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How to Get a Real Estate License in Nebraska: 2021 Requirements for Taking the Exam

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Knowing what to expect will help you move expediently through the real estate licensing process when you’re ready to take that leap.

In this guide, we share a wealth of essential information and answers to commonly asked questions so that you have all the details you need.

Read along as we step you through what it takes to become a real estate salesperson or broker in the Cornhusker State.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Nebraska
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Nebraska Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople

To start a career as a real estate salesperson in Nebraska, you must be at least 19 years old with a high school diploma or GED. If you earned your diploma as a homeschooled student, you must also provide evidence that you were enrolled in a Department of Education program.

The Nebraska Real Estate Commission also requires the following as part of the application process for an original license:

  • Pre-licensing education
  • Passing score on the exam
  • Fingerprint submission
  • Current background check

The education you must complete totals 66 hours. That’s divided into three courses. Two of them must be 30-hour pre-licensing courses. The third is a 6-hour class in professional conduct and ethical practices.

There are several pre-licensing courses available. However, most applicants take Real Estate Principles and Nebraska License Law to fulfill the 60-hour requirement. The principles course provides an overview of all the facets of real estate. The course on license law focuses on the knowledge most critical to passing the state portion of the salesperson exam.

The Commission contracts with the testing company PSI Services to manage the exam, a two-part test with 130 questions.

The 80-question general section covers real estate practice and law throughout the United States. You have 150 minutes to complete this portion. You need to get 60 points to pass this part of the exam.

The second portion is specific to Nebraska real estate laws, rules, and regulations. You get 90 minutes to complete the 50-item state portion. You need to get 38 items correct to pass this portion of the test.

Note that the Commission prequalifies applicants to sit for the exam and lets PSI know who’s eligible. So, you must submit your application and wait for the Commission’s approval to take the test. When you receive your email notification, you can schedule an exam appointment.

You’ll also get fingerprint cards and instructions for the background check from the Commission immediately after you apply. They recommend that you complete the fingerprint process quickly. It takes an average of four to six weeks for your criminal records check to be done. Your application isn’t complete until the Commission receives the background report.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ve fulfilled the requirements to qualify for a license, and you have 30 days to request that it be issued. However, if you want to obtain your license on active status, you’ll have a couple more items to take care of first.

First, you must secure errors and omissions insurance (liability insurance). Second, you must have a sponsoring broker who agrees to supervise you. For expert tips on what to look for when researching top real estate brokers, check out our article on how to find a real estate broker to work for as a real estate agent.

After your license is issued, you still have one more condition to meet. You must complete 12 hours of Commission-approved post-licensure coursework within 180 days. If you fail to do so, your license will be placed on inactive status until you fulfill the requirement.

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Nebraska Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers

The minimum age to get a Nebraska broker’s license is 19. As for the required education level, you must have a high school diploma, a GED, or evidence that you graduated from a Department of Education program if you were homeschooled.

The Commission also requires real estate agents in Nebraska to have two years of full-time salesperson experience when applying for a broker’s license. Part-time experience that is equivalent to two years of full-time activities is acceptable as well.

In addition, you must satisfy Nebraska’s statutory pre-licensing education requirement and pass the exam and criminal background check.

There are situations that exempt applicants from some of these requirements. For instance, if you’re licensed in another state, you might not have to satisfy every pre-licensing condition. You may qualify for reciprocity, which is explained in a subsequent section of this guide.

Otherwise, if you’re upgrading your license to work as an associate broker or run a brokerage, you’re subject to all requirements set by the Commission.

The pre-licensing coursework requirement consists of four Commission-approved courses that are at least 30 hours of study each. Plus, you’ll have to complete a 6-hour course related to professional standards. If you’re an attorney, be aware that several of the customary courses taught in law schools are recognized as approved pre-license courses.

