How to Become A Mortgage Loan Officer

The basic job of a Mortgage Loan Officer is to sell loan packages to customers who are interested in buying residential or commercial property. They usually work for credit unions, banks and mortgage companies.

Should I Become a Mortgage Loan Officer?

Mortgage Loan Officers’ work requires them to review and process the loan applications before moving forward to the next step. To review an application, they request information from interested clients and ask them for documents like previous credit reports. After the loan application has been approved, they set up a loan package for their clients. The nature of their work requires Mortgage Loan Officers to work full-time in most cases.

Education Required

Bachelor's degree is a preference

Major Requirement

Finance, economics, business, or related field


Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) License required; SAFE Act registration may be needed


On-the-job training

Key Skills

Decision-making Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Proactiveness and Detail Oriented

Annual Mean Salary

$76,270 (for all Loan Officers)

Job Outlook

8% (Faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes the Mortgage Loan Officers under the category of “(All) Loan Officers.” As reported by the BLS in 2018, Loan Officers earned an annual mean salary of $76,270 which roughly amounts to $36.67 per hour. As per the BLS 2018 data, Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities is the highest paying industry for this profession and paid $110,530 as the annual mean wage. This profession has been predicted to grow by 8% between 2018 to 2028 by BLS.

Career Requirements

The nature of Mortgage Loan Officers requires them to build lasting relationship with clientele and partner companies like realtors and builders etc. to bring in more loan applicants in the future. For this purpose, employers look for candidates who possess excellent communication skills, customer service abilities, organizational qualities and sales skills to lobby customers as well as keep a record of their information. They are also required to have above par interpersonal and decision-making skills. They must be familiar with the basics of mortgage, loan and financial institution policies and procedures.

Steps to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer

Although the minimum educational requirement for this career is a high school diploma or equivalent, most employers look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Work experience and licensure is also needed. All of these things are further explained below.

  1. Education

You need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enter this profession. However, employers prefer people who have a bachelor's degree in a business, economics, finance or a related field.

  1. Field Experience  

Numerous employers prefer hiring individuals who have field experience. This applies especially to people who do not possess a bachelor's degree. However, newly hired candidates are provided with on-the-job training. Potential Mortgage Loan Officers can find work in a variety of settings. For instance, they can work in customer service, banking, and sales etc.


  1. Complete On-The-Job-Training

It is mandatory for people in this line of work to complete on-the-job-training, regardless of what degree they were hired with. The duration and intensity of training can vary depending on the work setting.

  1. Certification

Mortgage Loan Officers need to be licensed as Mortgage Loan Originators (MLO). The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) provides this licensure and requirements for it vary by state. The applicants are usually required to:

  • Clear a background check
  • Present a credit report
  • Take a minimum of 20 hours of courses
  • Pass the written exam

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act needs Mortgage Loan Officers in certain states to complete some courses to become licensed. These courses include topics on becoming an MLO, how mortgage procedures work, ethics, and federal law etc.

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