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.
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.
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 for Text-based Courses
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
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 “Get 30% Off” discount page.
Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400062