect should you choose to purchase our package.

DRE Compliant :  We work closely with the Education and Research Section of the California Department Real Estate to maintain compliance with all CE regulations.

Support :  We provide phone support during California business hours and email support on weekends and holidays.

Quality Course Materials :  Our materials are current, well-written, and relevant to the practice of California residential real estate brokerage. 

Do you provide technical support?

Yes, we are available by phone ((818) 716-1028) during business hours (8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. PST) and by e-mail at all times.  Owing to the number of spam and robo calls we receive each day, we may not answer your phone call unless your caller ID identifies you by name.  When calling about any problem or question concerning your account, please be logged into your Course Work Page.  

Are your courses approved by the State?

Yes, all our courses have been extensively reviewed and approved by the Department of Real Estate.

To view our DRE listing, click here, and then enter 45Hours in the first text box like so:    

What have some of your students said about your courses?

Our site provides a Comments Page permitting students to leave comments regarding our packages.  Almost all of our comments are favorable.  In particular, we are proud of the comments from these two students (used with their permission):

This course was TREMENDOUS.  I recommend it highly.  The materials were clear.  I could study where and when I wanted.  And not only did I qualify to renew my license, but, more trouble and keep smiles on my clients faces.  Four stars, two thumbs up, this is the course to take.

      — Walter Moore, Real Estate Broker & Attorney  [Please do not contact.]


Hi,I just recently completed your course.  I have been an agent for 21 years and taken many courses over the years.  I have found that the content in the majority of courses, especially for continuing education and licensing requirements, has very little relevance to practicing real estate day to day.  It basically feels like a waste of time.  Your course, in particular the Consumer Protection Reader portion, is profoundly relevant and helpful for practicing day to day!  It is truly the best content and style I have ever seen for helping agents have an overview of what they need to know to be a helpful and efficient to our clients.  I think it should be mandatory reading for any agent, especially as a new agent license requirement.  If you haven’t made this into a book that can be purchased, I think you should.  With your permission, I would like to print the entire CPR and keep it for reference.  Your whole site/ program is set up very well.  I am so glad I found it.  Congratulations, job well done!!  Feel free to post this feedback on your site.  I will be referring your site to other agents in my office.  Thank you!

      — Pam Sortor, Prudential California Realty [Please do not contact.]

Is your package really the least expensive?

Once a quarter we conduct a survey of our competitor’s prices for their 45-hour packages.  Our last survey was conducted on May 7th, 2024.  That survey revealed that our standard (undiscounted) price of $44.00 is the lowest price available for any 45-hour package.  Our principal competitor, First Tuesday , offers a $44.50 price but that price is for a package which requires the student to be online interacting with the course material for a full 45 hours.  First Tuesday‘s comparable package is priced at $59.50 (source).

Is it safe to use my credit card?

Absolutely.  We provide four levels of security:

First, the details you enter on our Payment Page (see figure at the bottom of this section) are sent by your browser to our server via a secure connection (using https protocol).  This means that your transmission with your credit card number can not be intercepted by a hacker en route to our server.

Second, your browser automatically verifies our site’s identity using an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.  This means you can be confident you are sending your credit card number to us and not to a site pretending to be us.

Third, our server transmits your payment details to Authorize.Net, the Internet’s largest payment gateway.  We do not record your credit card number in our database (except for its last four digits).  This means that should anyone ever hack our site and steal our database they would not find your credit card number within it.  We never know your credit card number.  If  we need to give you a refund, we do so by reference to a unique number assigned to your transaction by Authorize.Net.

Picture of Authorize.Net’s Verified Merchant Seal

Fourth, you may verify our status as a registered merchant with Authorize.Net by clicking their seal as displayed on our Payment Page.  When clicked, your browser sends our server’s domain name to Authorize.Net.  Authorize.Net sends back a report which your browser displays in a popup window (see sample to right).  The report states that the server’s domain is ours (not a domain pretending to be us) and that our domain is registered as a merchant with Authorize.Net.

If, in spite of our security, you still are uncomfortable using your credit card, we’ll be happy to accept a check or PayPal payment.  To pay by check or PayPal, register first but when prompted for payment, push [Don’t Pay] instead of [Process Payment].  When you push [Don’t Pay], we give you instructions for mailing a check or for making a PayPal payment.


What is the “Referral Discount"?

To encourage our customers to let other licensees know about our service, we offer a 20% “Referral Discount.”  To take advantage of the Referral Discount, you must enter the license ID of a former customer when registering for one of our products.  We define “customer” as someone who has purchased one of our products and has passed at least one course (not including the Demo).  The Demo Discount may not be added to the Referral Discount – only one discount can be applied.


