Should I Earn a Risk Management Degree?

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A risk management degree is a type of academic degree awarded to students who have completed a postsecondary degree program with an emphasis on risk management. Risk management degrees can be obtained from a college, university, or business school.

Types of Risk Management Degrees

There are four basic types of risk management degrees that can be earned from a college, university or business school. A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement for risk management personnel. However, a master's or MBA degree may be better suited for some positions.

  • Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in risk management or a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis on risk management are solid options for undergraduates who want to work in risk management. These programs generally take four years to complete, but can take as little as three years or as long as six years, depending on the program you choose and the amount of time you want to invest in your studies each week.
  • Master's Degree: A master's degree in risk management could be the logical next step for students who have already earned a bachelor's degree but want to further their career or knowledge of risk management. Most master's programs take two years to complete.
  • Master of Business Administration: An MBA with a focus on risk management will also be an asset to students who want to work in the business or insurance fields. Students will take a core set of business courses along with specialized courses in risk management. MBA programs usually take two years to complete. One-year and part-time programs are also available.
  • Doctorate Degree: Students who would like to earn the highest degree possible may go on to earn a doctorate or PhD in risk management. This degree is best suited for risk managers who would like to teach or work in academic research. A doctorate or PhD program can take several years to complete.

Studying Risk Management

Risk management is important to the success of every business. Managers need to be able to anticipate their liabilities to develop strategic business and financial plans. They must be able to diversify, hedge, and ensure against risks at every turn. The study of risk management involves learning how to identify, assess, and manage financial risks for an organization or project. While enrolled in a risk management program, you'll focus on the different tools and techniques used in this field and learn how to communicate risk management recommendations to key decision-makers.

Choosing a Risk Management Degree Program

Choosing a risk management degree program is just like choosing any other academic program. You need to weigh a lot of information to make the right choice. Specific things to consider include the size of the school, program reputation, career placement, faculty expertise, student support, and post-graduation resources and opportunities. It is also important to find an accredited program. Accreditation ensures that you will get a quality education and earn a degree recognized by employers.

Risk Management Careers

Most students who get a risk management degree go on to work as risk managers. They may work as consultants or in a more permanent position within the risk management or employee benefits departments of a specific company. Responsibilities may include analyzing and controlling financial risk. Risk management professionals may use various strategies, such as hedging, to offset or limit an estimated financial loss. Specific career titles can include:

  • Risk Manager: Risk Manager is a generic title for many people who work in risk management related careers. Risk management personnel may work with insurance, securities, investments, and other financial vehicles. They typically supervise operations or one or more people.
  • Risk Specialist: A Risk Specialist has many of the same duties as a risk manager but usually specializes in a very specific area of risk management, such as real estate risk management or healthcare risk management.
  • Actuary: An actuary is a statistician specifically trained in risk management. Job duties may include analyzing data to quantify risk. More than 60 percent of actuaries are employed by insurance companies.

Risk Management Certifications

You do not have to become certified to work as a risk manager--most employers do not demand it. However, there are several risk management certifications that can be earned. These designations look impressive on a resume and could help you earn more money or secure a position before a competing job applicant.

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Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn a Risk Management Degree?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Schweitzer, Karen. (2021, February 16). Should I Earn a Risk Management Degree? Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn a Risk Management Degree?" ThoughtCo. (accessed April 10, 2021).