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Students in California who want to prepare for careers in the insurance industry have several options. They could seek admission to the certificate or associate's degree programs of 2-year colleges in the state, which could prepare them to take certification exams. The programs might culminate with externships or internships in professional offices. Students could pursue the following educational credentials:
- Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Certificate
- Insurance Specialist Certificate
- Insurance Professional Certificate
- Business - Insurance: Property and Casualty Certificate or Degree
Casa Loma College - Van Nuys
At the main campus in Van Nuys, students can enroll in the medical insurance billing and coding certificate program, and additional campuses offer this program in Hawthorne and in Anaheim. The certificate program can be completed in 860 hours, and course topics cover billing practices and systems, medical insurance billing reimbursement, administrative procedures, medical coding, health record maintenance and medical terminology. Toward the end of the program, students must complete an externship at a local medical facility. This certificate program prepares students for certification exams sponsored by such organizations as the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Downey Adult School
Located in Southern California in the city of Downey, this school offers a career training program in medical billing and coding. There are both day and evening classes available, and typically students meet four days a week for several hours of lectures and training. Required courses include insurance in the medical office, medical billing, medical terminology, human anatomy, medical coding and advanced medical coding. This training program prepares students for some national certification exams.
Glendale Community College
Two certificate programs related to insurance industry training are offered at this campus in Glendale. The insurance specialist certificate program is designed for individuals with no post-secondary training and no prior experience in the insurance industry. Students must complete 32-36 units, and required courses include property and liability insurance, commercial insurance, business insurance, workplace ethics, Microsoft Excel and business law. The insurance professional certificate program is meant for those who already hold undergraduate degrees or for those with industry experience. Students only need to complete 16-17 units of coursework, and required courses discuss property and liability insurance, commercial insurance, personal insurance and ethics. Students in the insurance specialist certificate program are required to complete an internship with an insurance company, but the internship is optional for students in the insurance professional certificate program.
Santa Monica College
In Santa Monica, Santa Monica College offers two certificate programs and one associate degree program related to insurance. Students must complete 12 units to earn the insurance specialist certificate. Required courses discuss personal insurance, commercial insurance, property insurance, insurance ethics and liability insurance, and students must complete an internship to finish the program. An insurance professional program can result in either a certificate of achievement, or in an associate degree if students meet general education requirements. Classes in the insurance professional program are identical to those in the insurance specialist program, but additional required courses include financial accounting, business law, business communications, Microsoft Excel and business computer systems applications.
Solano Community College
Students can enroll in a property and casualty insurance degree or certificate program at this college in Fairfield. To earn the certificate, students must complete 31 units of coursework, and to earn the degree, students must finish the 31 units of core classes plus general education requirements. Required courses for this program include insurance code and ethics, property and liability insurance, financial accounting, Microsoft Excel, commercial insurance, introduction to business and personal insurance. Students also have to participate in a one-unit work experience course. Besides these two programs, an insurance specialist job-direct certificate program collects five required courses in property and liability insurance, commercial insurance, introduction to insurance, ethics and personal insurance.
In California, insurance agents and brokers for property, casualty, life, personal lines, and accident and health insurance must be licensed by the California Department of Insurance. Prospective brokers and agents must complete a 32-hour or 52-hour pre-licensure training course, available from several approved private-for-profit providers, either online or in a classroom setting. Insurance adjusters must be licensed, but have a work experience requirement in lieu of a prelicensure course. Although many entry-level insurance positions may only require workers to have the equivalent of high school diplomas, vocational certificates and undergraduate degrees have become more common training for insurance workers.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Insurance Training Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees 2015-2016|
|Casa Loma College - Van Nuys||2-year private not-for-profit; large city||Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Certificate||$28,765*|
|Downey Adult School||2-year public; large suburb||Medical Biller and Coder Career Training Program||$2,999*|
|Glendale Community College||2-year public; midsize city|| Insurance Specialist Certificate,
Insurance Professional Certificate
| In-State: $1,175;
|Santa Monica College||2-year public; small city|| Insurance Specialist Certificate of Achievement,
Insurance Professional Certificate of Achievement,
Insurance Professional Associate of Arts Degree
| In-State: $1,136;
|Solano Community College||2-year public; midsize suburb|| Insurance Specialist Job-Direct Certificate,
Business - Insurance: Property and Casualty Certificate,
Associate of Science in Business - Insurance: Property and Casualty
| In-State: $1,416;
Source: *NCES College Navigator.