Do you accept checks?

Yes.  To pay by check, register without paying.  To do this, first register and when prompted for a credit card push [Pay Later] — the page which follows gives instructions for sending your check.

When we receive your check, we will mark your online record as “paid” and send you a confirming email.  Your waiting period (the time you must wait before you can take your first exam) starts when we mark your registration record as paid.  Since this method of payment is error prone due to glitches in mail delivery, please contact us by email ( 45HoursOnline@gmail.com) if you don’t receive payment confirmation within three business hours.  45HoursOnline@gmail.com) if you don’t receive payment confirmation within three business hours. 

Do you accept PayPal?

Note:  If you don’t know what PayPal is, skip this FAQ.

Yes.  To pay by PayPal:

  1. Register without paying.  To do this, register for the product you want but when prompted for a credit card push [Pay Later].
  2. Log into PayPal, send your payment to 45HoursOnline@pobox.com.

PayPal will automatically send us a notice of your payment.  When we receive it, we will mark your registration record as “paid” and send you a confirming email.  If you do not receive confirmation within three business hours, please contact us at 45HoursOnline@gmail.com.

Can I get a refund?

We always give a full refund provided you haven’t passed any exams (other than the Demo).  We will also give a full refund even if you passed some or all of your exams if your license has permanently expired (in other words, if you don’t renew your license within the two-year grace period following your license expiration date).  Otherwise, we will give you a partial refund using this formula:  PERCENT-OF-UNPASSED-HOURS x .5 x COST.  For example, if you passed only our three hour Ethics course in our 45-Hours package for which you paid $45, we will refund you 42/45 x .5 x $45=$21.

To obtain a refund, please e-mail (45HoursOnline@gmail.com).  Be sure to give your DRE#.  We will need your DRE# to find your Authorize.Net approval code in our records (Authorize.Net is the payment gateway we use for processing your credit card payment).  Please understand that we don”t store your credit card number and we don”t need it to give you a refund. 

We will also grant full refunds to licensees who, because of time restrictions, can not renew their licenses on time or to licensees who are renewing late (within the two-year grace period) and because of time restrictions can not renew their license in time to avoid the termination of their license.

What is the Four-Day Study Period?

The Four-Day Study Period applies to our 45-Hour package.  It is the minimum number of study days that are required before you may begin taking your final exams.   It begins at the time you pay for the package and ends 96 hours (4 days) later.  (Note:  the “quiz” is not the final exam.  The quiz is a study-aid, required by DRE regulations, which must be taken to advance to the course’s final exam.)

The time the Study Period ends is displayed on your Course Work Page under the column heading “Exam Status” (see below screen shot).


Note in the screen shot above the red check mark next to the word “Quiz”:  The check mark means that the student has taken the quiz for the corresponding course.  To get credit for the course, you must pass its final exam but in order to take a course’s final exam you must first take its quiz.  (No quiz has a passing score although we do give you your score).  When an exam is ready, the student will see a link reading Take Final for course-name.

The Four-Day Study Period should not be confused with a course’s “Recovery Period” — that is, the period that a licensee must wait should he fail a course’s final exam twice in succession.  The Recovery Period for the three-hour courses is just three hours while the Recovery Period for the two 12- and 15-hour courses is two days (48 hours).  During the recovery period you may not take the failed exam nor any other final exam until the Recovery Period expires.

We wish you to know that both the Study Period and the Recovery Periods are imposed not by us but by DRE’s regulations.  DRE’s purpose in imposing the study period is to ensure that the student has sufficient time to study the course materials for the entire package.  DRE’s purpose in imposing the Recovery Period is to ensure that the student has sufficient time to re-study the course materials for the course that he failed.

What are your textbooks like?

We provide a textbook for each course except for the two Consumer Protection Reader courses (Part 1, and Part 2) which together share the same book.  Each textbook has approximately ten pages per course hour (the minimum allowed by DRE regulations).  Thus, the textbook for our three-hour Ethics course has about 30 pages (not counting pages without content such as the title page and preface). 

The textbooks are formatted as ebooks in PDF format.  As such, they may be read online, downloaded and read offline, or printed and read on paper. 

Each of the major browsers (Edge, Chrome, FireFox, Safari, and Samsung Internet) has its own built-in PDF reader for displaying PDF files linked through the Web.  Each of these built-in PDF readers provides features such as text searching, adjustable fonts, rotation, and printing.

You may download our PDF files and view them later offline.  Once downloaded onto a PC or a Mac, you may view a PDF by dragging its file listing to an open browser window.  You can also right-click on the file’s listing to choose your browser using the “Choose Another App” option.

