Category Archives: MLO School Reviews

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Schools in Washington State

If you have been looking to work in the real estate industry, a career as a loan officer is arguably the best way to do it. You don’t have to pound the pavement like a real estate agent but still have the opportunity to make a comparable income.

The first step is to obtain a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license. The state of Washington requires that a person complete 22 total hours of Pre-license Education (PE) and pass the National Exam. The 22 total hours are broken up into 18 hours of national content and 4 hours of Washington state-specific content.

What All Mortgage Schools Share In Common

There are a lot of mortgage schools available to satisfy your PE courses. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. NMLS courses are not fun. They are not like other online courses you may have taken in the past. The reason is that mortgage schools must adhere to strict guidelines set by the NMLS to make sure that students are genuinely learning the material and minimize any academic dishonesty going on (aka cheating). So, if you find yourself with the urge of wanting to pull your hair out of frustration during the course, there’s a good chance that it was because the NMLS required it to be that way.

Here are some examples of how tightly the NMLS regulates these courses:

Annoying Password System
If you are taking an online Continuing Education course to renew your license, the NMLS requires you to authenticate your identity through a password verification system called BioSig-ID, where you use your mouse to draw your password rather than just typing it in. You have to do this every time you login, before you take the final exam, and at various points while you are working on the course.

Instructor-Led
With the initial Prelicensing Education (PE) courses, the NMLS doesn’t allow people to just sign up for the courses and study completely independently on their own. They require that you be placed in a cohort, or a group, of students with a dedicated instructor. The instructor doesn’t necessarily have to teach the class, but is there to track your progress and help you along the way. If you choose an online format, this typically comes in the form of messaging or chat. You are not required to actually see them or talk to them over the phone, but you will have to respond to their questions if they ask.

Mandatory Active Participation
The NMLS wants to make sure you are attentive and present throughout the entire course. You don’t have to worry about that in a classroom environment or with live webinars because the instructor can see you. However, it’s a different story with an online course, where you are essentially reading an online book. As a result, the NMLS requires that you log a minimum amount of hours online, and education providers are required to automatically log you out if there has been no activity for over 6 minutes.  

What Makes One School Better Than The Rest

Although every mortgage school has to make their courses comply with these NMLS regulations, that doesn’t mean all schools are the same. There are definitely ones that are far better than others. Here are the biggest differentiators.

Instructors
Every school develops their own material and employs their own staff of instructors. If you recall back to when you were a child going to school, you probably remember that whether a class was fun (or excruciatingly boring) largely depended on the teacher. Did the teacher talk in a monotone voice? Or was the teacher animated and charismatic? The same applies here.

Price
The cost of mortgage courses will vary by school as they can set whatever prices they want. Generally, the PE courses with exam prep run around $300 to $400 on average. Like with anything, schools with better programs tend to charge more for their courses.

Course Schedule
The NMLS requires that PE courses start and end on specific dates. Every mortgage school has their own schedule of when they offer their courses. There are some programs that allow you to finish in as little as 2 days while other courses can take as long as 14 days. Regardless of the course duration, you are still covering the same amount of material.

After reviewing all of the mortgage schools in the state of Washington, these are our top schools that are going to help you successfully launch a new career as a Mortgage Loan Originator.

Best School to Finish Fast

MortgageEducation.com is arguably the biggest mortgage school in the country. They have programs in all 50 states which is useful since many people are licensed in multiple states. This allows you to get all your courses under one roof.

They also have a very versatile course scheduling format. New classes start every Tuesdays, and there are a morning session and afternoon session available from Tuesday through Friday as well as a shorter “cram” session on Saturdays. This means there are 9 available sessions throughout the week. You only need to attend 6 out of those 9 sessions to complete your course, and you can choose any session you want. For example, if you pick the first 6 sessions (both morning and afternoon session on Tuesday through Thursday), you can finish in as little as 3 days.

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators has been around since 1992 and has built a reputation for delivering a quality online mortgage program. In fact, they are the only mortgage school that guarantees you will pass the national exam with their advanced test prep or they will reimburse you for the testing fee.

They have a wide selection of course dates to choose from. They have new classes starting every Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and you can choose to finish on a 5-day or 12-day track. What I really liked about their courses is they make the courses engaging by incorporating video segments throughout the course.

The biggest differentiator you will notice right off the bat is their pricing. You can get an unbeatable 40% off discount off the courses by clicking on Get 40% off.

Best School to Take Your Time

Learn Mortgage is a leading mortgage education company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. They are a subsidiary of the Hondros Education Group, which has a large presence in real estate, appraisal, and home inspection.

