Workers Compensation Training and Certification Programs

Workers compensation professionals, including claims adjusters and examiners, monitor workers compensation claims processes. Claims adjusters examine a claim's validity and accuracy, interview claimants and human resources members, negotiate claim settlements, communicate with insurance agencies and write claim reports. Workers compensation claim adjusters typically have a bachelor's degree and state licensure.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

Workers compensation professionals can train by enrolling in undergraduate degree programs. Common majors include human resources management and business administration, though many degrees can lead to a career in workers compensation services.

Workers compensation professionals should be organized and able to oversee complex claims processes. They should be able to identify fraudulent claims activity sources. Good communication skills are needed to interview claimants and continually speak with insurance agents and human resources professionals. Senior claims adjuster positions may have supervisory responsibilities, so claims adjusters should be able to designate responsibilities to other workers when necessary.

Formal Education

A bachelor's degree is required by most employers. Because workers compensation professionals are employed by a variety of employers, there is no standard bachelor's degree program. For example, claims adjusters in the medical field may benefit from health care degrees, while other workers compensation professionals may be better prepared with finance or business administration degrees. Human resources management bachelor's degree programs introduce students to general workers compensation, insurance and related concepts.

Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management

Human resources management bachelor's degree programs teach students how human resources departments operate, from finding and hiring employees to reviewing benefits and compensation packages. Students learn how businesses manage employee relations and overall productivity. Programs require four years to complete and tend to include courses in:

  • Organizational communication
  • Foundations of human resources
  • Business management and leadership
  • Compensation and benefits management
  • Employee recruitment and assessment
  • Human resources management legal aspects

Job Experience

Prospects are best for workers compensation claims adjusters with 3-6 years of experience. Entry-level opportunities are available, and some employers may offer on-the-job training programs, though employees are expected to be familiar with a state's workers compensation laws prior to employment. Some claims adjustors begin their careers in other fields, and with experience, make the transition to workers compensation services.

Licenses and Certifications

Most states require workers compensation claims adjusters to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary widely by state, but most states require claims adjusters to have a combination of formal training and experience. For example, claims adjusters in California must have 120 hours of classroom instruction, though medical-only claim adjusters need just 50 hours of classroom training. Licensure is granted, in most states, by insurance or workforce development agencies.

The Insurance Education Agency (IEA) offers certification courses for workers compensation professionals. Certification is voluntary, but it may be preferred by employers. The IEA offers specialized certification programs for adjusters in California, Arizona and Nevada. These programs teach claims adjusters specific laws that are only applicable to those states. Additional workers compensation courses cover broad aspects of the industry, including workers compensation quality assurance concepts, medical terminology in claims, disability management, underwriting and marketing and coordinating workers compensation claims. Claims adjusters can enroll in self-study online or instructor-led courses.

Workshops and Seminars

Training workshops may be offered by government agencies and universities. Universities may offer workshops in conjunction with business administration, management or human resources programs. Insurance or workforce development government agencies may provide training workshops leading to state licensure. These training workshops cover legal aspects of claims adjustment, proper workers compensation practices and accurate claims assessment.

Additional Professional Development

Workers compensation professionals can find career advancement information through local or regional workers compensation associations. Most states or regions have associations that provide networking, continuing education and legal information for claims adjusters. For example, adjusters in Northern California can become members of the Association of Workers Compensation Professionals (AWCP), while those in the southern United States can seek Southern Association of Workers Compensation Administrators (SAWCA) membership.

In addition to certification courses, the IEA offers continuing education and advancement training opportunities with textbooks, guides and advanced training programs. Continuing education credits are available for disability management, workers compensation and case management professionals.

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