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Financial Risk Management Degree and Training Program Overviews

Financial risk management training is available as post-baccalaureate certificate programs and master's degree programs. Both educational programs cover essentially the same topics and include much of the same coursework.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in financial risk management last about a year and are less comprehensive than 2-year master's degree programs. Both programs will include coursework covering topics like economics and finance. In addition to other prerequisites, both programs require a bachelor's degree for admission, and prior mathematics coursework may be required as well.


Certificate in Financial Risk Management

Certificate programs in financial risk management are aimed at working professionals in the financial industry, although some schools have separate programs at basic and advanced levels to accommodate new entrants to the field. Program content covers basic measurement of risk, management concepts, fundamentals of financial market operations, and the regulatory environment.

Students learn to calculate fair valuations for a range of investment instruments and make projections about their likely performance. The curriculum in many certificate programs is often very short, consisting of 4-5 courses. Possible course topics covered might include the following:

  • Asset securitization concepts
  • Risk management economics
  • Systemic risk
  • Risk econometrics
  • Financial regulation

Master's Degree in Financial Risk Management

A master's degree program in financial risk management covers much of the same material as a certificate program, but at greater length and depth. Possibilities would include a Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA) Additional topics covered might include derivatives, credit risk, market risk, quantitative analysis, and investment management. Through a mix of courses, case studies, and seminars, students learn to assess the risk landscape and respond to changes, evaluate the risk profile of an investment portfolio and determine whether investments are compliant with regulations.

Some master's programs might cover a single topic, such as risk modeling, across multiple levels of courses. The following titles might be part of a typical curriculum:

  • Risk models
  • Securities analysis
  • Internal controls
  • Corporate finance
  • International finance
  • Finance law and ethics

Popular Career Options

Entities in the public and private sector have ongoing needs for people trained in finance. Employment opportunities for financial risk managers are available with:

  • Insurance companies
  • Commercial and retail banks
  • Asset management companies
  • Regulatory agencies

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Financial risk management is a well-compensated career that might be a good fit for people who have minds for mathematics and an interest in business and finance.

Graduates of a master's degree program in financial risk management are qualified for positions as risk managers with private companies and local, state, and federal regulators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) folds financial risk managers into the financial manager category, which is projected to see employment growth of 7% over the years 2014 and 2024. Growth will be driven by the need for trained experts capable of evaluating complicated financial transactions and investments. According to the BLS as of May 2015, financial managers earn a median annual income of $117,990.

Continuing Education Information

Students who complete a certificate program or a master's degree program are eligible for FRM certification. Candidates obtain certification by accumulating two years of work experience as a financial risk manager and passing parts I and II of the Global Association of Risk Professionals' certification exam.

Financial risk management is a very important field that students can pursue certificates and master's degrees within. Either program will enhance a student's knowledge of advanced financial and economic concepts and ensure their ability to be successful in the workplace.


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