Perhaps the best free PDF reader is the original now named “Adobe Acrobat Reader DC” available for download here.

To view a sample of any course’s textbook, including its table of contents, just click its name in the following list:  Ethics , Agency , Trust Funds , Fair Housing , Risk Management , and Management & Supervision , and Consumer Protection Reader. 

What purpose do the quizzes serve?

According to DRE’s regulations, you must take a course’s quiz (or quizzes) before taking its final exam.

We provide just one quiz for each course.  A common misconception is that you must pass the quiz to advance to its final exam BUT, although we give you a score after you have taken a quiz, no quiz has a passing score.

Each quiz has as many questions as its corresponding final.  Thus, for each of our six three-hour courses, each has one quiz and one final consisting of 16 questions; and for our two 12- and 15-hour “Consumer Protection Reader” courses, each as 30 and 40 quiz and final questions respectively.

The quizzes are nothing like the finals.  We do not require you to answer every quiz question but we do require you to answer every question on a final.  No quiz has a time limit, but each final has a time limit equal in minutes to its number of questions.  Many of the quiz questions are long, some difficult, some ambiguous, and some even tricky; while nearly all questions on the finals are short, straightforward, unambiguous, and never provide more than three possible answers.  But the most significant difference between a quiz and its final is that after you take the quiz we give you its answers; something we can not do for its final as DRE regulations forbid us to do so.

The answers we give you to the quizzes are detailed.  For each quiz question, we give you not only its answer but a detailed explanation as to why the answer is correct and, often, why the other proposed answers are incorrect.  All answers are supported with citations from the course’s text book.  Click here  to see a sample of a “Quiz Explanations” document.

The quizzes are designed as a study aid to help you pass the finals.  By taking care to study the topics corresponding to the quiz questions that you got wrong or else got right by chance, you can considerably improve your chances of passing the course’s final.  A recommended method for learning from our quizzes is explained in the document: “ Recommendations for Taking our Final Exams ”.

What are the final exams like?

Each course has one quiz and one final exam.  You must take a course’s quiz before you may take its final exam.  You can’t pass the course’s quiz because the quiz has no passing score (but we do give you a score).  You must pass the course’s final with a score of 70% or better to get credit for the course.

Each course has two versions of its final exam, each with different questions; its “Original,” which you take first; and its “Retake,” which you take only if you failed the Original.  Both versions of the course’s final have the same number of questions as its quiz and the questions on the final address the same topics and in the same order as for its quiz.

If you should fail both versions of the course’s final, the DRE requires us to fail you on the course – not the package, just that one course.  “Failing the course” does not mean you must repurchase the course or the package, but it does mean that you must start that one course over.  When you fail the course, you enter the “Study Period’ for that course – its length is three hours for our three-hour courses and two days (48 hours) for all courses of 12 or more hours.  During or after the course’s study period you are expected to reread the course’s textbook and re-take its quiz.  You must wait for the course’s study period to pass before you you will be allowed to take the course’s final exam.  During the course’s study period, you may not take any other course’s final exam.

Consistent with DRE regulations, 90% of all questions on each final exam are multiple-choice and 10% are true/false.  All multiple-choice questions have three possible answers.

Our final exams have the minimum number of questions permitted by the DRE.  The DRE’s minimum is based on the duration of the course as measured in credit hours.  (The actual minimum number of questions for a three-hour course is 15 but we use 16 because it is a little easier to reach the 70% threshold with 16 questions than it is with 15.)

Once you begin a final, there are just two possible outcomes:  pass or fail.  Although you can cancel a final exam, should you do so, you will fail the exam with a score of 0%.  If for any reason you are interrupted by a technical failure such as a loss in your Wi-Fi connection, then you will fail the exam.  If you should close or navigate off the tab containing the final, you will fail with a score of 0%.  If you should start the final and then fall fast asleep, you will fail.  Once you begin a final, the only way to avoid failing it is to answer 70% or more of its questions correctly and then to initiate the grading process by either clicking [Grade My Final] or reaching the time limit.  These unforgiving examination rules we enforce at the insistence of the DRE.

All final exams are “open book,” that is, you may open the course textbook in one tab while taking the final exam in another.  However, we do not recommend taking our exams open book for three reasons:  (1) most questions do not include keywords sufficiently unique to make for a good search term, (2) time spent searching is time lost from the task of answering questions, and (3) the more you switch between tabs the greater the chance you will inadvertently close the tab in which the final is displayed thereby resulting in an abrupt failure with a score of 0%.

