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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in North Dakota

Last updated on May 10, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in North Dakota

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So you’re thinking about becoming a mortgage loan officer in North Dakota… 

However, you’re not sure where to start…

Or what the whole process is going to be like. 

Don’t fret – we’re here to help. 

Today, we’re going to walk you through the steps on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in North Dakota. 

We’ll make sure to add all the specific state requirements, as well as the steps to licensure. 

So shall we begin?

How to Become an MLO in North Dakota – The 5 Steps to Complete

Here are the 5 steps to becoming a mortgage loan officer in North Dakota:

  1. Sign up for an NMLS account
  2. Complete pre-licensure education (PE)
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO licensing test
  4. Submit your MLO application
  5. Associate with an employer

Now, let’s move on to the details. 

Step #1: Sign Up for an NMLS Account

The first step is SUPER simple. 

All you need to do is:

  • Go to the NMLS website.
  • Click the ‘Request an Account’ button.
  • From the submenu, select Individual.
  • Enter the CAPTCHA code and click Next.
  • Provide all the required information.
  • Upon hitting Submit, you’ll receive a string of digits known as your NMLS number or identifier. KEEP THIS!
  • You will also receive an email from NMLS with your username and password. Make sure to change this. 

2 important things. 

All your MLO transactions will be done through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). This includes application, MLO identification, renewal, and all that. 

The second is your NMLS number or identifier. You’ll need this throughout your MLO application and career — so it’s highly important to keep it. 

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

Get this. 

North Dakota does NOT require state-specific pre-licensure education for mortgage loan officers. 

You only need to complete the 20-hour PE required by the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing) Act of 2008. 

This course consists of the following topics:

  • 3 hours of Federal Law and Regulations
  • 3 hours of Ethics, including fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues
  • 2 hours of training related to Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending Standards
  • 12 hours of general electives 

Also, make sure you enroll at an NMLS-approved provider — or your completion will not count towards the SAFE Act requirements. 

To help you out, here are some approved online providers that we highly recommend:

Once you complete the course, log in with NMLS and check if your PE Total shows as ‘Compliant’. 

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Licensing Test

It’s time to sit for the SAFE MLO licensing test!

To do that, you first need to register and schedule the test. 

Here are the steps:

  • Go to your NMLS account and look for the MLO Testing and Education tab.
  • Select ‘Create Test Enrollment Window’ and click the ‘National Test with UST’ button to add it to your cart.
  • Go to the Candidate Agreements and accept them all. 
  • Pay the test fee of $110. 
  • Return to the MLO Testing and Education tab and this time choose ‘Manage Test Appointments’. 
  • Schedule an online or test center appointment with Prometric (the SAFE MLO test administrator). 

On test day, you’ll be asked to answer 120 questions (although only 115 will be graded). You’re given around 3 hours to complete it. 

To pass, you’ll need to get a minimum score of 75%. 

Here are other reminders for you on the day of your SAFE MLO test:

If you are taking the exam at a testing site:If you are taking the exam via online test delivery:
Do not be late. Be at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your test.

Bring your IDs.
Your room should be free of distractions and objects not allowed during the online test.  

Use your bathroom breaks wisely, and ask your proctor first if you plan to take an unscheduled break.

Step #4: Submit Your MLO Application

Now you can fill out and submit your MLO application — this will be Individual Form (MU4) in NMLS. 

Here is how to do that:

  • Go back to your NMLS account and select the ‘Filing’ tab. 
  • From there, you can ‘Request New/Update’ to begin the Individual Form (MU4). 
  • First up, you’ll have to add any existing licenses that you have (if any)
  • Then you need to select which state(s) you’ll be working in. 
  • After that comes choosing your license type. In this case, you go for North Dakota Mortgage Loan Originator License.
  • Enter your ID number, check if the information is correct, then confirm it.
  • Fill up the required information – employment history, school history, etc. 
  • Go through the disclosure questions and answer them ALL. 
  • If you answer ‘yes’ to any disclosure question, you’ll have to provide an explanation and any supporting documents. 
  • After that, you need to confirm a Federal Criminal Background Check request. Here, you can either choose ‘Submit New Prints’ or ‘Use Existing Prints’ (if you already have fingerprints with the NMLS)
  • Go through the demographic information and complete it. 
  • You’ll then need to authorize a credit report by switching on the Completeness Check icon in the top right corner. 
  • Verify and complete the Identification Verification Process (IDV).
  • If you have any derogatory credit accounts, you need to submit a line-by-line explanation letter along with proof of payoffs, payment arrangements, evidence of payment, or any formal dispute filed.
  • Submit the Individual Form (MU4).
  • Pay the fees. See the table below for this. 
  • If you selected ‘Submit New Prints’ for the background check, you must create an account with Fieldprint and schedule a fingerprinting appointment. 
  • On your appointment, get your fingerprints. Fieldprint will be the one to submit this to the NMLS. 


NMLS initial processing fee:$30
ND license/registration fee:$50
ND application fee:$25
Credit report fee:$15
Background check fee:$36.25
TOTAL FEE:$156.25

Step #5 Associate With an Employer

Okay, if your MLO application is approved, your license status will be under ‘Approved-Inactive’. 

You cannot practice yet. 

You first need to find employment. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for an MLO job:

  • Employers look for applicants that have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. Though it isn’t required, this will help boost your resume. 
  • Other employers look for someone that already has some real estate experience. For this, you can work for several years as a real estate agent or even just a real estate assistant. 

Of course, many other employers out there are willing to hire you without any of these. 

So it’s best to just look through your options. 

And when you find an employer, have them request sponsorship for you. 

If the North Dakota Consumer Division accepts the request, your MLO license status will switch to “Approved-Active” and you can start working as a mortgage loan officer. 


You did it!

NOTE: The ND Consumer Division does NOT issue paper licenses. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers (MLO) in North Dakota

How Much Does it Cost to Become an MLO in North Dakota?

Becoming a mortgage loan officer in North Dakota requires a bit of investment. 

Here is a breakdown of the expenses:

Pre-Licensure Education:around $200 – $500
SAFE MLO Licensing Test:$110
NMLS Initial Processing Fee:$30
ND License/Registration Fee:$50
ND Application Fee:$25
Credit Report:$15
Background Check:$36.25
TOTAL:Anywhere from $466.25 to $766.25

When Should I Renew My MLO License in North Dakota?

You will need to renew your North Dakota MLO license every year. The renewal period is from November 1 to December 31 of each year. 

How Much Does a Mortgage Loan Officer Make in North Dakota?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a mortgage loan officer in North Dakota is around $51,230 per year as of May 2023. 

This range can fall between $44,370 to $57,000. 

However, it can shoot up as you earn work experience, enhance your skills, and expand your network. 

So there’s so much earning potential for this real estate career. 


So that is how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in North Dakota. 

It wasn’t so hard, right?

You only need to follow the steps one by one, and you’ll soon be able to practice as a mortgage loan officer. 

You’ll soon be able to help clients find the mortgage plan for them.

You’ll soon be able to start a fulfilling career ahead.

Best of luck!

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