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

Last updated on August 18, 2023

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

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So you want to become a mortgage loan officer in Utah?

Great choice!

Trends show that the state’s housing market is continuously growing.

Now is the best time to pursue a career in mortgage loans.

But you’ll be asking how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Utah…

We’ll show you how. 

Hop along as we go through all the steps to getting your MLO license…

Side note: mortgage loan officers are officially called mortgage loan originators. So don’t get confused with the two terms. It’s the same. 

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Utah – The 7 Steps to Licensure

To get your MLO license in the state, you must complete 7 steps. These are:

  1. Determine which Utah regulator to apply with
  2. Register an account with the NMLS
  3. Complete the required MLO pre-licensure education
  4. Pass an MLO licensing exam
  5. Apply for your MLO license in NMLS
  6. Submit other application documents outside the NMLS
  7. Associate with an employer 

Let’s show you how to go through these steps one by one. 

Step #1: Determine which Utah Regulator to Apply With


In Utah, it can get a bit confusing.

This is because there are two agencies that regulate MLO licenses. 

There’s the Utah Division of Real Estate (DRE).

Then there’s the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

And it’s not just a preference choice. 

You have to apply with the regulator that matches the MLO activities you’ll be performing. 

If you already have an employer, you can ask them which agency to apply to. 

If not, you can read about the DRE MLO activities here, and the DFI MLO activities here. 

If you’re still confused, you can contact the DRE at (801) 530-6747 or realestate@utah.gov, and the DFI at (801) 538-8830 or astaheli@utah.gov (to Andrea Staheli).

Now, depending on who you apply with, the requirements will differ a bit. 

Don’t worry – we’re going to list them all here. 

Step #2: Register an Account with the NMLS

Whether you go with the DRE or DFI, you’ll need an account with the NMLS (or Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System).

Register an account with NMLS here. 

Here, you’ll do your application, regulator communication, license status check, renewal, and everything else. 

Moreover, the NMLS is the one that generates your ID number. 

You can find it in the ‘Composite View’ > ‘View Individual’ tabs in your account. 

This ID number is what you’ll be using throughout your application and career. 

Step #3: Complete the Required MLO Pre-Licensure Education

Here is where it gets a bit different. 

For the DRE and DFI, you’ll need to complete 20 hours of MLO pre-licensure education. These hours should include:

  • Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending (at least 2 hours)
  • Federal Laws and Regulations (at least 3 hours)
  • Ethics (at least 3 hours)
  • General electives (at least 12 hours)

Also, the MLO pre-licensure education provider should be NMLS-approved. Here are some recommendations you can check out:

You can find a complete list of NMLS-approved providers here

Now, if you’re applying with the DRE, there is additional education required. 

You also need to complete 15 hours of pre-license education from a Utah-approved Mortgage Pre-Licensing School. 

Side note: the NMLS-approved MLO pre-licensure education is valid for 3 years, while the Utah-approved pre-license education is only valid for a year. So make sure to apply before it expires. 

Step #4: Pass an MLO Licensing Exam

Here’s another difference. 

For the DRE, you must take and pass the National Test Component with Uniform State Content

As for the DFI, you can choose between these three options:

  • National Test Component with Uniform State Content
  • National and Uniform State Components of the SAFE Test
  • National and Stand-alone UST Components of the SAFE test

Luckily, you can register for these exams through your NMLS account. 

Simply follow these steps:

  • Make a New Test Enrollment Window. You can find this in the ‘Test & Education’ tab. 
  • Add your required exam to the cart. 
  • Read and accept all the Candidate Agreements.
  • Pay the $110 exam fee. 

Once you settle the test fee, you can schedule a test appointment via the NMLS or directly through Prometric (the exam handler). 

Below are the steps on how to schedule your test appointment:

Via NMLSVia Prometric
1. Log in to your account.
2. Click the MLO Testing & Education tab.
3. Click Manage Test Appointments.
4. Choose from the following options:
a. Schedule – Test Center
b. Request – Online Test
1. Go to the Prometric website. 
2. To book an appointment at a test center, click the link in Option
3. Accomplish each section from Information Review to Appointment Verification. 
4. If the NMLS approved your online test request, you can select Option 2 to schedule an online appointment. 

You can also contact Prometric at 1-877-671-6657.

Step #5: Apply for Your MLO License in NMLS

You can apply for an MLO license with both the DRE and DFI in your NMLS account. 

