Insurance agents help individuals, families, and business entities choose the insurance policies that will protect their health, lives, and properties. They provide advice, financial analysis, and sell various types of insurance policies which include health, life, disability, casualty, and property among many others. If you are considering a career as a certified insurance agent, take the following items into account.
- State standards and requirements. Check with the Department of Insurance in your area and verify the prerequisites and regulations to becoming a certified insurance agent. Every state has different requirements hence you have to ensure you are taking up programs or courses applicable in the area where you are going to practice your career. If you have to sell insurance to multiple states, you will have to obtain license from each state. In some states, you will be required to undergo in-classroom training in preparation to the certification exams while other locations accept online courses or self-study. In many states it is required of applicants to complete pre-licensing courses such as ethics and insurance code classes. There are also conditions wherein such is no longer necessary.
- Training and job qualifications. While a degree is not usually a requirement to become an insurance agent, graduates of courses related to the field of insurance are remarkably sought after by insurance agencies. Hence it is recommended to take courses such as business and finance, accounting, mathematics, economics, marketing, and so on. Psychology, communications, and public relations are also valuable courses for this type of career as it primarily involves selling where level of communication and people skills are highly required. High school graduates however may also get the position especially if they have skills in sales and type of work experience that can contribute success to the present post. Insurance courses are also offered by various accredited schools that comply with the laws of the state.
- Background check. It is recommended to consider your background before pursuing certification. An applicant with any offensive record may not be eligible for licensure. Even your financial background or credit history may be checked and become reasons for denying your application for license. To speed up the process when you are sure you have no issues with your background, you can choose to get fingerprinted prior to taking the licensing test. Verify with the Department of Insurance in your area where you can execute fingerprinting.
- Licensing. Taking the licensing exam has a corresponding fee. You will then be issued the insurance license upon successfully passing the state licensing exam and completing all pertinent credentials. Typically, your license will be valid for two years and you need to pursue continuing education to maintain your license.
A career in the insurance industry is one of the finest and lucrative jobs in finance as everybody needs insurance. In the coming years, you can be sure that certified insurance agents are still very much in demand.