Category Archives: MLO School Reviews

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 Learning Interactively

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.

They have just launched a new pre-license program that is interactive and engaging. Their 20-hour pre-license course is in full video now, and there are live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

MortgageEducation.com also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Best School for Text-based Courses

Allied Schools is one of the most recognizable real estate brands in California. They have been the industry leaders for almost 30 years. They recently merged with one of the biggest mortgage schools in the Midwest called Learn Mortgage and has since consolidated their programs under the Learn Mortgage platform.

The format and structure of the course is virtually identical. The course is formatted as an online book, where you go through the chapters, complete assignments, and take a multiple-choice test at the end. You can choose between a 7-day or 14-day track. Although you can work on it at any time of the day, these courses do follow a daily schedule so you have to keep pace. If you love reading books, then this is the right program for you. 

One major upgrade that Allied Schools got with the merger with Learn Mortgage is the exam prep for the National Exam, which is called CompuCram. CompuCram integrates vocabulary tools, practice testing, and comprehensive simulated exams into an “all-in-one” solution. You get unlimited access for 180 days, and there is a “Readiness” indicator that will let you know when you are fully prepared to take the exam. 

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 whopping 30% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you sign up through this “Get 30% Off” page.

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 for Interactive Learning

MortgageEducation.com 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.

They just spent a great deal of time (and money) to take their program to the next level. The 20-hour pre-license course is offered in full video now, and there are live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can take more time and work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

MortgageEducation.com also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400051

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 30% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you sign up through this special Get 30% Off discount page.

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400062

Best School for Knowledge Seekers

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 and claim that over 300,000 students nationwide have been able to pass the exam and get licensed on their first attempt with their program.

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. Although you can study at any time during the day, there are assignments due on certain days, so you have to make sure you keep pace with the program. If you love to read, want to study hard, and your goal is to learn as much as possible, then this will be the perfect program for you.

Learn Mortgage also has a really strong program to prepare you for the National Exam called CompuCram. This “all-in-one” solution has been designed to be comprehensive and everything you need to successfully pass the exam. You get interactive flash cards along with unlimited MLO practice exams that ensure you never see the same practice test twice. It is mobile and tablet friendly, so you can easily study while on the go. There is also a “Readiness Indicator” gauge that tracks your progress and will let you clearly know when you will be ready to take the exam. 

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400214

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-Education.comOnlineHighest quality content
2Mortgage EducatorsOnline, WebinarLowest prices
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 School with the Highest Quality

MortgageEducation.com is leading the nation in online mortgage education and has high marks in pretty much every category. They are one of the few education providers with programs in all 50 states. So, if you are thinking about getting licensed in multiple states, then you can get all of your courses completed in one place. 

MortgageEducation.com recently revamped their program and now offers their Pre-license course in full video. There are also live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

They also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Best School with the Lowest Prices

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.

The course schedule is a little bit more fixed at Mortgage Educators and Compliance. There are two track options that you have to choose between to finish the course: 5 days or 12 days. Also, you cannot start the course anytime. You must choose a start date on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or within the next 24 hours. 

Nonetheless, everyone loves a great deal, and you can get 30% off their online courses when you enroll through this 30% off discount page.

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 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 for Learning Interactively

MortgageEducation.com is the leading provider for helping people obtain the mortgage license. 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 recently upgraded their entire program to make it more engaging by incorporating video content throughout the course. You get access to live instructors, so you can ask your questions to a live human being and you won’t feel like you are studying alone. If you have a hard time concentrating in class or are worried that online courses are too boring, this will be the best program for you.

One of the unique things about MortgageEducation.com is their course scheduling. While most other schools require that you finish on a certain day, MortgageEducation.com allows you to finish by a certain day. They give you up to 14 days to finish whenever you want. That means if you are in a rush, you can start today and finish in as little as 3 days. However, as you are taking the course, if you feel you need more time, that is okay too. 

Another big differentiator is their exam prep for the National Exam. Most other schools only offer practice tests to help you study. MortgageEducation.com offers an entire video course designed specifically for the exam. When used in combination with their practice tests and study guides, you will have plenty of study tools to help you succeed. 

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 a 30% off discount on the courses by enrolling through this special 30% off discount page.

Best School for Knowledge Seekers

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 nationwide. 

The courses at Learn Mortgage follow your traditional online text format, where you are basically reading an online book. You can download the material and print it out, but you will still complete assignments through your online account. You are given a choice of completing the pre-licensing course over 7 days or 14 days. There will be assignments that need to be completed on certain days, so you have to follow the course schedule. Learn Mortgage really puts an emphasis on mastering the material, so if you want a rigorous program and study hard, then this will be a great option for you.

When you complete the 22-hour pre-license course, they also have separate exam prep available to help you study for the National Exam called CompuCram. This is a 100% proprietary test prep kit. You get access to vocabulary tools along with unlimited multiple-choice practice test questions. When you are fully prepared, the “Readiness” indicator will let you know, so that you will be able to pass the exam with ease.

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.