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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Maryland

Last updated on April 4, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Maryland

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Calling all aspiring mortgage loan officers in Maryland…

Are you not sure where to begin?

Are you looking for the complete requirements and steps to get your license?

We’ve got you. 

Here, we’re going to lead the way to your success. 

And to do that, we’re going to give you all the details on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Maryland. 

We don’t skip any details. 

So let’s begin your complete 2023 guide!

How to Become an MLO in Maryland – The 6 Steps to Success

Here are the 6 steps to becoming a mortgage loan officer or originator in Maryland:

  1. Request an NMLS account
  2. Take the mandatory pre-licensure education
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO licensing exam
  4. Begin the MLO application process
  5. Complete the background checks
  6. Get hired

Let’s go through each step one by one. 

Step #1: Request an NMLS Account

First things first, you need an account with NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System). 

You will need this account for your entire mortgage loan officer career. 

You will do everything here, including submitting your application, applying for the exam, and maintaining your MLO license. 

As you can see, this is a VERY important step. 

So here is how to request an NMLS account: 

  • Go to the NMLS website. In the first window, you will see three buttons for State: Non-Depository, Federal, and Surety Industry. Click on the link below that says ‘Request An Account’. 
  • On the next page, select ‘Individual’ as the type of account.
  • Enter the CAPTCHA code, then click ‘Next’.
  • Fill out all the details. Use the full legal name that appears on your government-issued ID. Also, enter your most recent phone number and email address to receive updates regarding your request. 

Once your request is accepted, you will receive your unique NMLS ID number. You’ll need to keep this number for near and future MLO transactions. 

Step #2: Take the Mandatory Pre-Licensure Education

As you might expect, knowledge of the industry is a must. 

This is why, in Maryland, you’re required to complete the proper education. 

This includes:

  • At least 20 hours of MLO pre-licensure education (PE), including:
    • 3 hours of Federal Law
    • 3 hours of Ethics
    • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
    • 12 hours of electives
  • 5 hours of Maryland-specific education, including:
    • 3 hours of Maryland mortgage-related laws
    • 2 hours of Maryland finder’s fee law

In total, you will need to complete at least 25 hours of education.

Here are some approved online schools you can look into:

And here is a list of all approved schools. 

Once you complete your mandatory education, you can confirm here if your completion has been posted and deemed “compliant”. 

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Licensing Exam

It’s time to put your knowledge to the test!

Prometric is the official conductor of all SAFE MLO licensing exams in the US. 

Now, the good news is that you can choose to take the exam at a testing center or proctored online. 

Either way, you have to first register for it with the NMLS. 

Here is how: 

  • On your NMLS account, click ‘MLO Testing & Education’.
  • Make a test enrollment window.
  • Select the ‘National Test with Uniform State Content’ and add the ‘SAFE MLO Test’ to your cart. 
  • Confirm everything in the Candidate Agreement.
  • In the ‘Pay Invoice’ section, you need to pay $110 for the exam fee. 

Once you’re registered, you can start scheduling. 

Here is how:

  • Choose whether you want to schedule an exam online or at a test center. 
  • Select your country and state.
  • Confirm everything after reviewing it. 
  • Fill in the information (NMLS ID number and name).
  • Choose your preferred schedule. 
  • Verify and complete your appointment. 

NOTE: You can also schedule an online SAFE MLO licensing test through your NMLS account. 

On the day of your test, make sure to be there 30 minutes early – -and bring any documents required from Prometric. 

You have 3 hours and 10 minutes to answer 120 items (NOTE: only 115 will be scored).

To pass, you need a score of at least 75%.

Check here how to confirm that your test score has been posted and deemed “passed”. 

Step #4: Begin the MLO Application Process

Now you can apply for an MLO license. 