Finally, the DRE requires a time limit for each final exam equal in minutes to its number of questions.  If you should run out of time when taking a final exam, unanswered questions are counted as “incorrect” and your exam is graded accordingly.

How does the 15-Credits-Per-Day Rule work?

The DRE limits the rate at which you can complete your CE to 15-credit hours within the preceding 24-hour period.  Accordingly, when our system renders your Course Work Page after the Four-Day Study Period, it determines the number hours of CE you completed in the preceding 24-hours, subtracts this number from 15, and then makes available only those final exams providing as many or fewer hours than that difference.

Our 45-hour package is designed to take advantage of the 15-Credits-Per-Day Rule such that after the Four-Day Study Period you may complete your CE in only three sittings with 24 hours or more between sittings one-and-two and two-and-three (see schedule to the right).

What should I do if I fail the first final exam?

If you should fail a course’s first final exam, called the “Original,” you are given a second chance with its Retake exam.  Both versions of the final, the Original and Retake, have the same number of questions and a comparable level of difficulty.  You may take the Retake exam immediately after failing the Original, BUT it is usually a good idea to invest additional study time in the course before attempting to pass it because should you fail the Retake then we are required to fail you on the course — not the package but just that one course.

To prepare for the Retake exam, we recommend that you study the topics corresponding to the questions you missed or guessed correctly on the quiz — in other words, the “iffy questions.”  To discover which topics you should study, click the course’s QUIZ icon on the Course Work Page, note down the question and section number for each iffy question and then, for each, read its answer in the course’s Quiz Explanations document the section in the book on which the question is based.

The amount of additional study you may wish to invest before taking the Retake exam depends on how badly you failed the Original.  If you failed the Original by a narrow margin, you may need only a little extra time to study just a handful of topics from your iffy list.  But if your score on the Original was close to 38% — the score one would receive by chance alone — then you should consider studying the topics for every question on your iffy list.

Investing additional study after failing the Original to avoid failing the course is especially a good idea if (1) the course you failed is over eight hours and (2) your license is mere days away from its expiration date.  In this situation, the imposition of the two-day study period that results may make it impossible for you to renew on time.

If you renew late, the DRE will require you to pay a “late fee.” The late fee is 50% of the on-time renewal fee.  If you are licensed as a salesperson and you renew late, you will have to pay $525 to renew your license instead of the on-time fee of $350 or if you are licensed as a broker or a corporation, you will have to pay $675 to renew your license instead of the on-time fee of $450.

If your license is expired and you fail to renew it by the end of your two-year grace period, you will lose it.  To restore a lost license, you must again pass the State real estate exam and then reapply for your license.

What happens when I fail the final exam twice?

Should you fail a course’s final exam twice in succession, you must start over for that course – NOT THE ENTIRE PACKAGE – just that one course.

Starting over for a course means that you must (1) wait for the course’s recovery period to end, (2) retake the course’s quiz (remember, there is no passing score on the quiz), and (3) pass the course’s original exam or, should you fail it, pass the course’s retake exam.  Unlike many of our competitors, we do not charge you for retaking a course – one time or 101 times – nor is there any need to contact us to reset the course.

When you fail a course’s retake exam and are forced into its recovery period, you may not take the course’s final exam nor any other final exam.  For example, if you were to fail both the original and retake final exams for the Ethics course, you would then be forced into the three-hour recovery period for that course.  During that three hours, you would not be permitted to take any final exam – not for the Ethics course nor for any other course. 

What is the Certificate?

The Certificate lists every course passed and, for each, shows its “Certificate No.,” the date you completed the course, its name, and DRE’s official classification (aka, “designation”) for the course (e.g., “consumer services,” “consumer protection,” “risk management,” etc.).


Although your certificate should always be available on our site, we recommend that you print it and keep it for your records nevertheless.  DRE’s Education and Research Section audits a tiny fraction of its continuing education records as submitted by licensees either via eLicensing or by mail.  Commissioner’s Regulation 3013 provides that upon the request of the DRE, “the applicant shall submit certificates of attendance or certified copies thereof from sponsors of approved offerings to substantiate the information provided by the applicant.”  A licensee who fails to provide the DRE with course completion certificates as required, may be subject to a fine or potential disciplinary action. 

What must I do to renew my license?

Note: While you may complete your continuing education at any time during the term of your license, you may not renew your real estate license any earlier than three months prior to your expiration date.

First print your certificate using the  button from our Course Work Page (the page that lists all the courses comprising the package).  The certificate contains the details needed for renewing your license (see figure to right).   Please note that there is not one certificate number but one certificate number for each course.   When prompted by eLicensing:  for each course, enter its (1) certificate number (e.g., ‘4295-nnnn’ — where ‘nnnn‘ is a four-digit course code), (2) completion date (e.g., ‘03/01/18’) and (3) your registration date (e.g., ‘02/28/18’ – the same date for all courses).   After entering these three items, press the return key.

