Step 1: Getting an NMLS Account and Number
Applying for an NMLS account and ID number is the first step to obtaining your mortgage license. To do so, go to the NMLS website. Your NMLS ID number will be used to help assign you the credit you earn through completing courses.
Step 2: Pre-Licensing Education
To become an MLO you will need to take your required education hours from a NMLS approved education provider. All states require taking a 20 hour national course and some states will also have a state specific course also required to be licensed. Click here for a map that will show the additional state elective requirements for all 50 states. Just click on the state you would like to be licensed in.
Step 3: SAFE MLO Exam
Once you have taken your required education hours you will have to take and pass the national safe exam through the NMLS. This is a 120 question 190 minute timed exam. For instructions on how to schedule your national exam, click here.
Step 4: Background Checks and Fees
To finalize your application and receive your license, you will need to pay several non-refundable fees and get a background check. Find out more about how to complete your background check here.
Step 5: Apply
After passing your national exam, you will now need to apply for an MLO License.
You will need to complete and submit an MU-4 form through the NMLS including, paying the licensing fee, completing a criminal background check and an authorized credit report.
Step 6: Sponsorship
In order to successfully act as an MLO, you will need to be sponsored by a company. Without being sponsored, you cannot originate any loans. This would constitute as Unlicensed Activity and your state may punish you for it. Make sure to be sponsored by a company before you begin taking loan applications.
If you have any more questions, please check your state's requirements at this page. Simply click on your state and find the checklist under "Mortgage Loan Originator License".