To do that, log in to your NMLS account and follow the instructions below: 

  • Under the ‘Filing’ tab, go to the ‘Individual’ submenu, and click Request New/Update.
  • Click the ‘Add’ button and find Maryland in the map or dropdown.
  • Tick the Maryland Mortgage Loan Originator License box and click ‘Finish’.
  • Enter all the required details and click ‘Save’.
  • Answer all the disclosure questions — and provide an explanation or document to any question you answer “yes” to. 
  • Upload a Verification of Experience. You need to fill out and upload the Affidavit of Maryland Mortgage Loan Originator Activity – New Application (you can find the form here). 
  • If applicable, upload any documents that show proof of legal name or status change. 
  • If applicable, upload a Memorandum of Tax Certificate to show proof that all state tax obligations were paid or will be paid. 
  • Pay the appropriate fees:
    • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
    • MD application fee – $25
    • MD license/registration fee – $225

Step #5: Complete the Background Checks

Part of your application will be to authorize 2 background checks —- an FBI criminal history background check AND a credit report

Here’s how to authorize a criminal background check (CBC):

  • Go back to the ‘Filing’ tab, then select the Individual sub-menu. 
  • Click ‘Criminal Background Check’ in the Request New/Update button. 
  • Choose to submit new prints OR use existing prints. For new ones, you need to go to Fieldprint and schedule fingerprinting
  • Fill out the demographics section, save it, attest, and submit. 
  • Pay the $36.25 CBC fee
  • Once your prints are uploaded, the background check will begin. 
  • If you pass, you can proceed. 
  • If you have some hits, you will need to send legal documentation for criminal RAP to the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation. Email the document to — CFRLLicensing@dllr.state.md.us
  • The regulator will view your documents and either accept or deny your application. 

As for your credit report, here is how to authorize it through the NMLS:

  • On the ‘Filing’ tab, click ‘Credit Report Request’. 
  • Turn on the Completeness Check icon. This will authorize credit report checks. 
  • Click the Individual Verification link.
  • Review the information, attest, and submit it. 
  • Pay the $15 credit fee.
  • If there are issues with your credit report, you will need to upload credit report explanations in your application. This includes a well-written explanation with proof of payoffs, payment arrangements, etc. 

Step #6: Get Hire

The last thing you’ll have to fill in your NMLS application form is company sponsorship. 

Your sponsor will be the company that hires you. 

So now is the time to go around and look for an MLO job.

 Don’t rush — you want to find the perfect job scenario for YOU. 

Go around and see the best MLO companies in your area. 

Check what requirements they look for. 

And when you do get hired, have your employer submit a sponsorship request through NMLS. From there, the MD regulator will accept or deny the request. 

On your part, you have to fill out the ‘Employment History’ section of your application. 

Once the request is accepted, your MLO license will be sent out. 


You did it!

NOTE: While we put this step last, some candidates seek employment before applying for licensure. This way, your mortgage company can help you submit your application. 

For a complete checklist, click here

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an MLO in Maryland

How Much Does an MLO License Cost in Maryland?

To get an MLO license in Maryland, prepare to spend around $800 to $1,000.

Here is the cost breakdown:

  • Pre-licensure education – anywhere between $300 to $600
  • SAFE MLO licensing exam – $110
  • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
  • MD application fee – $25
  • MD license/registration fee – $225
  • Criminal background check fee – $36.25
  • Credit report fee – $15

How Much Do MLOs Earn in Maryland?

According to ZipRecruiter, the top MLO earners in Maryland earn $199,349 a year. 

The 75th percentile earns $129,577 a year. 

The average earnings are $105,248 a year. 

While the 25th percentile earns $55,319 a year. 

No matter where you are, becoming an MLO in Maryland is a great earning opportunity. 

What Happens if I Fail the MLO Licensing Test? 

You can schedule your first retake 30 days after your initial attempt. However, if you fail three times, you must wait at least 180 days before you can retake.

The 180-day waiting period takes effect after every 3rd unsuccessful attempt. 

On top of that, you will have to register each time, which means you’ll have to pay the $110 fee again. 


And that was how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Maryland. 

At first glance, it might seem a bit overwhelming. 

However, if you just follow the steps one by one, you’ll see that the process is very straightforward. 

So what are you waiting for?

Now that you know the steps, it’s time to get started.

You won’t regret it!

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