Learn how to get a mortgage license, choose online NMLS courses right for your state, and become a mortgage loan officer!
To sell mortgages, you need to be licensed as a mortgage loan originator (MLO). This is also sometimes called a "loan officer" or "mortgage broker." Each state has its own license requirements for becoming a mortgage loan originator. All states use the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) to track MLO licensing. To do business as a mortgage loan originator, you need to:
Each state has different requirements for getting a loan originator license. It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the education requirements for the states that you want to do business in. This usually means that you must complete 20 hours of pre-license education at a minimum. Some states have additional requirements. You may need to complete state-specific courses for each of the states that you wish to work in.
After your education is completed along with all state-specific electives, you need to schedule an appointment to take your licensing examination at a testing facility. This exam is administrated by Prometric. Follow the guides below to schedule your exam:
Contact Prometric at 1-877-671-6657 or visit their website.
You will need to complete and submit an application for a mortgage loan origination license via the NMLS website. (NOTE: The mortgage company you plan to work for may fill out your application for you. Please check with them before submitting any paperwork.)
As part of your application process, most states require you to get a criminal background check, submit fingerprints, and submit to a credit report:
Although you may already be working closely with your new employer, your NMLS record will need to be associated with your employer before you can receive a mortgage loan license and do business.
It depends. You must be licensed if you work for a non-depository institution (usually an independent mortgage company). If you work for a bank, credit union, or government organization, you do not need to be licensed. However, all persons that originate mortgage loans need to be registered with the NMLS.
A mortgage loan originator is the legal term for a person that sells mortgages. This person works with customers to choose mortgage products and takes applications for loans. These persons are also referred to as "MLOs", "loan officers", and sometimes colloquially as "loan brokers" or "lenders".
A mortgage broker manages and operates an independent mortgage business and may oversee employees. Becoming a mortgage broker usually requires several years of industry experience and additional licensing. Laws vary by state.
A mortgage loan originator (MLO) is a salesperson that works with customers and must be licensed or registered. A loan processor is someone that reviews customer paperwork and does research to determine the customer's qualifications for the loan. A supervised loan processor generally does not need to be licensed.
A mortgage loan originator must be supervised by a licensed broker and must have their license associated with a particular mortgage company. Although working as an MLO can provide some level of work independence, persons that want to run their own mortgage company need to be licensed as a broker.
No. Instead, you must take pre-license education as prescribed by the SAFE Act (about 20 hours) and pass a licensing exam.
Yes. There is no minimum credit score required to get a mortgage license. However, most state agencies will be looking for signs of "fiscal responsibility" from license applicants. Having a low credit score will not disqualify anyone from getting a license. Inability to manage one's own finances may lead to a rejected application.
Generally speaking, persons convicted of financial crimes or ID-theft will not qualify for a mortgage license. However, each state has its own laws on this topic. Some are more or less strict about criminal records.
About $400-500. The total cost to start selling mortgages depends on which state you are being licensed in. The cost includes pre-license education through an NMLS-approved course provider, licensing exam fee, background check, credit report, and application fees.
You need a separate mortgage license in every state that you handle business from. Each state provides its own mortgage licenses. If your company works with customers from multiple states, you will need multiple licenses in order to service all customers.
About 6 weeks. Times vary by state agency. Pre-license education can be completed in as little as 4 days, while the license application process take up most of the time.
The first-time pass rate for the licensing exam is 55%. The NMLS updates these numbers regularly. Persons that pass the exam take their study seriously and make sure to review all of the topic outlines that the NMLS provides for free. We strongly recommend that you get a test-prep or test-review product along with your pre-license education to reinforce concepts you will be tested over.
The exam is 190 minutes long and contains 120 questions. A score of 75% or greater is required to pass. Results will be shown to you on a computer screen immediately after completing the exam.
Just take it again! There is a 30-day waiting period between attempts. After the third attempt, there is a 180-day waiting period.
Review the MLO Testing Handbook by the NMLS. It contains a comprehensive topic outline that will be tested over. OnlineEd's courses come with test prep study tools and an exam simulator to help you get ready for the exam.
Most states require about 20 credit hours. Courses provided by OnlineEd can be completed in as few as 4 days. The instructor will guide the class for the first 4 days, after which students may access the final exam. All courses must be completed within 14 days.
Yes! All of OnlineEd's courses are taken online. Most of the course can be taken on your own schedule, but we also have regular times to meet with a live instructor.
Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. The NMLS handles various mortgage license and registration functions through its website including licensing, tracking, testing, record keeping, and communication.
The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System handles mortgage license applications on behalf of individual state agencies. Each state issues its own licenses to do mortgage business inside the state. You can get a mortgage license by taking required pre-license education, passing a licensing exam, and applying for a state mortgage license through the NMLS website.
