Tag Archives: Continuing Education

3xEvery Mortgage Loan Originator licensed in the United States must complete Pre-License Education in order to obtain a license and Continuing Education each year in order to renew the license. There is a federal mandate that each state require at least 20 hours of Pre-License Education and at least 8 hours of Continuing Education each year after the license is approved. And many states have decided to require additional "state-specific" Pre-License and Continuing Education on top of the federal mandated minimum requirement. If a Loan Originator obtains licenses in many states, there could be a lot of Continuing Education required each year, which brings us to our main topic. How do you choose a Mortgage License Education Course Provider that can make this process as simple and painless as possible?

Availability of Courses - Each Mortgage License Education Course Provider must get their courses approved through the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System). Some Course Providers only get the main 20 hour Pre-License Education and 8 hour Continuing Education, so if you are licensed in any states that require state-specific education, you'll have to do that part with another Course Provider. Most Course Providers only get some of the state-specific education approved for the larger states, because it is very time consuming to get approved and maintain if they don't have enough customers taking the courses. Very few Course Providers get the state-specific Mortgage License Education Courses approved by the NMLS in every state that requires it. If licensed in many states, it is best to find one of these few Course Providers that offer all courses.

Course Formats - The Course Providers are able to provide Pre-License Education in 3 formats: Classroom, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. Classroom is a live course in-person. Webinar is a live course via a webinar online. And Online Instructor-Led, which is by far the most popular, is an online course at your own pace with a small amount of instructor involvement to meet the NMLS requirement that there be interaction between the student and the instructor. Due to the instructor interaction, the Online Instructor-Led courses must be done within a certain window of time. Usually 2 days for a few hour course up to 12 days for a 20 hour course. For the Continuing Education, Course Providers are able to offer all of the same course formats as the Pre-License Education plus an Online Self-Study format. The Online Self-Study format is virtually identical to the Online Instructor-Led format, except that there is no window of time that the course must be completed in and there is no instructor interaction. For most people, the Online Self-Study format would be the best option for the Continuing Education. Not all Course Providers offer all Course Formats, so you will want to find a Course Provider that offers the formats you prefer.

Technology Platforms - Specifically for the most popular Course Formats, Online Instructor-Led for the Pre-License Education and Online Self-Study for the Continuing Education, the technology platform of the Mortgage License Education Course Provider is critical to making the process smooth. The NMLS has specific guidelines on how the Education Course must operate regarding timing of the course, instructor interaction, timing out after a certain period of inactivity, verifying that the person taking the course is the actual Loan Originator, etc. However, the Course Providers have a lot of flexibility in making the compliance with these requirements as painless as possible. There is a huge difference between Course Providers so you may even want to ask to test their systems out before purchasing courses, especially if you are licensed in a lot of states or are making the decision of what Course Provider to use for many Loan Originators.

Customer Service - In my experience, this is by far the most important factor. Issues will come up such as courses not reporting to the NMLS properly, course windows ending before the course is completed and the need to reschedule, questions about what Mortgage License Education Courses are required for a new license or continuing education to renew your Loan Originator Licenses, or even just issues navigating their website. When these issues come up, you want to have someone at their office that always answers the phone during normal business hours so you can quickly resolve these issues. I have found that not all Education Course Providers have the same excellent customer service that you would expect. This is critical. If you start finding that the responses from customer service are slow or inadequate, then it is probably time to start looking for a new NMLS Mortgage License Education Course Provider.

cxWhen the SAFE Act was passed by the US Congress in 2008, it mandated that all States require that Mortgage Loan Originators meet certain minimum requirements to obtain and maintain a Mortgage Loan Originator License. Once of those requirements was Education. The SAFE Act mandated 20 hours of Pre-License Education in order to obtain an LO license and 8 hours of Continuing Education each year in order to maintain and renew an LO License. Over the next couple years, each state passed legislation to meet this federal education mandate and regulators worked with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) to implement this requirement.

State-Specific Mortgage License Education
When the states passed legislation to meet this federal SAFE Act Education requirement, many of them decided to also require additional education above and beyond the minimum federal requirement of 20 hours of Pre-License Education and 8 hours of annual Continuing Education. Many states require anywhere from 1 to 15 hours of state-specific Pre-License Education and 1 to 3 hours of annual Continuing Education. And as more states have adopted the Uniform State Test (UST) in lieu of a state-specific NMLS Test, many of those same states have decided to recently add additional state-specific education requirements.

Mortgage License Education Types
When the NMLS started working with the states to implement the LO License education requirements, they came up with 3 ways to meet the mortgage loan originator education requirement. Live, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. These three options were developed in order meet certain NMLS requirements that the mortgage education course be timed and that there be interaction between the instructor and the mortgage loan originator. The Live and Webinar versions clearly meet this requirement, but for the Online Instructor-Led Course to meet that requirement, but still give the LO the ability to work at their own pace, the NMLS along with the states created a requirement for the online mortgage education course to include questions and answers between the instructor and the Mortgage Loan Originator. The live course is generally only offered to large groups such as large companies that have many LOs that need mortgage licensing continuing education at the same time. Most mortgage education companies offer the Webinar option, but then the LO has to sit through the entire education course all at one time. So most Mortgage Loan Originators prefer the Online Instructor-Led Education Course. You can do it at your own pace and have much more flexibility.