Becoming a Licensed Insurance Agent

An insurance broker, also known as an insurance agent, can earn a salary or commission that pays over $40,000 a year annually. This lucrative job is in high demand among Americans, but can only be obtained once one has earned a license.

Insurance Brokers

Insurance brokers currently make up almost half a million of the nation’s jobs. After the broker has obtained a license, he or she can begin selling insurance policies for the company. If you have any type of insurance-auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, etc. - you have most likely already spoken and done business with an insurance agent or broker.

Depending on what type of insurance the broker is selling, they can help their customers decide which policy is best for them, what they can afford, and what they need. However, performing such duties requires training, knowledge, and licensure.

Qualification for Insurance Broker

Your state will most likely have certain qualifications that must be met before you can become licensed. While all states differ in minimum qualifications, most require that you be a resident, that you are at least 18 years of age, and that you have a college degree. All require that the individual takes and passes examinations and courses before issuance of a license.

The first step to becoming an insurance agent is to obtain a college degree, preferably in business or economics. Excellent skills in sales are a must, thus taking courses to increase this ability can only boost your chances of succeeding in this career.

Almost all states offer insurance exams that must be taken before obtaining a license to sell insurance. For a fee, some also offer courses that you can take that will concentrate on the material covered in the exam. Depending on the state, you may be able to purchase a text to study on your own, or you may be required to attend classes for a certain period of time before the exam.

Train to Become Insurance Agent

After you have gone through the necessary requirements to obtain your license, your state may require an existing agent to participate in regular training programs to maintain or renew their license. This could include courses, exams, shadowing another agent, or having your work examined by a qualified individual.

Independent Insurance Broker

While being an insurance agent or broker with one particular company is a promising career, some enjoy the benefits of becoming an independent insurance agent. If you are considering becoming an insurance agent, you should pay attention to the different career paths available to you. Depending on your preferences and strengths, you may want to consider the career path of an independent insurance broker.

Independent insurance brokers perform many of the same duties that regular brokers are responsible for. They sell insurance and investigate claims, but they tend to deal with the client on a more personal level. An independent agent may meet with a client and research the policies of several different insurance companies to help them decide which is best for them.

Because they are not affiliated with one particular company, independent insurance agents are most likely to earn commission instead of salary. There are also fewer opportunities for advancement. However, independent agents are usually able to organize their own schedules and work as much or as little as they need. 


Besides offering competitive salary and/or commission, the position often offers opportunity for advancement. A successful agent who has demonstrated exceptional selling ability may be promoted to managerial duty, at which point he or she can practice the necessary leadership skills for the insurance company. Following a management position, the individual may eventually be eligible for a superintendent position or other executive professions.

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