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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Rhode Island

Last updated on June 29, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Rhode Island

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Planning to become a mortgage loan officer?

You’re going to need an MLO license for that. 

This means you have to go through state-specific requirements to get one. 

But no worries. 

We’re here with you every step of the way. 

Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Rhode Island. 

We won’t skip anything. 

We’ll even add an FAQ section in case you have other questions about MLOs in the state. 

So are you ready? 

Let’s go!

How to Become an MLO in Rhode Island – The 6 Steps to Licensure

It only takes 6 steps to become an MLO in Rhode Island. These are:

  • Create an NMLS account
  • Complete pre-licensure education
  • Pass the MLO licensing exam
  • Apply for an MLO license
  • Complete a background check
  • Link your NMLS account with an employer

Let’s talk about each step in detail. 

Step #1: Create an NMLS Account

NMLS stands for Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. 

This system is used to generate an ID number and create your application. 

Later on, when you already have an employer, this is where you link them to your MLO details. 

As you can see, the NMLS is very important to your MLO career. 

Now, to create an NMLS account, follow these steps: 

  • On the login page, choose Request an Account > Individual.
  • Type the security code shown. 
  • Fill in the fields asking for your basic information. Make sure that your name is your full legal name as seen on your IDs. Your mailing address should also be your permanent residence. 
  • Click Confirm to create your account. 
  • In your email, click the link sent by NMLS to finalize your account. This email will also have your temporary password. 
  • Login to the NMLS account using your temporary password. Agree to the Terms of Use page.
  • Create your new password. 
  • Through your account, you will be given an NMLS ID number. Make sure you keep this throughout your MLO career. 

First step — done!

Step #2: Complete a Pre-Licensure Education

The next step is to complete the required education. 

In Rhode Island, you must complete a 20-hour pre-licensure education (PE). The 20 hours should include:

  • 3 hours of Rhode Island General Laws (IMPORTANT!)
  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
  • At least 9 hours of electives

You can take these courses online or in person as long as it is accredited by the State. 

Here are some approved online schools we highly recommend:

Step #3: Pass the MLO Licensing Exam

After you complete your pre-licensure education, you can sit down for the MLO exam, also known as the SAFE test. 

The MLO exam is a 120-question test where you have to get a minimum 75% score to pass. You’ll be given 3 hours to go through it.  

To get an exam schedule, here’s what to do: 

  • Login to your NMLS account and go to MLO Testing & Education > Testing.
  • Select the State in which you’re taking an exam. You can choose more than one state but you may have to take more exams depending on that state’s requirements. 
  • Select the tests you need to take. You’ll need to take the National Component and the State Component exams. 
  • Click Add to Cart
  • Check the summary of tests you’re “ordering” and click Proceed to Invoice
  • Pay the $110 test fee. 
  • Go to your email to check the confirmation of your exams. 
  • Schedule your test by clicking on the link provided in the email. You can also schedule directly with Prometric (the MLO exam provider).
  • Choose whether you want to take the test in person or online. 
  • Take the test on your scheduled date.

You can prepare for the exam with the MLO Testing Handbook

Step #4: Apply for an MLO License

The worst is over and you are now three steps away from getting an MLO license. 

All you have to do now is fill up the individual application Form MU4 and submit it through the NMLS, as well as find employment. 

Let’s start off with applying for an MLO license by completing your Individual From (MU4).

  • Go to the Filing tab > Individual
  • Choose Request New/Update.
  • Choose the states where you will do business or where your employer is licensed.
  • Select the license type that you are applying for. In this case, choose the Mortgage Loan Officer/Originator option. 
  • Click Next
  • Fill in all the details asked on the site. 
  • Answer all the disclosure questions. 
  • If you answered ‘yes’ to any question, upload any supporting documents needed. 
  • Check the tick box that you are requesting a ‘New Prints’ for a Criminal Background Check. If you already have existing prints in the NMLS, check ‘Existing Prints’. 
  • Turn the Completeness Check icon (at the top right corner) to authorize a credit report. 
  • Click the Identity Verification Process (IDV) link and fill it out. 
  • Submit your application. 
  • Pay the fees (this is done when you submit your new prints):
    • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
    • RI application fee – $600
    • Criminal background check fee – $36.25
    • Credit report fee – $15

Step #5: Complete a Criminal Background Check

If you don’t have existing fingerprints with the NMLS, then you are required to take a Criminal Background Check via fingerprint scanning. 

To request a new fingerprint scan, follow these steps: 

  • Create an account at the NMLS Fieldprint website. Take note that your NMLS account details won’t automatically translate to an account.
  • Schedule your fingerprinting appointment. 
  • Take your fingerprints during your schedule. 
  • Wait for the results to show on your NMLS account. To check its status, go to Composite View.
  • Once the fingerprints are processed, go back to your MU4 application and pay your licensing fees (check fees above).
  • Wait for your license to be processed.

If you were already employed before working on your MLO license, then you simply need to let your employer link to your NMLS account. 

But if not, then you first have to go out and find employment. 

A good resume is someone who has a Bachelor’s degree in financing, accounting, or business, as well as someone who has some experience in the real estate industry. 

Don’t worry — you can work on those while your MLO license is in an ‘inactive’ status. 

NOTE: Even if your MLO license is ‘inactive’, you still need to fulfill Rhode Island’s continuing education and other requirements to keep it. 

Of course, you can still find an employer even without a Bachelor’s degree or experience. 

Just make sure that, when you do have an employer, you let them request sponsorship for you. 

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation will review it and accept or decline the sponsorship. 

If accepted, then your MLO license status will switch to ‘Active’. 

If declined, you can call 401-462-9503 for details. 

And you’re done!


Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers in Rhode Island

To know more about the MLO process, here are some FAQs that can give further information. 

How Many Questions Are in the SAFE Test?

The SAFE test has 120 questions. However, 5 questions are not scored since they’re only sample questions. 

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

Can You Retake the SAFE Test?

If you fail on your first try, you can still retake the exam in 30 days. 

If you fail 3 times and pass the 30-day mark, you’ll have to create another test window. This means you’ll have to register and pay the fee again. 

Can You Take the MLO Course Online?

Yes, you can take your MLO pre-licensure education online or in person. If you want to learn in your own time, taking the course online is the best option. 


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

The process isn’t too complicated. 

However, it will take time, effort, and even some investment. 

But if you follow the steps diligently, then you’ll soon be a licensed mortgage loan officer in Rhode Island. 

Good luck!

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