While it may be possible to become a mortgage banker with just a high school diploma, the vast majority of those in the field have at least a college degree. Many also have professional designations as well, including certification from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Various countries may have different laws in place regarding whether licensure is required to become a mortgage banker, so it is always important to check laws where you live. Some jurisdictions or countries may also require continuing education credits in order to keep any license or designation.
One of the first requirements to become a mortgage banker is to receive a high school education. Taking elective courses in business could help you learn more about the business process and environment. Economics courses can also help provide a good background when considering any type of a career in finance, including mortgage banking. Advanced placement courses may even offer dual credit for both high school and college.
After graduating from high school, college becomes the next most important step. Most lending institutions require a college degree of some sort in order to be considered for most banking positions. Many people with a desire to become a mortgage banker, elect to major in economics, business, finance or a related field. Even if a lender does not require such a degree, it can provide a good way to separate yourself from the competition.
While in college, one of the best ways to get some experience and notoriety is to work as an intern in the mortgage department of a bank. While you may not be able to do everything a full mortgage banker can do, it gives you the opportunity to learn the industry, ask question, a see what it is like. Many students find their first jobs with the company they interned at. Even if that does not happen, the contacts and references can be valuable tools in a job search.
Given the concerns and risks with the industry overall, some countries require a government license in order to become a mortgage banker. These licenses are usually handled through a state or local association, such as a professional board of review of some type. Having a criminal history and no hours of educational coursework could prevent some from getting a license, even if they pass a state-endorsed test about the profession.
A way to achieve greater credibility for those trying to move ahead in the industry is to get a professional certification through the Mortgage Bankers Association. This group offers certification or designations, but only after a banker has three years of experience. Therefore, this is not an option for someone just starting out.