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How to Get an NMLS License in California | Mortgage Educators

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Get Your Mortgage Loan Originator License in 2021!


Please Note that the California Department of Business Oversight (CA-DBO) has recently been replaced by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (CA-DFPI). None of the educational requirements to get your Mortgage Loan Originator License have been affected. Thank you for your patience as we work to comply with the rebranding adjustments. If you plan on registering under the new CA-DFPI, please purchase and take the CA-DBO pre-licensing course requirements below.


CA-DFPI Pre-Licensing Courses

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Starting at: $399 Now Only $239.99!

Use Coupon Code: CADFPI



Add CA-DFPI Elective

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CA-DRE Pre-Licensing Courses

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Starting at: $349 Now Only $239.99!

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How to Get an NMLS Mortgage License in California

1. Apply for your NMLS Account and ID Number

The first step to getting your California mortgage license is applying for an NMLS account and ID number. To do so, go to the NMLS website.


2. Complete your NMLS Pre-License Education

To get your MLO license in California, you will need to complete a required 20-hour SAFE pre-license NMLS course with any additional work from the California state licensing agencies: The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) and The California Department of Real Estate (DRE).


3. Pass the NMLS California Mortgage License Exam

With your NMLS education courses completed in California, you will need to schedule an appointment for the National Test Component exam. Find out more on how to take your NMLS exam here.


4. Apply for your California MLO Mortgage License

After receiving a passing score on your NMLS mortgage exam, you will need to apply for your NMLS License. You can learn more about applying through the DFPI here or through the DRE here.


5. Complete Background Checks and Pay All Fees

To finalize your application and receive your license, you will need to pay several non-refundable fees and get a background check. Find out more about how to complete your background check and fingerprints here.


6. Once Completed, Associate your NMLS Account with your Employer

You won't be fully licensed in California until you have an employer sponsorship, which lets the government know that an employer is supervising your individual license. Learn how to associate your NMLS account with your employer here.




There are two separate licensing divisions in California: The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (CA-DFPI), and The California Department of Real Estate (CA-DRE). The California Department of Business Oversight (or the CA-DBO) has recently been replaced by the CA-DFPI. Mortgage Educators & Compliance provide course bundles that satisfy either mortgage license in California. To determine which license you need, please watch the video above. For additional help, we recommend contacting your employer or contacting one of our licensing specialists today.


If you are unsure which agency you will be licensed under, please contact your employer, as you must be licensed under the same agency. If you are do not have a sponsor yet, use the following to determine which agency to select:


If you hold an active CA real-estate license and are looking to operate under both this and your new mortgage loan origination license, then you will select the CA-DRE


If you do not have a CA real-estate license and are not looking to obtain one and are only planning to operate under a mortgage loan origination license, then select the CA-DFPI.


20 Hour NMLS MLO License Education Live Classroom


Get Your License Faster With Our Live Classroom Courses

We are excited to offer live courses that fulfill either CA-DFPI or CA-DRE NMLS training requirements with our live classroom courses! These classroom courses are an expedited option for those trying to obtain an NMLS license in California. With instructors who possess years of industry experience, you’ll have industry-leading support to help you pass the NMLS national exam. Click here for our current live classroom location schedule.

Why Obtain Your Loan Officer License in California?

California has one of the strongest housing markets in the nation and continues to grow year after year. Obtaining your loan officer license in California takes determination, a willingness to learn, and a strong work ethic. After completing the required mortgage training courses, you will need to pass the national exam. To solidify your chances of passing the national exam first try, consider our test prep course. Once you’ve passed the national test, you’ll receive your California mortgage license!

Cost to Get your Mortgage License in California

When you're ready to get your NMLS mortgage license in California, be prepared to pay the following fees:


$30 - NMLS Initial Processing Fee

$300 - License/Registration Fee

$15 - Credit Report

$36.25 - FBI Criminal Background Check

What is PE Expiration Policy?

PE Expiration is a policy that was created by the NMLS Policy Committee that addresses situations in which an individual is required to retake 20 hours of pre-licensure education if they fail to acquire a valid mortgage license within three years from the last date of licensure as a mortgage loan originator. California is currently in pending enactment for the PE Expiration policy which means the policy is currently not enforced, but it will be rolled out soon.

Are California Broker Licenses and Loan Originator Licenses The Same?

Mortgage loan originators and mortgage brokers are commonly confused terms. As such, many people who are searching for a California broker license are actually looking for a loan originator or loan officer license. So what’s the difference? Generally speaking, a mortgage broker is a company that employs a team of loan officers. Loan officers originate mortgage loans for new home buyers. Therefore, the correct license for a loan officer in California would be one of the options listed above, depending on which division your employer works under.



Additional Questions?

Mortgage Educators and Compliance is here to answer any additional questions that you may have in regards to your California mortgage license. For additional questions, feel free to call us at (801) 676-2520 or email us at 20hour@MortgageEducators.com.





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