Degree or Certification: Which is for You?

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There are a wide variety of insurance careers available with various levels of experience and education required. If you’re considering a career in insurance, you may wonder what steps you can take to help you excel in your career choice.

Should you get a degree or a certification? We take a close look at both paths to provide insight into which option may be the best route for you!

Certifications
A certification is a formal accreditation that proves a certain level of skill or knowledge has been obtained by the recipient. Having a certification tells a potential employer you have taken a step to learn a skill or b qualified to perform a certain job. Certifications can be earned through programs at community colleges, as well as through accredited insurance industry resources, and many certifications can be completed online.

Certifications do not require years of schooling. They are flexible allowing you to remain in the workforce or enter the workforce immediately upon completion. Certificate programs are a great fit for busy adults who want to change their career or develop a new skill. They are also ideal for recent high school graduates looking to hit the ground running in a certain insurance career without the time and cost of a four year degree program that may not necessarily be required for their role.

In Ohio, there are a number of insurance certificate programs available. The American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters offers a variety of professional designations and certificates (administered by The Institutes). Clark State Community College offers a Property Insurance Claims Short-Term Technical Certificate that helps students develop the skills needed for employment in the property-claims industry. Columbus State Community College offers a Foundations of Insurance Certificate that is designed to get students into entry-level positions in central Ohio's thriving insurance industry.

Degrees
A degree is a formal statement of accomplishment earned by completing classes for credit in a two or four year degree program from a higher learning institution. Degrees include education of a variety of required topics, as well as more in depth education on a specific major chosen. This extensive learning in a degree program provides graduates with a well-rounded scope of general knowledge as well as deeper knowledge in their chosen area of study.

Degrees are normally geared toward recent high school graduates. However, many colleges and universities do offer completely or partially online programs to cater to the nontraditional student. With a two to four year time commitment, the degree programs do offer more diverse and in depth educational opportunities and may prepare students for some insurance careers that require a degree.

There are currently 12 Ohio colleges and universities offering insurance degree programs. If a two or four year degree sounds like the best option for you, there is likely a great fit for you and your needs among the many schools offering programs.

To help plan your path, consider checking out our career survey to see what insurance career may be a good fit for you. Then, check out the coordinating career pathway and see what certifications or degrees may best help you excel in your chosen career path!

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