The difference is in the mortgage license status of the loan originator. The NMLS is a national organization that tracks all mortgage activity in the US, regardless of licensing status. Persons that work for independent mortgage companies must be licensed by the state in which they work. Persons that work for banks, credit unions, and government organizations are generally supervised by other organizations and are not required to be licensed. However, they still need to be registered with the NMLS. All MLOs require an NMLS ID, regardless of license status.
Starting your pre-license education is the first step towards a career as a licensed mortgage loan originator. Each state issues its own mortgage licenses and may choose its own hour requirements for licensure. Below are the pre-license hour requirements for each state and links to courses that fulfill the education requirements.
For additional details, see the NMLS state-specific education document.
|State Licensing Authority|
|Alabama||20||0||Alabama Banking Department|
|Alaska||20||0||Alaska Division of Banking & Securities|
|Arizona||20||4||Arizona Department of Financial Institutions|
|Arkansas||20||0||Arkansas Security Department|
|California (DRE)||20||0||California Department of Real Estate|
|California (DFPI)||20||2||California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation|
|Colorado||20||2||Colorado Division of Real Estate|
|Connecticut||21||1||Connecticut Department of Banking|
|Delaware||20||0||Delaware Office of the State Bank Commissioner|
|District of Columbia||20||3||District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking|
|Florida||20||2||Florida Office of Financial Regulation|
|Georgia||20||0||Georgia Department of Banking and Finance|
|Guam||20||0||Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation|
|Hawaii||20||3||Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions|
|Idaho||20||2||Idaho Department of Finance|
|Illinois||20||0||Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation|
|Indiana (SOS)||20||2||Indiana Secretary of State|
|Indiana (DFI)||20||0||Indiana Department of Financial Institutions|
|Iowa||20||0||Iowa Division of Banking|
|Kansas||20||0||Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner|
|Kentucky||20||0||Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions|
|Louisiana||20||0||Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions|
|Maine||20||0||Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection|
|Maryland||20||5||Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation|
|Massachusetts||20||3||Massachusetts Division of Banks|
|Michigan||20||2||Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services|
|Minnesota||20||0||Minnesota Department of Commerce|
|Mississippi||20||4||Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance|
|Missouri||20||0||Missouri Division of Finance|
|Montana||20||2||Montana Division of Banking & Financial Institutions|
|Nebraska||22||2||Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance|
|Nevada||30||4||Nevada Division of Mortgage Lending|
|New Hampshire||20||2||New Hampshire Banking Department|
|New Jersey||20||4||New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance|
|New Mexico||20||3||New Mexico Financial Institutions Division|
|New York||20||3||New York Department of Financial Services|
|North Carolina||24||4||North Carolina Commissioner of Banks Office|
|North Dakota||20||0||North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions|
|Ohio||24||4||Ohio Division of Financial Institutions|
|Oklahoma||20||1||Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit|
|Oregon||20||4||Oregon Division of Financial Regulation|
|Pennsylvania||20||3||Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities|
|Puerto Rico||20||0||Puerto Rico Bureau of Financial Institutions|
|Rhode Island||20||3||State of Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation|
|South Carolina (BFI)||20||3||South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions|
|South Carolina (DCA)||20||3||South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs|
|South Dakota||20||0||South Dakota Division of Banking|
|Tennessee||20||2||Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions|
|Texas (SML)||23||3||Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending|
|Texas (OCCC)||20||0||Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner|
|Utah (DRE)||35||15||Utah Division of Real Estate|
|Utah (DFI)||20||0||Utah Department of Financial Institutions|
|Vermont||20||2||Vermont Department of Financial Regulation|
|Virginia||20||0||Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions|
|US Virgin Islands||20||0||Virgin Islands Division of Banking and Insurance|
|Washington||22||4||Washington Department of Financial Institutions|
|West Virginia||24||4||West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions|
|Wisconsin||20||0||Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions|
|Wyoming||20||0||Wyoming Division of Banking|
Looking to get your mortgage loan originator license online? You're in the right place!
Our NMLS-approved MLO licensing program is delivered online so you can take the course from anywhere. The online instructor-led course is delivered over a one or two week schedule (your choice). Your learning material and exams are all delivered through your web browser. At several points in the schedule, you will have the opportunity to connect with your instructor and other students taking the course via a live internet conference. This will give you the chance to ask questions, have topics explained in more detail, and get insights from industry professionals.
Mortgage originator license courses are delivered over a week on regular calendar dates. See the schedule on the information page to pick the dates that are right for you.
The OnlineEd system is compatible with all current major browsers and operating systems.
Our program has been rigorously reviewed, approved, and authorized for pre-license credit by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS).
Our mortgage education courses at OnlineEd are written by OnlineEd. Because of this, we save on overhead licensing costs and can pass those savings on to you.
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