Insurance brokers can work with a high school diploma, though a bachelor's degree in fields like insurance, finance or economics is helpful. A state license is required, and an insurance broker must hold multiple licenses if they deal with more than one type of insurance.
An insurance broker, sometimes referred to as an insurance agent, helps clients purchase insurance policies. Brokers are independent agents who typically represent multiple insurance companies. Some brokers specialize in one area of insurance, such as life, auto, death or health insurance, and others may work exclusively with individuals or groups. Insurance brokers do not need formal education beyond short-term courses that prepare them for state licensure.
|Required Education||High school diploma and licensure prep coursework; a bachelor's degree may lead to better job opportunities|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training; state licensure is required, optional certifications are available|
|Projected Job Growth||9% between 2014 and 2024*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$48,200*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Insurance Broker Educational Requirements
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employers prefer insurance brokers who have completed a college degree program, although completion of a degree program is not necessarily required to become a licensed broker (www.bls.gov). Many states only require license applicants to complete a minimal amount of postsecondary coursework prior to taking the licensing examination. While not mandatory, brokers may complete degree programs in fields like insurance, finance or economics to prepare for licensing exams and make themselves more attractive to employers.
Degree programs in finance and economics often include coursework in business and law, management information systems, investment management and financial planning. Although degree programs in insurance and risk management provide direct industry training, these programs are less common. Of the available insurance and risk management degree programs, coursework can include insurance operations, life and health insurance, business planning, commercial risk management and employee benefits. The BLS predicts a 9% increase in employment opportunities for insurance sales agents from 2014-2024, and these workers' median salary was $48,200 as of May 2015.
Insurance brokers must have advanced technical skills to use job-specific software programs and communicate with clients via the Internet, according to the BLS. Insurance brokers also need basic commuter skills to create documents, complete reports, communicate through e-mail and conduct online research. Many employers train new insurance brokers to use company-specific software, such as programs used to generate insurance price quotes or to cross-reference insurance-policy packages.
To maintain licensure, most states require insurance brokers to complete continuing education coursework. Participating in continuing education programs allows insurance brokers to stay current on changes concerning legal issues, insurance policy structures and new insurance technologies. If brokers deal in more than one type of insurance, some states require workers to hold multiple licenses. In these cases, brokers may be required to complete additional continuing education to meet the renewal requirements for each issued license.
Insurance brokers are independent agents who help clients purchase insurance policies, and represent multiple insurance companies or specialize in a specific area. A bachelor's degree is helpful, though not required, and a state license with continuing education and on-the-job training is needed. Advanced technical skills are helpful, and job opportunities for insurance brokers are expected to increase by 9% from 2014 through 2024.