Each state has its own set of pre-licensing requirements for anyone looking to become a licensed insurance professional. Some states require formal pre-licensing education. No matter whether the state you live in requires pre-licensing education, all candidates in every state must pass the state insurance licensing exam before selling or purchasing insurance on behalf of an insurance company or client. Read also: Tips for Getting a Good Homeowners Insurance Rate in Texas.
State Licensing Requirements
Visit your state’s Department of Insurance website to find out the training requirements for obtaining an insurance license. If you’re unsure of how to locate your Department of Insurance website, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a map of the various Insurance Departments throughout the United States. They not only provide a link to the website, but NAIC also lists the name and address of the Insurance Commissioner for each state.
Selecting a Line of Authority
Before starting an insurance training program, select the area of insurance in which you wish to specialize (line of authority). Some states offer as few as five different types of licenses and others, such as Texas , offer as many as 11. Choosing your line of authority will dictate how to proceed in your insurance training. Read also: Becoming a Licensed Insurance Producer in Maine.
Education Requirements for Licensing
Armed with the state licensing requirements and your insurance specialty, it’s time to satisfy the state’s education requirements. If you live in a state that has a pre-set requirement for pre-licensing education, you must start taking those classes from a state-approved education provider. It is common for the Department of Insurance to provide a database of approved education providers from which you can select where and how you take your pre-licensing education.
In the Field Insurance Training
It is highly recommended that you get hands-on insurance experience before proceeding to become a licensed insurance producer. Whether you volunteer at a brokerage agency or take on an entry-level position, the hands-on training not only teaches you some of the nuances of the industry, but also will help you determine if you’re really cut out to become a licensed insurance professional. Spending a little time in the field will either reinforce your decision to become a licensed insurance professional or make you realize insurance is not for you. Read also: Insurance Policy Valuation: Which is best?
Taking the State Exam
Most states have contracted the state exam administration to a third party; the two most popular are Pearson Vue (pearsonvue.com) and Prometric (Prometric.com). You must register online with these companies to schedule the state exam. While on their websites, take advantage of their free downloadable brochures, which provide state-specific outlines of the type of questions to expect on the state exam. They also provide a step-by-step checklist of how to obtain your insurance license.