Driver's education

Behind-the-Wheel Instructors

Iowa Code section 321.178(2) requires that, to provide street or highway driving instruction (behind-the-wheel instruction) in a driver’s education course, a person needs to be both certified by the Iowa Department of Transportation and authorized by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

For more information about behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction, please review Iowa Code section 321.178 and Iowa Administrative Code 761-634.7.

To be eligible to become and remain a BTW instructor, you must be at least 25 years old, have a valid driver’s license that permits unaccompanied driving, and have a clear driving record for the previous two years as defined in Iowa Administrative subrule 761-634.7(c). Please contact dot.btw@iowadot.us with any questions about the behind-the-wheel process.

New Instructors

The process for becoming a new behind-the-wheel instructor includes completing a behind-the-wheel instructor training program, as well as receiving certification from the Iowa Department of Transportation and authorization from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

Step 1

Applicant completes a Behind-the-Wheel Instructor Training Course. View a list of approved behind-the-wheel courses. Once successfully passed, the course provider will forward a copy of the course completion to the Iowa DOT.


Step 2

Applicant fills out the application for Iowa DOT behind-the-wheel instructor certification and submits it to the Iowa DOT (form 431160 ). Note: Iowa DOT BTW certificates expire every December 31 regardless of when the initial certificate is issued, and must be renewed annually. Applications can be submitted via email or mail to the addresses listed on the application.


Step 3

After receiving the Iowa DOT BTW certificate, the applicant applies to the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) for BTW authorization. This includes a background check, mandatory reporter training, fee payment, and uploading the Iowa DOT BTW certificate that was issued in step 2. More information can be found on the BOEE website, and applications can be submitted through their online applicant portal. NOTE: BOEE BTW authorization expiration dates vary for every instructor, and expire 12 months from the date of issuance.


Step 4

Notify the employing Iowa-approved driver’s education program that both the DOT BTW certificate and the BOEE BTW authorization have been obtained. The employer then contacts the Iowa DOT at drivered.report@iowadot.us to request that the new instructor be added to their list of approved BTW instructors.


Step 5

Once the driver education program receives notice that the instructor has been successfully added to their instructor roster, the instructor may begin teaching.


Once steps 1-5 are completed, please note that you must annually renew your DOT BTW certificate and BOEE BTW authorization with the BOEE (see renewal process below). DOT BTW certificates expire every December 31, whereas BOEE BTW authorizations vary by person, and expire 12 months from the date of issuance.


Current Instructor Renewal

DOT Behind-the-wheel certificates expire every year on December 31 and must be renewed annually.

To be eligible to renew your Iowa DOT behind-the-wheel instructor certification, you must have:

  • Provided behind-the-wheel instruction for a minimum of 12 hours during the previous calendar year.
  • Participated in at least one state-sponsored or state-approved behind-the-wheel instructor refresher course during the previous calendar year. The annual Iowa DOT Driver’s Education Conference meets this requirement, but other options for refresher courses can be found here.
  • Maintain a clean driving record for the prior two years as defined by IAC 761-634.7 and Iowa Code §321.178.

To renew your Iowa DOT BTW instructor certification, fill out and submit form 431160 by December 31 (if you are having trouble accessing the form, try opening the link using Internet Explorer). Forms can be submitted to dot.btw@iowadot.us or mailed to Driver & Identification Services, PO Box 9204, Des Moines, IA 50306-9204.

Keep in mind that your BOEE BTW authorization must also be renewed yearly. To find out when your BOEE BTW authorization expires, visit the license look-up website. To renew your BOEE BTW authorization, please visit their online applicant portal. In addition, to provide behind-the-wheel instruction, you must be listed on the instructor roster of an approved public school or community college driver education program or an approved private driver education company.

Peace Officer Exemption

Iowa Code § 321.178 (1)(b)(2)(a) allows certain individuals to be exempt from the requirement to be authorized by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to provide behind-the-wheel instruction. Eligible peace officers must still maintain valid Iowa DOT behind-the-wheel certification.

To be eligible for the exemption, you must fall under one of the following categories:

A current peace officer listed below (as defined in subsection 801.4(11), paragraph “a”, “b”, “c”, or “h”), with five or more years of experience as a peace officer:

  • Sheriff or regular deputy subject to mandated law enforcement training
  • Marshal or police officer of a city
  • Department of Public Safety officer (state patrol, narcotics enforcement, state fire marshal, or criminal investigation)
  • Department of Transportation motor vehicle enforcement officer


A peace officer retired under one of the following systems, as defined in chapter 97a or 411, or section 97B.49B or 97B.49C:

  • Department of Public Safety - Peace Officers’ Retirement, Accident, and Disability System (POR)
  • Municipal Fire & Police Retirement System of Iowa (MFPRSI)
  • Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS)

It is important to note that exemption-eligible peace officers still must meet all Iowa Department of Transportation behind-the-wheel certificate renewal requirements and apply annually to the Iowa DOT to renew their certificate.

In addition to submitting the annual renewal application (form 431160) by December 31 every year, all exemption-eligible peace officers must also complete form 431233 to apply for the exemption:

  • Current peace officers must submit form 431233 every year.
  • Retired peace officers must submit form 431233 the first time they seek the exemption, but do not need to submit the form annually thereafter.