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.
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 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 a whopping 40% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you sign up through this little-known Get 40% Off page.
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.