One of 2024's 'best jobs' can pay over $200,000 and let you work remotely without a college degree

A loan officer meets with a couple in their home.
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You can earn upward of $200,000 working from the comfort of your own home — no bachelor's degree required — if you're willing to crunch some numbers.

Loan officers claimed the No. 2 spot in Indeed's annual ranking of the "best jobs" in the U.S., thanks to its high earning potential and increasing demand for these skilled professionals across several industries. 

The pay is great: The average salary for loan officers is $192,339, per Indeed's research. Positions also tend to offer a lot of workplace flexibility. At least 75% of the listings for loan officers on Indeed's database have remote or hybrid options.

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Loan officers assist people and businesses in the process of applying for loans, evaluating financial documents and helping borrowers complete their applications.

The demand for these services has grown in recent months, as industries like real estate, education, retail and e-commerce feel the squeeze of inflation and a tighter housing market, says Scott Dobroski, vice president of global corporate communications at Indeed.

Banks might be tightening up their lending standards because of recession fears, but the demand for mortgages remains high. "The need for loans will always be there, even if it ebbs and flows a bit," adds Dobroski.

How to qualify for the job

You can become a loan officer without a bachelor's degree. 

The requirements for becoming a loan officer vary from state to state, but generally, the process includes the following steps: 

  • Register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS)
  • Take pre-licensure courses on federal law and regulations, lending standards and ethics
  • Pass a state or national license test
  • Find an employer to sponsor your license

To become a loan officer, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, Indeed reports. Before you can work as a practicing loan officer, you'll need to find an employer, like a bank or credit union, to hire you and sponsor your license. 

After you complete the pre-licensure courses, most companies are willing to hire you as a loan officer "in training" to support various aspects of the mortgage lending process without drafting or servicing loans directly, says Ciara Glover, a mortgage loan officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The 37-year-old left her job as an academic coordinator at Louisiana State University in September to work as a full-time loan officer at Canvas Mortgage, a residential mortgage division of Merchants & Marine Bank. 

Glover first became a loan officer seven years ago as a side hustle to make extra money. She worked from home for an online mortgage lender in her spare time. 

It only took her about two months to finish the necessary coursework and find an employer to sponsor her license before she could start working. 

"It's one of the most flexible jobs out there," says Glover. "You can fit your schedule around client meetings, and most employers are supportive of you working from home, in my experience, that's been a common practice for loan officers even before the pandemic."

'There's no ceiling on how much you can earn'

Some loan officers are paid a flat salary or an hourly rate, while others earn a commission based on sales in addition to their normal salary.

Most loan officers are paid between 0.2% and 2% of the total loan amount in commission, according to Indeed. For example: If a loan officer negotiates a 1% commission on a $500,000 loan, they would be paid $5,000 on that transaction alone.

"There's a hard limit on what you can make in a lot of jobs, but for loan officers, there's no ceiling on how much you can earn," says Glover. "It's the kind of profession where you get whatever you put in — so if you work hard, you're looking at a nice paycheck."

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