Second, decide if you wish to renew via eLicensing (DRE’s online renewal service) or by mail.  We strongly recommend that you renew online because renewal online is immediate, fast, and final whereas renewal by mail may take weeks and, should the DRE should find anything wrong with your renewal application or payment, the process could take still more weeks to complete.

Note:  If you are renewing a restricted license, a corporate officer’s license, or if the address you have given to the DRE is out-of-state, then you must renew by mail.

To renew using eLicensing, click the eLicensing icon at the bottom of this section  (you may have to register first) and choose [Salesperson|Broker License Renewal].  eLicensing will prompt you to complete two online forms: (1) Continuing Education Course Verification, and (2) Renewal Application.  Finally, eLicensing will prompt you to make an online payment via a secure connection (for the DRE’s current license renewal rates click here).  Once eLicensing accepts your payment your license is renewed.  (If you would like to preview the license renewal process using eLicensing, click here.)

Note:  If you have a salesperson license and you are employed by a broker then your broker must validate your renewal in a subsequent eLicensing transaction (eLicensing will provide you with instructions).  Your broker’s validation is not required for your new license to be effective. 

If you are renewing by mail, you will need to print and complete form RE#251:  Continuing Education Course Verification (see below note) and, if you are a salesperson RE#209:  Salesperson Renewal Application or, if you are a broker, form RE#208:  Broker Renewal Application.  You then need to make out a check for your renewal application (for renewal rates click here) and then send in your check and forms to the DRE (the forms have instructions printed on page two).

Note:  If you renew by mail, do not send your certificate to the DRE.  The purpose of the certificate is to list the certificate numbers and corresponding dates of completion for you to copy onto form RE#251.

Click this icon to open DRE’s renewal site in another window:   

How do I enter certificate numbers into eLicensing?

Many licensees have trouble with eLicensing when prompted for their their certificates numbersNote that it’s certificate numbers plural — one for each course.  To begin the process, click [Add Course] when prompted with this form:

Then for each Certificate No. enter it together with its Registration Dt and Completion Dt. and then click [Save].  Do this for each course listed on the Certificate.  After you have entered the last Certificate No., click [Validate].

How can I pass your package in a little over six days?

The soonest you may complete our 45-hour package is six days and three hours (give or take an hour depending on how long you for your final exams).

  1. Study Time:  Per our agreement with the DRE, we require each student spend at least six days studying the course textbooks before completing our 45-Hour package.
  2. Completion Rate:  DRE limits students to completing no more than 15-hours of CE during the preceding 24-hour period.

Given these two limitations, consider the following example where Sally completes her 45-hours in only six days and three hours:

At 12:00pm on Monday, Sally registers for our 45-hour package.  Our testing program notifies her that she will be able to begin taking her final exams in four days (96-hours); that is, any time after 12:00p.m. on Friday.

At 12:01pm on Friday, Sally begins taking the exams for the five, three-hour courses (15 hours in total).  By 1:00p.m. she passes all five exams.  She now must wait until Saturday at 1:00p.m. to continue taking her exams.

At 1:01pm on Saturday, Sally takes and completes the three-hour Management & Supervision course and the 12-hour Consumer Protection Reader, Part 1 course.   By 2:00p.m. she passes both courses for a total of fifteen additional hours.  She must now wait another 24 hours before she may take another exam; that is, she must wait until 2:00p.m. on Sunday.

At 2:01pm on Sunday, Sally begins taking her final exam for Part 2/2 of the Consumer Protection Reader.  She passes the exam by 3:00p.m. thus completing all 45 hours needed to renew her license.

In this example, the elapsed time from when Sally registered to the time she completed all 45 hours was six days and three hours.  

Do you have a final final?

We get this question a lot.  No, we do not have a single comprehensive final examination that tests your understanding of the content for all courses comprising the package you purchased.  Instead we have one final exam for each course which must be passed with a score of 70% or better in order to earn credit for the course.  Moreover, you have two chances to pass a final exam with two exams called the “Original” and the “Retake.”  (See this FAQ for an explantion of what happens when you fail both exams.)

Why did I score 0% on the final?

DRE regulations require that once you begin a final exam (that is, see its questions), we must grade your final.  With respect to our final exams (all of which are timed), this means that if you don’t click [Grade My Final] OR run out of time, you will score 0%.

