Mortgage Underwriter Career Info and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a mortgage underwriter. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

A mortgage underwriter is a finance professional who determines if a home buyer qualifies for a loan from a bank or another financial institution. Some job duties include checking an applicant's credit history, verifying supporting documents and ensuring that the applicant's information is accurate. Mortgage underwriters often begin their education with a bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related area, but other means of advancement are available. Some professionals without formal education advance to the position from an entry-level job in loan processing, while others earn certification or complete on-the-job training to become prepared for the career.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a business area
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Certification Optional
Projected Job Growth8% for all loan officers from 2012-2022*
Median Salary (September 2014) $56,934 annually**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Career Information for Mortgage Underwriters

Mortgage underwriters give the final approval for prospective home owners to obtain a home loan. There are several factors that a mortgage underwriter must consider before granting approval, such as the buyers credit history, credit score and income, as well as the balance of the loan and down payment. A mortgage underwriter also verifies loan applications and supporting documents, including pay stubs and bank statements. If a mortgage underwriter does not have the correct documents or discovers something is missing, he or she is responsible for contacting the buyer for the correct information.

Mortgage underwriters work at various financial establishments, including banks, credit unions and mortgage companies. Depending on the market and the financial institution he or she works for, a mortgage underwriter may be required to have knowledge of alternative loan options, such as FHA loans.

Education and Training Requirements

Although some individuals may begin a career as a mortgage underwriter without a formal education, many companies prefer to hire individuals with a 4-year degree. Business, finance or management majors are good choices for a career as a mortgage underwriter. Accounting skills are often transferable to mortgage underwriting from other areas as well.

Coursework

Education programs for a mortgage underwriter cover topics in business, finance and math. Typical coursework for a mortgage underwriter might include the following:

  • Information systems
  • Finance and accounting fundamentals
  • Accounting management
  • Business law
  • Statistics
  • Accounting
  • Market and economic research
  • Business management strategies

Training Requirements

An individual who does not have a degree can work toward a position as a mortgage underwriter by starting out as a loan processor or junior underwriter with a bank or loan company. Earning an underwriting certification is another way to start a career as a mortgage underwriter. Once hired, a company often sends new mortgage underwriters through a training session to become familiar with the processes and procedures at that company.

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