A Comprehensive Guide: How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer in Florida

By Ciprian Morariu Published: May 21, 2024

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer in Florida

Do you want to be a part of a career where knowledge and skills reign supreme and where making a six-figure income is an achievable dream? 

Then, being a mortgage loan officer might be a job that is right up your alley. It is a great way to be a part of the booming finance and investment sector.  

Especially if you are a resident of Florida where the economy has been steadily growing over the years. 

Did you know how much a mortgage loan officer in Florida earns annually?

According to industry data and job surveys, working as a mortgage loan officer in Florida can help you unlock a six-figure salary of at least $100K. 

With enough experience, you can earn as much as $150K as an average base salary, in addition to commissions. 

This is why MLO can be a rewarding and enriching career choice and that too without requiring a bachelor’s degree. Not to forget the great flexibility it provides so you can easily achieve a work-life balance. 

If you want to get on the path to a successful profession and want to know how to become a mortgage loan officer in Florida, this article is for you.

We have compiled all the required information and steps you need to complete to achieve your professional dream of working as a licensed loan officer in Florida. 

By the end of this article, you will have complete clarity on how to proceed in a step-by-step manner on starting a promising career. 

An Overview of the Mortgage Loan Officer Profession

Understanding the Role of a Mortgage Loan Officer

Before we dive deeper into how to obtain a mortgage loan originator license in Florida, let us start with the basics first. 

A day in the life of a Florida mortgage loan officer is filled with a varied list of duties and responsibilities. 

Your job will revolve around helping clients with loan applications, guiding them through the various stages of the loan process, and assisting them in making the right financial decisions.

In short, a mortgage loan officer links potential borrowers with lending institutions. 

Your job will be to assist borrowers evaluate, applying, and securing suitable mortgage and financial products and services. 

Typically, loan officers are employed by banks, financial institutions, trust companies, and credit unions and their core job duties vary as per their employers’ discretion. 

Let’s take a look at some of the main activities and job duties you can expect to perform:

  • Interview homebuyers to identify their home mortgage loan needs and expectations. 
  • Collect and gather all the necessary documents and paperwork required for applying for a mortgage loan.
  • Provide important and necessary information to mortgage loan applicants about the specifics of the loan process. 
  • Interview homebuyers to identify their home mortgage loan needs and expectations. 
  • Evaluate the creditworthiness of an individual on the basis of the financial past and present with documents like credit reports, income statements, and tax receipts.
  • Assist the borrowers in providing the required details and filling all the necessary information to complete their loan application. 
  • Guiding clients in the process of applying for a mortgage loan by offering them suitable plans and services to meet their needs.
  • Work with other industry professionals such as appraisers, underwriters, and real estate agents to help clients get a loan. 

In addition to the above, MLOs (Mortgage Loan Officers) are also expected to perform market research and analyze future trends in the financing and mortgage industry. 

Why Choose a Career as a Mortgage Loan Officer in Florida?

Many aspiring professionals often wonder about the benefits of working as a mortgage loan officer in Florida. 

The decision to pursue a competitive career and work towards getting a mortgage loan originator license in Florida is an important one. 

In addition to the six-figure salary and a prestigious career profile, there are many reasons which should encourage you to pursue this profession. 

If you too are wondering why choose a career as an MLO, let us help you make an informed choice by outlining the benefits. 

  • MLOs play a pivotal role in helping individuals achieve their home ownership dreams. They work with clients to obtain financing for one of the most important financial decisions of their lives. 
  • MLOs guide individuals through the complex process of completing, submitting, and reviewing a loan application. MLOs ensure their clients submit the required paperwork and documentation without incurring any errors or mistakes. 
  • MLOs process and analyze complex financial information and data related to their clients’ credit situations. This gives them a cornerstone position in the finance, accounting, and mortgage industries. 

Overall, if you want to work in a dynamic and future-proof profession, becoming a loan officer in FL is a good career path. 

Not only is it financially rewarding but also emotionally satisfying to work as a MLO. Top-tier MLOs are making as much as $1M in a year while helping people with their dreams.

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer in Florida: Steps and Requirements

Education and Essential Skills

Choosing a suitable educational path is necessary to become a licensed mortgage loan officer in Florida. 

