How to Become an Insurance Agent

Insurance Agent Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $69,000
Avg. Pay / hour $33.17
Education 3-4 Years
Job Outlook 22%

An insurance agent finds the best insurance product for their client, based on their needs.

They work one on one with a client, to learn about their financial situation and lifestyle, and then look at options for property, health, car, and life insurance and find them the best products at the best rates.

If you have an interest in finance, are good at math, and enjoy working with people then you may be well suited to a career as an insurance agent.

To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need excellent interpersonal skills also.

Much of your time is going to be spent attracting new clients and convincing them that a product is the right thing for them.

Education Requirements to Become an Insurance Agent

While you’re still in high school, taking courses in math, business, and English will all be helpful.

Concentrate on getting good grades so you can be accepted into the college of your choice.

It’s also a good idea to learn about the different types of insurances that people and businesses apply for.

While you will need a bachelors degree to become an insurance agent, there is no set courses you need to take.

As long as you have a major in business administration or finance, then this will be fine later on.

Taking elective subjects in English can be helpful as you will need finely tuned communication skills.

Try and get a part time job working for an insurer.

Many companies look to employ college students in their customer service departments.

Some companies will also run programs where college students can work part time and learn on the job before they graduate.

Internships are also a good idea at this stage.

In almost every state you are required to have a license to be an insurance agent.

Depending on where you live, you may need to sit a state set exam in order to be granted your license.

You can find more information at the Professional Insurance Association website.

Insurance Agent Job Description

An insurance agent works to meet the insurance needs of their clients.

This could include property, liability, vehicle, health, or life insurance.

An insurance agent may specialize in one, or all of these areas.

Some will be employed by an insurer to attract clients and sell them products.

Others are independent, and will work with a range of providers, and negotiate the best rate for their client.

Here are some of the tasks of an insurance agent:

  • Meeting with clients and discussing their needs
  • Educating clients about insurance and products
  • Keeping in contact with insurance providers
  • Having an up to date knowledge of current insurance products
  • Having an up to date knowledge of insurance law

Insurance Agent Salary and Career Path

Most people in the insurance industry start with an entry level job for a large company.

This may be in customer service, or over the phone sales.

With a bit of experience, they may be promoted to insurance agent.

An insurance agent may be employed by a firm or brokerage, or by an insurance provider.

They may also work for themselves as an independent broker.

Most states require insurance agents to take part in continuing education.

Every two years, a minimum amount of training must be completed.

Many insurance agents move into similar areas such as estate planning or financial planning.

Further certification is required to move into these areas.

Growth in this field is expect to be average in the coming years, comparable to that of other industries.

While getting a job as an insurance agent required you to have a few years of work experience behind you, getting a related job in the same industry is not too difficult once you have the right college qualifications.

The median wage when you first become an insurance agent is around $45,000 a year.

Those on entry levels salaries earn closer to $35,000 a year.

The top 10% earn over $110,000.

Insurance agents can be paid in a range of ways.

Some will earn a salary, some a salary plus bonus, while others will earn commission only.

While not secure, commission roles offer the opportunity to earn an uncapped income.

There are good salaries available for those that can be good salespeople.

For those with outgoing personalities and a good head for finance and numbers, a career as an insurance agent can be a rewarding one.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$100,050
New Hampshire$68,630
New Jersey$81,640
New Mexico$57,850
New York$93,610
North Carolina$62,590
North Dakota$71,820
Rhode Island$77,630
South Carolina$60,930
South Dakota$66,370
West Virginia$53,320
Puerto Rico$33,530
Virgin Islands$65,320

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $100,050.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $100,050
New York - $93,610
Massachusetts - $90,160
Georgia - $83,760
New Jersey - $81,640
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Insurance Sales Agents, OCC Code 41-3021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an insurance agent do?

Typically, insurance agents work for insurance companies and their main job is to offer all the products provided by the company to businesses or individuals.

There are different types of insurances that agents can be selling – property, life, car, health, and so on.

In a nutshell, an insurance agent is a salesman that has to have an impeccable knowledge of the product and has to possess great communication skills.

The typical responsibilities of an insurance agent include selling different types of insurance policies; interviewing clients; inspecting assets; calculating payment plan and methods; handling insurance claims and so on.

Insurance agents can work with different clients and sometimes the company might ask their specialist to travel in order to negotiate the details of the contract in person.

How much do insurance agents make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of an insurance agent in the United States is a little more than $42.000 (that usually includes all commissions and various bonuses).

As an insurance agent, you can expect to earn anywhere between $26.000 and $117.000.

Typically, your salary would depend on the number of insurances you were able to sell.

The wage will also depend on whether you decide to be a captive agent working for an insurance company or a specialist working on his own.

How much does it cost to become an insurance agent?

It is not necessary to have a degree to become an insurance agent.

However, some companies prefer to hire specialists with a degree in business administration or management, for example.

A bachelor’s degree in business administration will cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $27.000 per year.

Bear in mind that books, supplies and personal expenses are not included.

In most of the states, you would be required to complete a pre-licensing training course, in case you want to become an insurance agent.

Depending on the course provider, you would have to spend anywhere between $200 and a few thousand dollars.

What is the demand for insurance agents?

From 2010 to 2020, the insurance agent job market in the United States is expected to grow by 22%.

That is much faster than the national average.

Those who have a degree or speak different languages will have better opportunities in the field.

Typically, the need for insurance agent tends to increase whenever there is a growth of the overall economy or population growth.

How long does it take to become an insurance agent?

You might be able to find a job as an insurance agent with a high school diploma.

In such a case, on-job training will be offered.

However, employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree and it will take you 4 years to obtain one.

Pre-licensing training courses can last only for a few days or for a couple of weeks, depending on your schedule.

To obtain a license, you would have to pay a fee, complete the pre-licensing training courses, and then pass the exam.

The license has to be renewed regularly.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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