In previous years, states regulated the mortgage industry. As of 2011, the National Mortgage Licensing Registry and System (NMLS) is operational under the federal government. A requirement to maintain an NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).
Options for CE are face-to-face or an online course. I received an offer for a discount price of $99.95 from “Kaplan Real Estate Education” and decided to go for it. Having taken CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good fit. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into several sections. You view the material in one section and then take a 10-question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to proceed to the next section. If he gets 90% or less, he does it again until he gets 100%. This is very irritating. Then, when you finally get to the end of the eight-hour course (longer if you spend a lot of time on quizzes), there’s a 25-question final exam. Kaplan offers you two chances to score 75% or better on the exam. Some of the questions are worded differently from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I’m making excuses for failing the exam twice! This is the first time in five years that I have had a problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain, Kaplan’s supervisor said I had to pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they’d let me take their stupid test twice more…with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked for a refund, I was told that they don’t give refunds.
A couple of days later a representative from Proschools called me to see if I wanted to take their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. He also said that students rarely had trouble with the test and allowed unlimited attempts if necessary. The preschools were offering a discount that brought the cost to around $100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a bit more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section, but there were usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered the option of a practice or a “final” mode. You have to take the “final” quiz, even if you get 100% in the practice mode which has the same questions. It’s best to skip practice and go straight to the “final” test. You have multiple opportunities for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require a 70% or higher to pass. (Why does Kaplan require a 75%? So more people fail and have to repeat the course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 out of 25 correct for 96%. Look, go smart!
From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use, if available. Of course, the quality of the course is much more important than a small difference in cost.