According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are around 41,230 insurance sales agents in the state of Texas. Are you interested in joining those ranks?
Selling insurance in the Lone Star State can be a profitable, rewarding, and exciting career choice. Whether you want to work for an insurance company or become an independent agent, you’ll have the opportunity to help others make some of the most important decisions of their lives.
However, before you can work in this field, you’ll need to complete a few steps. Today, we’re sharing how to become an insurance agent in Texas so you can know what to expect and start planning your path!
Step 1: Take a Course
The first step to working in insurance in Texas is to get your agent license. Yet, before you sit for the exam, you’ll need to fine-tune your industry knowledge, first.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) recommends that individuals complete a state-approved pre-licensing course prior to taking the insurance licensing exam. These courses are designed to be comprehensive in nature to help all students prepare as much as possible for the questions they’ll encounter.
Whether you’re planning to sell life insurance, Medicare insurance, final expense insurance, or any other service, this pre-requisite course is required. Referencing the latest exam pass/fail rates from the TDI.
According to this report, these were the passing rates for the three most common licenses in March 2023:
- Life, accident, and health: 56%
- Property and casualty: 58%
- Adjuster/all lines: 48%
These tests aren’t easy, and your pre-licensing course can help you expand your knowledge of the basics. You’re more likely to pass if you complete this program.
You can find an applicable course by searching online. Here are our tips for choosing the best course for you!
Step 2: Create an Account on PearsonVue
The TDI uses a vendor called PearsonVue to schedule its insurance licensing exams. The Department recommends going to the PearsonVue website and downloading the candidate handbook to learn about what to expect. That handbook is available here.
On the PearsonVue website, you will also find a ton of other valuable resources, such as:
- Exam outlines
- Exam scheduling information
- Contact information for electronic fingerprinting services
- An ESL (English as a second language) request form
On the right-hand side of the home page, you’ll see buttons to “Log In” and “Create Account.” Your first step is to create a web account on PearsonVue. Click that button and follow the easy prompts to set yours up.
As you walk through the sign-up steps, it’s important to use your legal name exactly as it appears on your government-issued ID. You also need to double-check and verify that all of your personal information is correct before moving forward.
The information that you enter on your account will match what’s provided to you after you complete the exam. It will also be on any reports that are issued to your insurance licensing agency. If you notice any errors after you submit the web account form, reach out to PearsonVue immediately to correct them.
Step 3: Choose How You’ll Take Your Exam
PearsonVue allows students in Texas to choose how they’ll take their insurance exam. If you’d rather not go into a designated testing center, you can opt to take the exam at home. If you go this route, you’ll work directly with a service called OnVUE Online Proctoring.
With online proctoring, you’ll connect your computer to a live monitor associated with PearsonVue. The monitor will watch you take the exam through a webcam on your workstation. This way, the agency can ensure a secure exam experience.
You can take the exam from your home office or at work. This is a convenient alternative that allows you to complete this step on your own time, without having to drive to a testing center. The TDI provides a quick video explaining how the online proctoring service works, which you can access here.
Step 4: Schedule Your Exam
Once you’ve created your account, you can schedule your insurance licensing exam through PearsonVue. In most cases, you can make your appointment up to one calendar day before the day you wish to take your test.
There are two ways to schedule your exam. These include:
- Calling PearsonVue Customer Service and setting it up over the phone
- Scheduling everything online
Note: The TDI does not require every prospective insurance agent to take the exam. In fact, there are three factors that could render you exempt from this requirement. You do not need to take the exam if the following apply to you:
- You hold a current license that has been expired for more than 90 days but less than one year
- You have been designated as a chartered life underwriter
- You don’t live in Texas, but you hold a current license in good standing in a reciprocal state
If you’re unsure about whether you need to take the exam, you can reach out to the TDI to clarify.
Step 5: Take the Exam
Once you’ve taken the pre-licensing course and signed up for your exam, you’re ready to take it! There will be an associated exam fee that you’ll be required to pay before you can start. This applies to both in-person and online licensing tests.
Note: If you are a U.S. military veteran, you can be reimbursed for all exam fees applied on or after February 1, 2019.
Take your time on the exam but make sure to answer all of the questions as thoroughly as you can. You should see a timer that informs you how much longer you have. This is when you’ll be glad you took the course beforehand!
Step 6: Complete a Fingerprint Background Check
Everyone who works as an insurance broker or agent in Texas must complete a fingerprint background check. The TDI requires you to set up this appointment through an organization called IdentoGO by IDEMIA.
