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How to Get a Real Estate License Online in Iowa (A Complete Guide)

Last updated on December 7, 2022

How to Get a Real Estate License Online in Iowa

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So you’ve made a decision and are now planning to start a career in real estate. 

The entire licensing process may seem too long and complicated, so you start to stress over it. 

While it is true that getting a real estate license in Iowa takes hard work, it is also very doable. 

To help you get through your journey towards becoming a real estate professional, we’ve prepared a complete guide on how to get a real estate license online in Iowa. 

As we go through this guide, we will also give you useful tips that will help you out. 

So let’s get started. 

Real Estate License Qualifications in Iowa

To qualify for a real estate salesperson license in Iowa, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old

  • You are a US citizen or an alien who is authorized to work in the US

  • You have not been denied a license in the past 12 months

  • You do not have a real estate license that has been revoked in Iowa or another state in the past two years

The 6 Steps to Getting a Real Estate License Online in Iowa

For the real estate licensing process, you must follow these 6 steps:

  1. Take the required pre-license course

  2. Complete the background check

  3. Pass the real estate licensure exam

  4. Find employment with a brokerage firm

  5. Complete the additional required courses

  6. Apply for a license

Let’s take a look at each step in detail. 

Step 1. Complete the required pre-licensing education

The state of Iowa requires all new real estate license applicants to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing education from an accredited provider. You are allowed to take the course in a state-approved in-person or online school. 

Upon completing the course, you will need to pass the final course exam, after which you will receive your completion certificate.

Tip: When selecting a school, look at the course format and check whether it will suit your learning style. This way, you will learn more efficiently, and you might be able to finish it faster. Also, pay attention so you won’t have to go through the materials over and over. 

Below are two of the best online real estate schools in Iowa:

Colibri Real Estate

Colibri Real Estate review featured image

Colibri Real Estate has been the top choice for real estate education in the US for more than 25 years. 

Its well-developed courses are easy to navigate and the course information is explained in detail. They have a simple format that makes it easy even for those who are not Internet-savvy.

The school also offers good exam prep materials that will help you build confidence as you prepare for the test. It is well-known for its Instructor Q&A sessions that make it possible for students to raise their concerns as well as interact with others. 

If you want to pass the exam for the first time, we highly recommend this school. 

If you’re just starting your career, another good option is The CE Shop. they offer top-notch real estate courses plus they have impressive passing rates nationwide. 

Compared to other real estate schools, the CE Shop offers a risk-free 5-day free trial where interested students get unlimited access to their course. 

Students can choose from four pre-licensing packages:

  • Course Only
  • Standard
  • Value
  • Premium

Every package includes bonus features such as digital flashcards, career resources, a study schedule, ebooks, and a real estate glossary. Each chapter also comes with unit resources to give students a summary of important information.

The real estate industry is constantly changing, that’s why the CE Shop makes sure that their courses are always up-to-date. 

Courses are comprehensive and broken down into sections to allow students to retain information better. 

The course can be completed at your most convenient time using any device, as long as you have access to the internet. 

You should be able to complete the course within 6 months of purchase. The CE Shop only allows a 1-month extension in case you need more time. Many students can complete the course within two weeks. 

But, most students are dismayed that they don’t offer a pass guarantee. If you failed the licensure exam, they won’t give you a refund for the course you took. Although in some states, the CE Shop can reimburse the cost of the exam.

Step 2. Complete the background check

To get a background check, request a fingerprint card from the Iowa Real Estate Commission (IREC) through their portal

Create a new account and go to “General - Background Packet Request.” You will then receive the card with instructions and an information sheet. 

The DCI and the FBI will carry out the background check. You will receive an e-mail notification once the Commission receives the results. 

Tip: Background check processing can take from three to six weeks (or even longer), so make sure you start this process early to avoid delays. You can do this step before you complete the pre-licensing course. 

Step 3. Pass the licensing exam

Once you finish the above steps, you can proceed with applying for the licensing exam. Simply go to the PSI website to register. 

On the day of the exam, be at the venue 30 minutes before your scheduled test time, and do not forget to bring the following:

  • Pre-licensing course completion certificate
  • Two forms of identification (one of them should be a government-issued ID)
  • Basic calculator

The licensing exam consists of two segments - national and state. You have two hours to complete the national exam, which consists of 80 questions, and an hour for the state exam, which has 40 items.  

You will take the exam on a computer, so the results will be immediately available after. To pass, you need a score of at least 70% on both exams.

Tip: If you have a budget to spare, we suggest that you upgrade your pre-licensing course to a package that includes exam prep tools. They are extremely helpful to pass the exam on your first try. Both Colibri Real Estate and MBition offer packages with these exam prep tools. 

Step 4. Find a sponsoring broker

To be eligible for an Iowa real estate license, you need to be affiliated with an active brokerage firm. You cannot get a license unless you work under a brokerage. 

Tip: There are many active brokerage firms and managing brokers with sole proprietorships in Iowa. Make sure you select one that can provide you with your needs and preferences, as well as tools to help you jumpstart and advance your career.

Step 5. Complete the additional required courses

Within a year of passing the licensing exam, you need to complete 36 hours of additional education. This consists of Buying, Listing, and Ethical Practices, 12 hours each, which you can take in any order. 

Note: You can only take these additional courses in a traditional school or, if you insist to do it online, via a live webinar, such as Zoom. 

Step 6. Apply for a real estate license

Once you satisfy all of the above requirements, you can then proceed to submit your application via the IREC portal. You must apply within six months of passing the licensing exam. 

To apply, simply login to your Iowa PLB account, fill out the required forms, and upload all the required documents.

Tip: You can do this step before the background check is completed. However, the IREC will only begin processing once the background check is complete. 

So there you have it. Those were the 6 steps to obtaining your real estate license in Iowa. 

Real Estate License in Iowa FAQs

Is it better to take real estate classes online or in-person?

Learning style and preferences vary from person to person, so it will really depend on you. 

However, if you consider cost, convenience, and flexibility, online real estate classes are the better option. It will especially be suitable for you if you are a disciplined, self-sufficient learner. 

How much does it cost to acquire a real estate license in Iowa?

The total cost of obtaining a real estate license in Iowa varies, but to set expectations, check the chart below for some estimates:

Colibri Real Estate

The ce shop

In-Person Schools

Pre-Licensing Course Fees:

From around $250 - $400

From around $3290 - $450

From around $460 - $500 or higher

Background check:


Exam fee:


Additional courses:

Vary per school, each course may cost from around $150

License application fee:


Errors and Omissions Insurance (required):

From around $860 - $2,600 depending on the provider

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Iowa?

It normally takes students around three to six months before they successfully become real estate agents in Iowa. 

Usually, the pre-licensing and additional courses will take the longest. However, if you dedicate enough time to study, you can finish it a lot faster.

Tip: do not try to rush each step so you can be fully prepared.  

What happens if I don’t pass the Iowa real estate license exam?

If you don’t pass the Iowa real estate exam on the first try, you are given two more attempts. If you still cannot pass, you may have to retake the pre-licensing course.

If you failed one portion, say, the state exam, and passed the national exam, then you only need to retake the state one (and vice versa).


The process of obtaining a real estate license in Iowa requires time, effort, and dedication. 

If you are willing to put in the work to become a real estate professional, you might still be confused about how to get a real estate license online in Iowa. 

Well, with this complete guide, you now know the 6 steps to obtaining it. 

So pick a real estate school today to start with step number 1. 

Good luck!

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