Loan Officer Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a loan officer. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Loan Officer Do?

Loan officers are the individuals who enable customers to get the money you need for any number of purposes. They investigate and assess a client's financial status and advise them on the type of loan for which they might qualify and that might be best for them. These include personal, mortgage and business loans. They explain the conditions and terms of the loan. Some common types of loan officers include commercial loan officers, mortgage loan officers, consumer loan officers and loan underwriters.

The following chart gives you an overview about a career as a loan officer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business, finance, economics
Key Responsibilities Gather financial information about clients; analyze findings and determine if client is qualified to receive loan; advise client of available loans and their terms
Licensure and/or Certification Mortgage loan officers must hold the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license; certification is voluntary and may be preferred by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8%*
Median Salary (2015) $63,430*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Loan Officer?

As a loan officer, you could help people purchase assets such as real estate, or pursue opportunities such as opening or expanding a business, purchasing, renovating or refinancing a home, paying for college and even funding a vacation.

You'll guide your customer through the process of obtaining a loan by assessing their needs and identifying the documentation needed to determine whether the customer is eligible to borrow money. After the customer gathers the required paperwork, you would evaluate the paperwork and validate the information. This paperwork is later used to determine whether the customer is approved for the loan.

What Type of Education and Training Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree in business or finance is generally required to become a loan officer. To become a commercial loan officer, you may need a bachelor's degree in economics, finance or accounting. If you plan to pursue a career as a mortgage loan officer, you'll need a mortgage loan license, which entails passing an exam and 20 hours of mortgage loan courses.

If you're interested in pursuing a traditional education, you could enroll in a loan officer certificate program, a short-term program offered at community colleges. You could also enroll in a mortgage banking licensure program or associate's degree program, both of which are offered at community colleges and designed to meet the requirements for mortgage banking licensure.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

Various lending institutions may require that you hold certifications in specific categories of lending; for example, if you want to be a real estate loan officer, you may be required to obtain the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation, offered by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The MBA also offers specialist designations and achievement certificates.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment opportunities for loan officers were expected to grow eight percent from 2014-2024. However, a difficult economy could negatively impact this field. Loan officers earned a median salary of $63,430 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Before a customer approaches a loan officer, he or she may want to avail themselves of the services of a financial analyst. Having earned at least a bachelor's degree in an area such as economics, accounting or finance, a financial analyst provides investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Typically they look through stocks, bonds and the like and weigh the advisability and ability of a customer to make an investment. Financial advisers may specialize in a specific area such as risk analysis, portfolio management, ratings analysis and fund management.

An insurance sales agent is the individual who sees to it that your health or properties are protected against calamitous events. They try to tailor the insurance to a customer's needs and financial abilities. They interview potential clients and explain the features of various policies that may be applicable to that client's situation. Captive agents work solely for one insurance company, while independent agents work for brokerages that represent a number of insurance companies.

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