Here are three ways you can receive a score of 0%:

  1. By navigating off the page on which the final exam is displayed.  This happens when you use your back button or use your browser’s address bar to navigate from the page displaying the final exam to another page.
  2. By losing your connection to the Internet or losing power to your computer.
  3. By clicking the [Cancel] and then answering, ’yes‘ to the question, “Are you sure you want to cancel?

Also, while taking a final, you should take care to not refresh the page displaying the final.  If you do so, your answers will be lost.

How are CE requirements changing after 2022?

Any licensee with a license expiring after 2022 or any licensee renewing late after 2022 needs to take a two-hour course named Implicit Bias Training course and a Fair Housing course that includes an “interactive/particpatory” component.  For DRE’s description of these courses, see the lead article in this Real Estate Bulletin.  For a description of what these courses must include, click here and then search for “Implicit Bias.”

What are my CE requirements?

Every California real estate licensee requires 45-hours of DRE-approved continuing education (CE) to renew his license.  The only exception is the licensee who has held his license for 30 continuous years in good standing and is 70 years of age or older on the date his license expires (details).

DRE's official description of their CE requirements can be found here, but you need only know that by completing our 45-Hour Package you will have all the CE needed to renew your license regardless of how you are licensed ("salesperson," "broker," etc.) and regardless as to how many times you may have renewed before.


Unfortunately, a standard form letter from the DRE sent to alert each licensee that his license is due to expire within the next three months (see this excerpt in the first box to the right) falsely states that subsequent renewals (licensees not renewing for the first time) must take an eight-hour survey course covering the six mandatory topics.  This false statement is belied by the DRE’s official description of a licensee’s CE requirements which states that a licensee in lieu of the eight-hour survey course may take the six mandatory subjects separately as we make available in our 45-Hour Package.

What if DRE’s renewal site is down on my license expiration day?

On rare occasions and usually during the weekends,  DRE’s renewal site (eLicensing)  goes down either for scheduled maintenance or due to a technical problem.   If eLicensing happens to be down the day you wish to renew and if that day is your expiration day, the DRE may not grant you an extension.

If eLicensing is down on your license expiration day and you must renew on that day to avoid a late fee, you should renew by mail.  As long as your renewal application is postmarked by midnight of that day (or the next day for which there is mail service), the DRE will accept your renewal application without requiring you to pay a late fee. 

If eLicensing is down on your license expiration day and you must renew on that day to avoid a late fee, you should renew by mail.  As long as your renewal application is postmarked by midnight of that day (or the next day for which there is mail service), the DRE will accept your renewal application without requiring you to pay a late fee. 

When may I take CE and when may I renew my license?

You may complete your continuing education (CE) anytime during the term of your real estate license (which is four years for all real estate licensees no matter how licensed) or during the two-year grace period that follows license expiration. 

You may not renew your license with the DRE any earlier than three months prior to your license expiration date.  When you renew on time, the term of your new license begins the day after your current license expires.

If you renew your license during the two-year grace period, your new license begins the day after you renew it.  So, for example, if you were to renew your license on the last day of your two-year grace period, your new license would begin on the day following.

Please understand that you are not permitted to sell real estate while your license is expired.  Also, when you renew during the grace period, the renewel fee is 150% of the on-time renewal fee.  (See DRE’s renewal fees here.)

If you fail to renew your license before the end of your two-year grace period, you will lose your license for good.  In order to reinstate it, you would have to apply for a new license.  This application process would include the requirement that you pass the real estate exam again.  (See the DRE’s instructions for applying for the salesperson exam here or their instructions for applying for the broker exam here.)

If you are in the two-year grace period and wish to retain your license, consider doing it this way:  Complete your CE now (or at any time during the year following its date of purchase) and then print your completion certificate and file it away for safe-keeping (although it will always be available on this site).  Then, should you suddenly have the need to renew your license, you will be able to do so without much delay by simply going to the DRE’s renewal site, entering the certificate numbers from your certificate, and paying DRE’s renewal fee.

Can I apply my surplus CE to my next renewal?

No, all CE hours must be earned during the term of your current license or, if your license has expired, during the two-year grace that follows the expiration of your license.  The CE hours for a given course are earned upon passing the course’s final exam. 

Can I renew my license before completing my CE?

No, all 45-hours of CE must be earned before the DRE will permit you to renew your license.  Therefore, you should begin your CE no less than two weeks prior to the expiration of your license or, if you are are renewing late, the expiration of your two-year grace period.  (Although it is possible to complete your CE in as little as six days and a few hours, doing so is difficult as it requires adherence to an exacting schedule and not failing any course of eight or more hours.  See this FAQ for an explanation.)

