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An underwriter is a professional who works in industries such as banking and insurance and who specializes in researching risk associated with potential clients and borrowers. For example, a health insurance underwriter might research the financial stability and medical records of a client to decide whether a potential insured is eligible for coverage and to determine what premiums a client might pay if approved. Professionals in this field tend to have aptitudes in finance, critical thinking, and computer usage. To choose the best underwriter training, it is beneficial to consider the potential to earn a degree in a field such as finance or business law. It also is beneficial to pursue training opportunities that can give you experience in the field of your choice.
In most area, no degree or certification is required by law for an underwriter to practice. Most individuals in this field, however, have undergone underwriter training that has allowed them to earn undergraduate degrees in fields such as finance or accounting. A graduate degree is not necessary to become an underwriter, though having a master's degree or law degree can make you a more appealing candidate to employers.
Factors that often impact an individual's choice of underwriter training programs are reputation of a program and available funding. Many employers, especially in competitive job markets, prefer to hire applicants who received business education at an educational institution that is highly ranked. College education can be expensive, so many students choose programs that offer grants and scholarships that cover all or part of tuition.
Underwriters come from a number of different education backgrounds. If you studied history, for example, it is still possible to become an underwriter. It can be helpful, however, to take courses in finance or accounting to prove to employers that you received practical underwriter training.
Most underwriters use computer software to analyze clients' financial histories and determine risk. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable using complex programs that may include generating spreadsheets and charts. Most business programs offer courses in which students can learn about financial software.
Experience in a particular field can serve as valuable underwriter training. If you are interested in working in a bank where you can serve as an underwriter for clients who are interested in taking out loans, you might want to consider an internship at a relevant financial institution. This experience can provide you firsthand knowledge regarding real world practices. Many college and university business programs work with local businesses to set up students in internships. This can be a great way to get a foot in the door.
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