The most common insurance degree programs are bachelor's-level programs. However, there are also associate's, master's and doctoral degree programs available. At some levels, insurance can be an area of concentration or specialization in a management or business administration program. Many of these programs are available in an online format.
In undergraduate programs, students have the opportunity to begin developing management skills and an understanding of insurance practices in areas of risk assessment, liabilities, investments and employee benefits. Master's and doctoral programs often focus on research in the field while expanding on the topics discussed in 2- and 4-year undergraduate programs. For instance, undergraduate students will learn the basics of personal property insurance, while graduate studies will also address commercial property liabilities in theory and practice. In addition, master's students will be expected to complete a thesis while studying and researching these practices and theories.
Associate's Degree in Life and Health Insurance
An associate's degree in life and health insurance provides students with the knowledge to administer insurance policies and provide advice on investing policy payouts. Insurance degree programs at this level prepare students for entry-level positions in life and health insurance or the financial services industry. Associate's degree insurance programs are intensive to economics, management and customer relations. In order to enroll in an insurance associate's degree program, students must have a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges require associate's degree students to take college entrance examinations and achieve a satisfactory score prior to enrollment.
Students enrolled in an insurance associate's degree program can expect to take classes in the following:
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Insurance marketing
- Insurance information management procedures
- Investments and economics
- Insurance administration
Bachelor's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
Students desiring a career in insurance and risk management must learn to prepare various insurance policies, such as automobile, health, commercial property, commercial liability and personal property insurance. A bachelor's degree program in insurance and risk management also trains students to help individuals assess their personal and business insurance needs, underwrite insurance policies and navigate tax issues. These insurance degree programs also focus on risk assessment, law, ethics and insurance agency management. Prior to enrolling in a bachelor's degree in insurance program, students must have either a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges prefer students to have earned an associate's degree in business administration or a related field prior to embarking upon a bachelor's degree program in insurance. Students should also have a solid background in algebra, calculus, English and communications.
Students embarking upon a bachelor's degree program in insurance will have a curriculum containing the following courses:
- Ethics in insurance
- Casualty risk assessment and insurance
- Legal insurance issues
- Personal risk assessment
- Personal property liability issues
Master's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
A master's degree program in insurance and risk management includes more advanced liability, property and corporate risk classes than those required for bachelor's insurance degree programs. In addition, most master's degree insurance and risk management programs require the student to prepare a thesis. Students wishing to enroll in an insurance master's degree program should have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and submit both high school and college transcripts and letters of recommendation.
Master's degree programs in insurance and risk management typically contain an internship, as well as the following classes:
- Commercial property insurance
- Commercial liability insurance
- Life insurance
- Advanced practices in property insurance
- Advanced practices in liability insurance
Doctor of Philosophy in Insurance and Risk Management
A Ph.D. program in insurance and risk management prepares students to conduct research and teach at the university level. Students learn both applied and theoretical aspects of insurance, risk assessment and employee benefits. Prior to completing the program, students must conduct doctoral research and present a doctoral dissertation. In order to enroll in an insurance doctor's degree program, a student must have earned a 4-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Students must also submit transcripts, essays, college entrance exam scores and letters of recommendation.
Doctor of Philosophy programs in insurance and risk management contain the following classes:
- Liability insurance
- Property insurance
- Health and life insurance
- Risk assessment and management
- Employee benefits
Popular Career Options
Upon graduating from an insurance associate's degree program, students will undertake such careers as:
- Insurance billing specialist
- Insurance solicitor
- Actuary assistant
Students graduating from an insurance bachelor's degree program can expect to find employment in the following areas:
- Actuarial services
- Insurance claims
- Risk assessment
- Insurance sales
Students who have successfully completed a master's degree in insurance and risk management program may seek one of the following careers:
- Insurance investigator
- Management analyst
- Corporate risk assessment specialist
- Insurance broker
Students with a Ph.D. in insurance and risk management are typically employed in the following areas:
- University insurance professor
- Insurance research and development specialist
- Market research analyst
Insurance degrees are available at both an undergraduate level and graduate level from associate's to doctoral degrees. Students will have the option to concentrate in the management or business aspect of the field, and upon completion will be prepared for a wide variety of careers.