With respect to the exam, you’ll need to get a score of at least 75 percent on the national and state portions to receive a successful score report. The national portion has 75 questions. There are 50 questions on the part specific to Nebraska real estate law. You’ll have four hours to take the exam, with most of the time allowed for the national section.

You’ll find helpful details about the exam in the Candidate Information Bulletin. It includes a content outline that clues you in on the topics covered and the number of questions for each.

Note that you must apply for your license before you can sit for the exam. The Commission will process it and notify you whether you’re approved to take the test. You can schedule an exam appointment with PSI Services once the Commission sends them your name.

The Commission will send you fingerprint cards and instructions on how that procedure works as soon as you submit your application. The Nebraska State Patrol will use your fingerprints to perform a state and federal background check.

After you’ve passed the exam and received your score report, you’ll have a short time window (30 days) to file for your license. The Commission provides a checklist to make issuance easier.

You’ll also need to watch the clock to ensure you meet the post-license education requirement. You have 180 days to complete the 12-hour Commission-approved real estate broker classes if you’re an associate broker. If you intend to work as a designated broker, you must complete four course sessions totaling 12 hours.

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Reciprocal States

What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?

Suppose you’re already a licensed agent or broker in another state. In that case, you may have the opportunity to secure a Nebraska license by reciprocity.

Nebraska has licensure recognition agreements with several states. If you’re licensed in one of them, the requirements you must meet are specified in that agreement. Typically, you’ll get waivers on some things you’d have to do if this was your original license. For instance, you may be exempt from taking pre-licensing courses, the exam, or both.

For those licensed in other states, Nebraska statute allows for the issuance of an equivalent license through a recognition procedure. You are required to do the following:

  • Undergo a fingerprint-based criminal background check
  • Complete a 3-hour course on agency relationships and state license law
  • Submit an application following the license recognition instructions
  • Provide proof of errors and omissions insurance (for active licenses)
  • Provide a Certificate of Licensure History or other verification of current licensure
  • Submit a License Issuance Form (differs for salespeople and designated brokers)

If you are a nonresident licensee, you must also submit an Acknowledgement of Personal Jurisdiction form when you apply. If you are obtaining a broker license, you should review the license information section of the Commission website before completing an application.

 

US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Nebraska

Nebraska currently has licensing recognition agreements with the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
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How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Nebraska

Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses

Salesperson and broker courses are offered in traditional classroom settings. With set days and times for class, it can be easier to organize the rest of your schedule and get coursework in.

Day and evening schedules are also available. Night classes provide those who work full time during the day with the opportunity to study for their license in a structured environment. Day classes allow students to finish up the required courses a bit faster.

You’ll also find courses that provide the classroom experience via a Zoom option. You can participate in real time with a live instructor and other students attending the class in person. You get the benefits of group learning, but you don’t have to commute to and from class.

Your classroom learning experience and the amount of time to finish the class will also vary based on the school you attend. Classes are taught at real estate schools and community colleges. The college course will typically take longer as it’s spread over 10 weeks in the quarter system. Plus, you’ll pay tuition per credit hour, which can cost more compared to other options.

 

Pre-Licensing Online Courses

Online courses are readily available for salesperson and broker students. You can enroll in individual courses or select a pre-licensing package. Taking separate courses allows you to choose your preferred topics. However, be prepared to pay more for that privilege. You can get a discount with package deals, but they are typically pre-set.

When you take classes online, you benefit from being in control of when and where you study. You can also move through the content at a quick, slow, or moderate pace. It’s up to you.

On the other hand, there can be some drawbacks depending on how you learn best. If you retain information better from paper books and interaction, online may not be a good fit. And if you need routine and structure to stay engaged, you could have a challenge.

We had experts weigh in on the pros and cons of real estate classes online and in-person courses. Reference the article as you decide.

Once you’ve chosen the method that suits you best, read our article on how to pass the real estate exam the first time for helpful tips on how you can effectively study for the exam.

