How to Become a Loan Officer

In California

How to Become a Loan Officer in California

If you want to become a loan officer in California, you are likely wondering what steps you should take to reach your goal. Becoming a loan officer in California is not as hard as it sounds when you follow the right steps and remain focused on your goals.

You will soon embark on a rewarding journey that marks the start of an exciting career. Depending on your dedication, you can meet the prelicensing requirements within a few months. You will then be ready to take your exam and submit to a background check before completing the final step.

Loan Officer Duties

Before you invest the time and money to become a loan officer in California, make sure you understand the duties you will likely perform each day. Once you meet all the requirements, you will begin working for a financial institution. Loan officers speak with prospective borrowers and decide if they qualify for the amount they want to borrow.

You will look at people’s credit scores and match them with loans that fit their goals and desired outcome. Many loan officers work Monday through Friday, but you can also expect to work weekends when you are getting started. In addition to interacting with people each day, you will also complete paperwork. Paying attention to the details is essential if you want to have a successful career as a California loan officer.


This section explores the prelicensing requirements you need to meet before you can finalize the process and work as a loan officer. The 2010 Safe Act requires all prospective loan officers to complete 20 hours of education.

The classes you take cover federal laws and regulations, ethics, nontraditional mortgage lending, and 10 hours of electives. If you want to get your license in California, you must also learn the mortgage laws specific to your state. Make sure the class you have in mind is NMLS approved.

  • 3 hours of Federal law and regulations
  • 3 hours of ethics, fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues
  • 2 hours of non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 12 hours of undefined instruction (electives)
  • Exam

Once you have met the educational requirements, you are ready to sign up for the Safe MLO test. You must pay a fee between $30 and $60 to register, but you also need to accept the agreement before moving forward. Make sure you study and review as many resources as you can if you would like to enjoy the best results possible. You can take the test more than once if you don’t pass, but you will need to pay the fee each time you do.

Background Check

You are now ready to take your background check and submit your fingerprints for review. If you had a felony conviction within the past seven years, the law prevents you from becoming a loan officer in California.

Those with felonies related to financial crimes, such as theft or fraud, can never become a licensed loan officer. Some people run background checks on themselves before moving forward so that they know what items will show up.

Final Thoughts

If you would like to become a California loan officer, you must take the required course, pass the exam and submit to a background check. You will begin your career in no time as long as you don’t run into any issues along the way. The career of your dreams can be yours before you know it, and you will be proud of what you have accomplished.

Do you want to learn more about becoming a loan officer? 

Check out our comprehensive guide on How to Become a Loan Officer in 7 simple steps.

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