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Insurance Adjuster Certification and Training Programs

While some insurance adjusters learn on the job, others receive training through short college programs. Read on to learn about courses offered, licensing requirements and career information for insurance adjusters.

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Essential Information

There are two primary types of insurance adjusters: public and company adjusters. Public adjusters are independent agents hired by individuals to assess claims. Company adjusters work for an insurance company. Neither requires formal education, but employers prefer applicants to have either work experience or some postsecondary training. Beginning education courses to become an insurance adjuster are often available through a college or university continuing education or professional studies department. Topics may include legal issues, the adjusting process and insurance forms. Some of these courses are self-study programs and can be completed online.

While not required, adjusters may benefit from completing college programs related to the fields in which they specialize. An insurance adjuster working in claims of structural damage could find college training in engineering helpful, for example. Public adjusters may also wish to take business courses to prepare for self-employment.

Some states require licensing for all insurance adjusters through a competency exam, while others require this only for public adjusters. State government departments of insurance are a good resource for information on the state's requirements for licensure. Many adjusters seek optional professional certifications as well.

Education Prerequisites

Most insurance adjuster courses have no prerequisites for entry. Courses can last as little as a week and prepare students to sit for licensure examination. Unlike typical college classes, however, these courses may be scheduled for up to eight hours a day.

Program Coursework

Insurance adjuster certification and training programs are developed mainly to prepare candidates for a specific exam. Even though there are several specializations within the insurance industry, many of the educational programs cover the same or similar subjects. Some of these can include the following:

  • Fundamentals of legal doctrines
  • Principles of accounting and finance
  • Personal and commercial insurance forms
  • Introduction to the insurance adjustment process
  • Basics of underwriting

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that job growth for insurance claims adjusters from 2010-2020 was predicted to be about three percent, which is slower than the average for all jobs. The BLS reports that claims adjusters, examiners and investigators earned a mean yearly wage of $61,530 in May 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Licensing requirements for insurance adjusters vary by state. Some individuals may need to sit for a licensing exam after completing training, while others who work for a licensed insurance company may not need to be licensed themselves. Voluntary certification is also available.

The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters administers the exams to become either a Certified Professional Public Adjuster (CPPA) or a Senior Professional Public Adjuster (SPPA). Introductory courses in insurance basics, first-party property claims, the claim function and many more are offered by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. They also administer exams for more advanced candidates, such as an Associate in Claims (AIC), Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Accredited Advisor in Insurance (API).

Licensed insurance claims adjusters need to take continuing education courses in order to stay current on federal and state laws, new medical procedures, prescription drugs and court decisions about claims handling. The state in which a claims adjuster is licensed will often require a specific amount of continuing education courses each year to renew his or her license.

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