Best 8-hour SAFE CE Renewal Courses for NMLS MLO in 2023

It’s that time of year again.

As part of the SAFE Act, MLOs are required to complete continuing education every year to ensure that they stay current with the latest changes in the industry and to better serve their clients. Fortunately, the course load isn’t too heavy, with most people often being able to finish it in one day.

Here’s a quick recap on the general information you need to know for renewing your MLO license:

Who needs to complete CE?

Everyone who is a licensed MLO will need to complete CE. The only exception is for new MLOs who received their license in 2023 and completed all their pre-licensing education (PE) courses in 2023, they do not need to do any CE for this year. So, if you received your license in 2023 but completed your PE before 2023, then you will still need to do CE.

What courses do I have to take?

While the NMLS requires everyone to take a minimum of 8 hours of approved CE, your state may require you to take additional hours on top of this.

You can review the table below to see if your state requires any additional state hours.

When is it due?

The deadline to complete CE is December 31, but that doesn’t mean you can wait until the last day to get the courses done. 

The reason is that every step takes time to process. When you complete your courses, your school will submit your CE certificates to the NMLS on your behalf. However, most schools don’t send them right away. They will send your certificate along with a group of other students in batch and do this only a few times every week. Not to mention once the NMLS receives the certificates, they will need some time to update your account.

To help things go more smoothly, the NMLS likes to provide the following dates for additional guidance to help make sure people renew on time:

SMART CE DEADLINE: CE course(s) reported to NMLS by Friday, December 8 
At RISK TO MISS RENEWAL: CE course(s) reported to NMLS by Friday, December 15 
GUARANTEED TO MISS RENEWAL:  CE course(s) reported to NMLS on Friday, December 29

In other words, if you want to play it safe and make sure everything gets done on time, then you really want to finish your CE courses by December 1st, since it could take as long as a week for your school to turn in your certificates. This would fall in line with the Smart Deadline of having your certificates submitted to the NMLS by December 8th

What happens if I don't renew on time?

Most states have a “grace” period, where you can still make up the continuing education requirements to reinstate your license. The reinstatement submission deadline is February 28th for most states. For Arizona, Kentucky, North Dakota, and South Carolina, the deadline is on January 31. The states that don’t have a reinstatement period are Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. 

To reinstate your license, you typically have to take a late version of the CE, which doesn’t get released until after the first of the year. Also, you may incur a penalty fee for being late that varies by state, which can be as high as $400. 

If you miss this reinstatement period or if your state doesn’t offer one to begin with, then your license will be terminated, and you will have to apply for a new license. 

Which schools have the best CE courses?

Perhaps, the biggest challenge when renewing your MLO license will be finding the best school with the best SAFE CE renewal courses. While every mortgage school provides the same mandatory topics required by the NMLS, they don’t all offer the same elective courses, course format, or have the same level of difficulty.

After reviewing dozens of mortgage schools across the country, we have boiled it down to the three best mortgage schools that offer the most compelling CE courses to renew your MLO license.

Best School for Learning Interactively is the premier provider of mortgage courses across the country. Unlike other schools that offer courses in other fields such as real estate, home inspection, etc…, focuses 100% of their attention on mortgage courses only, so you know you are getting the highest quality courses from the most knowledgeable experts in the industry. 

While they offer the standard online course format, they also have a webinar option, which is great for learning interactively. You take the course live through a Zoom video meeting. There are sessions held all throughout the week, and you can just choose any session you want as you go. If you prefer face-to-face interaction when learning, this is the way to go. 

PRICE: 8 hour package – $119 to $129

Best School for Knowledge Seekers

The CE Shop was originally founded in 2005 to help real estate agents with their CE. Since then, they have grown to become one of the biggest online real estate schools in the country, offering a full suite of courses in both the real estate and mortgage industries. 

The CE Shop built their own custom platform online from the ground up to provide the best learning environment to master the material. They make the course rigorous, constantly inundating you with quiz questions. There are no shortcuts with this program. If you want to do more than just fulfill your CE requirements and learn as much as possible, this will be the perfect option for you.

PRICE: 8 hour package – $155 

Best School for Busy People

Learn Mortgage is also one of the few providers that specializes in offering mortgage-specific courses in all 50 states. If you are licensed in multiple states, they make it extremely easy to pick the ones you need to create your own custom bundle. 

Learn Mortgage focuses on simplicity and making the entire process as painless as possible. The courses are in an online format, where you are reading an online book and answering quizzes at the end of each section. This allows you to knock it out in a day if you are in a rush or finish the course over several days if you have a busy schedule. 

PRICE: 8 hour package – $129

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