Compared to many fields with similarly competitive pay, the path to how to become a mortgage loan officer is a fairly straightforward process. Most loan officers have earned a bachelor’s degree, often in finance, business, or business administration.
However, not every position in the industry requires a four-year degree, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have one. Instead, research certification options and college classes that could prepare you for the industry.
In order to become a loan officer, you will need to obtain a license. This process can vary from state to state. Generally, you will need to complete 20 hours of education, and then pass the NMLS National Test. If you want to see what you would need to do to become a loan officer in your state, check out this link for more info.
After You’ve Become a Loan Officer
Knowing how to become a mortgage loan officer isn’t all that’s required for a career in the field. Once you are working as a loan officer, you will need to renew your state certifications every year. You will also need to retake the NMLS National Test.
An additional, optional step to take is pursuing additional certifications. Although it is not required, you can choose to boost your resume. This can be done with certifications from The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) or the American Bankers Association (ABA).
What Would Your Day as a Mortgage Loan Officer Look Like?
Once you have a job, your company will likely have its own specific on-the-job training. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly how to complete the daily tasks of a mortgage loan officer. You’ll learn with time and experience!
The exact path to how to become a mortgage loan officer is unique for each individual. For instance, some may begin as a Loan Officer Assistant or in another support staff position. Clearly, there are many ways to become a loan officer.
On the simplest level, here are the steps for how to become a mortgage loan officer followed by many people:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree (Optional)
- Obtain your Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) license
- Find a job
- Complete any necessary on-the-job training
- Start closing loans!
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for LOs in the U.S. was $63,040. Because many loan officers are paid solely on commission, it’s important to consider the terms of your employment.
- If your income is based solely on commission, what are the terms of your commission?
- Will relying solely on commission place an excessive amount of stress in your life?
- Are you comfortable not receiving benefits from a traditional employer like health insurance, 401(k), or sick time?
- Do you have a financial plan for when you’re starting out and don’t have many clients?
Many mortgage loan officers choose to work for a large company, such as a depository bank, credit union, or a mortgage banker. In those situations, you would be more likely to earn a salary. Or, a salary plus a small commission. Many jobs at larger companies also have more traditional job benefits. This includes insurance or a 401(k) retirement plan. In this situation, some LOs may proceed the link now work for a bank or a lender, but essentially run your own business.
If you prefer to see more of a direct return for your hard work on an individual loan, working for yourself or a smaller mortgage company may be the way to go. After all, in that scenario, you have the chance to earn a larger commission on each and every loan.