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What is the CLU® Designation?

A Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) is a financial professional with extensive knowledge of life insurance. In most states, a CLU® designation exempts you from pre-licensing education and underwriting certification requirements. This means a CLU® has obtained a level of life insurance expertise that exceeds basic life insurance underwriting requirements.

A CLU® certification gives advisors:

  • In-depth knowledge of life insurance underwriting concepts and life insurance law within the context of overall risk management
  • The necessary knowledge to help clients address their estate planning needs
  • An understanding of solutions addressing the life insurance underwriting needs of business owners and professionals

The College is re-imagining your CLU® experience. View the Program Delivery section for more details.


Why You Should Consider the CLU®

For nearly 100 years, the CLU® designation has been the top choice for insurance and financial professionals seeking knowledge on how to become an insurance underwriter and succeed in life insurance certification.

Through the eight-course CLU® program, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the practical, legal, and ethical aspects of life insurance underwriting and learn how to provide the best solutions to a modern and diverse clientele facing a range of risks and financial situations. The CLU® designation will not only expand the quality and breadth of the advice you’re able to give but will elevate your professional credentials as a certified underwriter and help advance your career.

Life insurance is a vital part of holistic financial planning for both individuals and small businesses. It’s also a lucrative field, where just one sale can pay for the entire CLU® designation. Whether you’re just launching your life insurance underwriting career or an established professional trying to learn how to become an insurance underwriter and offer more to your clients, earning the CLU® certification is an excellent choice.

The benefits of a sound estate plan can be applied to clients of any net worth. Download our guide to learn key strategies for success.

Learn More

What You’ll Learn

Centered on the complexities of life insurance underwriting for both individuals and small businesses, the CLU® certification provides expert-level education you can immediately apply. Courses cover everything from the fundamentals of life insurance certification to highly specialized knowledge, preparing you to offer the advice today’s clients need.

When you earn the CLU® designation, you’ll gain expertise in:

  • Providing guidance on types and amounts of life insurance
  • Advising on annuities
  • Helping clients handle issues of risk management, including risks associated with human capital, liabilities, property, and financial wealth in life insurance underwriting
  • Accounting for the legal aspects of life insurance underwriting, including issues pertaining to the basic principles of contract law, ownership rights, creditor rights, beneficiary designations, disposition of proceeds, and more
  • Guiding clients through decisions on estate planning, including advising on wills and trust arrangements
  • Advising small businesses on a range of issues including tax and legal aspects of organizing a business, succession planning, transferring a family business, lifetime disposition of a business interest, and more
  • Providing guidance in specialized areas of your choice in life insurance underwriting, with options including financial planning, income taxation, planning for retirement needs, investments, and working with people with disabilities and/or families caring for loved ones with special needs
  • Professionals seeking to launch their insurance careers by learning how to provide expert advice to individuals and small businesses with a life insurance certification
  • Financial professionals who hold the ChFC® and/or CFP® certification and want to enhance their careers by completing just three courses to earn the CLU® designation
  • Professionals in legal, banking, accounting, risk management, wealth management, estate planning, and other fields that deal with aspects of life insurance underwriting

Program Delivery

Designed for the working professional.

The eight-course CLU® certification program gives you the power to study at your own pace and tailor your education to your professional and lifestyle needs. Depending on where you are in the program, you’ll have access to a unique experience and improved course delivery as The College transitions to a re-imagined learning model.

Select CLU® courses are offered through the new Personal Pathway™ learning model, which combines best-in-practice concepts, rich multimedia, and state-of-the-art technology in a flexible, yet structured learning path with the tools you need to succeed, including:

  • Digital textbooks equipped with online note-taking and flashcard creation
  • Rich interactive lesson reviews and weekly live or on-demand webinars
  • Social engagement through discussion forums and news feeds
  • Expanded instructor support and office hours

All other courses follow our traditional self-study model with robust course materials and interactive elements, including:

  • Printed textbooks
  • Downloadable e-books for your iPad®, iPhone®, or Android devices.
  • Online discussions with your professor
  • Audio and visual reviews
  • Supplemental readings
  • Streaming video lectures
  • Pre-recorded webinars for required CLU® courses HS 323, HS 324, and HS 331

Personal Pathway™ courses open the first Thursday of every month. Enroll now for instant access to your digital textbook, syllabus and other learning resources.

View the course list below to see a complete list of Personal Pathway™ and traditional course offerings.

