Mortgage underwriting is a career in the accounting and financial industries and requires education and experience in accounting, finance, sales or economics, usually at the bachelor's degree level. Mortgage underwriters are loan officers for banks, mortgage companies and other lending institutions. They analyze loan applications and creditworthiness and either approve or deny mortgage loans to borrowers.
Take an aptitude test to determine if you are well-suited for a mortgage underwriting career. To be successful as a mortgage underwriter requires sales, finance or accounting aptitude, skills and experience. Aptitude testing will help you determine your areas of interest and the skills required to work in finance.
Research mortgage underwriting careers and salaries to determine the number of underwriting jobs in your area and the employers looking for finance candidates. Prepare to attend a college or university that has accounting, finance or sales degree programs.
Work to earn a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on accounting, finance, sales or economics from an accredited institution. Special accounting or finance projects, internships and industry mentors will advance career and employment opportunities that can lead to a position as a mortgage underwriter. Working in sales, accounting or finance while studying will also provide career contacts and opportunities.
Obtain an entry-level position in a bank or other lending institution, either in financial product sales or service. Gain financial work experience for one to two years and start to seek mortgage underwriter opportunities.
Join an industry association such as the Mortgage Bankers Association to take advantage of industry resources and to learn about professional development. Attend industry conferences and events and continuing education opportunities. Network in the banking industry to keep informed of opportunities for advancement to a larger bank or a position with more responsibility, possibly supervising others or directing a department. Take advantage of HUD, FHA and Fannie Mae training and certification opportunities.
Banking and finance are conservative industries. Make sure your personality and career aspirations are suited to this kind of career path with aptitude tests, part-time jobs in the industry and career research.
Commercial loan officers generally earn more than personal bankers, and loan officers with graduate degrees or professional certifications earn more than those without advanced training.
2016 Salary Information for Loan Officers
Loan officers earned a median annual salary of $63,640 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, loan officers earned a 25th percentile salary of $45,100, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,610, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 318,600 people were employed in the U.S. as loan officers.