There is nothing really fancy or innovative with their courses. It is pretty much your standard online course where you read through the material one page at a time. Their exam prep called CompuCram does a little more than other schools by incorporating vocabulary tools along with multiple-choice practice test questions.

What is nice about their program is they offer a 14-day option to complete the pre-license education. The material can be a lot to absorb at times, so having that extra time to study and take your time is helpful. This will also be helpful if you have a busy schedule during the day and anticipate struggling to find time to study.

COMPLETE LIST | NMLS Schools in California (MLO)

RankSchool20-hour Pre-licensing Course8-hour Continuing Education
1Affinity Real Estate ServicesOnline, Webinar, Classroom (Bellflower)Online, Classroom (Bellflower)
2Mortgage EducatorsOnline, Webinar, Classroom (Walnut Creek, Visalia)Online, Webinar, Classroom (Walnut Creek, Visalia)
3MortgageEducation.comOnlineOnline
4Allied SchoolsOnlineOnline
5First TuesdayOnline
6Real Estate Trainers, Inc.Classroom (Anaheim)Classroom (Anaheim)
7AAA Mortgage TrainingOnline, Webinar, Classroom (Tustin)Online
8Learn MortgageOnline, WebinarOnline
9LoanOfficerSchool.comOnline, Webinar
10My Mortgage TrainerOnline, WebinarOnline
11OnCourse LearningOnline, WebinarOnline
12Real Estate InstituteOnline, WebinarOnline
13Ameritrain Mortgage InstituteOnline, WebinarOnline
14OnlineEdOnline, WebinarOnline
15AA Real Estate SchoolClassroom (El Monte)Classroom (El Monte)
16Duane Gomer IncClassroom (Mission Viejo)Classroom (Mission Viejo)
17RDH Education ServicesClassroom (Livermore)Classroom (Livermore)
18The C.O.R.E.Classroom (Pasadena)
19Golden Hyde SchoolClassroom (Rosemead)
20GoGo Real EstateClassroom (Diamond Bar)
21Q & A Real Estate InstituteClassroom (Fountain Valley)
22Real Estate Educational ServicesClassroom (Carlsbad)
23The Training AcademyClassroom (Huntington Beach)

Getting Licensed

If you want to originate loans in California, the state requires you to complete 20 hours of Pre-licensing Education (PE) and pass the National Exam. Depending on your situation, you may or may not need the 2-hour DBO course. This will come down to which agency you go through: the Department of Business Oversight or Department of Real Estate. This part confuses a lot of people because it really is confusing. So, don’t feel bad if you need to read this a couple of times. 

Department of Business Oversight (DBO)

If you just want to originate loans and not be involved with buying/selling real estate, you will most likely be working for a mortgage broker that is registered under the DBO, then you will need to take this 2-hour DBO course. Since you only need 20 hours of PE to fulfill California’s requirement, some schools already have this course in their package setup as a 18-hour National PE course + 2-hour DBO course (20 total hours). However, there are a lot of schools (usually based outside of California) that just have the standard 20-hour National PE course. So, that means you have to also take a 2-hour DBO standalone course. If you go with one of these programs, you will be doing 22 total hours.

Why would anyone take more hours than they have to? Some people really want to take the course in a video webinar format because they don’t like studying by reading online. However, most schools with webinars don’t include the 2-hour DBO course and just offer 20 hours of National content. You have to add that on separately as an online course. As a result, you will have to do more hours (22 total hours) and pay extra. This is purely a personal choice.

Department of Real Estate (DRE)

If you originate loans, you also have the option to get a real estate license (if you don’t have one already). This will allow you to earn more money and opens up more opportunites. In fact, if you work for a company that is registered under the DRE, then you will be required to have both the real estate and loan licenses.

However, what happens is that your loan license sits on top of your real estate license, and instead of using the word “license,” California calls it an “endorsement.” Don’t worry about all the semantics though. The requirements are the same. You still need to complete the 20-hour course and pass the National Exam. The DRE doesn’t have any agency-specific course requirement like the DBO does. The DRE allows you to take any approved elective course, so you can just get any approved 20-hour National course.

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Course Providers in Texas

If you decided to pursue a career as a Loan Originator, you probably know that you need to obtain a license. Texas has 2 basic requirements to get licensed: you need to complete 23 hours of NMLS-approved courses and pass the National Exam.

There are a lot of schools and options available out there. How do you decide which one to choose?

After spending a lot of time researching into this, these are the top mortgage school contenders in Texas.

