Risk Management Certifications

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As the field of risk management grows in importance, so does the weight that certain employers place on formal certifications in the field for potential new hires, as well as for people already in the field who seek to advance. On the other hand, note that many employers still do not require any formal outside certifications for risk management staff.

Leading Risk Management Certifications

The leading certifications for risk managers in the financial services industry are:

  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Professional Risk Manager (PRM)

Both these exams test knowledge of:

  • Financial markets
  • Mathematical models for measuring risk
  • Risk management methods
  • Business ethics

The organizations administering the above risk management certification exams are, respectively:

  • The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
  • The Professional Risk Managers' International Association

The latter was founded by officials formerly associated with GARP. Both exams require 500-600 hours of study. People experienced in the risk management field normally need a few months to study for either exam, but newcomers may require over a year. Roughly half of those taking these tests pass. In 2009, over 23,000 people took the FRM exam, a leap of 69% over 2008.

At the start of 2010, the two-part FRM exam had a $1,250 fee and the four-part PRM test cost $500. Some employers that require risk management certification will pay for all or part of their employees' exam and test prep fees.

Other Risk Management Certifications

Various other risk management certifications are targeted towards people in the field who will work in companies outside the financial services industry. Some of these include:

  • Certifications from the Society of Actuaries
  • Risk and Insurance Management Society Fellow (RIMS Fellow)
  • Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst
  • Certified Risk Manager
  • Associate in Risk Management


"Risk Managers Get Certified," The Wall Street Journal, 4/1/2010.