Frequently Asked Questions

Where are my completion certificates?

All certificates for courses taken with the Iowa Real Estate Academy can be found at in your student center, located in the upper right hand corner.

How do I get started in Real Estate?

First, you need a real estate license.  Here is the step-by-step process from the Professional Licensing Bureau:

Select Salesperson by Exam

What can I do with an Iowa Real Estate License?

An Iowa real estate license allows you to work with residential, commercial, industrial, investment and land properties, as well as a property management.  There are many other avenues your license may take you, such as personal real estate investment.

What courses are required for a real estate license?

There are four: 60 Hour Pre-License, Listing Practices, Buying Practices & Developing Professionalism/Ethics.

The 60 Hour Pre-License course can be done as a live course or an online/self-study course.  The other three courses (12 hours each) must be done as a live course.  The Iowa Real Estate Academy offers all of the required courses and all live courses are taught via Zoom Conference.

What order do I take the courses in?

The courses may be taken in any order and only the 60 Hour Pre-License course completion is required to take the PSI exam.

Do I need all the courses completed before I take the PSI exam?

No, only the 60 Hour Pre-License course must be completed to take the PSI Exam.

How do I register for the PSI exam?

You can register at

Create a Log In/Register for a Test/Government State Licensing Agencies/Iowa/IA Real Estate/IA Salesperson (or Broker)/Select School Provider (0017 Iowa Real Estate Academy)


Can I take the PSI Exam from home?

Yes!  There is now the option of taking the PSI Exam from home or from one of the three test centers.  Both have rules to follow, so be sure you show up prepared!

How many times can I retake the exam?

You can retake the exam as many times as you need, but they will charge you the exam fee each time.

How do I get my background check?

Here is the link with step-by-step instructions from the Professional Licensing Bureau:

If you do not receive your background packet within a week, please contact the background specialist with the real estate commission at 515-725-9035.

For fingerprints, your local police station can usually help you but please call ahead to inquire about setting an appointment and the fees.

How much does it cost to become an agent?

The costs may vary, yet here are some expenses to consider:

  • 4 Pre-License Courses: $750
  • Background Check: $75
  • PSI Exam: $95
  • Errors & Omissions Insurance: (pro-rated monthly) $150
  • License Application: $125
  • Local, State & National Membership: $900
  • Misc Fees: (Broker fees, Marketing) $200

How do I select a broker?

Personally, here is what I suggest a new agent should consider when selecting a broker:

  • Commission Splits: what will make you the most money?
  • Education: do they have a training calendar or other opportunities to learn?
  • Support: do they have multiple resources to help answer ALL of your questions?
  • Culture: where do you feel like you fit in?

Keep in mind, joining a brokerage is an “engagement” not a “marriage”.  While jumping broker to broker may not be a good idea, it is okay to move along to another opportunity. 

Do Brokers hire new agents?

Yes! However, some may not and that is okay.  It is better a broker be up front & honest with you rather than take on a new agent they do not have time for.  After some experience, you can always revisit the opportunity.

How much money will I make in real estate?

Great question!  Because real estate agents work as independent contractors, there is no income promise.  Income can vary dramatically from agent to agent but the most important thing is that you work towards your individual goals and don’t let a limiting belief (or anyone else’s) tell you a successful first year is impossible!

What is the difference between the Iowa Real Estate Commission and the Iowa Association of REALTORS?

The Iowa Real Estate Commission is the state's governing body over all licensed real estate agents in Iowa.  They set standards on how to get a license, issue licenses and how to maintain your license, otherwise you face discipline.  The Iowa Association of REALTORS is an elective membership of agents as a resource to colaborate with other licensed agents in the industry to promote property ownership.

What is the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR?

A real estate agent is licensed in the State of Iowa with the Professional Licensing Bureau.  Being a REALTOR means the agent also is a member of the National Association of REALTORS, including membership to the state and local board.

What is the pass rate for the PSI exam?

While state statistics are unknown & hard to track, the Iowa Real Estate Academy has found that about 60% pass both the National & State Exams on the first try.  Another 20% pass one but not the other and the last 20% are unknown. 

How do I study for the PSI exam?

Each student is different, yet the following tools have proven to be helpful:

Iowa Real Estate Academy’s Exam Prep ($25):


Iowa Real Estate Academy’s YouTube Channel:

PSI Exams Practice Quizzes (500 for $50 recommended):

Can I do real estate part time?

Yes, you can.  Some brokers may prefer to hire only full-time real estate agents, yet there will be brokers who are willing to work with you if you have another career.  However, to be successful in both takes very careful planning to meet the accommodations of both professions.

What training videos might be helpful to review as a new licensee?

The Iowa Real Estate Academy has compiled a list of helpful training videos.  Included are topics such as:
Google docs, Showingtime, Forewarn, Supra, Matrix, RPR, Dotloop, Do Not Call and Zoom.

How many credit hours are needed to renew my Iowa license?

36 CE Hours must be completed every three-year renewal period: Law Update (8hours), Ethics (4 Hours) Electives (24 hours).

Please remember:

  • Course numbers cannot be the same
  • At least 12 hours must be done as a live course, the rest can be online/self-study
  • Live courses taught in formats such as Zoom (where to student & instructor and see/hear each other) is considered a LIVE course.

How do I renewal my real estate license?

Prior to December 31st, visit, and log into your account. License renewal for salesperson is $125, broker is $170.  You can attest to your credit hours or upload your completions certificates.  If you only attest to your credit hours, please make sure to keep track of your certificates in case of an audit.

How do I obtain an Iowa broker’s license?

Here is the step-by-step process from the Professional Licensing Bureau:

Select Broker by Exam

If I already have a real estate license in another state, do I need to take all the courses?

That is up to the Iowa Real Estate Commission!  Yet, before you sign up for any courses, please call the licensing specialist at 515-725-9027 to see if reciprocity rules would apply to your situation.