Insurance agents, like people in many industries, need to take continuing education courses to stay up to date on new laws and challenges in the insurance industry. Much of the time the continuing education can be done at conferences or special retreats, but online classes are growing in popularity as well. However, there are some issues created by online education that aren't present with in-person education, and there are also some issues with in-person education that online education doesn't have. Depending on your situation and your needs, though, online education could be a better choice.
Online education lets you complete the classes on your own time, stopping and starting as needed to suit your life. You don't have to travel anywhere, either, so if childcare or other life issues prevent you from traveling to conferences, the online option is an excellent choice.
However, the online options can take longer to complete just because you're not spending whole days studying the information. The classes aren't always set up so that you can complete them at home during one weekend, so you have to be prepared to spend time across several days to complete the training. If time matters more to you than being able to learn at home, an in-person course may be better.
If you're already going to a convention, taking an in-person continuing education seminar there is the easiest and possibly cheapest way. But if you're not going to a convention and don't live near schools that offer the education in person, online education is a better deal financially. The lack of travel and the need for few materials outside of what's sent from the online education company keep costs down.
In-person education offers the ability to network with other insurance professionals. This can help you if you need to move to another part of the country or decide you want to team up with other agents in a combined office. Online education doesn't always offer that. If you're not concerned about networking, any type of education setting will do. If you want to make connections, though, go for in-person classes or look for an online program that offers a forum or other ways to connect with other agents.
Talk to the schools and programs and to planners at conventions about how the education is arranged and how long it will take. You should be able to find a path that suits your needs well. Also remember that you can do a combination of education programs, completing some courses in person and others online if that's something you'd like to investigate. Talk to companies such as BMF Continuing Education for more information.