How do I Build a Risk Management Career? (with pictures)

Matthew Brodsky
Matthew Brodsky
Risk management professionals often build careers in specific industries, such as transportation.
Risk management professionals often build careers in specific industries, such as transportation.

Risk management is a growing business discipline that spans every industry sector. Businesses including the financial services sector, manufacturing, hospitality, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications need risk management professionals to identify risks and address risk. To get into the trade and build a risk management career, it is essential to acquire an education and continued training in the field. It is also important to develop a network of colleagues and friends within the business.

Risk management is the process of helping an organization to identify risk, assess risk and then address risk.
Risk management is the process of helping an organization to identify risk, assess risk and then address risk.

For starters, several colleges and universities around the world offer courses on risk management, business risks, and insurance. These programs are offered as minors within overall business undergraduate programs and as their own majors. Advanced degrees can also be had to launch a risk management career. These master's and Ph.D. degrees can be earned in business liabilities, insurance, actuarial science, and risk management. A risk management focus can also come through an M.B.A. program.

The common joke among veteran risk management professionals, however, is that they just luck into the business of risk management and insurance. For these individuals, perhaps they began at a company in an entry-level financial position and then were asked to take on risk management duties, even though they had no experience with business risks or business accidents. If this is the case with you, the way to develop your risk management career is to gain risk management certification. The programs can provide professional designations and training, either through classroom courses or online training. A risk management certificate can even be earned to match a particular sector in which you're working, such as public entities, financial services, or higher education.

Another avenue for a professional to grow a risk management career is to be a participant in local and national risk management associations. Organizations exist for the overall risk management profession as well as for specific industries, such as banking, hospitality, and colleges. The meetings for these groups offer opportunities to broaden a risk management career through educational sessions and networking receptions. Risk managers from competing companies often meet to compare best practices and benchmark results.

Although the value of education and training is high, it is also important for risk management professionals to keep in touch with former colleagues and meet their peers. These connections later might be able to provide a recommendation for that next big job or even might serve as mentors in the event you want to expand your career; for instance, if you want to become a risk management consultant, prior connections can provide opportunities that might not have been realized otherwise. This is another reason to join professional organizations.

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    • Risk management professionals often build careers in specific industries, such as transportation.
      Risk management professionals often build careers in specific industries, such as transportation.
    • Risk management is the process of helping an organization to identify risk, assess risk and then address risk.
      Risk management is the process of helping an organization to identify risk, assess risk and then address risk.