Top MLO NMLS Schools in Texas

 SchoolFormatBest for:
1Mortgage EducatorsOnline, WebinarGetting the Best Deal
2Mortgage-Education.comOnlineFinishing the Fastest
3Champions School of Real EstateLive ClassroomLearning in a Classroom

All of the schools listed above are approved by the NMLS to provide these courses. That being said, their course must follow strict guidelines so there will be a lot of similarities. Before we take a deep dive into each school, we should first break down the NMLS course requirements to see what every school will do the same, no matter which one you decide to go with.

Course Requirements by the NMLS

  • NMLS courses are always “instructor-led.” This means that you will be put in with a group of 10 to 15 other students with a dedicated instructor assigned to you. This could be a live human being teaching the course, or depending on which school you go with, this could be virtual, meaning they will interact with you via messaging or discussion forum. You will not necessarily have to show up at a specific time.
  • The course will have a specific start and end date. Other online programs usually give you the freedom to study whenever you want. However, the NMLS is very particular about the structure of this course. They want to make sure you are actively participating the whole time and keeping pace.
  • There are no shortcuts. In the past, many people were caught trying to cheat through the courses or even go to the extremes of having someone else take it for them. Every NMLS provider must adhere to their regulations to prevent that from happening, such as making students sign in through a biometric password system called BioSig, automatically logging you out if you are idle for too long, and signing an agreement that you agree to abide by NMLS rules.

Best Deal with 40% off (Click here to see the discount code)

Mortgage Educators and Compliance also has a very well known mortgage licensing program in Texas. You are able to watch videos when you take their course, which makes it a lot more engaging. However, you can’t just doze off. You will be quizzed and have to complete activities on average every 5 minutes. You are allowed to take breaks during the session. However, it is recommended you try to sit through the whole session since it will require your 100% concentration. They also do have some live webinar options but there is limited availability, and you have to log in at specific times.

Course Availability

New classes start every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Online courses starts at 10 am CT
5-day, 7-day, and 12-day duration (online)

Live Webinars start at 11 am CT
3-day duration (webinar only)

Best School for Finishing the Fastest

MortgageEducation.com is one of a handful of schools that offer mortgage courses in all 50 states. If you are interested in getting licensed in multiple states in the future, this will be useful since you can get all your courses done at one shop. They are a little higher on the price range, but they offer a very unique schedule to complete the courses. You can complete the courses in as little as 3 days or stretch it out to 5 days. If you are trying to cram this in and get licensed as soon as possible, this will be a great option for you.

Course Availability

New classes start every Tuesdays

There are 9 independent sessions held during the week. You need to attend any 6 out of the 9 available sessions to complete the course.

Two sessions are available each day from Tuesday through Friday, and one shorter “cram” session on Saturday

Tuesday through Friday
Morning session starts at 10 am to 2 pm EST
Afternoon session starts at 3 pm to 7 pm EST

Saturday (Cram Session)
Session starts at 12 pm to 3:15 pm EST

You are given the freedom to choose any session, which means if you pick the first 6 sessions, you can finish in 3 days (Tuesday through Thursday).

Best School for Learning in a Classroom

Champions School of Real Estate is perhaps the best known real estate school in Texas. They offer live classes and webinars that are second to known across their 7 campuses. All of their mortgage pre-licensing courses are 3 days long and start at 8:30 am sharp. Also, they are only offered once a month at each of their campus locations, so if you have a full-time job, it may not work with your schedule. They do offer what they call “Champions Advantage,” which lets you mix and match between live class and webinar. Keep in mind, they do not offer an online program of their own. They are reselling another school’s program.

Course Availability

Held once a month at each campus

Starts at 8:30 am CT
3-day duration

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Course Providers in Florida

If you are interested in becoming one of the approximately 37,000 loan originators in Florida, you are getting in at a good time. Florida is experiencing among the strongest growth for loan origination compared to the rest of the country.

While you don’t need any previous real estate experience, you do need to obtain a license. This is a fairly simple process. You just need to complete the 20-hour course and pass the National Exam.

When searching for a school, you will realize there are a lot of options out there. They all say the same things like:

  • “We’re the best!”
  • “Our instructors are the most experienced!”
  • “Your success is guaranteed!”

After doing some research on each school, I found that there were some things every school did the same and some things that were different.

Similarities

Every course provider has to follow strict NMLS guidelines in order to be an accredited school. Here are some examples of the things every school does. If they don’t, that is a major red flag, and you should run!

