California (DFPI) NMLS License Requirements For MLOs

Number of Hours Required

20 Hours

State-Specific Ed Required

2-Hour CA-DFPI

Best Way To Prepare for the Test

Test Prep

20-Hour Online Interactive Course

CA-DFPI Requires 20 hours of NMLS-Approved Pre-Licensing Education and 2 hours of state-specific education.

99.7% Success Rate with Pass Promise

Diehl offers the Pass Promise. If a user completes a simulated exam in Prep2Pass with a 95% or higher score and does not pass the NMLS/SAFE MLO test, they received a full refund for the Test Prep App. To date, 99.7% have passed the NMLS/SAFE MLO test after scoring a 95% or higher in the Prep2Pass Simulated Test.

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Looking for State PE?

2-Hour CA-DFPI Pre-Licensing Course

This is the state-specific education requirement for California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.


Hours Required By The State: 20 hours (2 HR CA-DFPI State-Specific Education Required)

Final Exam Instructions: Each course contains a final exam. A minimum score of 75% is required to pass the final exam and can be taken as many times as needed to pass. This exam is required for education credit, but does not count toward the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test.

NMLS Education Requirement: Diehl Mortgage Training is an NMLS-Approved Training Provider for Pre-Licensing Education #1400133

Seat Time: The state requires that all students spend a minimum amount of seat time engaged in the course content. Our online learning management system tracks engagement by clicking through the course.

Reporting: Upon completion of your course, the NMLS requires course providers to credit-bank your education hours within 7 business days. Diehl banks your hours in as little as 24 hours.

Start and End Date of Course: Your course will close at the end of the 5, 7, or 10-Day period, depending on the path you choose.

Certificates: Upon completion of the course, Diehl Mortgage Training & Compliance will email you a certificate of completion. Please download and hold onto this certificate to show proof of education completion.

Step 1 – Review your checklist
Go to the State Licensing Requirements Page for your state and gather required documentation which may need to be uploaded and sent to the state agency.
All state licensed MLOs and certain individuals as mandated by their state agency are required to pass the National SAFE MLO test, complete pre-licensure education, and submit to a criminal background and credit check prior to submitting an application in NMLS. Review Professional Standards for more details on the Criminal Background Check, Testing, Education, and Credit Report process. 

Step 2 – Coordinate with your company
NMLS is the official system of record so it is important to coordinate use with your employer. If your company is licensed with or registered in a state through NMLS, either of you can complete your first Individual Form (MU4) in NMLS. Whoever creates the first Individual Form (MU4) must pay any associated fees when it is submitted to the state agency. If your company is completing your first Individual Form (MU4), wait for their direction before proceeding. 

Step 3 – Create an account
NOTE: The information used to create the account must be accurate, complete and reflect information found on legal documentation. Inaccurate information may result in one or more duplicate accounts. If duplicate accounts are created, the responsible individual or company is liable for all fees associated with resolving the error.
Navigate to NMLS.
Click the Log Into NMLS button.
Click the Request an Account link.
Select the Individual option.
Review the Quick Guide: Creating an Individual Account for further assistance.

Step 4 – Log into NMLS
If your company created your first Individual Form (MU4), log in with the credentials provided, review your Individual Form (MU4), make any necessary corrections and attest to its accuracy. 
Review the Attestation Quick Guide for further assistance. 

California DFPI Pre-Licensing Education (PE) FAQs

What are California DFPI requirements for MLO Pre-Licensing Education?

Those wishing to obtain a California DFPI NMLS new license must complete 20 hours of California DFPI mortgage loan officer training. California DFPI NMLS Pre-Licensing Education requirements include: 

  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending 
  • 10 hours of Electives
  • 2 hours of California Education

Once you’ve completed your NMLS-approved courses, you’ll be eligible to take the SAFE MLO Test. This exam consists of rigorous questions pertaining to the categories mentioned above, and you’ll have to pass with a score of 75% or higher. 

To ensure you pass the first time around, take advantage of our NMLS MLO Test Prep tools, which feature Focused Flashcards and practice tests. Plus, individuals that pass our simulated exam with a score of 95% often have a higher chance of passing the real thing.

How do I get more information about California Mortgage Licensing?

For questions regarding the California DFPI MLO new license requirements, check out  the NMLS California MLO License Description to learn more. 


Contact the California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation at:


The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation also has offices conveniently located throughout the state, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

How long is the 20-hour California DFPI NMLS Pre-Licensing course good for?

The current NMLS PE Expiration Policy states that PE education is good for three years from the last date of licensure as an MLO. However, this policy is pending enactment for California DFPI NMLS Pre-Licensing Courses, meaning it’s currently not enforced but will be in the future. If individuals fail to obtain a valid mortgage license within this time frame, they’re required to retake the 20-hour California DFPI course.  

Is there a deadline to complete PE in California?

While there isn’t a deadline to complete PE, you need to satisfy your MLO Pre-Licensing Education in California before you can submit an MLO license application. Pre-Licensing Education is a prerequisite for obtaining a new California DFPI NMLS license. This applies to MLOs wishing to originate loans in exchange for compensation. 


Even though there isn’t a deadline for PE, you’ll still have to stay on top of Continuing Education (CE) deadlines to maintain your license in California.

How does Diehl help prepare for California’s Mortgage License?

Diehl Education helps MLO’s prepare for their California Mortgage License by providing comprehensive California DFPI PE Courses curated by a team of dedicated mortgage professionals. Plus, they’re designed to fit your learning style—whether you prefer an instructor-led live stream or a self-paced program. Diehl also provides California DFPI CE courses that are updated annually and will satisfy the annual 8-hour CE requirement. 


If you’re looking to obtain an additional state license in a state other than California, we can also help. Our state-specific courses range from Alabama to Wyoming and even include U.S. territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. 

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