How to Become a

Loan Officer

The complete career guide to be a Loan Officer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $75,170
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.1%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Deal Making
    Career Attribute

Loan officers handle all responsibilities related to providing loans to both consumers and businesses. They advertise and promote loans offered by a bank or other financial institution, evaluate a borrower’s ability to pay a loan back, answer questions about the loan or lending process, and approve loans.

Recommended Schools

What is a Loan Officer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in loan officer roles:

  • Market loans to consumers and businesses in order to earn commissions
  • Meet with prospective borrowers to determine the type of loan desired and potential qualification for the loan
  • Answer questions about different loan types and terms, and explain the lending process
  • Use underwriting software or a staff underwriter to evaluate the amount of risk a loan presents
  • Make sure loan applications are complete, and notify borrowers of loan approval or rejection

A Day in the Life

Loan officers are financial salespeople who earn profits for banks and other financial institutions by increasing the number of loans taken out to both businesses and consumers. Loan officers may work to increase the number of loans taken out for a variety of expenses, including business startup loans, mortgages, auto loans, educational loans, or credit cards. The types of loans they sell, review, and approve depend highly on the types of loans offered by their employing bank or financial institution.

Loan officers receive new customers in two ways. On one hand, they work to market their loans to entice prospective customers. They may also work with walk-in borrowers. They discuss needs, income restrictions, and goals with customers, and use that information to put together a loan package that satisfies the needs of the consumer while also reducing risk of non-payment for the bank. They may adjust payment terms or interest rates in the process of putting together the loan offer.

Once loan terms are agreed upon, the loan officer helps the borrower fill out loan application paperwork. With all paperwork complete, the loan officer either uses underwriting software to determine loan approval or rejection, or he/she sends the application to a staff underwriter to provide final approval. If the loan is approved, the loan officer provides the borrower with a check for the borrowed funds. If it is rejected, he may work to revise and resubmit paperwork with different terms.

Typical Work Schedule

For the most part, loan officers work full-time schedules during normal business hours. They may occasionally have to work one weekend day if their institution offers weekend hours.

Typical Employers

Most loan officers are employed to work for banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions. They may also find work with debt relief or credit counseling companies.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Loan Officer

All loan officers must have a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license in order to work in their field. Becoming a licensed MLO requires 20 hours of coursework, passing a written exam, and undergoing background and credit checks. Regardless of amount of experience in the field of amount of relevant education, holding an MLO license is a hard requirement for every aspiring loan officer.

Outside of getting an MLO license, there are two possible paths to becoming a loan officer. Some individuals are able to find work in the field with only a high school diploma. However, this process requires a significant amount of time working in entry-level positions in banks and working your way up the ladder through promotions. By working with a bank for many years and learning—and successfully completing—different role responsibilities, you may qualify to move into a loan officer position.

Conversely, many companies are now requiring that loan officers have bachelor’s degrees in a related field, such as business or finance. This is especially true if you hope to work with commercial loans as you’ll need a thorough understanding of how businesses work to evaluate business health and potential profitability. A bachelor’s degree can also make aspiring loan officers more competitive for open roles when competing with individuals with similar experience but less educational achievement.

Loan Officer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Loan Officer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Loan Officer's can make an average annual salary of $75,170, or $36 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $44,740 or $22 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #165 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Loan Officer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Loan Officers

  • 1.1%   Doctorate
  • 9.7%   Masters
  • 41.4%   Bachelors
  • 9.5%   Associates
  • 24.3%   College
  • 13.3%   High School
  • 0.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Loan Officer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 24,500 jobs for a total of 327,700 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.1% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #276 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Loan Officers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Depository credit intermediation 132,900 8,400 8%
Other nondepository credit intermediation, including real estate credit and consumer lending 76,800 7,500 8%
Activities related to credit intermediation 31,000 5,500 6%

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