  • NMLS requires that the 20-hour course is “instructor-led.” This means you are put in a group with an instructor. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to show up at a certain time. It just means the instructor will interact with you in some manner, usually it’s via chat or discussion forum. They are also a great resource to use if you have questions.
  • All 20-hour courses will start and end on specific dates. This is not like other online courses where you get a year of unlimited access to study whenever you want. The NMLS does not like that kind of online format.
  • Your time in the course will be tracked—one way or another. Whether you take an online course or go to a live classroom, you will have to spend 20 actual hours to complete the course. There are no shortcuts.

Differences

I found there are only 3 major factors that will determine which school is the best.

  • Price: Every school has the freedom to set their own price. My only advice here is don’t go with a school just because it’s cheaper. If a school is cheaper, there is usually a reason for it (low quality). This will come and bite you later on. For example, the average pass rate for the National Exam is 58%. If you don’t pass it on your first try, you have to pay the $110 exam fee again and wait another 30 days to re-attempt it.
  • Quality: Every school develops their own courses and content. Since you are trying to launch a new career, my suggestion is to set yourself up for success by choosing the provider that has the best and most reputable program.
  • Course availability: Every school has their own start dates and course schedule. This will vary widely. Some programs are only 2 days long while others can last for 2 weeks. Some schools require you to show up at certain times while others do not. Regardless, they will cover the same 20 hours of content.

Now that you got a quick crash course on what to expect, here is my review of the best NMLS course providers in Florida to start your career as a Mortgage Loan Originator.

Best School to Finish Fast

MortgageEducation.com, based in New York, has the most comprehensive mortgage program in the country. They are one of a few schools that cover all 50 states as well as provide continuing education for after you get licensed. This is really handy, especially if you have your sights set on being licensed in multiple states. Since they cover all the states, you will be able to get all your courses from one school very easily.

Their 20-hour course has a very unique format compared to all the other schools. There are 9 independent sessions held during the week. You can choose to attend any 6 out of the 9 available sessions to complete the course. There is a morning session and afternoon session available each day from Tuesday through Friday. There is an optional “cram” session on Saturday.

You can join the morning sessions at any time between 10 am to 2 pm EST, afternoon sessions between 3 pm to 7 pm EST, and the Saturday sessions at any time between 12 pm to 3:15 pm EST. The length of each session varies between 2 to 5 hours, depending on which module you are working on.

New classes start every Tuesdays, and you are given the freedom to choose any session, which means if you pick the first 6 sessions (i.e. Tuesday through Thursday morning and afternoon sessions), you can finish in as little as 3 days.

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance is one of the biggest mortgage schools in the country. They incorporate a video format, which makes it more engaging. However, there are activities and quizzes that you have to complete every 5 minutes, so you will definitely have to be 100% engaged the whole time.

There is also a live webinar option, which lasts 3 days. However, the webinars are only offered three times per month, and you would need to add-on the 2-hour Florida course (total of 22 hours).

What really sets Mortgage Educators and Compliance apart from all the other mortgage schools is their discounts. You can get 40% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you click on Get 40% Off to sign up.

Best School for Test Prep

Learn Mortgage is a part of a really well-known real estate and mortgage school called Hondros Learning. They have had a long-standing presence on the east coast. 

The pre-licensing course is your standard online format. You get one page of text on the screen at a time, and you just flip through it like a book. There are multiple-choice quizzes and final exams that need to be passed to get credit for completing the course. You can choose to complete the course over 7 days or 14 days.

If you are concerned about passing the National Exam, they have comprehensive exam prep tools to help you study for it. It’s a proprietary test prep called CompuCram that is loaded with robust features that give you immediate feedback on how you are doing. There is also a “Readiness Indicator” gauge to let you know when you have prepared enough to be able to pass the exam.

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Courses in California

If you want to work in the real estate industry, helping people obtain financing for a house is one of the best ways to do it. You can make as much money as a real estate agent without having to step outside of the office.

You will need to obtain a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license (or what they call an endorsement if you have a real estate license) by completing the 20-hour course required by California and passing the National Exam.

If you are like me, you did a quick Google search to find an NMLS-approved course provider and can’t decide on which school to choose. There are so many of them!

This Is What I Discovered

There are certain things that every school will do the same. There are mandatory requirements set by the NMLS, so there is no way around it. Here are just a few examples:

  • When you login to your account, you have to go through an annoying biometric password system called BioSig-ID.
  • If you take an online course, you will have to spend a minimum number of hours logged in online. If you are idle for too long, it will automatically log you out. There are no shortcuts.
  • Every course has to be “instructor-led” that starts and ends on a specific date. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a live person has to teach the class. It just means that you will be put in a group (or what they call a cohort) and has an instructor assigned to you. The instructor will check in with you and try to interact with you on assignments. This is usually done via messaging or discussion forum.

