Best Real Estate Schools in Iowa

Best Iowa Real Estate Schools


Iowa real estate agents have ranked the very BEST real estate courses in Iowa to make sure you start your new career right.  Want to see the full, in-depth editor reviews for each school? Check out our 100% free guide to the best real estate schools in Iowa (includes the latest 2022 pricing, reviews, pass rates, and more).

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Best Online Real Estate Schools in Iowa

iowaThe real estate market is booming all over the country and Iowa is no exception. The 2021 market left 2020 in the dust with median sale prices rising 8.6% over last year’s numbers. Sales rose 8.4% in the state in general.

More than 5,000 Iowa homes were newly available for sale in April. However, this isn’t enough to meet the insane levels of demand. The state is currently a seller’s market.

If you’re looking to get in on this, it’s important to know that a successful career path starts with your real estate education. That’s why getting inside knowledge from industry experts is crucial when deciding where to start earning your real estate license in Iowa. In fact, making the right choice for your real estate school is one of the most important choices a new agent can make!

Our in-house real estate experts spent hundreds of hours researching, scoring, and ranking the top Iowa real estate schools.  Our experts also took into account the ratings and reviews from thousands of Agent Advice agents who have taken the courses themselves. 

We’ve ranked and rated each school on 8 different factors to come up with the very best real estate schools in Iowa. Our full guide on how we rank courses is available here, but the short version of factors considered are: 

  1. Course value
  2. How easy the courses were to navigate
  3. If there were any technical glitches
  4. Return policies
  5. Overall performance of each school as a whole
  6. Reviews directly from agents who’ve attended the school

There are dozens of options (some of them not so great!), so we’ve taken the work off your plate by narrowing down the list to only the ones that scored high enough. Whether you’re dedicating yourself full time to your new career, are looking to fly through the courses quickly to get them over with, or are busy and looking to work through them when you have downtime, here is a list of the best online real estate schools in Iowa you should consider.

  1. The CE Shop
  2. Real Estate Express
  3. Kaplan
  4. Mbition
  5. Center for Real Estate Excellence

Quick Compare

The CE Shopce-shop-logo

Editor’s Score: A+

The CE Shop is one of the top names in online real estate education. They provide services in most U.S. states and offer pre-licensing, exam prep, post-licensing and continuing education. Their classes are taught by industry experts who will do all they can to ensure your success.

The school is driven by a set of core values. They are customer focused, respectful, transparent and committed to improving. They also have fun and give back to their community.

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Study Courses

The CE Shop offers a variety of study courses to their students. These include:

  • Courses Only: Courses Only provides the 60 hours or IA pre-licensing education.
  • Standard Package: The Standard Package offers the 60 hours of IA pre-licensing education, Exam Prep Edge and a pass guarantee.
  • Value Package: The Value Package offers everything the Standard Packaging provides as well as Building Business Courses.
  • Premium Package: The Premium Package offers everything the Value Package comes with as well as a 24-hour IA Sales CE Course.

All the packages above come with expert written business eBooks, a real estate glossary, a study schedule, digital flashcards and downloadable and career resources.

The CE Shop Course Schedule Chart Screenshot

Pass Rates

The CE Shop has a 91% national pass rate. 75% of students pass on their first attempt, 12% pass on their second attempt and 4% pass on their third attempt.

There is no information available on pass rates for Iowa specifically.


The CE Shop reviews are mostly positive, but can vary from time to time.

Students who liked the school say the courses were easy to follow and easy to understand. They said the study plan and practice exams were helpful. They also appreciated the flexible go at your own pace curriculum.

Those who weren’t happy with the course said the curriculum was complicated and convoluted. They said the exam questions were opinion based. They also mentioned having administrative issues.

Want to learn more about The CE Shop? Check out more here.

The CE Shop Exam Prep Edge Screenshot

Best Things About the School

The CE Shop has developed a solid reputation in the real estate industry. Here are some of the best things about the school.

