A claims adjuster evaluates the amount of compensation that should be paid for a claim on an insurance policy. Most training for claims adjusters is received on the job, so claims adjustment positions do not have specific schooling requirements. Both the Certificate in Risk Management and bachelor's degree in legal studies can provide a solid background for claims adjusters, but both require applicants to have some relevant prior experience or education. Coursework in such a program will touch on topics like state laws and requirements, types of insurance and ethical practice in business.
Certificate Programs in Risk Management and Insurance
The program helps students prepare for positions in insurance and business management. They are designed for students with degrees in economics, finance, business administration, insurance and other related fields. One should have an academic background in finance and risk management. Schools may require an associate's degree or higher, though equivalent work experience may be acceptable. Courses focus studies on insurance laws and types, business laws and financial topics. The goal is to teach students to identify and minimize risk in the workplace. Topics of may study include the following:
- Insurance types
- Business accounting
- Business ethics and laws
- Financial and legal software
- Interpersonal communication
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Bachelor's Degree Programs in Legal Studies
These programs are designed to help students advance a law-related career. A legal background is useful for handling claims related to liability, worker's compensation and similar subjects. Some programs are dual-degree, meaning you'll start in a bachelor's degree program and transition directly into a master's degree program. Before applying, you must have academic or professional law experience. Some legal studies programs offer general or focused law concentrations. Most programs require that you receive field time through internships or special projects at your current job. Common course topics are listed below:
- U.S. legal system
- Researching the law
- Legal philosophy
- U.S. legal history
- State laws and procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Claims adjusters work in any field that deals with insurance, laws and people's financial needs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports statistics and projections for claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators combined. The BLS projected a 3% growth rate for employment in these areas between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This rate was considered slower than average growth. Many claims adjustment positions may be found in the health care industry.
In 2015, median salary reported by the BLS was $62,980 a year for workers in this category. The lowest-earning ten percent of workers made $37,880 or less a year, while the highest-earning reached $94,190 or more annually.
While most of the training for claims adjusters is done on the job and there are no formal education requirements, many claims adjusters learn the legal, policy and risk assessment knowledge and skills from certificate programs and bachelors degrees programs.