How do I get a Risk Management Degree?

P.M. Willers

A risk management degree can be obtained at many colleges and universities, including accredited online schools. Universities, colleges, and some organizations can offer either an independent risk management degree or a combination degree that combines a degree in risk management with a degree from a program also focusing on a related field. Those related fields could include business administration, business continuity, liability, security, and various other business-related degree programs.

Some institutions offer an associate’s degree in risk management.
Some institutions offer an associate’s degree in risk management.

A risk management degree program provides training in assessing risk or the possibility for disaster through consideration of the surrounding business and economic environment. A program graduate would possess the skills necessary to properly identify and assess situations of risk. Aside from addressing possible risks, a risk management degree program teaches the intricacies of managing and avoiding risk.

Some students decide to pursue a risk management degree with an online institution.
Some students decide to pursue a risk management degree with an online institution.

There are many degree programs within the field of risk management, beginning with a certificate program to become a risk management professional. Some institutions offer an associate’s degree in risk management. Most certificate programs, and sometimes advanced degree programs, will focus on a specific field within risk management. Specialized areas of study could include insurance, safety, healthcare, or information technology. If you are interested in a risk management degree in a certain field, it may be preferable to get a certificate or associate’s degree that trains learners in one specific field.

If you are interested in the field of risk management as a whole and would like to be exposed to the broader theories and systems of risk management, it may be better to follow a longer program and earn an advanced or graduate degree. It is possible to complete a Bachelor of Science degree to obtain a degree in risk management. Similarly, it is possible to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Doctorate of Business Administration with a specialization in risk management. If choosing a program that culminates in a Bachelor of Science degree or higher, it may be necessary to follow a program in business administration with a specialization or concentration in risk management.

The typical program for a risk management degree involves coursework in casualty and property insurance, profit loss and prevention, general liability, and risk theory. Students will also review and evaluate many real-life scenarios and use these experiences to analyze and investigate the various theories and calculations involved in managing and assessing risk. Depending on the depth, length, and focus of each risk management degree program, it may be necessary to study additional related facets such as labor law or workers’ compensation, environmental regulations and hazards, or other compliance legislation. An internship or apprenticeship program may also be required.

Professional organizations can provide valuable input about the various risk management degree programs and can provide up-to-date information on the field of risk management. Most professional associations require an annual membership fee and one or more successful skill examinations. Further benefits include additional training opportunities, job search engines, and a vast network of risk management professionals. The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) and the Professional Risk Managers International Association (PRMIA) are two well-known examples of such professional organizations. Some risk management associations also offer their own courses, training, and certification programs.

A degree in risk management can lead to careers within various areas of business and society. Risk management professionals can work for individual companies, or they can work independently as consultants. A similar option would be to complete a degree program in actuarial science. An actuary works less with the management of risk and delves deeper into the science of calculating and assessing risk for specific individuals or situations.

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