Top 5 Things to Know About Becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer

Becoming a mortgage loan officer, or MLO, specifically with an independent mortgage broker in the wholesale channel, is a promising career path that offers flexibility, unlimited earning potential, and growth. Mortgage loan officers or mortgage loan originators are representatives of independent mortgage brokerages that evaluate and originate residential home loan approvals for borrowers and often facilitate the process through approval and closing.

Once you know what a mortgage loan officer does, you may have more detailed questions about the path to becoming one. If you’re interested in joining the wholesale mortgage industry, read on for answers to some frequently asked questions on becoming and excelling as a mortgage loan officer.

How Do I Get Started?

To become a licensed loan officer, you’ll need to be registered with the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS), complete 20 hours of pre-licensure education courses, and pass the NMLS mortgage license exam, amongst other requirements determined by your state.

Once you’ve fulfilled the requirements for licensure, expertise is often established on the job. Joining an independent mortgage broker shop is a great way to set yourself up for success. If you’re new to the industry, you may also look to be hired as a loan officer assistant, or LOA, to learn origination processes and earn valuable experience before actually completing your license requirements.

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Can I Become a Mortgage Loan Officer While Working Another Job?

Becoming a mortgage loan officer or loan originator is possible to do on a full-time or part-time schedule. This is great news if you are looking to change careers, need flexibility around family or school, or if you are looking for some additional income to supplement other work.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer?

The time it takes to become a loan officer depends on what kind of schedule works best for you and how quickly you can work through the licensing requirements. Typically, it takes 45 days to complete the necessary requirements to become a licensed mortgage loan officer. However, since each state has unique requirements, this may vary and be contingent on your ability to pass required examinations and background checks.

Can I Be a Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Loan Officer at the Same Time?

Both real estate agents and mortgage loan officers play an essential role in the home buying process. From start to finish, homebuyers should work with both professionals to find and finance a home.

Because their services go hand in hand, it is often recommended that independent mortgage professionals build strong relationships with real estate agents to offer a fast and easy experience for their clients and build a referral network. As such, however, it’s also a common misconception that working as both a real estate agent and a mortgage loan officer at the same time is a conflict of interest and not allowed. You can certainly do both, given your state and lender programs allow it along with providing the required disclosures to ensure you are in compliance with regulations.

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In states like California and Florida, for example, many real estate agents are also licensed mortgage loan officers. They often choose to extend their services and expertise to streamline the home buying and financing process, ultimately, positioning themselves to also be more competitive in their market and ensure their clients’ overall experiences are the best they can be.

If you are interested in becoming a dual-licensed professional, check with your state to find out more about their specific approach and requirements before moving forward.

Do I Need Good Credit to Get Licensed as a Mortgage Loan Officer?

Getting licensed does require training, meeting specific prerequisites, and adhering to specific rules. Because qualifications can vary, sometimes people rule themselves out of an opportunity based on requirements they think are in place that aren’t. While there are national licensing requirements, as well as state requirements, in place for mortgage loan officers, there are no requirements for a minimum credit score to become licensed.

A poor credit score or other concerns don’t have to define your career future. If you’re worried about how your past credit issues may alter your ability to get licensed, give your state’s licensing team a call. Typically, it’s not the instance itself, but rather, if that instance became a pattern that will have an impact on consumers.

If all of this sounds exciting to you, you’re probably ready to pursue a career as a mortgage loan officer!

Our team at is here to help you every step of the way.