  • Flexible: The online courses make it easy for students to fit learning into their busy schedule.
  • High Pass Rates: The school’s high pass rates are very impressive.
  • Good Choice of Study Courses: There are four courses to choose from so you can pick the option that works best for you.
  • Affordable: The school is affordably priced as compared to the competition.
  • Resources Available: Each package comes with a variety of resources which are available regardless of which course you choose.
  • Fair cancellation policy: The school offers students a fair cancellation policy.
  • Pass Guarantee: The school has a pass guarantee in place.


Now here are some aspects of the school that could use improving.

  • No Live Option: The school does not offer any live options for students so courses may be difficult for those that are not self-motivated.
  • No Individual Courses for Iowa Students: While CE Shop provides one off courses for students in certain states, they are not available for Iowa students.
  • Pass Guarantee is Limited: While it’s good that the school has a pass guarantee in place, it only covers certain students, and it only provides a refund for the Exam Prep Edge.

The CE Shop Lesson 1 Quiz Screenshot

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Refunds are available to students as long as the request to cancel is made within 30 days of purchase and the course is not more than 50% completed. Students who buy the Exam Prep Edge as a standalone course are also eligible for a refund as long as the request to cancel is made within 30 days and the initial assessment has not been completed.

Pass Guarantee

The CE Shop has a pass guarantee in place. Students that do not pass the real estate exam may be refunded for the Exam Prep Edge as long as it was included in their package or purchased as a standalone product. To be eligible, they must also have passed their topic exams with a score of at least 80%.

The CE Shop ProsThe CE Shop Cons
Multiple course study packagesNo instructor help
A lot of study aids and recommendationsOnline only
Interactive and user-friendly platformState portion of course is outdated

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Real Estate Expressreal estate express logo

Editor’s Score: A+

Real Estate Express advertises itself as the number one school for real estate agents. It helped 520,000 students get their licenses and move forward in their careers. It offers pre-licensing, exam prep, license upgrades and continuing education.

The school started out in 1996. As a member of the Colibri Real Estate family, they offer online courses on a nationally accredited platform. They also provide free guidance via their Career Hub platform.

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Study Courses

Real Estate Express offers a variety of courses to Iowa students. These include the following:

  • The Basics: The Basics is recommended for self-starters with some real estate experience. It includes the 60-hour pre-licensing course, state approved instructor support and three real estate books.
  • Exam Preparation: The Exam Preparation Course comes with everything The Basics offers as well as a money back guarantee and extra exam prep stimulation.
  • Exam Preparation Plus: This course provides a more personalized, guided approach. It offers everything the Exam Prep comes with as well as a real estate dictionary, instructor Q & A and a live exam crammer series.
  • Ultimate Learning: The Ultimate Learning course is designed to make you an expert in your field. It includes everything the Exam Preparation Plus comes with as well as a printed course textbook and a one-year professional development membership.

Real Estate Express lesson 1 screenshot

Students may also purchase the following as standalone courses:

Sherri Johnson 90 Day Bootcamp: The Bootcamp course provides downloadable content, a proven business plan, a special strategy for lead generation and 60 minutes of instructional script coaching from expert coach Sherri Johnson. It will help you generate new listings and get more buyers and sales. It ensures you will exceed your expectations in the first 90 days of your career.

60 Hour Iowa Pre-Licensing Course: This course takes you through all the subjects mandated by the Iowa Real Estate Commission including instruction in real estate law, types of interest and ownership in real estate, home ownership, titles, liens, taxes, legal descriptions, encumbrances, listing, advertising, appraisal, finances, closings and the professional code of ethics.

Pass Rates

Real Estate Express has a 78% pass rate making it above average as compared to other real estate schools.

Real Estate Express Ultimate Learning Package Homepage Screenshot


Real Estate Express reviews are very positive for the most part.

Those who liked the school said it was well balanced and they appreciated the instructor support. They found it easy and user friendly and they said the cost was reasonable. They also said it more than prepared them for their exam.

