How to Get an Iowa Real Estate Broker License

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How to Get an Iowa Real Estate Broker License

Becoming an Iowa real estate broker is a strong step forward in your career. Not only does this advanced license look great on a resume, it also allows you to work independently, open real estate brokerage firms, and manage other agents within these firms.

Getting the Iowa Real Estate Broker License is a fairly simple process, but it does require you to complete six steps, and have a few prerequisites before applying or taking the broker’s exam.

This guide covers all of these requirements in a simple, easy-to-understand way that will make it easier for you throughout this process.

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Iowa Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker

Iowa offers two different types of real estate license: Sales and Broker.

sales agent’s license is the initial license that real estate agents get in order to sell real estate.

A broker’s license is an advanced license that allows the license holder to operate at a higher level within real estate businesses in Iowa.

People often confuse sales agents and brokers. A simple way to look at the difference is that holders of the sales agent’s license are called real estate agents, while holders of the broker’s license are called real estate brokers.

If you are working towards getting your first license, check out our Iowa Real Estate License guide. If you’re working on the Iowa real estate broker license, keep reading this page!

Iowa Real Estate Broker License Requirements

First, to be eligible for a real estate broker’s license, you must meet the prerequisites to become a real estate broker in Iowa.

These prerequisites are:

  • Must have a current Iowa salesperson license, active or inactive, or expired for less than three years

How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Iowa

Once you meet all the requirements listed above, you can follow these six steps to easily help you get your real estate broker license in Iowa.

Step 1: Complete an Iowa Broker Pre-Licensing Course

The first step to getting your real estate broker license in Iowa is to take 60 hours of qualifying real estate courses.

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These real estate courses mostly cover the fundamentals of working in real estate and must be completed less than three years prior to your broker’s license application. This requirement is divided into two sections:

The mandatory courses are six hours each, except Real Estate Office Orgaization, Administration, and Human Resources, which is 12 hours:

  • Contract Law and Contract Writing
  • Iowa Real Estate Trust Accounts
  • Principles of Appraising and Market Analysis
  • Real Estate Law and Agency Law
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Federal and State Laws Affecting Iowa Practice
  • Real Estate Office Organization, Administration, and Human Resources
  • Real Estate Technology and Data Security
  • Ethics and Safety Issues for Brokers

To fully satisfy your course requirements, you must take additional 36 credit hours in related qualifying education courses acceptable to the Iowa Real Estate Commission (IREC) or approved continuing education (CE) courses.

The approved courses include:

  • Law Update (eight hours)
  • Ethics (four hours)
  • Commission Approved Electives (24 hours)


Iowa offers reciprocity with several states. You can read the rules online regarding reciprocity to see how you can transfer your license and education.

After completing the courses, you must also pass the final broker course exam. The minimum passing grade is 75% answered correctly on the entire exam. The final pre-license exam is to be supervised by a proctor, whether on-site or online. This is not the same as the state broker exam.

After passing your broker course exam, your pre-license education provider will provide you with your course completion documents. IREC recommends submitting your completion documents via its Iowa Professional Licensing login.

Step 2: Pass the Iowa Real Estate Broker Exam

After completing your broker pre-license education requirements, you must take the real estate broker licensing exam via PSI.

Before applying, you must submit a copy of an authorization letter from the IREC to take the exams. The fee for the broker exam is $95.

In Iowa, brokers take the national section which consists of 75 scored questions. The state-specific section of the broker’s exam consists of 40 scored questions. You must complete the Iowa real estate broker exam within 180 minutes (three hours total).

The passing rate is a combined score of 90 (60/75 on the national section and 30/40 on the state section).

If you happen to fail the exam, you can continue to reapply on the PSI website and take the test as many times as necessary to pass.

For more information on the exam, PSI provides a Candidate Handbook containing the Iowa Real Estate Broker Exam content outline.

Taking an exam prep course provides you helpful tools and materials, such as quizzes and specific state-only practice exams, to increase your chances of passing your broker license exam the first time.

Step 3: Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check

After submitting your license application, you must have a fingerprint-based background check via the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau.

You will need to create a login for DataPro (aka “My Iowa PLB”) and then submit your request for a fingerprint packet electronically through the application named “RE — Background Request.” There is a fee of $51 when submitting your fingerprinting application.

The average turnaround time is 3-6 weeks for processing once the IREC has received a completed background application, fingerprint card, and fee.


If you aren’t sure whether you are eligible for a real estate license based on your history, check out our article on Real Estate License Eligibility.

Step 4. Obtain Errors & Omissions Insurance

In order to apply for your broker’s license, you must carry uninterrupted Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance coverage in Iowa.

The IREC partners with Rice Insurance Services Center (RISC) to provide affordable state group E&O insurance policies. The program is designed specifically for Iowa licensees.

You must also provide proof of coverage along with your license application. An enrollment form to obtain E&O insurance is also available. While you are not required to get coverage from RISC, you must obtain coverage from another carrier that meets the equivalent coverage requirements.

Step 5: Submit an Iowa Broker License Application

Once you meet the broker pre-licensing education requirements and pass the course exam, you can now apply for your license.

To submit your broker license application, you must use IREC’s PLB Login. The application fee is $170. Use your first name, last name, and email, or phone number to apply online for your broker license.

Step 6: Application Review

After passing your broker exam, you will only need to wait for IREC to review your application, which can take a couple of days to two weeks. You can check the status of your application via the Iowa PLB system. Use IREC’s Application Statuses page to check on your license status.

In addition, questions regarding the license application process should be directed to IREC. You can call (515) 725-9022 during business hours, or email at


Now that you’ve successfully passed the broker licensing exam and obtained your license, there are a few things you need to do to keep your broker license active and updated.

Iowa Real Estate Broker License Renewal and CE

In Iowa, you must renew your real estate broker license every two to three years. The renewal process is not the same for the broker license and sales agent license.

Starting November 16, 2022, all licensees can go to “My Iowa PLB” and electronically submit their renewal application. The renewal fee is $170.

IAREC – Iowa Real Estate Commission

Mailing Address:

Iowa Real Estate Commission
200 E. Grand Ave., Suite 350
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: (515) 725-9022 


Iowa Real Estate Broker License FAQ

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

The costs of getting a real estate broker license in Iowa can range between $525 and $715.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Pre-license education courses: $209-$399
Broker exam fee: $95
Fingerprint-based background check: $51
Application fee: $170

How long does it take to get a real estate broker license?

The steps that typically take the most time when getting a broker license include taking pre-license education courses and exams. The average amount of time to get a broker license is generally three to six months.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

Real estate agents focus on working with clients on individual real estate transactions, while real estate brokers have more experience with the added responsibility of managing a team of real estate agents or brokerage business. See our Real Estate Agent vs. Broker vs. Realtor page for more information.

How much does a real estate broker make?

Real estate brokers get paid just like real estate agents by earning commissions on their agents’ sales. Brokers can also charge the real estate agents they manage a fixed monthly fee or have the option to earn money on commission sales by helping their own clients buy and sell property. According to Payscale data, brokers earn $61,314 per year in base salary, with anywhere between $10,000 and $147,000 in commissions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median broker salary is $62,010.

How do I get a job as a real estate broker in Iowa?

Browse through available real estate broker jobs in your area using our StateRequirement Job Board!

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