Can I be exempted from my continuing education.

If you are over seventy years of age and have held your license in good standing for thirty years you may be eligible for an exemption.  Click here for details. 

Will you grant me an exclusion from DRE’s waiting periods?

No, the DRE requires us to enforce the waiting periods.   Sorry.

But we are willing to grant any student a full refund who is unable to complete his CE before his license expires or before the end of his two-year grace period.  (Note:  when we grant a refund, we delete the student’s registration and the student loses any CE credits he may have earned.)

Why won't you let me see which answers I got wrong?

Again, this is a DRE requirement.  It is based on Commissioner’s Regulation 3007.3(a)(1)which reads:

The final examination shall provide for the testing, examination or evaluation of participants.  The sponsor shall take steps to protect the integrity of the examination and to prevent cheating in an examination.

How can I restore a lost license?

A licensee loses his license if he fails to renew it within two years of its expiration date; in other words, if the applicant failed to renew his license during his two-year grace period.

To restore a lost license, one must pass the real estate exam before applying for a new license.  The current requirements for a salesperson license are found here, for a broker’ license here, and for a corporate license here.  Upon restoring a lost license, the applicant would receive a new four-year license bearing the applicant’s original DRE#.

NOTE TO BROKERS RENEWING LATE:  If you earned your broker’s license prior to 2013 and qualified using your four-year college/university degree in lieu of the two-year experience requirement, be advised that the DRE no longer allows this substitution.  All broker applicants must now meet a two-year experience requirement excepting only those applicants with a four-year degree majoring or minoring in real estate.  Details about the law that disallowed broker applicants to substitute any four-year college/university degree for the two-year experience requirement can be found in this FAQ from the DRE.

For example, if you had qualified for your broker’s license in 2005 using your four-year college degree in Psychology in lieu of the two-year experience requirement and if you were to lose your license as a result of having not renewed it during your grace period, then you would not be able to restore your broker’s license unless you had acquired since 2005 at least two years of experience working under another broker’s license.

What are the advantages of renewing late?

You should be acquainted with the following facts before deciding whether to renew late; that is, during your two-year grace period:

  1. All licenses are for a term of four years.
  2. You may not practice real estate with an expired license.
  3. The fee for renewing late is 50% more than for renewing on time (click here to see current fees).
  4. Renewing your license is conditional to first obtaining your full 45-hours of CE.
  5. You may not renew your license earlier than three months prior to your expiration date.
  6. If your license expires, you have two years to renew it — DRE calls this the “grace period.”
  7. When renewing on time, your new four-year license begins the day following your expiration date but if you renew during your grace period, your new license begins the day after renewal.
  8. If you do not renew your license by the end of the two-year grace period, you lose it.
  9. To restore a lost license, you must reapply for the license after passing the real estate exam.
  10. The DRE requires you to complete your CE within one year after registration.
  11. It takes a minimum of six days to complete your CE requirement (but plan on at least two weeks).
  12. The DRE will not send you a reminder email when your grace period is about to expire.

If you are not practicing real estate and you wish to retain your license, it is to your advantage to renew as late into the two-year grace period as you can manage.  This is because your new real estate license will begin the day after you renew it thereby extending the viability of your license.

It is also to your advantage to complete your CE now rather than wait for when you need it or when your two-year grace period is about to expire for two reasons:  (1) should you need your license quickly, your renewal will take only minutes using eLicensing since you will have already fulfilled your CE requirement, and (2) if you start your CE well before your two-year grace period end, you will have plenty of time to complete it (although you must complete your CE within one year of registration).

How long do I have to complete my package?

DRE regulation (3006(m)) states that “All offerings shall require completion within one year from the date of regulation.”  This is the date that you paid for the package.  You can find your registration date by clicking [Display Receipt] on your product’s Course Work Page.

All courses already completed within the one year period following your payment date, are acceptable to the DRE; any course completed after that period is rejected.  (A course is completed when its final exam is passed.)

What is “seat-time”?

We do not enforce a “seat time” requirement nor does the DRE require that we do so.  Instead, we enforce an initial study period of four days to ensure that students have sufficient time to read their course materials.

Seat-time is a requirement that each student spend at least the full number of course hours interacting with the course material.  This requirement is enforced no matter how quickly the student reads or how well the student may already know the course content.

For example, a seat-time requirement for a 15-hour course would require the student to maintain an online connection to his course material lasting at least 15 hours as accumulated during one or more online sessions.  To maintain that connection, the student must press keys every so often to indicate that he is interacting with the course content (for example, keys for paging the course material or for answering s questions).  Should the student fail to maintain the connection, the site’s server cancels his session thus requiring him to once again login to continue earning time towards his seat-time requirement.

