Insurance Designations & Continuing Education

As you begin your career in insurance, you can create long-term success in this industry. There is no ceiling regarding options for the growth and development of your insurance career! Whether you’re new to the insurance industry or a seasoned professional doesn’t matter. Learning never stops, and there is a lot to learn!

Every State has continuing education requirements that you must meet to maintain your license. Choosing the right insurance training programs will allow you to obtain high-level insurance knowledge that increases your value to the agency and your clients.

When evaluating all the possibilities available for continuing education, you will find that the insurance industry offers agents the option to expand their knowledge with in-person events, webinars, and online classes to earn their professional designations.

So, what are insurance designations? Insurance designation shows the completion of education in a specific area of advanced knowledge, which requires the completion of insurance courses and certification exams. Courses cover diverse topics with varying degrees of difficulty, from introductory intermediate, and advanced. There are many options available for obtaining a professional designation.

With this information, the question now is; “What insurance designation should I get?

Whether you are an Owner, Producer, CSR, or have an employee, you may wish to take classes for an advanced designation. Whether your building your insurance knowledge or advancing your career path, we have class options for you!

The National Alliance offers designations you can sign up for online. They also offer yearly online subscription memberships that provide flexibility with education and are a straightforward way to earn CE, complete annual updates, and earn designations quickly.

Below are some of the most common designations, dig in and look at what will benefit you and your agency team.

CISR – Certified Insurance Service Representative: The CISR program by The National Alliance is for individuals with roles focused on servicing the day-to-day needs of clients. Customer service roles are enhanced by the knowledge and skills needed to advise and build stronger client relationships. CISR requires the completion of 5 out of 9 classes with a multiple-choice exam at the end of each. Optional courses of this program include Agency Operation, Commercial Casualty I and II, Elements of Risk, Commercial Property, Personal Auto Exposures, and Insurance Personal Residential.

*CISR designees can also earn their CISR Elite designation by completing all nine courses listed above.

For more information on the CISR Insurance Designation, click here.

CIC – Certified Insurance Counselor: The CIC coursework by The National Alliance is more in-depth and advanced than that of the CISR course. The CIC program offers diverse topics, allowing agents who pursue this designation to expand their knowledge in several areas.

CIC requires the completion of 5 courses and exams to earn the CIC designation. Each class includes 16 hours of instruction and a 2-hour essay exam after the class. Optional courses for this designation include Agency Management, Commercial Casualty, Commercial Multiline, Commercial Property, Insurance Company Operations, Life & Health, and Personal Lines.

To learn more about the CIC Insurance Designation, click here.

CRM – Certified Risk Manager: The CRM designation is another program The National Alliance offers. CRM classes help agents build expertise and become more proficient in the five steps of risk management. Coursework primarily focuses on analyzing, financing, controlling, identifying, and managing client risk. Courses include Analysis of Risk, Control of Risk, Financing of Risk, Practice of Risk Management, and Principles of Risk Management. Each class provides 16 hours of instruction with an exam at the conclusion. The CRM designation is earned after completing the five courses and exams. For additional details on the CRM Insurance Designation, click here.

CPRM- Certified Personal Risk Manager: The CPRM Top agents, brokers, and insurance companies working with high-net-worth clients recognize the Certified Personal Risk Manager Program (CPRM) as the leading designation for professionals providing this clientele with insurance and risk management services.​ Courses include Evaluating & Protecting the Lifestyle, Personal Client Risk Management, Practical Application of Personal Risk Management, Understanding Coverage Differences, and Winning the Business: The Art of Presentation.

In-Person Classroom: Each course is two days of instruction, followed by an optional 2-hour exam- passing the exam is required to earn the designation.

Instructor-Led Online: Hours of Webinars, delivered over 2-4 Weeks. Take the five CPRM courses and pass the corresponding exams within five calendar years after you pass your first CPRM exam. All webinars are held in Central Standard Time and extended study period for exam-takers. For additional details on the CPRM Insurance Designation, click here.

Sign up online and begin the course classes after selecting your designation.

Once you have completed all classes, quizzes, and compliance items, you’ll be ready to move on to the final exam.

The National Alliance has Transformative Learning Resources for Risk Management and Insurance Professionals

150k+ Professionals use the programs to build successful careers.

97% Of participants that say they improved their job performance.

90%  Of first-time participants attend future programs.

800+ Programs every year, conducted nationwide.

50+  Years of providing quality RMI professional education.

Working towards earning your designation

Below is all the info you need on how the exam will work. Of course, you can always contact the OIA Professional Development team with any additional questions!

Your exam will be accessed through The National Alliance’s Learning Management System (LMS). The exam window will open up the following week after the program. The window will be available from 12:01 am CST that following Monday through 11:59 pm CST on Thursday. The National Alliance customer support closes at 6 pm CST. Please be advised that anyone testing after 6 pm on the last day of the exam window will not have support available.

