• Home
  • |
  • Blog
  • |
  • How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Pennsylvania

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

Last updated on April 14, 2023

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

Quick note! RealEstateLicenseTraining is partnered with the best online real estate schools. When you sign up using our links, we may get a small affiliate commission. Read how we conduct our reviews here

So you want to become a mortgage loan officer in Pennsylvania…

…but you don’t know how or where to begin. 

We’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’re going to detail the steps on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Pennsylvania. 

We won’t skimp on the details. 

This way, you know EXACTLY what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. 

Plus, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about MLOs in PA. 

So let’s jump right to it!

How to Become an MLO in Pennsylvania – Just Complete These 6 Steps!

  1. Create an NMLS account
  2. Complete pre-licensure education (PE)
  3. Pass the MLO licensing exam
  4. Apply for an MLO license
  5. Complete the NMLS background checks
  6. Associate your NMLS account with an employer

Let’s move to the details…

Step #1: Create an NMLS Account

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) tracks all MLO licenses in the US.  

This is your starting point if you want to become an MLO. 

To create an NMLS account, follow this sign-up guide:

  • Click Request an Account > Individual.
  • Enter the CAPTCHA shown. 
  • Fill in the details on the Create an Individual User Account page. Make sure that when you put your name, it’s the same as your full legal name found on your IDs. 
  • Click Finish. This will trigger an email confirming your account creation and giving you a temporary password. 
  • You will also be given your ID number — you’ll need this for most MLO transactions you make. 
  • Click the login link on your email and update your password on the NMLS site. 

Getting started is as easy as that!

Step #2: Complete Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

Every aspiring MLO needs to complete pre-licensure education (also referred to as PE). 

Now, in Pennsylvania, the requirement is a minimum of 20 hours, covering:

  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
  • 12 hours of general electives

PLUS you need an additional 3 hours of Pennsylvania content. 

To help you get started with this, we listed our top school recommendations:

Step #3: Pass the MLO Licensing Exam

After completing your PE, you can now sit for the MLO licensing exam (also called the SAFE test). 

Follow these steps to register and schedule your exam: 

  • Prepare your NMLS ID number. 
  • Login to your NMLS account and go to the MLO Testing & Education tab. 
  • Go to the Create New Test Enrollment Window option and add to the cart the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test – National and State Uniform Component
  • Go to your cart and accept the Candidate Agreement. 
  • Pay the test fee of $110. 
  • After paying, go to the MLO Testing & Education tab again and choose Manage Test Appointments. Pick a schedule for your test here. 
  • If you want to test at a facility, then you can schedule with Prometric — the SAFE MLO test conductor in the US.  

For more information about the test and preparation, check out the MLO Test Handbook OR you can check our FAQ section below. 

Step #4: Apply for an MLO License

So you’ve passed the licensing exam…

You’re almost there!

The hard part is over.

All that’s left is your Individual Form (MU4) application and a few requirements. 

Follow these steps to fill out your application form: 

  • Log in to your NMLS account. 
  • Go to the Filing tab > Individual
  • Under the individual filing, click Request New/Update
  • Complete the required information and choose the MLO license. You will also be asked in which states you will do business or your employer does business. Check all that apply. 
  • Provide the details and upload the documents being asked for. 
  • Answer all the disclosure questions — and give explanations and/or supporting documents if needed. 
  • Authorize a background check and credit report (more on this below).
  • Pay all the fees with a credit or debit card:
    • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
    • PA license/registration fee – $200
    • Credit report fee – $15
    • FBI criminal background check – $36.25

As for your requirements outside of the NMLS, you’ll need to email these documents to raasklicensing@pa.gov:

Step #5: Complete the NMLS Background Checks

As we saw, you need to authorize a criminal background check and credit report in NMLS. 

NOTE: This is separate from the PA state police criminal history background check and third-party investigatory background check. 

Let’s show you how to do that.

  • Login to your NLS account > ‘Filing’ > ‘Request New/Update’ > ‘Criminal Background Check’.
  • Choose to submit new prints.
  • Fill up the demographics, then save, attest, and submit it. 
  • Schedule your fingerprinting appointment. 
  • Attend your fingerprinting appointment and wait for the results (often takes 48 hours). 
  • The results of your background check will be transmitted to the NMLS. You can view the status under the Composite View tab in your account. 

As for your credit report, follow these steps to authorize a check:

  • On your NMLS account, select ‘Filing’ > ‘Request New/Update’ > ‘Credit Report’.
  • Turn the Completeness Check icon on. You can do this by clicking on it. 
  • Go to Identification Verification Process (IDV) link and complete, review, attest, and submit it. 
  • The PA Department of Banking and Securities will then be able to check your credit report score. 

Step #6: Associate Your NMLS Account with an Employer

When you submit your completed Individual Form (MU4) and the other documents outside the NMLS, you only need to do 1 more step. 

And that is to find work. 

Go out and look for a firm that will hire you. 

You need to make yourself presentable — but you also need to make sure that you only apply with the firms that match your needs and preferences. 

Once you find an employer, have them request sponsoring with the PA Department of Banking and Securities through NMLS. 

The department will review the request and accept or decline it. 

If accepted, then you are now OFFICIALLY a mortgage loan officer!


NOTE: The PA Department of Banking and Securities does not issue paper licenses. You can check your license status through the NMLS. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers in Pennsylvania

How Much is an MLO License in Pennsylvania?

To become an MLO in PA, you’ll need around $800. 

Here’s a breakdown of all your costs:

  • Pre-licensure education – $300 to $600
  • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
  • PA license/registration fee – $200
  • Credit report fee – $15
  • FBI criminal background check – $36.25
  • PA state criminal history background check – $22
  • Third-party investigatory background check (if applicable) – around $20

Is the SAFE MLO Test Hard?

The SAFE MLO test consists of 120 multiple-choice questions (but only 115 are graded!).

You will have about 3 hours to answer everything. 

To pass, you need a minimum score of 75%. 

Here are the areas that the test covers:

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

How Much Do Mortgage Loan Officers Earn in PA?

According to Intuit, the average salary of an MLO in PA is $72,500 per year. 

This can range from $25,500 per year to $343,000 per year. 

Of course, this will all depend on your employer, skills, experience, bonuses, tips, workload, and much more. 

But either way, you can be sure that MLOs have a lucrative and rewarding career. 


And that is how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Pennsylvania. 

Pretty easy, right?

Sure, it will take time, effort, and investment — but if you follow these steps, you’ll soon be complete with everything. 

So what are you waiting for?

To get started, simply create an account with NMLS. 

From there, the steps will flow. 

Best of luck!

Compare Real Estate Schools:

Additional real estate license guides you might like

January 16, 2024

Instead of just giving you the best California online real estate school, I’m going to

Best California Online Real Estate School – Top 8 Reviews

September 28, 2023

At first, becoming a mortgage loan officer might seem overwhelming.  How do you even begin?

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

September 28, 2023

So you want to become a mortgage loan officer in Vermont… But don’t know how

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