I Want to Be a LOAN OFFICER When I Grow Up!

As someone whose mortgage career is north of 20 years old, I can say with certainty that this statement doesn’t find its way into a lot of first grade classrooms on career day. Nevertheless, roughly 304,000 people in the United States have found their way into this segment of the financial services industry, a large number in my specialty of residential mortgage lending. There are many ways that people come to a career in lending, from academic studies to career fairs to pure chance (like me!) If you’re taking the time to read this blog post, you’re likely considering joining the ranks of residential mortgage professionals (called “Mortgage Loan Originators”, or “MLOs”) and are looking for more information on the business. So, let’s discuss some key factors you’ll want to consider when making your decision. If you decide to move forward, allow me to be the first to welcome you to the business and I hope to meet you personally should you decide to choose Real Estate Institute for your required education.

A career in mortgage can be lucrative

As of this writing, the mean annual wage for Loan Officers is $76,270 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many people make much more than this, some make less, but the mean income is very solid for a career that doesn’t require an advanced degree. Keep in mind that many Loan Officers work on commission only and don’t receive a base salary. If you accept employment at a company with this pay structure, you’ll have the highest earnings potential but might take a year or two to realize it.

Mortgage lending can offer more flexibility than other career paths

Like any job, you’ll have to put in the hours to reap the rewards. In the mortgage business, however, you might be able to structure your working hours around family and other commitments. Need to see your kid off to school in the morning? Start work later in the day. Want to take a vacation? Technology has made it much easier to work remotely, so bring the office with you. Keep in mind that it’s common for MLOs to work weekends, especially during peak homebuying season.

It’s a great place if you’re a people person

At the heart of it, being an MLO is very much a people-oriented, sales career. The great thing is, you’ll be selling MONEY (which everybody needs) and showing people how to achieve and maintain the American dream of homeownership. If the thought of talking to people who aren’t your friends or family makes you queasy, however, becoming an MLO is probably not the right career path.

Technology is making the job easier but not replacing it

Let’s face it, there are a lot of industries where automation is reducing the number of available positions. While it may be easier for consumers to shop for a loan online today, they overwhelmingly still want to talk through their options with a real, live person who has their best interests at heart. Today’s mortgage professionals are expected to adhere to a higher ethical standard than ever before, but their jobs are not going away. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 3% growth in the number of MLOs over the next 10 years.

If you’re still interested in a career as an MLO after reading this, keep in mind that you’ll very likely need to take pre-license education and an exam, as well as pass a criminal and credit check to work in the business. The good news? We can help with the education and testing piece!


Real Estate Institute offers NMLS-approved Mortgage Loan Originator Pre-License and Continuing Education courses in three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or at 800-995-1700 with any questions about loan officer training or requirements. 

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