How to Get an Insurance License in Pennsylvania

Written by: Will Bond

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How to Get an Insurance License in Pennsylvania

If you’re thinking about becoming an insurance agent in Pennsylvania, the first step you’ll need to take in order to kickstart your career is to obtain a Pennsylvania insurance license.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to become an insurance agent in Pennsylvania, as well as what to do once you get licensed.

Tip: Doing a pre-licensing education course dramatically increases your chance of passing your exam on your first attempt, which can end up saving you both time and money in the long run.

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Pennsylvania Insurance License

In order to get your Pennsylvania insurance license, you’ll need to complete the following five steps:

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  3. Pass the Relevant Pennsylvania Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. Complete a Fingerprint and Background Check
  5. Submit Your Insurance License Application

Below we have explored each step in more detail.

Step 1: Decide Which Insurance Licenses You Need

The first step will be deciding what type of insurance policies you’ll want to sell — at least at the start of your career.

This is because the type of insurance policies you’re hoping to sell will dictate the type of license you’ll need. For example, you’d need a Property & Casualty (P&C) license to be able to sell auto, home, or business insurance.

Here’s a list of all the different types of insurance agent licenses that are available in the state of Pennsylvania:

  • Life & Fixed Annuities
  • Accident & Health
  • Variable Life/Variable Annuity
  • Property & Allied Lines
  • Casualty & Allied Lines
  • Personal Lines
  • Property & Casualty

While there are a large number of different licenses to choose from, the vast majority of insurance agents will either obtain a Property and Casualty (P&C) or Life and Health license.

In fact, many agents actually opt to go for both of these licenses as it allows them to offer clients a much wider range of the most common insurance products.

However, if you already know you want to specialize in one particular type of policy, you’ll of course only have to focus on the specific license that’s relevant to this insurance type.

It’s worth noting at this point that if you’re looking to work as an insurance adjuster, you may want to obtain a DHS license instead — which you can find more information about in our Pennsylvania Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a Pennsylvania Pre-Licensing Education Course

The next step you’ll want to take toward becoming a licensed insurance agent in Pennsylvania is completing a pre-licensing education course.

Regardless of the insurance line you’re applying for, the pre-licensing education course you choose must contain a minimum of 24 credit hours in order to satisfy this requirement.

Make sure to keep hold of the course completion certificate that the academic provider will issue you after successfully finishing this course, as you’ll need it later on to be able to sit the insurance exam.

Note: Due to the sheer number of pre-licensing education courses available, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when deciding which one is right for you. To avoid this, we typically recommend making a decision based on the following factors:

  • The course’s flexibility (e.g., does it allow flexible learning, does it require completing within a short time-window, etc.)
  • The course’s price: This one is obvious; our only tip here is to not go too low, as from our experience you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to these
  • The course’s reputation: How reliable is each provider? The last thing you want is insufficient and/or incomplete resources before your exam

Recommended

Doing a pre-licensing education course dramatically increases your chance of passing your exam on your first attempt, which can end up saving you both time and money in the long run. For pre-licensing education, StateRequirement recommends:

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If you want more information before getting started, you can also have a look at our in-depth overview of the five best pre-license education courses in 2024.

Step 3: Pass the Relevant Pennsylvania Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant Pennsylvania insurance license exam.

We say “relevant” because this will depend on the line you wish to specialize in; for example, if you’re planning to work as an Accident and Health Producer, you’ll need to pass the Accident and Health Insurance exam — which has 100 questions and lasts 120 minutes.

In Pennsylvania, all insurance exams are multiple-choice and administered by PSI, though they can cost differing amounts depending on the insurance lines involved. Generally, “single line” exams such as Life or Accident & Health will cost $43, while “joint line” exams such as Life, Accident & Health or Property and Casualty will cost $53.

To schedule your insurance exam, you’ll need to head over to PSI’s website or contact them over the phone at (888) 818-5822. Once this is done, you’ll need to remember to bring a copy of your Certificate of Completion and valid ID with you to the testing center, or show copies of these to an exam proctor if you’re taking the test remotely.

Keep in mind that you can sit for more than one exam at a time (e.g., if you want to apply for both a P&C and a life and health insurance license).

Even so, we recommend avoiding this route; this is because passing your exam is hard enough as is, and there is arguably little to gain and a lot to lose with the added risk of confusing separate line material.

We found that the best approach is to study for one at a time, averaging between two to six weeks of study time per exam — depending on whether you are studying full time or part-time, as well as on how comfortable you are at taking proctored exams.

In order to pass your insurance exam, you’ll be required to obtain at least 70% overall, though there is no limit on the number of attempts you can have at the exam if you fail.

For more information, you can have a look at our Pennsylvania Insurance License Exam guide.

Step 4: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

The next step you’ll need to take toward obtaining your insurance producer license is to submit a set of your fingerprints to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department — which is usually done in conjunction with filing an application for a new resident insurance producer license.

