Since 2008, the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) requires that any state-licensed mortgage loan originator must complete yearly continuing education (CE). This education must come from an approved course provider and must also meet any state-specific education requirement. Here are some things you need to know about NMLS continuing education. 

Yearly Education Requirement

According to the NMLS resource center, NMLS mortgage CE must be at least eight hours long and include the following: 

  • Three hours of Federal law and regulation
  • Two hours of ethics that includes instruction on consumer protection, fraud, and fair lending issues
  • Two hours of training that is related to current lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product market (these are mortgages with payment structures that are different from a typical mortgage)
  • One hour of undefined instruction on mortgage origination

Continuing Education Can Be Spaced Out

To make continuing education more convenient, the complete eight hours does not have to be taken all at once. Many companies may send you to classes to complete your education in one day, but you actually have a whole calendar year to complete these eight hours if you wish. Keep in mind that you won’t want to start classes during the last quarter of the year unless you are sure you can finish them by the end of December. January will start a new year and you will not have met the criteria for the previous year otherwise.  

Switch Courses Every Year

The SAFE Act includes a Successive Year Rule which states that you cannot complete the same CE course twice in a row. If you happen to make this mistake, your CE won’t apply for your record, which could make your license ineligible for renewal. Going a step further, you actually have to check the course description and make sure that it doesn’t share content with another course. Not only can you not take the same course two years in a row, but you cannot take two different courses that share the same content. 

Late Courses

If for some reason you are to miss a course, you must complete a late CE course in order to meet your requirements. Keep in mind that you can only take courses listed in the Late Catalog in order for it to be applied to your CE. You may not use any other courses to make-up your past requirements. 

With this knowledge and a few hours of class time each year, you can make sure that your mortgage license is always up to date. Be proactive and stay on top of any CE requirement to avoid a lapse in your licensure.