Focusing on topics such as financial accounting and wealth management, undergraduate certificate programs in risk management may be taken alongside degree programs. Sometimes offered online, graduate certificate programs are designed to increase students' knowledge of investing and financial risk management. At the graduate certificate level, experience and an undergraduate degree are usually required for admission. Completion of a certificate program typically qualifies students for voluntary certifications.
Undergraduate Certificate in Insurance and Risk Management
Undergraduate students pursuing bachelor's degrees in business or finance can supplement their education with a certificate in insurance and risk management. Completion of certificate programs can lead to progress toward professional certification in risk management, through the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.
Completion of these certificates requires as few as 5-8 classes, depending on one's choice of an undergraduate major. Common course topics include:
- Introductory financial management
- Types of insurance
- Employee benefits
- Financial accounting
- Health and property risk management
- Wealth management
Graduate Certificate in Risk Management
Risk management graduate certificates are available for specific areas of interest, like health care or financial investing. Some programs focus on financial risk management; others look at decision-making and risk management. Programs are often available through online study, as they are geared toward working professionals. Spanning 1- to 2-semesters, these programs usually require that applicants have work experience - sometimes a minimum of three years - and a bachelor's degree.
Students may have to complete as few as four courses to earn this certificate. Courses teach students to recognize and understand business, financial and insurance risks. Students learn to minimize risks and maximize business returns through effective evaluation of risks and financial choice in courses like:
- Incident response
- Strategic decision-making
- Business continuity
- Risk planning
- Analysis of decisions
- Risk and cost management
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that most employers prefer individuals with bachelor's degrees or higher in financial management positions, including those of risk management specialists or actuaries (www.bls.gov). Graduates of graduate-level risk management certificate programs may be prepared for careers in finance or other industries; popular job titles include:
- Chief risk officer
- Risk management specialist
- Financial risk manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, employment of actuaries was expected to increase 18% between 2014 and 2024. The agency noted that there were 24,600 individuals working as actuaries in the U.S. as of May 2014. They earned a median salary of $97,070 in May 2015.
The BLS did not differentiate financial risk managers from other finance managers. As of May 2014, there were 555,900 financial managers working in the U.S., making a median salary of $117,990, per 2015 data. The field of financial management was expected to grow 7% in the 2014-2024 decade.
Continuing Education and Professional Certification Information
Individuals seeking further education can obtain a Master of Business Administration in concentrations like risk management and insurance or strategic management and leadership. These programs require as few as two years to complete and include courses in actuarial science, risk management fundamentals and negotiations.
Organizations like Governance Risk Compliance Security International (GRCSI) offer certifications for risk management professionals (www.grcsi.org). In addition to a basic credential and an expert credential, certifications are available in the finance, information technology and operations management fields.
People who are interested in learning more about risk management can do so by earning a certificate at a graduate or undergraduate level. These certificates could be earned online and in conjunction with a degree.