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Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Nebraska

The Nebraska Real Estate Commission contracts with PSI Services to conduct the licensing exam. PSI delivers this in-person test through a network of computer examination centers in the state. When you register to take the exam, you can enter your zip code to find the centers closest to you. Testing sites are located in the following cities:

  • Lincoln
  • North Platte
  • Omaha
  • Scottsbluff

PSI also has exam centers in other regions across the country. You can take the exam at any of those locations. To do that, you must request accommodations for out-of-state testing.

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How to File for Your License After the Exam in Nebraska

Right after you’ve passed the exam, you’ll get a score report from PSI Services. This is one of the documents you’ll need to submit when you file for your license. You have 30 days from the time you get your passing score report in hand to complete the license issuance process.

That entails submitting the License Issuance Form applicable to the type of license you’re obtaining. Plus, you’ll need to provide any required supporting documentation. The Commission has an online applicant portal specifically for this purpose.

You must also remit the appropriate license fee: $80 for salespeople and $100 for brokers.

What you’re required to submit varies based on whether you’ll be working as a salesperson, associate broker, or designated broker. The Commission provides a helpful checklist that spells out everything you need to submit.

If you are a newly licensed nonresident, you’ll need to reference the license recognition issuance checklist for instructions applicable to this scenario.

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How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Nebraska

Licenses and pocket cards are delivered or mailed to the offices of employing brokers. Each broker has the duty of noticeably displaying their own license and those of all salespeople and associate brokers in their place of business.

On what to do next once you have your license, read I Just Got My Real Estate License, Now What?. The article walks you through the action plan you can take to establish your real estate career.

As a licensed agent, you’re now eligible to be a part of a real estate team. Not sure if this path is right for you? Know the pros and cons of joining a real estate team first before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions
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How long does it take to get a Nebraska real estate license when studying in the class?

Classroom courses taught at postsecondary schools usually take the longest. Day classes at real estate schools offer the quickest path to course completion. You can finish the salesperson courses in two weeks if they are scheduled back to back. If you take night classes, six to eight weeks is more the norm.

If you can do a day schedule for broker courses, it will take a month of classroom time. Double that for evening classes. How long that is in calendar days depends on the school’s schedule.

The background check takes four to six weeks, on average. To cut wait time, you can get that underway to be completed while you’re taking classes. The Commission usually sends fingerprint cards within 48 hours of receiving an application.

Once the Commission receives your background report, it typically takes 24 to 48 hours to process your application and determine if you’re approved to take the exam. If any required materials are missing, the Commission will let you know your application is incomplete. Processing time will then be delayed.

The exam itself will take a day. However, you should allow a couple of weeks lead time for your appointment. The turnaround time for issuing your license is relatively short. Once you’ve filled out all the forms and provided all documentation, the license can be issued within 24 hours.

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

The time it takes to complete your coursework online depends on the schedule you set. For example, if you study 15 to 20 hours per week, you’ll get through the salesperson courses in three to four weeks. The broker courses would take six to eight weeks.

Most online providers allow you to complete up to 7.5 hours of coursework per day. So, you can shave off time by studying more hours when you can.

You can also reduce the total time it takes to get your license by working on your pre-licensing education while you’re waiting for the background check to be done. The Commission indicates that it takes about four to six weeks for them to receive your background report.

And here are other things to consider as you estimate your timeline:

  • About two to four days to get fingerprint cards after you apply
  • At least two weeks lead time up to your exam appointment
  • One day to take the exam (add travel time based on location)
  • A minimum of 24 hours for the Commission to issue your license
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Is there a background check for a Nebraska real estate license?

The Nebraska Real Estate License Act mandates that everyone who applies for their original license must complete a background check. It’s a fingerprint-based criminal records check.

You must obtain the required fingerprint cards from the Commission’s office. Your fingerprints must be taken by a law enforcement agency. The Nebraska State Patrol conducts the background check. The fee is $38, and it takes approximately four to six weeks to complete.

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How much does a Nebraska real estate license cost?