For this, you’ll need to complete the Individual Form MU4. 

Here is how:

  • Log in to your NMLS account and go to the Filing tab. It is found on top of your screen next to Home.
  • Click on the Individual link.
  • Click Request New/Update and hit Continue.
  • Click the Add button and check Utah-DRE or Utah-DFI under the list of state agencies.
  • Tick the Utah Mortgage Loan Originator License checkbox and hit Next.
  • Click Finish.
  • Enter all the required details in the succeeding sections and hit Save. This will include:
    • Providing personal information — names, employment history, current businesses, residential history, etc…
    • Answering disclosure questions — and providing an explanation and document (if applicable) for any ‘yes’ answers. 
    • Authorizing a Criminal Background Check — and selecting to Submit New Prints or Use Existing Prints. You must also complete the demographics. 
    • Authorizing a Credit Report by turning on the icon at the top right corner — and going through an Identity Verification Process (IDV).
  • Pay the fees.
Utah Division of Real Estate (DRE):Utah Department of Financial Institutions (DFI):
NMLS Initial Processing Fee – $30NMLS Initial Processing Fee – $30
UT-DRE Application Fee – $118UT-DFI Registration/License Fee – $200
Criminal Background Check Fee – $36.25Criminal Background Check Fee – $36.25
Credit Report Fee – $15Credit Report Fee – $15
TOTAL FEE – $199.25TOTAL FEE – $281.25


If you don’t have existing prints on file, you must get new ones. 

To do this, you’ll have to create an account with the NMLS Fieldprint, schedule an appointment, and get fingerprinted by them. 

They will be the ones to submit your new prints to the NMLS for review. 

Step #6: Submit Other Application Documents Outside the NMLS

Your MLO application is not yet done. 

Both the DRE and DFI require one more document submitted outside the NMLS. 

However, these documents couldn’t be more different. 

For the DRE, you need to submit proof that you completed the 15-hour pre-license education from a UT-approved Mortage Pre-License School. 

You can email this to Realestate@Utah.gov.

Or, you can mail the completion certificate to PO Box 146711 Salt Lake City, UT 84114 OR fax it to 801-526-4382. 

As for the DFI, you’ll need to submit a Surety Bond that meets these individual or business requirements

You can email it to Andrea Staheli at astaheli@utah.gov.

Step #7: Associate with an Employer

Get this. 

This is only required for those applying with the DRE. 

So if you’re going with the DFI, you can stop at Step 6 and start practicing as an MLO.

But if you’re going with the DRE, you’ll need to find employment before your MLO license can have the ‘active’ status. 

If you already have an employer, have them request sponsorship for you through their business NMLS account. 

The UT DRE will review the request and accept or decline it. 

If accepted, your license status will change from ‘Approved-Inactive’ to ‘Approved-Active’. 

If not yet employed, now is the time to go out and look for a company to work with. 

When you find one, have your new employer request sponsorship. 

Also, you’ll need to update the employment history section of the Individual Form MU4. 

And that’s it. 

You’re done!

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Utah

What Can I Expect from the MLO Licensing Test?

If you choose the National Test Component with Uniform State Content, you’ll have to answer 120 questions. 

You’ll be given a little over 3 hours to complete it. 

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

Now, it’s important to know that only 115 questions will be scored. The remaining 5 are only pilot surveys. 

However, you won’t know which question is a pilot survey and which ones will be scored. So you best answer them all carefully. 

What Happens if I Fail the MLO Licensing Test?

If you fail the MLO licensing exam on your first try — don’t worry. You’ll be given 2 more attempts (taken after 30 days after your failed attempt).

If you still don’t pass the 3rd time, you’ll have to create another test enrollment window. And yes, that means repaying the $110 fee. 

How Much Do MLOs Earn in Utah?

Indeed.com states that the average MLO base salary in Utah is $58,563 per year (as of August 2023). Of course, this doesn’t include commissions, raises, workload, experience, etc. 


I won’t lie. 

Applying for an MLO license in Utah is a bit confusing… 

What with there being two agencies.

But with this guide, we made sure to outline everything for you — whether you need to go with the DRE or DFI. 

So now that you know all the details on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Utah, what are you waiting for?

Go and see which regulator to apply with.

From there, follow the requirements placed by your chosen regulator. 

Good luck!

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