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

Last updated on March 22, 2023

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

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I know, I know…

Starting a new career can be overwhelming.

Especially if you have no idea where or how to begin. 

Don’t worry — we’re here to help. 

We’re going to show you how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Kentucky. 

And we won’t just skim through the process — we’ll give you all the details, as well as some tips and tricks. 

So are you ready?

Let’s begin!

How to Become an MLO in Kentucky – Get Started in Just 6 Steps

To become an MLO in Kentucky, you need to complete these 6 steps:

  1. Request an NMLS account. 
  2. Enroll in a pre-licensure education
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO test
  4. Complete the background checks
  5. Get a sponsor 
  6. Submit your MLO application 

Let’s go over them one by one. 

Step #1: Request an NMLS Account

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) is a sort of base camp used by license regulators all across the US. 

For your MLO license, all activities and transactions are done here. 

Now, to request an NMLS account, simply:

  • Request an Account. 
  • Choose an ‘Individual’ account type. 
  • Complete the request form. 
  • Receive your unique ID number. 

Remember, your ID number is your license identification — you’ll need to keep this for the whole process and also throughout your MLO career. 

Step #2: Enroll in a Pre-Licensure Education

As with all real estate careers, you’ll have to complete some sort of education requirement. 

For MLOs in Kentucky, this means studying a minimum of 20 hours of pre-licensure education (PE). 

Yes, just 20 hours!

But don’t forget that your topics should include the following:

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

Also, the course has to be NMLS approved. 

If you want some recommendations from us, here are 4 providers that are approved, offer quality education, and come with lots of great features:

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Test

Once you complete your education, it’s time to take the SAFE MLO test. 

But first, you need to register and schedule for it. 

Let’s show you how this is done:

  • On your NMLS account, create a test enrollment window. You can find it in the ‘MLO Testing & Education’ tab. 
  • Pick the ‘National Test with Uniform State Content’ and the ‘SAFE MLO Test’.
  • Confirm the Candidate Agreement. 
  • Go to the invoice section to pay the exam fee of $110. 
  • If you want to take the test online, go to ‘Manage Test Appointment’ found in the ‘MLO Testing & Education’ tab. From there, schedule an online appointment. 
  • If you want to take the test at a center, go to Prometric’s online scheduler and schedule there. And don’t worry, Prometric has 300 testing sites all over the country — you’re sure to find one in Kentucky. 

Hold up…

What is the SAFE MLO test like?

Well, it has 120 questions, with only 115 being scored. 

You are given 3 hours to answer everything. 

You need a passing score of 75% or higher. 

Step #4: Complete the Background Checks

After you pass the exam, it’s time to start filling out your application.

The first required documents are your criminal background check (CBC) and credit report. 

Your task here is to authorize these checks. 

Here’s how to authorize your CBC:

  • On your NMLS account, go to ‘Filing’ and then select the Individual sub-menu. 
  • Request New/Update for a CBC. 
  • Choose to submit new prints. If you can submit existing prints, there’s no need to schedule a fingerprint appointment. 
  • Complete the demographics section and save it. 
  • Attest and submit. 
  • Pay $36.25 for the CBC fee. 

And here’s how to authorize your credit report:

  • On your NMLS account, go to ‘Filing’ and then select the Individual sub-menu. 
  • Request a credit report. 
  • Look for the Completeness Check icon and turn it on. 
  • Complete the Individual Verification Process (IDV).
  • Review the information before attesting and submitting it. 
  • Pay the $15 credit report fee. 

Step #5: Get a Sponsor

Before we talk about this, let’s just clarify…

You can do this step last. However, your license status will not yet be approved until you can show employer sponsorship approval. 

And this is why we added it here. 

Now, a sponsor is your employer. 

This is a step that requires you to go out there and find the perfect job setting for you. 

When looking for any employer, you will want to make sure that it works for YOU. So don’t rush this step. 

Check all your options. 

When you find a sponsor, have them request sponsorship for you. The KY Department of Financial Institutions will have to accept it. 

Step #6: Submit Your MLO Application

Once all that is finished, you can finally submit your MLO application.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your NMLS account > Filing > Individual > Request New/Update > Add.
  • Add Kentucky as your licensing state. 
  • Check the Kentucky Mortgage Loan Originator.
  • Add all the necessary information — including disclosure questions, company sponsorship, employment history, CBC and credit record request, etc. 
  • Add any necessary document — credit report explanation, disclosure documents, etc.
  • Pay the fees:
    • NMLS initial licensing process – $30
    • KY license/registration fee – $50

Besides that, you’ll also have to send an original copy of a Kentucky Mortgage Individual Surety Bond to the KY Department of Financial Institutions. 

Mail it to this address:

Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions 

Division of Non-Depository Institutions 

Mail Stop 2 SW 19 

500 Mero 

St. Frankfort, KY 40601 

NOTE: This is only required if your sponsor doesn’t cover you with their entity bond. 

And you’re done!

You’re now an official mortgage loan officer in Kentucky. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some questions, then let’s go over a few frequently asked questions about MLOs in Kentucky. 

What Should I Bring to My SAFE MLO Test?

Here are some reminders on what and what not to bring to your SAFE MLO testing center:

  • Bring one valid and current government-issued ID with your photo and signature. IMPORTANT! Photocopies are not allowed. 
  • You are NOT allowed to bring any food or drink items inside. This includes coffee and water.
  • The only personal items that are allowed are pens, papers, watches, hats, wallets, and religious items or apparel (i.e. head coverings, rosary beads, kabbalah bracelets, etc).
  • Bring a non-programmable calculator. If you don’t have this, you can always ask the exam administrator for one.

What Happens if I Fail the SAFE MLO Test?

You can always try again!

For your second and third tries, you need to wait at least 30 days between your next schedule. 

And also, you will have to register and pay the exam fee again. 

And if you fail on your third try, you will have to wait 180 days before you can retake it. 

How Much is an MLO License in Kentucky?

There are several fees that you need to prepare for. Let’s break it down for you:

  • Pre-licensure education: $300-$700
  • SAFE MLO exam: $110
  • Criminal background check: $36.25
  • Credit report: $15
  • NMLS initial licensing process: $30
  • KY license/registration: $50

Your total cost will come out to around $750 to $850.

How Much Do Mortgage Loan Officers Earn in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the average annual salary for an MLO is $44,133. The typical range falls anywhere between $36,000 to $54,000. 


That is how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Kentucky. 

It really wasn’t complicated, was it?

And now you know all the details, it becomes even easier. 

So what are you waiting for?

If you’re interested, go ahead and create your NMLS account. 

The first step is SUPER easy. 

Good luck!

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