Although no formal education is required, prospective loan officers must undergo some training in order to become licensed. Enrollees in a mortgage loan officer training program learn about forms and reports, appraisals, and required verification. Such programs include a minimum of 20 hours of training, although some state regulations are stricter and require up to 40 hours. Federal law states that mortgage loan officers may not have a felony conviction and must pass a background check.
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Mortgage Loan Officer Training and Education
Those considering training enrollment should have a preexisting interest in sales, as well as strong communication skills. Topics covered during the required training course include:
- Federal regulations
- Lending standards
- Mortgage origination
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities were expected to grow by 8% for mortgage loan officers between the years of 2014 and 2024, although the position is somewhat dependent upon the economy, interest rates, and the housing market. Salaries are highly variable, and many are based upon a commission structure. The BLS shows that the average annual salary for a general loan officer, as of May 2015, was $75,170 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education and Licensure
All loan officers must be licensed to practice. The licensure process generally requires completing a course on loan officer fundamentals, passing an examination, and submitting a completed application. Specific guidelines differ between states, but continuing education hours are required to maintain licensure. The renewal timeline is usually two years.
An optional professional designation is the Certified Mortgage Banker credential, which is offered by the Mortgage Bankers Association. To achieve it, applicants must have at least three years of loan processing experience and appropriate continuing education credits; they must also successfully complete an exam.
Mortgage loan officers can join formal training programs or learn their skills on the job, though the goal of either route is to earn the mandatory license needed to practice. Professional certification is available through the Mortgage Bankers Association.