How Long Does It Take to Become an Insurance Agent?

Written by Matthew King, time it takes to read this article is  minute(s).

According to salary estimates, independent insurance agents can make almost $90,000 per year on average. Top-performing agents can make well over $100k a year. 

Not only do independent insurance agents earn well above average, but there’s no hard earnings ceiling, and they can build up passive income in the form of residuals. Passive income is one of the keys to growing wealth

Are you considering becoming an insurance agent?

If so, you might be wondering, “How long does it take to become an insurance agent?” How much time will you need to devote before you can start earning commissions?

In this guide, we break down everything you need to consider when weighing up the time it takes to become a fully-fledged insurance agent.

What Training Do You Need to Become an Insurance Agent?

If you’re wondering how long does it take to become an insurance agent, the first thing to consider is training.

Fortunately, training to become an insurance agent does not require a large time investment. This is one of the unique advantages of an insurance career. You can earn a comparable amount to highly paid professions that require a degree, without having to attend university or take out student loans. 

A Bachelor’s Degree Is Optional

As we just outlined, you do not need a degree to become an insurance agent. However, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, this can work in your favor if you’re looking to become a captive agent.

Captive insurance agents work directly for carriers. The bulk of their pay comes in the form of commissions, but they do often earn a small retainer. Captive insurance agents also receive certain benefits like paid leave.

If you want to apply for a job with a carrier, having a bachelor’s degree on your resume could give you an edge over other applicants. The degree itself might not have a substantial impact on your performance as an agent unless you have something like a bachelor of science in marketing and sales.

A High School Diploma Is Required

Although you don’t need to hold a degree to become an insurance agent, you do need to have a high school diploma. If you failed to finish high school, don’t sweat.

There are many training programs available for adults to get their GED, TACS, or HiSet, some of which are even free, providing you meet the requirements.

Most States Require Pre-Licensing Training

Whether you want to work for a carrier or be an independent agent and work for yourself, you will need to obtain a license to sell insurance.

Requirements vary by state, but most states will require you to carry out some form of pre-licensing training. Training program lengths also vary by state, but they fall within a range of 20-60 hours. 

These are approximate estimates to give you an idea of how long the coursework will take. The exact time will depend on how quickly you can work through the material.

If you want to become an insurance agent, the first thing to do is find out what pre-license training your specific state requires. The easiest way to do this is through your state insurance department. To make things easy for you, here is a state insurance department directory.

Once you know what training to enroll in, the next step is to find a state-approved provider. Start by searching your state insurance department’s website for information on approved pre-licensing education providers. Some states might have a list of approved education providers on their website.

If you can’t find a list, you can also reach out to your state insurance department directly and ask them for information on approved training providers.

Finally, you can do a web search for state-approved insurance training providers. Before you enroll in any training, make sure to verify that the provider is state-approved.

Once you have completed your pre-license training, you will then need to sit the license exam. The exam usually contains between 100 and 150 questions and takes between 2-4 hours. The exact time will depend on the state you’re in.

You Might Also Need to Complete Product-Specific Training

Once you have obtained your license, you will also need to learn about the specific insurance products you’re going to sell.

Product-specific training is designed to help you gain a complete understanding of the products you’re selling, so you can effectively advise clients and explain the benefits, features, and terms of the coverage you recommend. Product-specific training covers areas like:

  • Policy types and features
  • Underwriting guidelines
  • Premium calculations
  • Riders
  • Endorsements
  • Claims processes
  • Policy administration features

Product-specific training is usually available via the carrier you contract with or through an IMO.

Carriers and IMOs (also known as FMOs) make product-specific training available through online modules, webinars, or in-person training events.

Product-specific training is an essential step to becoming an insurance agent. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling life insurance, Medicare insurance, or annuities—you need to know your products through and through. Once you start selling insurance, you might also need to carry out ongoing product training, especially for things like new product launches or product updates.

Some carriers have ongoing training policies in place that focus on best practices, industry developments, and market trends.

Some states also require insurance agents to undergo periodic training to maintain their licenses.

Sales Training Is Key

Sales training is not mandatory for becoming an insurance agent. But it can be the difference between success and struggling to make sales. 

You don’t just need to understand the products you’re selling, you also need to know how to sell them. If you don’t have effective sales and marketing techniques under your belt, your sales numbers will suffer. 

The good news is, you don’t have to be a naturally-born salesperson. Some people have an inherent ability to “sell”, but selling can also be a learned skill. Even if you have an in-built knack for sales, you can still benefit from sales training.

Insurance sales training will equip you with proven techniques for every step of the client lifecycle, from prospecting to closing and triggering referrals. 

A comprehensive sales training course will teach you valuable communication skills that will enable you to actively listen to clients, build rapport, and establish long-term relationships and customer loyalty. 

You will also learn how to overcome objections, handle rejections, and tailor your approach to different clients. 

