Risk managers are often highly-trained professionals who work in the financial industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that overall job growth for all types of financial managers will be lower than average (around nine percent growth is expected through 2020).* Still, if you focus on building strong credentials and you complete relevant coursework in business or finance, you may... find opportunities to advance within your field.
All financial managers analyze data and provide research-based advice aimed at helping a company improve its balance sheet. Risk managers are a specialized group within the industry. As a risk manager, you are responsible for helping a company try to limit its financial risks. How you go about this depends significantly on the nature of the company's business, its investments, and market trends.
Risk managers assess three key areas in helping companies to maximize their profits; these include market risk, credit risk, and operational risk. You may be expected to work as part of a team that reviews a business' finances, looks for ways to lower costs and increase profits, analyzes market trends, and advises executives on important decisions.
To succeed in this field, you must have deep knowledge of financial markets, experience with compliance law, and a commitment to ethical standards. You will need at least a bachelor degree in business administration, finance, or economics to work as a financial manager. Increasingly, however, employers expect candidates to have a master degree in one of these majors.
You might choose to earn your degree(s) through online or campus-based programs (many of which now also allow you to complete some requirements via web-based courses). Popular examples of relevant degrees include the online Bachelor of Science in Risk Management and the online Master of Science in Security and Risk Management degrees. In addition to building your knowledge of markets and financial systems, undergraduate and graduate programs for prospective risk managers should focus on helping you fine tune your analytical abilities. Coursework may prepare you to use research methods and specific software programs that are essential to the job.
Additional credentials may also help you improve your job prospects. For instance, you might earn the designation of Financial Risk Manager (FRM), which requires you to pass a series of exams. The FRM designation is internationally recognized; it identifies you as a highly qualified professional, and might provide you with a significant competitive edge over other candidates who are applying for financial management jobs.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm