How to Become a Mortgage Loan Originator

man smiling in suit

Are you interested in becoming a Mortgage Loan Originator, but not sure what it takes? As a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO), you serve as an educator and advocate for your clients, helping them find the best financial option for their home loan. A career as an MLO can be both personally and financially rewarding.


We’re breaking down what it takes to be an MLO, including some of the requirements, personality traits, and past work experience that contribute to success.


3 Common Questions About Becoming an MLO

What education do I need to become an MLO?

You don’t have start out as a financial expert to find success as an MLO, but you need to understand some basics that provide a solid foundation for your future knowledge. As an MLO, you’ll serve as your client’s trusted advisor on home loans. They’ll turn to you with questions about amortization, compound interest, and other loan details. It’s essential you understand how each of these works in order to explain specific loan details to your client.


You will need to pass a background check. If you don’t already have a license, you’ll  need to obtain a  license. The National Mortgage Licensing Service serves as an organization for licensure. Each state has its own educational requirements. For more information on the requirements for becoming a mortgage loan officer, visit (A loan officer is the individual who serves as the MLO.)

What personal traits will help me succeed as an MLO?

Successful MLOs are personable, outgoing, and personally motivated.


If you enjoy creating long-term relationships and can effectively communicate details on both sides of an agreement, a career as an MLO could be right for you. Since most MLO positions are commission-based to some extent, you also need a personal drive to succeed to meet both organizationally set goals and your own desired outcomes.


In addition to these personal traits, a commitment to customer support and a high degree of personal integrity are essential. Mortgage loans can be scary propositions for homebuyers. They may feel very vulnerable during the loan process. As their loan officer, it is your job to put their mind at ease.

What work experience do I need to excel in this career?

A background in sales can help you immensely as an MLO. A good salesperson typically has the personality traits discussed above. You’ll have a solid foundation for a career as an MLO if you’re an effective communicator and are good at establishing and maintaining relationships.  

Your network also plays an important role. Having familiarity, comfort, and trust with realtors and builders in your area will assist you in your quest for success. Realtors and builders often refer clients to MLOs, and their referrals are gold. Having a network of homeowners and potential homeowners will also prove helpful in your marketing efforts. Much of your success will come from word-of-mouth marketing, so the more people you have as your ambassadors, the better.


A career as a Mortgage Loan Originator can be very rewarding for individuals with the right mindset, background, and ambition . If you hold the traits above, consider pursuing an MLO career. Guardian Mortgage is currently hiring. Learn more about joining our dynamic team of professionals at