What Are the Qualifications of a Risk Manager?

by Steve Brachmann ; Updated July 27, 2017
Risk managers exist to minimize risks and keep company focus on business.

The larger a company grows, the more important risk management becomes in the daily running of the business. All companies face risk: Food service businesses risk serving spoiled food, transportation businesses risk delivering goods incorrectly and any company risks employee issues, which can result in lawsuits. A risk manager comes in to accurately assess risk levels and show a company how they can act proactively to reduce their legal liabilities. Qualifications for work as a risk manager typically include a bachelor's degree, industrial certification and a specific skill set.

Education

Generally, the minimum educational requirement for work in risk management is a bachelor's degree. The best fields of study for students pursuing a career in risk management include accounting, business management or finance. For risk management within certain fields, such as healthcare or education, a bachelor's degree in management for that field, such as healthcare management or educational administration, can help you find work. Senior and executive risk management jobs typically require a master's degree in business management.

Tasks & Functions

In any given organization, a risk manager is responsible for identifying different business risks that the company takes on during everyday operations, then working to minimize these risks to reduce threats to the company. For instance, if a risk manager determines that employees are under-insured, he may argue to company officials that more insurance should be purchased to reduce the company's legal liabilities. At the company level, a risk manager must create and implement a risk management plan, which includes a process for handling risks in all business areas. Risk managers evaluate risk management plan results and organize the official reporting of risks throughout the company.

Required Skills

To be an effective risk manager, an individual must have knowledge of all areas of a given business, such as marketing, production or human resources, as well as how risks can arise in different situations, whether due to human error or outside forces. Risk managers must be effective communicators, and may have to communicate and implement a plan across a culturally diverse group of people. Effective risk managers are also well-organized, have an acute eye for detail, have some level of mathematical expertise and are familiar with various risk management software tools that a company might use.

Certifications

Industrial certification by an organization concerned with the job of risk management is another way risk managers identify themselves as qualified for a specific position. One well-known risk management certification is the Financial Risk Manager, or FRM, professional designation awarded by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. The Institute of Risk Management also offers a certification course in risk management, which takes from six months to nine months to complete. Certification courses cover theory and practical applications of risk management; students are typically assessed through a final examination.

Photo Credits

  • keyboard with green button of risk image by air from Fotolia.com