When you apply for your license, you must remit an application fee of $135 and an exam fee of $150. The cost of a criminal background check is $38. All of these fees are the same for salesperson and broker applicants.

If you are getting a salesperson’s license, the issuance fee is $80. Brokers pay $100.

The cost of your pre-licensing education will vary from school to school and by delivery method. Classroom courses tend to cost more than those you take online. Courses for salespeople average about $300 to $550. Look to pay $800 or more if you’re taking broker courses.

You’ll also have to invest in errors and omissions insurance if you obtain a license on active status. The price you pay depends on the coverage you get.

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How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Nebraska?

You’ll have to wait until the Commission approves you for a retake. If you fail the exam, you must reapply to take it again. Once the Commission has approved you for a retest, you can contact PSI directly to schedule. You can submit your retake application the day after you fail.

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How many times can you retake the Nebraska real estate exam?

If you fail the exam, you get up to six more attempts within a one-year time frame. Once you pass either portion, you retain credit for doing so for three subsequent attempts or six months, whichever comes first. You then have three more tries or six months to pass the other portion.

If you exhaust your six attempts or a year has elapsed, you’ll have to take the entire exam until you pass both portions or one. If it’s the latter, the retention schedule begins again.

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Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Nebraska?

Yes. You have to pay to retake the Nebraska real estate exam.

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How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Nebraska?

You will be charged $150 each time you reapply to the Commission to retake the exam.

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Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Nebraska?

If you have ever been convicted of a felony, the Commission will require that you appear for an informal hearing. Your case will be considered on an individual basis.

So that you are aware, there are convictions the Commission may view as grounds in and of themselves for refusing a license. These include crimes such as embezzlement, conspiracy to defraud, larceny, forgery, and similar offenses, as well as felonies involving moral turpitude.

In addition, the Commission has guidelines for denying a license. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances in a given situation, an application will be refused in the following instances:

  • An applicant has been convicted of a felony violent crime or financial crime.
  • An applicant has not completed the required sentence or probation or made restitution if any was ordered.

The Commission also recommends that you write a letter or an email with specifics about your conviction. You should include details about the circumstances that led up to the charge and the disposition. You can submit this information before you apply for your license if you’re concerned about the potential impact your conviction may have on the Commission’s decision.

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Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Nebraska?

Generally speaking, having a past misdemeanor or two will not hinder obtaining a Nebraska real estate license, assuming you have served any sentences or made restitution. However, if your record shows a pattern of offenses, you may not be granted a license. At the least, your application will be closely scrutinized, and you may be required to state your case at an informal hearing.

You should also be aware that the Commission considers crimes involving moral turpitude or fraudulent or dishonest dealings as ones that may warrant refusing a license. Commission guidelines state that in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, a license will be denied if:

  • The conviction is for a financial crime.
  • The conditions of the disposition have not been met.

Something that the Commission recommends doing is writing a letter or emailing the Commission Director detailing the circumstances surrounding the crime(s) and the disposition(s). If you want an initial opinion before you apply, the Director will review the information and respond to your request.

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Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Nebraska?

Whether you will get a real estate license if you have a DUI will depend on the circumstances and the seriousness of the offense. If your conviction was for a misdemeanor, you might be called before the Commission for an informal hearing. If it’s a felony, you’re required to appear.

If you’re concerned that a DUI conviction might derail your chances of getting a license, you can submit a letter or an email describing the surrounding circumstances and the disposition(s). After reviewing the information, the Commission Director will respond.

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Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Nebraska?

You can if you have an equivalent certificate such as a GED. Also, note that if you have a diploma from a non-US high school, you must meet the same requirements as applicants who completed their high school education in the United States.

 

Once you’ve fulfilled all the requirements and received your license, it’s time to position yourself for success. If you’re wondering what entails being successful in this job, some industry experts share their thoughts on the subject answering the question, “Is Being a Real Estate Agent Worth It?”.

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals. It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.

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