Students who didn’t enjoy the school said the curriculum didn’t prepare them for everyday life as a realtor. They said the layout needs improvement and that the course could be more interactive. They also said they had a hard time with the set up.

Want to learn more about Real Estate Express? Check out more here.

Best Things About the School

Real Estate Express has a solid reputation in the real estate industry. Here are some of the best things about the school.

  • High Pass Rates: The school has a high pass rate, so you have a good chance of passing the exam after taking the course.
  • Flexible: The online format is flexible so it’s easy to fit learning into a busy schedule.
  • Good Variety of Study Courses: The variety of study courses allows you to choose the option that works best for you.
  • Career Hub Platform: The Career Hub platform works as a resource for students who want to move forward in their career.
  • Standalone Courses Available: The standalone courses can be purchased separately and serve as a valuable career resource.
  • Affordable: The school is competitively priced.
  • Good Reputation: Real Estate Express has been in business since 1996 and has a long history of helping students succeed.

Real Estate Express Progress Exam Screenshot


Now here are some aspects of the school that could use improvement.

  • No Live Option: Courses are online only which may make them difficult for students who are not self-starters.
  • No Additional Courses for Iowa Students: The school only offers pre-licensing for Iowa students. There are no continuing education or post-licensing courses available for realtors in the state. Those looking to take classes to move forward in their career will need to find another school.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Real Estate Express provides full refunds to students who cancel within 7 days of starting the course. If they have not started the course, they have 30 days to cancel.

Pass Guarantee

A pass guarantee is provided to students who take the Master Exam Prep. If you take the Master Exam Prep and fail the real estate exam, you are entitled to a full refund.

Real Estate Express ProsReal Estate Express Cons
Ebooks are included with all coursesCourses are tedious and difficult for many
Return policy offered on some of the class packagesLivestreams are not recorded for later viewing
Lots of guides and practice testsCan be glitchy

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Kaplan Real Estate Educationkaplan logo

Editor’s Score: C+

Kaplan is a top provider in online education. They offer on demand, online and text study courses designed for student’s busy lifestyles. They provide pre-licensing, exam prep and continuing education courses in most United States.

The school advertises itself as the country’s premier provider of real estate courses. Their instructors have hands on experience in the industry, so they are in tune with student needs. They will guide you through your career from getting your license to your subsequent renewals.

Study Courses

Kaplan offer a variety of study courses to Iowa students including the following:

  • Iowa Real Estate Principles with Master Exam Prep: This course includes 60 hours of pre-licensing education, a national PSI drill and practice QBank, an Iowa national PSI drill and practice QBank and an interactive study group.
  • Iowa Career Launcher Package: This package offers everything the Iowa Real Estate Principles course comes with as well as a Real Estate Accelerator 2-day online course.
  • Iowa Real Estate Principles: This package gets you prepared for the exam with a review of Iowa real estate principles including real estate property and law, agency and brokerage, real estate contracts, real estate appraisals, fair housing and ethical practices and more.

Kaplan Unit 2 OnDemand Video Screenshot

Pass Rates

Kaplan has a 76% pass rates. That means that students that take the course are more than likely to pass the real estate exam.


Kaplan reviews are mostly positive on Agent Advice.

Students who liked the course said the instructors were great and provided extra support outside of the classroom setting. They said the topics reviewed went beyond what was needed for the test providing a great foundation for their careers. They said they appreciated the flexibility of the online courses.

Those were not happy with the school mentioned that several of their proctored exams were cancelled. They said the customer service is hit or miss. They also mentioned that they were not aware that they would have limited time to access the course material.

Kaplan Unit 3 Learning Objectives Screenshot

Best Things About the School

Kaplan has a good reputation in the real estate industry. Here are the best things about the school.