You can do so by calling the number listed on the PearsonVue testing page. You can also schedule this appointment online by following the steps on this page. Once you complete this step, the TDI requires you to send them a copy of the IdentoGO receipt so they can verify that your fingerprints were sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Note: While most students who take the insurance licensing exam must complete this step, there are certain individuals who are not required to do a fingerprint background check. Exemptions are listed under the Texas Administrative Code.
Step 7: Complete an Agent or Agency Application
Once you’ve successfully completed your insurance licensing exam, you can apply for work. You can choose to become an independent insurance agent or apply to work with an established insurance agency.
There are different steps you’ll need to complete depending on which route you take. Let’s take a look at each one.
Applying For an Agent License
In most cases, you’ll need to complete your exam before you can apply with the TDI as an independent agent. If you want to apply before you pass the exam, you’ll need to complete these two steps:
- Submit a new application after passing the exam
- Re-pay the application fee
Note: You must complete and submit your application within one year of passing your licensing exam and completing your fingerprint background check.
When you’re ready to apply, there are two ways you can do so. These include:
- Apply via Sircon (insurance license management software)
- Apply via the National Insurance Producer Registry
The application fee to apply as an agent is $50. You must be able to pay that fee upon completion of your application.
Applying For an Agency License
If you want to apply for an agency license instead, the process is similar. Again, you can choose to register through Sircon or the National Insurance Producer Registry, and the application fee is $50.
However, there are more details you’ll need to provide for this step. On your agency application, you will need to list the following:
- The names of all executive officers, partners, or directors who administer the agency’s Texas-based operations
- The names of all parties and individuals responsible for controlling the agency’s operations
Note: To be applicable, at least one active partner or officer in the agency should have a general lines license with the same authority.
Applying for a Non-Resident License
If you are not a resident of Texas but still wish to sell insurance in this state, you’ll apply for a Non-Resident License. These application steps are the same as described above. You’ll apply through either Sircon or the National Insurance Producer Registry and pay a $50 application fee.
The only difference is that you’ll select the “Non-Resident License” section as you apply. Note: You must hold an active license in good standing in your home state to be eligible to apply.
Getting Your License Before Passing the Exam
In certain cases, prospective insurance agents might need to procure their licenses before they’ve officially passed the licensing exam. If this is the case, you may be able to apply for a temporary license permissible for general lines only.
This license will be good for 90 days, though you can apply for a 90-day extension if the deadline occurs and you still haven’t passed the exam. If you do pass your exam while your temporary exam period is still in session, you’ll simply use the regular license instead.
To go this route, you will first need to partner with a sponsor who already holds a current, active insurance license in Texas. You can apply for a temporary license only once, and it will not be renewed. Let’s take a look at a few details to know about getting a temporary insurance license in Texas.
Temporary License Fee
The fee to apply for a temporary insurance license is $150. While this is three times the cost of an official license, you do get more. This fee covers your temporary license as well as the application fee for your permanent license.
Are you currently working for an insurance agency that’s offering to help you secure your temporary license while you study for and take your official exam? If so, they must complete the Appointment Certification for a Temporary License on the Sircon website (Form FIN700).
By signing this form, the agency verifies that the following statements are true:
- They are considering appointing you as a full-time agent with their agency
- They are committing to supervising your insurance training
- They want you to secure your temporary insurance license
You will need to scan Form FIN700 and attach it to your application for a temporary license. You will complete all of these steps through the Sircon website.
Applicant Training Requirements
As part of your application for a temporary insurance license, you must show proof that you are actively working toward securing your permanent license. The TDI also wants to know that you’re learning about the industry from the agency you’re working with. The following steps are required as part of your training requirement:
- You must complete a minimum of 40 hours of training
- Your sponsor/appointing company must provide the training
- The training must occur by the 30th day after you deliver or mail your temporary license application, fee, and Form FIN700 to the TDI
If you want to exchange your temporary license for a permanent one, you’ll need to contact TDI and inform the agency that you’ve passed your exam. Note: If you don’t pass the exam within the 180-day temporary license term, you’re required to send in a new application and pay an additional fee.
How to Become an Insurance Agent in Texas: Start With Us
Now that you know how to become an insurance agent in Texas, are you ready to get started? Following the roadmap above can help you get there! In addition to studying before the exam, don’t forget to keep your knowledge fresh and relevant through continuing education courses and programs.
At Insurance Sales 101, we make insurance training as simple and accessible as possible. Our programs include expert content, digital tools, and other resources designed to help you and your team grow. Check out all of our options online, starting with our Insurance Advisor Elite Insurance Sales Training Program!