This process, which is completed via Live Scan at an IdentoGO enrollment center, costs $27.75 and allows the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to obtain a national criminal history background check from the FBI to confirm you meet the state’s insurance agent requirements.

Before arriving at a fingerprinting site, you must register with IdentoGO, which can be done online through the IdentoGO website or by calling 844-321-2101. When registering online, be sure to use the correct service code 1KGBGJ — this is essential as it allows the fingerprinting agency to correctly process your background report. Your check will not be valid without it.

Registration for a fingerprinting appointment should be completed after you’ve passed the relevant exam for the insurance line you’re applying for. If you choose to submit your fingerprints before this, they won’t be accepted and you’ll be required to resubmit them and repay the fingerprinting fee at a later date.

Once you’ve successfully completed your registration with IdentoGO, you’ll be given a registration number that you must take with you to your scheduled fingerprinting appointment.

Note: Any misdemeanors or felonies may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. If you’re worried about this, you can contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department by phone or email for more guidance on this topic.

Step 5: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license. In Pennsylvania, applications are submitted online through Sircon or the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR), and can either be completed from your computer at home, or the testing center after passing your insurance exam.

For most insurance producer licenses it will cost $55 to submit a license application, though prospective Resident Surplus Lines Producers will have to pay an application fee of $200 instead.

Be aware that if you’ve passed the licensing exams for multiple lines of authority, you’ll be required to submit an application (and pay a filing fee) for each of them.

Note: On top of all the fees mentioned above, you’ll also be charged an online service fee of around $12.50, though this can vary slightly.

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department all that’s left to do is wait.

If everything on your application has been filled out correctly, your license should be issued within a few weeks — which is the amount of time it typically takes for a license application and background check to be reviewed.

It’s important to be aware that the issuance of your insurance license can take a bit longer than this if there are any items from your background check that need to be looked over. However, the state will likely get in touch with you to give some context if they run into any issues.

In any case, the state will send you an email regarding the status of your license once you’ll be able to print your license, so keep an eye out for that!

Note: While waiting to hear back regarding your license, you can check the status of your application on the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s website.

Pro tip: Doing a pre-licensing education course dramatically increases your chance of passing your exam on your first attempt, which can end up saving you both time and money in the long run.

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After Getting Your Pennsylvania Insurance License

Once you’ve passed all your exams and your licensing application has been approved, you’ll be a qualified insurance agent in Pennsylvania.

At this point, there are four main steps that we recommend new insurance agents to take:

  1. Obtain Any Relevant Securities Licenses: If you’re planning on selling advanced life insurance products, you’ll need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and obtain the relevant securities licenses (e.g., Series 6, 7, and 63).
  2. Choose a Means of Selling: You’ll have to decide whether you’d prefer working as a captive agent employed by one company, or running your own business as an independent agent.
  3. Develop Your Marketing Approach: To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need to adopt a marketing approach that’s effective for you. Finding and sticking to a niche, as well organizing all client appointments for the start of your week, are two great ways to do this.
  4. Keep Your License Valid: In Pennsylvania, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years by the expiry date of your insurance license. Keep an eye out for a renewal notice, which should be sent around 60 days before your license is due to expire.

For a more in-depth look at each one of these steps, check out our Steps After Getting Your Insurance License guide.

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Contact Information

Mailing Address:
1326 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Phone: (717) 787-3840

Fax: (717) 783-9326

Email: ra-in-producer@pa.gov

Website: https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Licensees/Pages/default.aspx

License Search: Pennsylvania Insurance License Search and Lookup

Pennsylvania Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Pennsylvania?

Yes, Pennsylvania insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing 24 credit hours of continuing education and paying a $55 renewal fee. If you decide you don’t want to renew your license, you won’t be able to just let it lapse. Instead, you’ll need to obtain a clearance letter or surrender your license.

How long does it take to get an insurance license in Pennsylvania?

The time it takes to obtain an insurance license in Pennsylvania varies depending on several factors, including the type of license you want and how long you take to prepare. Once you submit your application to the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, it will typically be processed within several weeks.

How much does the Pennsylvania insurance license cost?

In Pennsylvania, you’ll need to pay a $55 state insurance exam fee to submit an insurance licensing application to the PA Insurance Department as well as pay $27.75 in order to request a background check. However, the total cost of obtaining your insurance license will also include the cost of the insurance exam for your insurance line as well as your pre-licensing education course — both of which can vary.

Is the Pennsylvania insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of the Pennsylvania final exam for insurance resident licensing will ultimately depend on how well you prepare, the insurance lines you select (e.g., the life and health exam), and your knowledge of the material. For more exam information, plus guidance on how to pass on your first attempt, check out our Pennsylvania Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in Pennsylvania?

After choosing your line of authority and meeting the relevant examination requirements, you’ll need to request a background check and submit your license application. Applicants will also be required to complete pre pre-licensing education course as well, though this will not apply to the following classes of applicants: a business entity, a Chartered Life Underwriter, a Property and Casualty Underwriter, and a Insurance Producers, among others.

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