There are two classifications of the coursework for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. These are Pre-Licensing Education Courses which will be referred to as PE in the course catalogue and the Continuing Education Courses, or also known as CE courses. The courses are broken down by name, course number and the number of hours and category they belong to.
The courses for Pre-Licensing Education are broken down into six groups. Each contains different coursework and corresponding hours that need to be completed as part of the educational step in licensing. Let’s take a general over view of what is required and appears in the course categories.
Let’s start with SAFE Pre-Licensing Education Comprehensive Coursework as this will consist of 20 hours or more depending on state requirements. It is broken down as follows: three hours of federal law, three hours of ethics, two hours in non-traditional mortgage lending, and at least 12 hours of electives. These electives can be used towards a state requirement if applicable. The state-specific Pre-Licensing Education Comprehensive Course Groups are usually organized by the course titles which will include the word “comprehensive” followed by the two-lettered state code abbreviation. A course like this takes around 20 hours and is broken down similarly to that of the SAFE PE course material, plus state-specific education.
Continuing Education will play a big part in the effort to keep those who are already active in the mortgage industry because they must be re-certified annually to stay licensed. Individuals will need to take courses that cover basic requirements plus changing laws and industry updates. The SAFE CE Comprehensive Coursework breaks down this way; it has eight minimum hours, plus additional hours depending on state. The base eight hours must include three hours for federal law, two hours in ethics, two hours in non-traditional mortgage lending, leaving an additional one-hour elective which can be filled with state-continuing education if applicable. This leaves us to take a look at the state version of this process. It mirrors the SAFE course version, with the expectation of including state-specific education into the mix.
Also, there are a few other things to understand about NMLS courses, such as the classroom format and registration for a course. There are few formats for learning: a traditional classroom setting, and distance learning through something similar to a webinar where students go to one or more locations. All online pre-licensing courses use a required Learning Management System which is facilitated by an instructor. Optionally, there are online self-paced courses through these LMSs which are available for online-continuing education and pre-licensing education courses. These self-paced courses have what it is called “stopping points” wherein an instructor can do a knowledge check by reviewing a student’s work before proceeding to the comprehension of the material.
Registering for a course is simple. It requires you to make a selection whether its title or provider and to pay for the course. It is important when enrolling in a course that you have your NMLS ID to give the course provider. Having the NMLS ID allows course providers to share your results, so you get credit upon completion of your education. This will prevent troubles for you, your employer, and the regulators, by avoiding licensing issues from improperly applied education courses that didn’t reach your account.
The entire education process is designed to provide a minimum standard of knowledge to reduce the risk of future failure from lack of recommendations loan officers have. This will help ensure the consumer is protected and those handling mortgage loan originations understand what is at stake, better than before.
This outline of the NMLS education course requirements is a result of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act. It is a requirement of the SAFE Act that state-licensed mortgage loan originators participate in this system to retain employment. All of these were projected to bring stability and standards to the mortgage industry.