You will access the online exam via your account at . You will be taken to your home screen or landing page once you log in via The National Alliance website, To access your online exam from that home page, please refer to the top right-hand portion of the screen, which shows a blue button that says Launch Learning Portal.

 Exam Proctoring

All online exams require a proctor. For someone to serve as your proctor, they must meet the definition of a disinterested third party as defined below:

A disinterested third party has no direct business or family relationship with you. For example, an agency principal, a supervisor, a subordinate, a friend, or a family member would NOT qualify as a disinterested third party.

Disinterested third-party proctors are available in many locations. The quickest way to locate a proctor in your area is to conduct a Google search for “approved proctors near me.” Some examples of a disinterested third party are a coworker who exclusively works in a training/HR role or a local proctoring facility/testing center. Many libraries and colleges also offer proctoring services.

The National Alliance allows Monitor EDU as a virtual proctoring option. You can learn more and access their service at at any time. You do not have to have an appointment. After you pay the small service fee, you may connect to a proctor on demand.

As a student, you should only launch your exam with a proctor present. The time will begin, and you will lose your exam attempt if your proctor is absent. For more information and to watch instructional videos, please visit

Click on the link to view the detailed bullet points below:

  • Submitting your Proctor for Approval
  • Accessing the Exam
  • The Exam – Step-By-Step

The National Alliance How to Keep Your Designation

After earning the designation, you must meet an annual update requirement. You can select from the online lists provided under each designation and the classes that will satisfy your yearly update in the classroom or online. Please note that online, self-paced courses require the completion of all quizzes and review tests and satisfy your annual update for two years.

An insurance career provides endless opportunities for advancement. Whether you earn one or multiple designations, the effort demonstrates your commitment to your profession. It will allow you to continue reaping the benefits of a long-term, rewarding career in insurance.

For those who have worked and earned these designations and are approaching retirement, two status programs allow you to retain your designations.

Emeritus Status

The status is available to all those that hold the designation who are ready to retire but have yet to prepare to give up the designation for which they worked so diligently and maintained for so many years. Emeritus status is maintained with annual dues payment; no yearly update is required.

Tenured Status

They recognize their many milestones and achievements in their successful careers. The CISR Board of Governors initiated to include the Tenured CISR status in 2023. Significant educational accomplishments and a record of maintaining your designation have broadened each individual’s knowledge base. This special recognition of tenure has been granted to those who have met the following criteria.

Staying compliant with your Continuing Education in your State

Where can I find how many hours and what type of CE credits a course is approved for in a specific state?

You can view the hours and type of CE credits in our Course Schedule

Step 1: Navigate to the Course Schedule.

Step 2: Select your State from the CE Credit by State drop-down list.

Step 3: Select other course filters to narrow down your search.

Step 4: On each course, you will see the type of credits and hours next to CE Hours.

You can also check your completed CE on the Ohio Department of Insurance website. 

Ohio Requirements for Agents who hold a Property, Casualty, Personal Lines, Accident & Health, Life or Variable Product License

  • Persons holding one or more of the above lines of authority are required to complete 24 hours of approved continuing education, 3 of which must be approved as ethics specific, prior to renewing their license.

Find CE requirements for Ohio resident agents.

  • On the Ohio Department of Insurance website, go to the Agent & Agencies page, click Agent Education, then Continuing Education in the Resources section.

 Education (CE) Transcripts

  • The department provides online information for Ohio education transcripts and credits. You will need your license number and SSN to obtain your transcript. Click HEREto view your continuing education transcript.

A lot of work can be involved in earning a professional insurance designation. However, it will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and help you build your confidence and credibility as an insurance professional.

“Have lots of mentors,” one agent wrote. “Learn from everyone around you in this industry. Always be a sponge; soak up the information around you.”

Investing in your development is critical to your ongoing success as you build your career in the insurance industry. Designations send an important message regarding your dedication and the care and account service you provide your clients.

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) has an online learning portal and provides access to education and training classes. Multiple series on trending topics in the industry, E&O, Cyber, Agency Operation & Management, Hiring & Training, and much more. OIA Director of Professional Development Ashley Fitzsimmons and Professional Development Coordinator Joshua Moore have lined up some of the industry’s experts and speakers. Sharing some of the new technology trends and integration tools. Be sure to check out the Webinar Wednesday classes too!

Contact OIA Director of Professional Development Ashley Fitzsimmons at or Professional Development Coordinator Joshua Moore or call 800-555-1742 | 614-552-800 for additional information on education classes and custom classes that will fit your agency needs.

An insurance career provides endless opportunities for advancement. Whether you earn one or multiple designations, the effort demonstrates your commitment to your profession.


Cited Resources

National Alliance

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