Category Archives: MLO School Reviews

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)
2Allied SchoolsOnlineOnline
3Mortgage EducatorsOnline, Webinar, Classroom (Walnut Creek, Visalia)Online, Webinar, Classroom (Walnut Creek, Visalia)
4MortgageEducation.comOnlineOnline
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 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 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.

Morning sessions start at 10 am to 2 pm EST
Afternoon sessions start at 3 pm to 7 pm EST
Saturday sessions start at 12 pm to 3:15 pm EST

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 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. 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 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. Live classes are great if you want an interactive learning experience, but I think the online format will work just as well for most people. If you want the best of both worlds, you can go with the live webinar option. You get the interactivity of a classroom from the comfort of your home.

They have a perfect 5-star rating on Yelp and scored 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. Although it is a tad bit higher on the price range, 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 with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance also has a solid mortgage program. 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.

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 Get 40% Off

Best School for Test Prep

Allied Schools is the biggest and most well known real estate school in California. You can’t go wrong with their program. They have been the industry leaders for almost 30 years. The format is text-based, and the courses offer a lot of flexibility, so if you have a full-time job or other commitments, this will be a great option for you.

They are actually a subsidiary of the Colibri Group and have recently changed from using their own platform to using Learn Mortgage, another subsidiary that is based in Ohio. The courses are virtually the same. However, the price has gone up a little bit.

One notable change is the exam prep. You can now get access (for an additional cost) to 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