Risk Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in becoming a risk manager, you should plan on getting a bachelor's degree and may at some point consider getting an advanced degree, such as master's of business administration (MBA) or a master's in risk management degree. In high school, therefore, you should take classes that will prepare you for college as well as help you explore this type of work. Take plenty of mathematics classes. Also, take accounting, business, and economics if your school offers these classes. To round out your education, take a variety of science, history, government, and computer classes. And of course, take English classes, which will help you hone your research and writing skills and make you ready for college-level work.

Postsecondary Training

Risk managers generally need a college degree with a broad business background. Depending on the college or university you attend, you may be able to major in risk management or insurance. Many schools offer courses or degrees in insurance and risk management. If your school does not offer these degrees, consider a major in other management or finance areas, such as accounting, economics, engineering, finance, law, management, or political science. No matter what your particular major, your class schedule will most likely include economics, accounting, and mathematics, such as calculus. It is also important to take computer classes that teach you how to deal with using a variety of software programs. Insurance and even banking classes will give you an understanding of these industries and the financial tools they use. Increasingly, some employers are seeking risk managers with a postgraduate degree in finance or real estate or an MBA.

Other Education or Training

Continuing education classes, workshops, online tutorials, and webinars are offered by the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, Public Risk Management Association, and RIMS—The Risk Management Society. Topics include risk assessment, risk control, insuring commercial property, and insuring personal residential property. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Many organizations require their risk managers to earn the designation associate in risk management (ARM). The ARM program is run jointly by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters and the Insurance Institute of America. You must take courses and pass exams in the following areas: risk assessment, risk control, and risk financing. The institute also offers the associate in risk management for public entities certification for risk managers who are interested in working in the public sector and the associate in risk management-enterprise risk management.

The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research offers the certified risk managers designation. To earn this designation, you must pass exams in five courses covering all major areas of risk management.

Global Risk Management Institute offers an advanced designation in risk management, the RIMS Fellow. Applicants must satisfy educational and experience requirements. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring risk managers should have five years of experience in risk management, insurance, or related areas. 

Communications skills are important for risk managers. They must regularly interact with other departments, such as accounting, engineering, finance, human resources, environmental, legal, research and development, safety, and security. They must also be able to communicate with outside sources, such as attorneys, brokers, union officials, consultants, and insurance agents.

Risk managers must have analytical and problem-solving skills in order to foresee potential problem situations and recommend appropriate solutions. They must be able to examine and prepare reports on risk costs, loss statistics, cost-versus-benefit data, insurance costs, and depreciation of assets.

Knowledge of insurance fundamentals and risk financing is necessary. Risk managers must know loss-control issues such as employee health, worker and product safety, property safeguards, fire prevention, and environmental protection.

Management skills help risk managers set goals, plan strategies, delegate tasks, and measure and forecast results. Computer skills and familiarity with business law are also very helpful.