Who Needs a Mortgage Loan Originator License in California?

A mortgage loan originator (MLO) license (or license endorsement) is required for anyone who provides or offers to provide these services:

  • Negotiate existing mortgage loan sales
  • Process mortgage applications
  • Accept mortgage loan applications
  • Negotiate terms for mortgage loans

What is the California-DRE License?

The CA-DRE MLO license is split up into Salesperson and Broker MLO License Endorsements. You can only obtain an endorsement if you are already a licensed real estate professional in California. Due to this, there is no additional state-specific pre-license education required, only the 20-hour general requirement.

The salesperson license endorsement is for someone who is employed by a licensed real estate broker or corporation. Whereas the broker license endorsement is for individuals who want to conduct mortgage loan activities either on their own or under a broker-salesperson agreement.

How Do I Get a California-DRE License?

Here's a breakdown of the steps for obtaining your CA-DRE MLO license:

  1. Complete the required pre-licensure education (PE)
    1. You must take at least 20 hours of PE. No California-specific education is required. Taking our 20-Hour National MLO Pre-License Course will fulfill this requirement.
  2. Schedule and pass the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing) MLO license test.
  3. Submit an Individual License Application Form (MU4) through NMLS (Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry). You must also complete the following steps either during or after you've submitted the MU4:
    1. Go through a criminal background check by submitting your fingerprints
    2. Authorize a credit report
    3. Answer a few background disclosure questions
  4. Acquire an employer sponsorship and give your current or future employer NMLS access.

How Long Does It Take to Get a California-DRE License?

To comply with the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act, you must complete at least 20 hours of pre-license education (PE) before applying for your CA-DRE license.

After you finish the PE, it depends on how quickly you complete the steps in the application process (see above).

Does the California-DRE License Require Any State-Specific Education?

The CA-DRE license does not require state-specific education. This license only requires that you complete at least 20 hours of NMLS-approved pre-license education. Completing our 20-Hour National MLO Pre-License Course satisfies this requirement.

Is There a Completion Deadline for the 20-Hour National MLO Pre-License Course?

Yes. After starting the course, students have a maximum of 14 days to complete it. If the course is not completed within 14 days, the student needs to start over. Due to NMLS regulation, the national course includes assessments that must be graded by an AYPO instructor before a student can continue.

Will AYPO Report My Course Completion to NMLS?

Yes! We report your successful course completion to NMLS for free.

Can California-DRE MLO Pre-License Education Expire?

Yes! Pre-license education (PE) expires after three (3) years and must be retaken if:

  • The student doesn't become a licensed MLO within three years of completing the PE
  • An MLO doesn't renew their license within three years of it expiring