But here’s the kicker. Accessible, comprehensive sales training for insurance agents is hard to find.

Finding the Right Training Program

Many insurance training programs are locked up behind contracts with IMOs, carriers, and memberships with professional associations. Often, there are minimum sales thresholds you need to cross before you can access advanced training.

Or, you might find you’re required to attend in-person training events and seminars that just don’t fit in with your schedule.

This can be very frustrating for new independent agents, and deprive them of the training and techniques they need to quickly advance their careers.

Here at Insurance Sales 101, we don’t believe in gatekeeping knowledge, information, and sales strategies. We also understand that not everyone has the flexibility in their schedule to attend fixed training sessions or in-person courses. 

We offer comprehensive sales training for various types of insurance. Built for agents by agents, our training will equip you with:

  • Advanced insurance sales strategies
  • Prospecting techniques
  • Case design and audience targeting strategies
  • Proven sales systems
  • Digital tools such as planners, spreadsheets, templates, and action guides
  • +$500 worth of savings on software and tools for your business

You will also receive one-on-one support and coaching for anything you need, such as best business practices, case design, and more. 

All of our training is available on demand. We also don’t require any contracts, commissions, or production levels from you. You get instant access to everything you need.

There are no mandatory training sessions or in-person events you have to spend time and money traveling to. 

To go back to the question, “How long does it take to become an insurance agent?” you do not need to finish our training before you start selling. Because sales training isn’t a requirement for obtaining your license or getting contracted, you can complete our training in your own time. 

How Long Does Insurance Sales Training Take?

If you’re wondering how long it takes to complete our insurance training, the answer is: it depends.

Each training course for the different types of insurance contains a wealth of videos and resources. For instance, our Insurance Advisor Elite bundle contains over 200 videos.

You are free to pick and choose which areas of our courses you want to focus on. For best results, we would recommend you complete the training, but you don’t have to watch every video before you start selling. 

The Insurance Advisor Elite bundle is a great option for agents who’re planning to sell multiple types of insurance. If you’re just starting out and want to focus on life insurance (while saving via our bundle deal) that’s fine. 

You’re free to revisit the material as soon as you want to start learning about other types of insurance. 

Alternatively, you can also purchase our individual courses separately. We offer training for final expense insurance, Medicare, annuities, and life insurance.

Getting Contracted

Another essential step to becoming an insurance agent is to get contracted. If you want to become an independent agent, you will need to contract with a carrier to start selling their products. 

If you want to meet with success and sell a broad range of products, it’s essential to pick the right carrier. But, sorting through your options can be tricky as a new agent.

The easiest way to get contracted and receive the attention you need is by signing up with an IMO (independent marketing organization).

IMOs have established relationships with carriers and they streamline the contracting process. Some carriers don’t directly contract with independent agents, and you can only sign up to sell their products via an IMO.

IMOs also offer certain types of training and support and manage things like commissions and compensation.

So, How Long Does It Take To Become an Insurance Agent?

We still haven’t answered the question, “How long does it take to become an insurance agent?” The answer is, it depends!

If you have some uninterrupted time, you can complete your pre-license training within a few days and be ready to sit your exam.

After this, you will need to contract with a carrier, either independently with a IMO or through a captive agency. If you choose a good IMO that has a streamlined contracting process—and have all your paperwork ready—you can get contracted in a very short space of time.

Most IMOs require agents to provide proof of their licensure and submit a background check. Once you have submitted your application, the IMO will review it.

Once you are approved, you will need to review and sign your contracting agreement and any other paperwork. After your appointment, some carriers might also require you to carry out additional steps, such as completing carrier-specific applications or training modules.

The time it takes to complete these steps can vary. In some cases, an independent agent can get contracted within a couple of weeks. In others, it might take several weeks or even a few months to reach the point where you’re ready to sell.

As you can see, it’s hard to give an exact number of weeks or months that it takes to become an insurance agent. But one thing’s for certain.

If you want to switch careers and start selling insurance, you can do this in far less time than it takes to pivot to most other high-earning jobs. And, if you become an independent agent, it gives you the chance to become your own boss, something that 90% of Americans yearn for. 

Do You Want to Start Selling Insurance?

How long does it take to become an insurance agent? A lot less time than a lot of other career switches!

The education requirements for becoming an insurance agent are very accessible. Pre-licensing training shouldn’t take you longer than 60 hours at the most.

But if you want to see great sales numbers, we highly recommend you invest in insurance sales training. If you choose us as your training provider, you can work through the materials in your own time. Everything is on demand and structured in a way that you can access the information, help, and strategies you need no matter your schedule. 

We currently offer training for selling annuities, life insurance, final expenses, and Medicare. Browse through our courses or take a look at our Insurance Advisor Elite training bundle if you want to access a discount on all our training. 

Join Insurance Advisor Elite

All access-pass to all courses, resources, sales systems, bonus content, and digital tools.

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