To ensure that the student isn’t just clicking through the course material without reading it, the CE provider often requires the student to pass a quiz to demonstrate his understanding of the most recently completed section before being allowed to advance to the next section.

How do I overcome the “PDF Link-and-Return-In-Place” problem?

Note:  If you use Firefox to access our course materials, skip this FAQ as Firefox is not afflicted with this problem.

The ProblemUpon returning to a PDF after having viewed one of its linked pages, the browser resets the position of the PDF to its beginning.  So, for example, if you were to click a link on page 32 of our Ethics book, the browser would return you to its first page.  Ugh!

Depending on the device and the browser you use, we recommend the following ways to mitigate this problem.

Edge and Chrome (except when using Chrome on an iPad or iPhone)

Position the mouse over the link and right-click it.  In response, the browser will display a pop-up-menu from which you may select “Open link in new window(see adjacent screenshot).  Using this option, the browser will place the linked document in a new tab such that when you close it, the browser will return you to the source PDF document with it’s position unchanged.

Safari on the Mac

On the Mac, we recommend you read our PDF’s in “Preview Mode.” (see first screen shot on left);  To enter Preview Mode (see second screen shot on left) after accessing the PDF document, right-click anywhere in the document (on the Trackpad, a right-click is simulated using <Ctrl><Click>) and then select “Open with Preview” from the resultant pop-up menu.  When clicking links in Preview Mode, the Mac will display those links outside of Preview Mode using Safari.  You can then toggle between the two apps, Preview and Safari.

Chrome and Safari on iOS Devices such as iPhones and iPads

As far as we know, the only way to avoid this problem — and this way is admittedly crude as it requires several steps — is to right-click the link in the PDF and select “Copy” from the resultant pop-up menu (see screen shot to left)(You can simulate the right-click on an iPad or iPhone by holding your finger on the link and releasing it once your device displays a pop-up menu).  Next, open a new tab in Safari and on its address line paste the link and click “Paste and Go(see screen shot to right).

How do I take an exam with an open PDF book?

To keep a textbook open while taking a final exam, do the following:  (1) Login, (2) Click the BOOK icon for the course for which you are taking the exam — this opens the textbook in a new window/tab, (3) switch back to the originating window (using <Alt><Tab> or by clicking its tab), (4) Click [Take Test].  See the below figure for details.


How long do you keep your records?

We keep your records indefinitely.  We have records for some students going back to 2006 — the year 45HoursOnline began business. 

How do I send my evaluation to the DRE?

You can send your evaluation of our courses to the DRE by clicking here

How did the CE requirements develop?

CE has been required for license renewal since 1978.  The requirement has always been for 45 hours.  Over the subsequent years the following courses were made mandatory (the specs for these courses can be found here)…

01/01/1983Ethics is required.
06/01/1987Agency is required.
01/01/1996Trust Fund Handling and Fair Housing are required.
01/01/200645HoursOnline goes online.
01/07/2007Risk Management is required.
01/01/2016Management and Supervision is required.
01/01/2023Implicit Bias Training is required as is an extended Fair Housing course which includes a “interactive/participatory component.”

We provide a detailed history of CE in this document.  For each significant event in the history of the CE requirement, this document provides a link to the article in the edition of DRE’s Real Estate Bulletin that describes it.  This document also provides a link to all articles from DRE’s Real Estate Bulletin since 1940.

New 45-Hour Package as of 12/06/2023

Since 2010 we have provided two consumer protection courses as part of our 45-hour package:  (1) our 10-hourConsumer Protection Reader Part 1 course (CPR1), and (2) our 15-hour Consumer Protection Reader, Part 2 course (CPR2).

Every other year over the last 14 years we have successfully renewed CPR1 and CPR2 with the DRE, but this year (2023) was different:  the DRE declined to renew it citing two reasons for their rejection, (1) it lacked copyright permissions to use some of its articles and (2) the DRE found that many of its articles were not appropriate for a course categorized as a consumer protection course (partly true, as for example, an article entitled “Wallpaper Trends”).  Since we didn’t have sufficient time to correct these two deficiencies before our CPR2 course was due to expire on December 9th, 2023, we replaced it with a 15-hour consumer protection course from Premier Schools.  This course is named ’CE Digest‘ and we use it, of course, with Premier School’s permission.

In the coming months we plan to resubmit our corrected 10-hour CPR2 course (to be renamed to simply “Consumer Protected Reader”) for DRE’s approval and replace it with a new 10-hour course to be named “Defensive Real Estate.”