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Steps to Getting an Official MLO License

MLO License

Trying to find a career path in which you can grow and succeed can be quite challenging for a young person. Fortunately, there is always time to change paths and embark on a new journey of success and happiness. Whether you are a fresh graduate or someone looking to change careers, one of the more rewarding and interesting paths that you could explore is in loans.
In particular, working as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) can be rewarding on a personal level, since you’re basically helping people get their dream homes, and on a financial level as well. To work as an MLO –– or loan officer –– though, you need a license. Here’s how you can obtain an MLO license.

Understand State Requirements

Every state has its own requirements for mortgage loan originator licensing, and you need to check those before you do anything. While the requirements might be similar across different states, you should inquire about them nonetheless so you could get off on the right foot. This is a crucial step because, after that, you will start preparing the necessary documents for the licensing, and most importantly studying for the exams that you will need to pass to get your MLO license.

Background Check

To work as a mortgage loan originator, you will need to complete a background check, so you can expect to submit your fingerprints so your history could be checked to make sure you have no criminal record. The documents will be submitted to the NMLS, who will have your background checked through the FBI.

Required Education

Like with any licensing, you will need to complete the necessary education if you want to get licensed as a mortgage loan officer. While the requirements might vary according to which state you’re in, there are some fixed pre-licensure requirements set forth by the NMLS. As explained by the professionals from, to complete your pre-license education, you will need to go through a curriculum that includes the following: 20 hours of education that include 3 hours of federal laws and regulations, 3 hours of ethics (instruction on fraud, consumer protection, etc.), 2 hours on the mortgage product market, and 12 hours of instructions on mortgage origination.
While these are the requirements set forth by The Secure and Fair Enforcement Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) for mortgage loan originators to complete the requirements for pre-licensing education, you might find some differences depending on the state you’re in.


After completing the necessary pre-licensing education, you next need to take the SAFE mortgage loan originator test so you could qualify for the license. This test includes two aspects: a national one and a state one that will vary from one state to the other. A lot of states require that you pass both tests before you can apply to be an MLO through the NMLS.
Understand State Requirements
It is also worth noting that you might have to take the state part component of the test for several states if you plan on practicing in more than one state. If you don’t pass on your first trial, you will have to wait for a month before you can take the test, and it’s the same if you fail a second time. If you fail the test for a third time, you will have to wait for 180 days before you can retake it.

Credit Report Check

It goes without saying that every licensed mortgage loan originator needs to have their credit reports checked before they can apply to the NMLS licensing. It wouldn’t look good if a loan officer had a terrible credit report, so this is a necessary step in the application process. If your credit report isn’t very good, you can try to boost it before you apply because it will improve your chances. To get this step done, you will have to sign up with the NMLS website and complete a verification process. Then, you will be asked some personal questions about yourself and pay the $15 fee for the credit report.
While this process looks complicated, it is in reality quite simple. You can get this whole process done quickly if you put your mind to it, and the job is certainly worth it. As we mentioned early on, you’d be helping people find their dream homes within their budgets, which is quite satisfying. Working as a loan officer is also very flexible, because this job often requires flexible hours, so you won’t be constantly tied to a desk, which provides a lot of balance between your personal and professional life.

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