What Makes A School Different From The Rest?

Although every approved NMLS course provider has to abide by certain regulations, what sets a school apart from the others is their price, quality, and course availability.

  • Price: My only advice here is don’t go with a school just because it’s cheaper. If a school is cheaper, there is usually a reason for it (low quality). This will come and bite you later on. For example, the average pass rate for the National Exam is 58%. If you don’t pass it on your first try, you have to pay the $110 exam fee again and wait another 30 days to re-attempt it.
  • Quality: Every school develops their own courses and content. They have their own staff of instructors that teach in a certain way and with a certain style. Eg. Do you want an instructor who talks in a monotone voice or someone who is full of energy and gets you excited?
  • Course availability: Every school has their own start dates and course schedule. This will vary widely. Some programs are only 2 days long while others can last for 2 weeks. Some schools require you to show up at certain times while others do not. Regardless, they will cover the same 20 hours of content.

Now that you know the basic similarities and differences between each school, let’s take a look at the best NMLS course providers in California to launch your career as a Mortgage Loan Originator.

Best School for Interactive Learning

Affinity Real Estate Services offers both online, live webinar, and live classes. The classes are taught by founder Artricia Woods. Her passion and charisma will keep you engaged the whole time. However, they currently only have one physical location for live classes in Bellflower, CA, and the slots are frequently sold out, so you have to reserve your spot early. While live classes provides you the best learning experience, the online format has been setup to keep you equally engaged. If you want the best of both worlds, you can go with the live webinar option. You get the interaction of a classroom from the comfort of your home.

Affinity Real Estate Services is built on a state-of-the-art online platform, and their commitment to constantly find new ways to innovate and improve the learning experience for the student is impressive. That is probably how they were able to receive a perfect 5-star rating on Yelp and score 4.9 out of 5 points on Facebook reviews. So, chances are that you won’t be disappointed. They also offer interest-free payment plans if you are on a budget for qualifying candidates. If you want to take the mortgage course and have some fun doing it at the same time, this is the program for you.

Best School to Finish Fast

MortgageEducation.com is arguably the biggest online mortgage school in the nation. They are one of the few schools with courses in all 50 states. Since a lot of loan originators prefer to be licensed in multiple states, this comes in handy because you can get all your courses done at one place.

While their courses follow your typical online format, where you are basically just reading an online book, they have a very unique approach to the way the courses are scheduled. At other mortgage schools, you are given a specific number of days to finish the course (e.g. typically 5 days, 7 days, or 14 days), and there are assignments that need to be completed by a certain deadline along the way. 

With MortgageEducation.com, there are 9 independent sessions held every week, and you are given the freedom to pick any 6 out of the 9 sessions to complete your course. New classes start every Tuesdays, and there are morning sessions and afternoon sessions from Tuesday through Friday. You can join the morning sessions at any time between 7 am to 12 pm PST and afternoon sessions at any time between 12 pm to 4 pm PST. There is also a shorter cram session available on Saturday for stragglers. Each session can last between 2 to 5 hours, depending on which module you are on.

If your goal is to finish this course as soon as possible, you will want to take the first 6 sessions (i.e. both morning and afternoon sessions from Tuesday through Thursday). This will allow you finish in 3 days. However, you get the flexibility to take up to 2 weeks if you want.

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance also has a solid mortgage course and has one of the biggest programs in California. They incorporate a video format, which makes it more engaging. However, there are activities and quizzes that you have to complete every 5 minutes, so you will definitely have to be 100% focused the whole time.

They offer classes in person, but only in select locations (California and Utah) a few times a month. There is also a live webinar option, which lasts 3 days. However, the webinars are only offered three times per month and usually start at 9 am. You will most likely have the best chance at finding a convenient time with one of their online options. They are offered very frequently several times every week.

The biggest differentiator that separates Mortgage Educators and Compliance from other mortgage schools is their price. You can get a jaw-dropping 40% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses by clicking on and enrolling through this Get 40% Off webpage.

Allied Schools is the biggest and most well known real estate school in California. They have been the industry leaders for almost 30 years. However, their program has undergone some major changes. They retired their old platform and migrated to the Learn Mortgage platform. You will be taking a different course than what other people have taken with Allied Schools in the past. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different. For the most part, the course is the same format. You get one page of text to read at a time. One notable change is the exam prep. Although it is a little more expensive, you can now get access (for an additional cost) to better test prep called CompuCram to help you study for the national exam. CompuCram Test Preparation kit integrates vocabulary tools, practice testing, and comprehensive simulated exams into an “all-in-one” solution.