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Other Professions That Can Become MLOs
December 1, 2021

Other Professions That Can Become MLOs

by The CE Shop Team

Is the Mortgage Industry Calling Your Name?

Are you interested in a new career path or a part-time gig to fill your time and earn additional income? Look no further than the mortgage industry. With a low barrier to entry and no previous experience required, Mortgage Loan Origination could be the perfect next step in your career.

Mortgage Loan Origination

Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) are financial professionals who help applicants acquire loans when purchasing property. They guide clients through the mortgage approval process from the beginning of their loan application to closing on the property itself.

The only qualification you need to become a Mortgage Loan Originator or Mortgage Loan Officer is your license through NMLS, or the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System. Many employers will help you through your licensing, while some may require you to be licensed before employment. Be sure to check with your employer or future employer, as they may help you pay the fees associated with MLO licensure. Although no previous experience is necessary to become an MLO, there are certain industries that require skill sets that would serve you well in the mortgage industry.


Educators succeed when they're organized, diligent in their processes, and able to break down complex information into understandable pieces. These skills lend themselves beautifully to a career as an MLO. After all, applicants will need someone sharp and reliable to explain the ins and outs of the mortgage process - who better than a former educator to help see them through?


Bankers tend to have great attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of loan processes. In other words, they’re perfectly suited to transitioning into MLOs, and, in fact, could have a major leg up on their competition due to their established industry knowledge.. Clients want to know they are making a good financial decision, and bankers have the skills and experience to guide them to the best mortgage products available..


Some of the top attributes a former salesperson has to offer when joining the mortgage industry include their empathy, active listening, and effective communication skills — not to mention their ability to negotiate. Knowing what your client is looking for as well as communicating throughout the mortgage process are key to a smooth transaction. As an MLO, you are working to not only sell yourself but also to sell the perfect loan to your clients, which is why a background in sales can be particularly useful for MLOs.

Real Estate

Real estate agents also rely on their ability to negotiate in addition to their knowledge of their local area and the real estate market as a whole. Additionally, successful agents work to build relationships with their clients, manage their time effectively, and have patience in difficult situations. These are all traits and skills that every MLO should strive to possess — not only to keep your clients top of mind, but also to ensure you stay up to date with the fast-moving mortgage market.

No matter what your current profession is, becoming a Mortgage Loan Originator is well within reach. MLOs will generally require informal and formal training under a supervisor, including on-the-job training to help them gain more experience. It can be helpful to have a Bachelor’s Degree in finance, business, or accounting as an MLO, but it’s not required.

Other professions that can become Mortgage Loan Officers

Becoming an MLO

The barrier to entry is low when it comes to becoming a Mortgage Loan Originator. All mortgage licensing is regulated through NMLS, and the fees associated with your licensing are minimal. Here are the steps you need to take to become licensed as an MLO:

  • Make an NMLS account
    • You’ll need to make an account on the NMLS website, then you’ll be assigned your NMLS ID number.
  • Submit fingerprints, criminal background check, and credit report
    • These are requirements you must fulfill before you are able to move forward with your licensing. Conveniently, everything required for this step is available on the NMLS website for you to complete. The fee associated with these requirements is $36.25.
  • Take your NMLS-approved Pre-Licensing education courses
    • The 20 hours of PE courses required are available online to finish at your convenience. Pre-Licensing can cost anywhere from $200-$400 depending on how and where you take your courses.
  • Pass the NMLS National Exam
    • Review the Candidate Agreement and Rules of Conduct before taking the exam. You will need at least a 75% on the exam to pass, and NMLS provides resources to help you study. If you’re looking for a more in-depth study program, check out Exam Prep Edge wherein you can take unlimited simulated practice exams so you feel confident come test day. The NMLS exam requires a fee of $110, and retakes are available.
  • Apply for licensure in your state
    • Depending on which state you practice in, you’ll need different documents to gain licensure.
  • Get a Sponsoring Broker
    • To hold your license in any particular state, you are required to be sponsored and supervised by your employer. These sponsorships will be initiated by a company but can be terminated by either the individual or the sponsoring company. Employers will often pay the fees associated with sponsorship, so be sure to ask!

Benefits of Becoming an MLO

Given that almost anyone can become an MLO, you may wonder why you should. Not only is this career path accessible, but it can also prove to be quite lucrative over time. The average salary for an MLO is $74,838, and this number will continue to increase as you gain experience. If you aren’t convinced yet, here are some additional benefits to becoming an MLO:

  • Having a flexible schedule
  • Enjoying unlimited earning potential
  • Getting the opportunity to help clients secure housing
  • Having job security in a growing market

In short, anyone with determination and willingness can become not only a Mortgage Loan Originator, but a successful one at that. There is plenty of opportunity for growth within your career as an MLO, such as becoming a Mortgage Broker and even opening your own brokerage. With minimal requirements and federally regulated licensing, becoming an MLO is attainable for anyone who is interested in having a flexible schedule, negotiable commission, and unlimited earning potential.

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