Completing the mandatory pre-licensing education is one of the most important MLO license requirements you have to fulfill. 

As established by the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System) an aspiring MLO must complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education to be eligible for a license. Incidentally, NMLS comprises data of all FL-based loan officers.    

Pre-licensing education comprises a specific set of courses to help you understand the key principles, laws, and regulations of the finance and mortgage industry. 

Some of the courses you can expect to learn are: 

  • Federal Law (3 hours)
  • Ethics (3 hours)
  • Mortgage Lending (2 hours)
  • General Elective (10 hours)
  • Florida-specific laws and regulations (2 hours)

Completing these courses will give you the required knowledge and understanding of what to expect as a mortgage loan officer. 

Note that all the above-listed courses must be completed through an NMLS-approved and accredited education provider in Florida. 

Plus, since you will be required to undertake the NMLS licensing exam in Florida, completing the education is even more important to clear the exam. 

Learning these topics will help you prepare for your exam and career and help you gain confidence and skills. 

Next, let us look at some of the other essential skills that will come in handy in your journey to becoming a successful loan officer. 

  • Analytical bent of mind
  • Exemplary customer service
  • Thoroughness and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication ability
  • Effective decision making

How to Get NMLS License in Florida

In the state of Florida, every applicant must meet the minimum set of qualifying requirements to obtain an NMLS license. 

Getting a mortgage loan originator license in Florida is mandatory to get a legal permit to work with a bank, financial institution, or lender in the state. 

Let’s take a look at the different steps required to obtain an NMLS license: 

Step 1: Register with the NMLS

To start the licensing process, you must first request an NMLS account and to do so, you need to register on the State Mortgage Registry Website. 

Once you have registered with the NMLS, you will receive a unique identification number which you must keep in handy for the rest of the licensing journey and career. 

Step 2:  Complete the coursework

Completing the state and national level coursework is mandatory and important to meet the education requirements and qualify for an NMLS license in Florida. 

You should start by referring to the state-specific guide available on the NMLS website. Doing so will give you information about the mandatory courses and other key details. 

Completing 20 hours of pre-licensing education will include a range of topics and subjects related to the finance and mortgage industry. 

Step 3: Clear the SAFE test

After completing your coursework, you will be eligible to take the SAFE mortgage loan officer test in Florida. 

The test will evaluate your knowledge and preparation of the coursework topics and subjects. 

The test has 115 multiple-choice questions in total and to clear it, you will have to score at least 75 percent or above. 

Note that you will have to pay a one-time fee of $110 for taking the National NMLS test in Florida. 

It is recommended to take the test within 20 days after completing your pre-licensing education. 

Step 4: Complete the application

After passing the licensing exam, you can proceed to submit your loan officer application to the NMLS. This will cost you a one-time fee of $195 for processing the application. 

As part of completing the NMLS application, you will also be required to complete a background and criminal verification check. 

To do so, you can visit the NMLS website, go to the filing section, and click on the criminal background check tab.  

There, you will be asked to complete a criminal background check by submitting your electronic fingerprints and filling in the necessary details.

Note that you must have your updated electronic fingerprint scans available taken from NMLS-approved fingerprint vendor. It will cost you a onetime fee of $33. 

Step 5: Submit the application

As the last step in completing your NMLS application, you will be required to obtain and submit an individual (MU4) form. 

Additionally, you will also have to obtain and submit a credit report along with your application. 

After doing so, you can submit your Florida licensure request through the NMLS licensing portal.

The Mortgage Loan Originator License Florida: What You Should Know?

Understanding the Mortgage Loan Originator License

A mortgage loan originator license in Florida is mandatory for anyone who aspires to work in the financial and mortgage industry. 

With a license, you will be legally allowed to assist clients and guide individuals to make financial decisions and purchases. 

Since an MLO is a highly specialized job role, it requires clearing a minimum level of qualifying criteria to obtain a license. 

While having a bachelor's degree is not mandatory, completing the pre-licensing education is. 

A license helps ensure that individuals are working with trained and skilled professionals who are qualified and equipped to provide financial advice and products.