At the bachelor's degree level, students learn the fundamentals of the insurance industry, including types of insurance and underlying financial principles. Master's degree programs focus on preparing students for management and administrative roles and include practicum or internship experiences, while doctoral programs are research-oriented. Some of these programs require work experience, computer competency, SAT or GRE scores. Courses and programs are sometimes available online.
Bachelor's Degree in Risk Management and Insurance
Bachelor's degree programs in risk management and insurance train students to calculate costs and benefits of given situations. They also focus on the fundamentals of insurance law, health insurance, life insurance and commercial insurance. Students often analyze national and global trends and emerging issues in the insurance community. This program normally takes four years to complete. Applicants to risk management and insurance bachelor's degree programs are required to possess high school diplomas and display computer proficiency; previous coursework in business is considered helpful.
Bachelor's degree programs in risk management and insurance cover types of insurance, practical theories and financial principles through courses such as:
- Health and life insurance
- Property risk management
- Financial analysis and applied statistics
- Principles of accounting and economic theory
Master's Degree in Risk Management and Insurance
A master's degree in risk management and insurance is a professional degree that may be offered as a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on insurance or as a master's in management with a risk management concentration. These programs are intended for students interested in management and leadership roles in the insurance industry. Students are trained to manage risk and understand the financial aspects of insurance.
The curriculum may also include an internship experience, in order to provide students with practical business experience. Classes commonly address:
- Fundamentals of risk management and insurance
- Corporate risk management
- Commercial insurance
- Legal and ethical issues in the insurance industry
- Insurance contract analysis
- Insurance industry internship
Ph.D. in Risk Management and Insurance
A Ph.D. in Risk Management and Insurance, sometimes known as a Ph.D. in Actuarial Science, prepares students for teaching, research and consulting. Students with a bachelor's or master's degree in the field primarily focus on researching and writing a dissertation. Those with less prior training in risk management and insurance, and those with limited professional experience in the insurance industry, may take extensive classes to gain comprehensive understanding of the field.
Though coursework may be limited for students with prior degrees in the field, Ph.D. programs in risk management and insurance require the study of multiple subject areas. These include insurance, business, economics and statistics, through courses such as:
- Advanced risk management
- Economic theory and econometrics
- Statistical methods and probability theory
- Risk financing
- Macroeconomic theory
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Many bachelor's degree holders find employment as actuaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2024, employment opportunities for actuaries are expected to grow 18%, with modest growth in the insurance industry and significant growth in consulting and financial services. The median annual salary for actuaries was $97,070 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Popular Career Options
Graduates of risk management and insurance degree programs are prepared for insurance industry careers at various levels. They may also manage insurance departments for corporations or government agencies, in roles such as:
- Insurance salesperson
- Risk management consultant, employee benefits manager
- Risk analysis manager
- Insurance consultant
Individuals interested in a health insurance certification can complete risk management and insurance programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Students in the bachelor's program learn the fundamentals of insurance, types of insurance, and finance while graduate students learn advanced topics, participate in internships, and conduct research.