  • Flexible: The school has flexible online courses that make it easy for students to fit learning into their busy schedules.
  • High Pass Rates: Kaplan has a 76% pass rate which is relatively high for a real estate school.
  • Good Variety of Study Courses: The school offers three study course varieties so students can choose the one that best suits their needs.
  • Courses Come with Extras: The courses come with an interactive study group, a QBank and other features in addition to the 60 hours of pre-licensing education.
  • Fair Cancellation Policy: Kaplan has a fair cancellation policy in place.


Now here are some things about the school that could use improvement.

  • Limited Course Formats: Although the school advertises offering home study, on demand and online formats, Iowa students only have online options. This can be difficult for students that aren’t self-motivated.
  • Some Courses are Expensive: The two basic study courses are $349 and $399 which is on the expensive side in comparison to other schools. The Career Launcher Package is $699 and may be unaffordable to some students.
  • No Pass Guarantee to Iowa Students: A pass guarantee is only available for students who take the live and on demand classes. These options are not provided for Iowa students, therefore, there is no pass guarantee in place for aspiring agents in the state.

Kaplan Unit Overview Screenshot

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Students who sign up for online classes may get a refund if they cancel within 30 days of purchase and the course has not been completed. Students who take live classes may get a refund if they cancel within 30 days of purchase and the course has not been completed. They must also return all course material in like new condition.

Students may reschedule live classes up to four times with no fee. After that, they will need to pay $20 for each reschedule.

Pass Guarantee

Kaplan provides a pass guarantee for live and live online students only. Students who take these classes and do not pass the test may retake the course for free as long as they do so within 6 months of the original purchase date.

Live and online classes are not provided to Iowa students. Therefore, there is no pass guarantee available to those looking to get an Iowa real estate license.

Kaplan ProsKaplan Cons
High pass ratesCostly
Flexible schedulingTechnical issues
Easy to follow study materialNot all material applies to the Arizona state test



Editor’s Score: C+

Mbition is a well-known provider of real estate education. Their interactive courses offer engaging content and real-world examples that get students prepared for their career. They promise compliance with state and federal regulations.

The school is backed by 50 plus years of experience which allows them to provide the best possible learning experience. They have a reliable support team on hand to answer any questions. They offer pre-licensing, continuing education, exam prep, post-licensing and license upgrades. They also provide courses for home inspection.

woman studying

Study Courses

Mbition offers a variety of courses for Iowa students looking to get their license. These include the following:

  • Silver Package: The Silver package offers the 60 hours of IA pre-licensing education, a math master course, instructor support and technical support.
  • Gold Package: The Gold Package offers everything the Silver Package offers as well as a pass the first-time guarantee and national real estate exam prep.
  • Platinum Package: The Platinum Package offers everything the Gold Package comes with as well as a real estate exam prep toolkit and an accredited textbook.

You can also take the 60 hours of pre-licensing education as a standalone course.

Exam prep courses can also be purchased separately. These include:

  • National Real Estate Exam Prep PSI: This includes a QBank, a testing mode, a training mode and feedback reporting.
  • The National Master Exam Prep Package: This includes the National Real Estate Exam Prep PSI, the National Real Estate Toolkit and the Math Master course.

The school also has a bookstore where you can purchase valuable textbook resources.

woman studying on computer


Unfortunately, we could not find many positive online reviews for Mbition. Students that took the course said it didn’t cover the material needed to pass the course. They also said the material is repetitive so it takes way longer to get through the course than it should.

Many students claimed that they were not told they would have limited access to the course, and it timed out before they got a chance to complete it.

Best Things About the School

Here are some of the benefits Mbition has to offer:

  • Good Variety of Study Courses: Mbition has a good variety of study courses including packages and standalone courses so students can find the option that works best for them.
  • Affordable: The school’s prices are very reasonable.
  • In Business a Long Time: The school boasts 50 years of experience, so it has longevity on its side.

small group of students studying


Here are some aspects of the school that could use improvement.

