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:

Cumbersome 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.

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.

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.

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 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 is their course scheduling. While most other schools require that you finish on a certain day, 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. 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 for Online Reading Format

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.

Best School for Knowledge Seekers

If you are the type of person who seeks a challenge and likes to push yourself to the limits, then The CE Shop would be perfect solution to fit your style. With over 17 years in the industry and thousands of students successfully licensed under their program, The CE Shop has developed their own proven formula to help people pass the exams with a high success rate. 

They have achieved this by developing their own learning platform called LEAP 2.0 from the ground up. The CE Shop courses look sleek, modern, and are seamlessly compatible with mobile devices. While the majority of the time, you will be reading from a textbook online, they mix things up to keep you engaged by throwing in video clips, lots of visual graphics, and a variety of different quiz formats. 

What makes this program different from the rest is they want you to truly master the material. This means you will be quizzed more often throughout the course to test your knowledge of what you studied. If you are in a rush to get licensed, this is not recommended for you. However, if your main priority is to learn as much as possible, then this will help you get there.