California DRE: NMLS Pre-Licensing MLO Requirements & Training

Number of Hours Required

State-Specific Ed Required


Best Way To Prepare for the Test

20-Hour Online Interactive Course

CA-DRE Requires 20 hours of NMLS-Approved Pre-Licensing Education and no state-specific education requirement.

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 Only State PE?

This state has no state-specific Pre-Licensing Education requirements.


Hours Required By The State: 20 hours (No 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 DRE Pre-Licensing Education (PE) FAQs

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

Individuals looking to obtain an MLO license under the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) must complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved Pre-Licensing Education (PE) consisting of the following California DRE NMLS Pre-Licensing Education requirements: 

  • 3 hours of Federal Law 
  • 3 hours of Ethics 
  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending Training 
  • 12 hours of Electives

Once you’ve successfully completed the coursework above, passed the NMLS exam, and become a licensed MLO, you’ll be required to take eight hours worth of California DRE Continuing Education (CE) courses annually to maintain your status. 

California Mortgage Licensing Information

Unlike the California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation (DFPI) MLO requirements, there are no state-specific PE provisions to be eligible for a New California DRE MLO license. Instead, you’ll focus on mortgage loan origination activities and regulations as they relate to federal laws.  


If you’re interested in acquiring a supplemental state license on top of your California MLO, you may be required to complete NMLS PE Courses, depending on the state.

How do I get more information about California Mortgage Licensing?

If you need additional assistance with California DRE NMLS requirements for a new license, view the NMLS California MLO License Description for more information.

Contact the California Department of Real Estate using the following details:

The California Department of Real Estate also has district offices in Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego.

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

Under the current NMLS PE Expiration Policy, Pre-Licensing Education is only good for three years. Individuals that fail to secure their mortgage license during the allocated time frame will be required to retake the necessary 20-hour PE courses. 


Keep in mind that PE Expiration for California DRE NMLS Pre-Licensing courses is pending enactment. This means that the California DRE is not enforcing this policy but will be implementing expiration measures for California DRE mortgage officer training soon. 

Is there a deadline to complete PE in California?

Since PE courses are a prerequisite that must be satisfied before submitting an application for a New NMLS California DRE license, there’s no specific completion deadline. However, you’ll have to make sure to stay on top of the annual CE deadline to keep your California DRE MLO license valid—that’s December 31 in California. 

How does Diehl help prepare for California DRE mortgage license?

At Diehl Education, our California DRE PE Courses are packed with extensive and easy-to-digest content that’ll equip you with the knowledge necessary to pass the NMLS exam on your first try and remain compliant with origination laws. All courses are curated by our team of industry professionals that want to see you succeed. 

By pairing your PE courses with our Test Prep Tools, which include Focused Flashcards and practice exams, you’ll be well on your way to receiving a passing NMLS test score of 75% or higher. 

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