  • Negative Student Reviews: The lack of positive student reviews is concerning.
  • Limited Formats Available: The school provides courses in an online format only. This may not be the best choice for students that are not self-motivated.
  • Limited Pass Guarantee: The pass guarantee only covers certain students and only provides a refund for the state licensing fee. It does not cover the class fees.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

Students may get a refund if they request one within seven days of purchase. If they are beyond the seven-day grace period and have not started the course, they will get a refund minus 15% of the full purchase price.

Students studying in group setting

Pass Guarantee

The school has a pass guarantee in place. In order to qualify, students must take the Exam Prep Edge and score at least 80% on their in-course and Exam prep exams. They must also have taken the test within six months of completing the course.

If they meet all these requirements and still fail the exam, they will be refunded for their state licensing fee.

If you are thinking of getting a job in Iowa real estate, now is a great time to get in on the ground floor. The market is booming. A good school will get you off on the right foot.

The schools in this article all make great choices for aspiring Iowa agents. Which do you feel is best suited to your needs?


Also Considered:

Center for Real Estate Excellencereal estate excellence

Editor’s Score: C

The Center for Real Estate Excellence is a state of Iowa licensing and continuing education school located in Des Moines. It is taught by active realtors who share their real-life experiences. It provides live informational sessions for aspiring agents.

The school’s director is Rochelle Burnett. Burnett has been a realtor for ten years and sells an average of 100 homes a year. She shares her tips and tricks with the students ensuring they get the best education possible.

Study Courses

The school provides online, self-paced and live zoom lessons to students looking to fulfill the 60-hour education requirement.

They also provide additional required courses including the following:

  • Listing Practices: This course includes information on where to find listings, listing consultations, marketing and staging of listings, the closing process and the real estate market.
  • Buying Practices: This course covers where to find buyers, buyer consultations, agency contracts, the buying process, the closing process and the real estate market.
  • Developing Professionalism and Ethical Practices: This course includes information on writing a business plan, DISC behavioral styles, the National Real Estate Association Code of Ethics and pathways to professionalism.

All courses listed above are available on Zoom.

Pass Rates

There is no information available on the school’s pass rates.

woman studying on computer


CREE has gotten mostly positive online reviews.

Students that were happy with the course said the teacher’s presentation was clear, concise and entertaining. They said the classes were fun and the time flew by. They said they learned a lot from the school.

I could not find any negative reviews of the school. However, there were not many reviews available online in general.

Best Things About the School

CREE offers many benefits to its students. Here are some of the best things about the school.

  • Good Teachers: Classes are taught by qualified instructors. The students were impressed by the teacher’s enthusiasm.
  • Online and Livestream Lessons Available: The school offers livestream and online lessons so there are options for students who prefer to go at their own pace as well as those that are not self-motivated.
  • Positive Student Reviews: Although there were limited reviews to be found online, they were all positive.
  • Free Informational Session: Students may attend a free informational Zoom session before beginning their classes so they can find out what to expect from the school before signing up.

Happy woman studying and smiling


Now here are some aspects of the school that could use improvement.

  • Limited Study Courses: There is only one main course offered to students, so they have limited choices in finding the curriculum that works best for them.
  • Expensive: The main course is $475, and the additional courses are $120 each. They are listed as required courses. If all these courses need to be taken, it can cost students over $800 making the school one of the least affordable options on the list.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

If a student wishes to cancel, they must let the school know 72 hours prior to starting the class in order to get a full refund. If they have already picked up books for the course, the books must be returned, or students may keep them for a $75 fee.

If the student does not cancel within the 72-hour grace period, they will not get a refund, but they may put the money towards tuition for another class. That class must be taken within 120 days of the original purchase.

If a student doesn’t show up for a class, they may not get a refund.

Pass Guarantee

There is no information available about the school’s pass guarantee and they may not offer one.

Center for Real Estate Excellence ProsCenter for Real Estate Excellence Cons
Good teachersExpensive
Good student reviewsOnly one study course available for pre-licensing
Livestream and online courses providedNo information on a pass guarantee and they may not offer one
Free informational sessionLimited customer service
Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 6/14/2022