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

Last updated on April 14, 2023

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

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With the demanding need for mortgages in Massachusetts, now is the right time to become a mortgage loan officer. 

It’s a very lucrative and rewarding career. 

But hold up…

How do you become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Massachusetts?

We’re here to give you all the details. 

So without further ado, let’s jump right in!

How to Become an MLO in Massachusetts – The 6 Steps

Here’s a brief rundown of the 6 steps on how to become an MLO in Massachusetts:

  1. Create an account with NMLS
  2. Complete the MLO pre-licensure education
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO test
  4. Authorize the background checks
  5. Find a sponsor 
  6. Complete your application 

Let’s walk you through these steps. 

Step #1: Create an Account with NMLS

Before anything else, you’ll first have to create an account with the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System). 

You’ll do most of your MLO transactions here. 

This is also where you’ll get your unique identification number.

Now, to create an account, follow these steps:

  • Go to the NMLS website and select ‘Request an Account’.
  • Choose the account type — in your case, it’s ‘Individual’.
  • After entering the CAPTCHA, fill out the necessary information. 
  • Check your email for account confirmation, your ID number, and login details.

Step #2: Complete the MLO Pre-Licensure Education

Next up is your education. 

In Massachusetts, that means completing at least 20 hours of NMLS-approved pre-licensure education (PE)

Additionally, you’ll have to take 3 hours of MA-specific law and regulations. 

You can opt to take all PE hours in a traditional classroom setting.

However, Massachusetts permits online education modes, with The CE Shop offering an NMLS-approved online course.

Here are other approved online providers you can check out:

NOTE: In Massachusetts, your PE expires after 3 years if you do not hold an MLO license. 

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Test

You can choose to take the SAFE MLO test even before completing your PE. 

However, it’s best to wait until you’re done so that you will have all the knowledge to pass on your first try. 

Before you can sit for the test, though, you first have to register for it. 

Here are the steps to do that:

  • Login to your NMLS account and go to ‘MLO Testing & Education’.
  • Create a test enrollment window for the ‘National Test with Uniform State Content’ > ‘SAFE MLO Test’.
  • Follow the online prompts. 
  • Pay the $110 exam fee in the ‘Pay Invoice’ section. 
  • Schedule your exam either in your NMLS account (for online testing) or Prometric (for both online or in-person testing). 

The test consists of 120 multiple-choice questions that you’ll have to answer in 190 minutes.

NOTE: Only 115 questions are scored. The remaining 5 are just sample questions. 

To pass, you need a minimum score of 75%, that’s 86 out of 115 questions answered correctly.  

Step #4: Authorize the Background Checks

There are 2 background checks that you need to authorize. These are:

  • FBI criminal background check (CBC)
  • Credit report

For the CBC, follow these steps:

  • Login to your NMLS account and click ‘Filing’ > ‘Individual’.
  • In the Request New/Update button, select ‘Criminal Background Check. 
  • Choose to submit new prints — unless you already have existing prints on file. 
  • Follow the online prompts. 
  • Pay the $36.25 CBC fee
  • Go over to Fieldprint and schedule a fingerprinting. 
  • Get fingerprinted with Fieldprint. 

As for your credit report authorization, follow these steps:

  • Login to your NMLS account and click ‘Filing’ > ‘Individual’ > ‘Credit Report Request’.
  • Turn on the small icon. This will authorize your credit report check. 
  • Go through the Identification Verification Process. 
  • Follow the online prompts. 
  • Pay the $15 credit fee.

Step #5: Find a Sponsor

In your MLO application, you will need company sponsorship. 

This will be the company that you work for. 

So go out and start looking for a reputable one. 

Remember, you’re going to work for them, so it’s best to pick one that suits your needs and preferences. 

When you find one, have your employer request sponsorship. The MA Division of Banks will review the request and accept or decline it. 

If accepted, you’re almost done!

Step #6: Complete Your Application

The last thing to do is provide all the details in your NMLS Individual Form (MU4).

These are:

  • The state you want to apply in.
  • The license you’re applying for – mortgage loan officer or originator. 
  • The necessary information. 
  • Answer disclosure questions — and provide any details or documents if needed.
  • Give details about employment history. 

You’ll also need to pay the following fees:

  • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
  • MA license fee – $500
  • MA investigation fee – $115

From there, you need to:

  • Email it to nmls@mass.gov. Make the email subject line – Your name and NMLS ID #: New Application.
  • Attach any credit report explanations for credit resolution or settlement (if applicable).

And you’re done!

You simply need to wait for your MLO status to change to ‘Approved – Active’. 

NOTE: the MA Bank of Divisions does not issue paper licenses. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an MLO in Massachusetts

What Can I Expect from the SAFE MLO Test?

The SAFE MLO test is divided into these areas: 

  • Federal Mortgage-Related Laws – 24%
  • Uniform State Content – 11%
  • General Mortgage Knowledge – 20%
  • Mortgage Loan Origination Activities – 27%
  • Ethics – 18%

The state section will cover what you learned from your MA law and regulations course. 

Can You Become an MLO if You Have a Criminal Offense in MA?

The SAFE Act mandates that an individual can be prevented from an MLO license if they have been convicted of a felony offense in the last 7 years.

This will depend on the MA Division of Banks. 

However, financial offenses such as bribery, fraud, check forgery, and theft are taken more seriously — this will result in permanent disqualification, meaning you can’t ever get a license.

How Much Do MLOs Earn in Massachusetts?

As of March 2023, the average MLO salary in Massachusetts is $51,562/year. This can range anywhere between $43,910 to $60,397 a year. 

Of course, your salary will depend on many factors, such as the company you work for, your experience, etc. 

What Do MLOs Do?

Mortgage loan officers are responsible for handling mortgage applications and deals. You will most likely be working for a bank or authorized lender. 


Those were the 6 steps on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Massachusetts. 

It isn’t as complicated as you might expect, right?

Just follow these steps one by one — and you’ll soon be a licensed mortgage loan officer in the state. 

So what are you waiting for?

The time to apply is NOW!

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