Read more about Personal Pathway™ and our Frequently Asked Questions​

Participation in the annual Professional Recertification Program (PRP) is required to maintain the designation.  For more information, see our Continuing Education (CE) FAQ and PRP pages.

Tuition & Fees

CLU® courses offered through Personal Pathway™ combine engaging live and self-study learning options for one flat tuition rate. Whether you prefer self-paced or structured, your tuition is the same.

Tuition covers all CLU® course fees following the traditional self-study model are all-inclusive, covering all required study materials, access to online learning tools, your examination, and shipping fees. Pre-recorded webinars for required CLU® courses HS 323, HS 324, and HS 331 are included at no additional charge.

Individual course: $850

Reduced Tuition Options

Save up to $1,600 with program packages.

  Tuition Package
3-Course Package $2,550 $2,260 $290
Full 8-Course Package $6,800 $5,199 $1,601


Annual participation in the Professional Recertification Program (PRP).


* Indicates courses available under the Personal Pathway™ learning model 

Required CLU® certification courses:

  • HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning*
  • HS 323 Individual Life Insurance
  • HS 324 Life Insurance Law
  • HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning*
  • HS 331 Planning for Business Owners and Professionals

Elective courses (must choose three):

  • HS 300 Financial Planning: Process and Environment*
  • HS 321 Income Taxation*
  • HS 326 Planning for Retirement Needs*
  • HS 328 Investments*
  • HS 375 Introduction to Disability and Lifetime Planning
  • HS 376 Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families

Required courses:

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning:
This course focuses on the role of planning for risk management needs. The topics covered include:

  • Fundamental principles of risk management
  • Principles of insurance
  • Human capital risk
  • Liability risk
  • Property risk
  • Financial wealth risk

HS 323 Individual Life Insurance:
Focuses on life insurance policies and annuities available for the personal needs of individuals and their use in financial planning. Covers individual insurance products, insurance reserves regulation, and the organization, operations, and investments of insurance companies.

HS 324 Life Insurance Law:
Examines legal rights and obligations of the policy owner and the insurance company, the way disputes between the insured and insurers are resolved and general principles of the judicial process. Covers legal aspects of life insurance, including basic principles of contract law; policy provisions and the incontestable clause; assignments, ownership rights and creditor rights; beneficiary designations and disposition of proceeds; the law of agency; and advertising and privacy issues.

HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning:
This course provides a basic understanding of the estate and gift tax system, including strategies of estate planning. Covers various aspects of estate and gift tax planning, including:

  • Nature, valuation transfer, administration, and taxation of property
  • Gratuitous transfers of property outright or with trusts, wills and powers of appointment
  • Use of the marital deduction
  • Valuation of assets
  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Client interview/fact finding
  • Ethical standards
  • Development of personal estate plans

HS 331 Planning for Business Owners and Professionals:
Focuses on tax and legal aspects of organizing a business; compensation planning for the business owner; business succession planning; buy-sell agreements; estate planning and estate freezing techniques; methods for transferring a family business; lifetime disposition of a business interest.

Elective courses (choose three)
HS 300 Financial Planning: Process and Environment:
This course provides an overview of the financial planning process, including the role and responsibilities of a financial planner along with analytical tools to aid in financial decision-making. Topics include:

  • Communication techniques
  • Ethics
  • Education planning and funding
  • Time-value-of-money concepts
  • Financial planning applications
  • Regulatory issues
  • Legal and economic environment for financial planning

HS 321 Income Taxation:
The course examines the federal income tax system with particular reference to the taxation of individuals.
Concepts covered include:

  • Gross income, exclusions from gross income
  • Deductions
  • Tax credits
  • Capital gains and losses
  • Taxation of life insurance
  • Taxation of annuities
  • Entity taxation of partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and proprietorships

HS 326 Planning for Retirement Needs:
This course focuses on selecting the right retirement plan for the business and on individual retirement planning. Covers:

  • Qualified plans, SEPs, SIMPLEs and 403(b) plans
  • Nonqualified deferred compensation plans
  • Practical knowledge needed for choosing the best retirement plan, especially for the small business, and designing a plan that will meet a client’s needs
  • Individual retirement planning including IRAs and Roth IRAs, Social Security benefits, saving for retirement and planning for retirement plan distributions

HS 328 Investments:
This course covers various aspects of the principles of investments and their application to financial planning. Topics include:

  • Risk analysis, risk and return computations
  • Risk reduction through diversification
  • Expected returns of various investments
  • Nature of securities markets and investment companies
  • Tax issues in investing
  • Issues in the practice of portfolio management
  • Examples of ethical and practical investment considerations

HS 375 Introduction to Disability and Lifetime Planning:
This course introduces students to the field of disability and provides an orientation to working with individuals with disabilities and their families. It covers philosophical approaches, legislation, special education policies and procedure, disability etiquette, and how to work collaboratively with families. Students will learn the categories of disabilities such as emotional and behavioral challenges, sensory impairments, autism, and learning disabilities. Special attention is given to the planning requirements for transition of a child with disabilities into adulthood, when many educational programs and financial supports are no longer available. It also provides videotaped interviews with families in their home settings, providing powerful testimonies to the families’ determination to assist their children to become fully integrated into society and to reach their full potential.

HS 376 Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families:
This course covers unique legal techniques and tools that apply to special needs planning. Of particular importance are special needs trusts, wills, powers-of-attorney, and guardianships. The applicable issues surrounding Social Security and Medicaid are covered. In addition, special income tax topics enable financial advisors to understand and identify tax deductions and/or credits that may be available to families with special needs. It addresses some unique aspects of the medical expense deduction, the child and dependent care credit, the adoption credit, and the dependency exemption rules for families of individuals with special needs. The student will examine some potential alternative minimum tax traps that may affect many of these families. This course builds upon Introduction to Disability (HS 375) by providing the detailed legal and financial considerations crucial to the special needs environment.

To receive a Huebner School designation (including ChFC®, CLF®, CLU®, RICP®, and WMCP®), you must successfully complete all courses in your selected program, meet experience requirements and ethics standards, and agree to comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures. 


Three years of full-time business experience is required for all Huebner School designations. The three-year period must be within the five years preceding the date of the award. An undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited educational institution qualifies as one year of business experience. Part-time qualifying business experience is credited toward the three-year requirement on an hourly basis, with 2,000 hours representing the equivalent of one year full-time experience. The following activities meet the required business experience qualifications included in the certification process.

       Insurance and health care

  • Field underwriting and management, including sales and service activities, supervision and management of persons involved in sales or services, or staff support of persons in these activities.
  • Company management and operations in positions involving substantial responsibility.

       Financial services and employee benefits

  • Client service and related management, including direct contact with clients, supervision and management of persons involved directly in the process of providing financial services or employee benefits, or staff support of persons in these activities.
  • Financial institution management and operations in positions involving substantial responsibility.


  • University or college teaching of subjects related to the Huebner School curriculum on a full-time basis at an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Government regulatory service in a responsible administrative, supervisory, or operational capacity.
  • Activities directly or indirectly related to the protection, accumulation, conservation, or distribution of the economic value of human life; these include the work of actuaries, attorneys, CPAs, investment advisers, real estate investment advisers, stockbrokers, trust officers, or persons in other similar occupations.

See the Student Resources and Policies page for comprehensive details on refund policies, learning policies, recertification information, and more.

Because the CLU® certification shares common courses with the ChFC® and CFP® designations, you have the option to work towards multiple designations at once. View this chart to see how these courses overlap — and how you can earn multiple designations faster.

Program Faculty

Mark McLennon, Adjunct Professor of Business Planning
Mark McLennon

Adjunct Professor of Business Planning

Professor Sophia Duffy, Associate Dean
Sophia Duffy

Associate Vice President of Curriculum Quality

Associate Professor of Business Planning


Mary Houser
Mary A. Houser

Educational Consultant

Kelsey LeFavour, Adjunct Professor of Special Needs Planning
Kelsey LeFevour

Adjunct Professor of Special Needs Planning

Lesley Mehalick, Adjunct Professor at The American College
Lesley Mehalick

Adjunct Professor of Taxation and Special Needs Planning

Ross Riskin
Ross A. Riskin

Associate Vice President of Academic Strategy

Associate Professor of Taxation

ChFC® Education Program Director

Professor Kevin Lynch
Kevin M. Lynch

Instructor of Insurance

Clark/Bardes Endowed Chair in Retirement Planning and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation

David Pierce, Adjunct Professor
David F. Pierce

Assistant Professor of Insurance

CLU® Program Director

Professor Ted Kurlowicz
Theodore T. Kurlowicz

Professor Emeritus of Taxation