Insurance Agent Career Paths Explained


The insurance industry offers a variety of great careers to people who are motivated and good at working with the public. Insurance agents have several paths open to them to pursue, as there are a variety of insurance products and differing methods of selling them. Individuals interested in becoming an insurance agent should consider the options and their own aptitudes before choosing a career path.

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Captive vs. Independent Agents vs. Brokers

One of the main differences in insurance careers is whether an agent is a captive or independent agent. Captive agents work for just one insurance provider, selling that company’s products to clients. Captive agents have in-depth knowledge of their company’s insurance policies. Captive agents have more stability than independent agents, and have the backing of their company.

Independent agents are agents who shop around various insurance companies to find policies for their clients. Independent agents have more freedom and often greater earnings potential than captive agents, but their job is tougher in some ways because they likely don’t have the in-depth knowledge of specific companies’ policies that captive agents do and they often must hustle harder to satisfy clients. Independent agents also often have to provide their own start-up capital when beginning an agency.

Insurance agents may follow a third path and become insurance brokers. Insurance brokers have more training than agents and a stronger duty to their clients. Brokers take a more thorough look at their client’s circumstances to determine their specific insurance needs and find affordable, appropriate policies.

Product types

Insurance agents may also specialize by the type of products they sell. For instance, health insurance is a very complex product, and some agents only work with health insurance policies. Other agents may have a preference for other types of insurance products and may choose to work strictly with those products. The following are some common insurance agent specialties:

  • Health insurance
  • Home owner’s insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Business insurance

Career Prospects

The career prospects for insurance agents are bright. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates shows that the number of jobs for agents will grow by 10 percent over the coming decade. Right now, there are more than 440,000 insurance agents in America.

Required skills for becoming an insurance agent will vary depending on where you live and how you choose to work. In general, agents must pass state licensure tests. Degrees are becoming more frequently required by insurance companies, but there are still plenty of opportunities for motivated individuals without formalized post-secondary credentials.

For individuals considering becoming insurance agents, there are several options for obtaining the training needed, including online courses. Prospective agents should carefully weigh their career options, then choose the training program that best suits their needs and aspirations.

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Insurance agents have several career options open, including working for an insurance company or going out on their own as an independent agent. Studying the available options is important for prospective agents.


America’s Professor provides online instruction in skills necessary to take and pass the insurance agent licensure exam in several states. With 30 years’ experience in teaching prospective agents, America’s Professor is a time-tested program for insurance professionals.



Insurance Pre-Licensing Courses

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