How to Become a Risk Manager

Risk Manager Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $135,090
Avg. Pay / hour $64.95
Education 3-4 Years
Job Outlook 16%

A Risk Manager, also referred to as a Risk Analyst, is a financial professional who is experienced in managing a firm’s investment portfolios and operational costs.

These professionals may work at mortgage firms, consulting firms, insurance firms or banking companies.

Individuals who want to become a Risk Manager will need a combination of innate skills and education in order to succeed in this profession.

A comprehensive background is preferable in order to understand and analyze the global marketplace used to invest their client’s assets.

Education Requirements to Become Risk Manager

The minimum educational requirement for individuals who want to become a Risk Manager is a bachelor’s degree.

Some employers may also seek candidates with a graduate degree; individuals who would like better job opportunities will benefit from a graduate degree.

Individuals beginning their undergraduate career to become a Risk Manager will need to focus on finance or a closely related field such as: economics, statistics, mathematics or business.

An undergraduate degree typically takes approximately 4 years to complete.

Individuals pursuing a graduate degree to become a Risk Manager will need to pursue a master’s in business administration (MBA) which takes an additional 2 years to complete.

To be successful as a Risk Manager, individuals will need to have strong skills in finance, comprehension in risk systems for investments and an understanding in portfolio management.

Individuals can gain this experience with on the job training and their educational background.

The majority of employers also seek individuals with at least 5 years of experience working as Risk Managers.

Individuals can gain this experience by working an entry level position in the business or finance sectors.

Individuals must also secure a license and certification in order to become a Risk Manager.

Individuals can start with a series 7 license, the General Securities license, when first beginning their career and then move on to taking more advanced licenses.

Individuals can learn more information by visiting the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website at FINRA.

Risk Manager Job Description

Risk Managers are professionals that work on behalf of their clients, typically large companies and organizations, to manage and provide advice on the firm’s investments and financial portfolios.

Risk Managers also use their analytical skills to make recommendations on the best way to invest client assets.

These professionals are also experienced in recognizing any potential losses and recommending actions to prevent losses.

A Risk Manager might work for a bank, private businesses, or healthcare facilities.

These professionals will handle the firm’s investment portfolios which can include stocks, overseas investments and foreign currencies.

In addition, Risk Managers will also assess other risk factors that can be present in operations.

Common risk factors may include the potential for robberies, physical location of a business, and potential injuries that can be caused to employees.

Risk Managers will provide feedback and suggest financial products such as insurance to help protect the firms from any financial loss.

Risk Manager Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median annual salary for Financial Analysts, which includes the Risk Manager profession, was approximately $76,950.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of things including the type of business they work for, experience and years in the trade.

For example, individuals who work for insurance companies earn a median annual wage of $72,270 while individuals who work financial investment companies can earn up to $90,560 per year.

Wages will also depend on an employer’s policy revolving commissions.

The job outlook for all Financial Analysts, including the Risk Manager profession is expected to increase the number of job by 16 percent.

This growth is considered a faster than average growth and is attributed to the complexity of managing investment portfolios that comes from the global market.

In addition, Risk Managers must also have an in depth understanding of the geographical regions to determine the best global investments for their clients.

Individuals who would like to pursue a career as a Risk Manager have plenty of things to look forward to when entering this profession.

In addition to a healthy job outlook, Risk Managers can also look forward to a challenging career because of the changes that occur frequently in the financial market and the analytical skills needed to invest assets.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$174,220
New Hampshire$138,350
New Jersey$186,890
New Mexico$116,320
New York$206,990
North Carolina$161,720
North Dakota$132,190
Rhode Island$169,760
South Carolina$131,290
South Dakota$144,310
West Virginia$110,460
Puerto Rico$84,880
Virgin Islands$101,940

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $206,990.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $206,990
Delaware - $191,020
New Jersey - $186,890
Colorado - $174,890
District of Columbia - $174,220
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Financial Managers, OCC Code 11-3031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a risk manager do?

The main aim of a risk manager is to identify, measure and evaluate the various types of risks that can, at some point, affect the business.

Basically, risk managers try to predict what may go wrong and come up with different plans to help minimize or fully eliminate the risk.

There are a few types of risks that the managers take into consideration – strategic, compliance, and reputational.

Strategic risk management is helping the business adapt and come up with new strategies; if a risk manager is responsible for evaluating compliance risks, it means that he or she has to ensure that the business complies with all the regulations and rules; managing reputational risks is about helping fix a damaged reputation or ensuring that the reputation doesn’t get damaged in the first place.

How much do risk managers make?

On average, a risk manager can make a little more than $86.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $56.000 and $129.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location, and so on.

The professionals that work in New York, Massachusetts, and Texas, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level risk manager can earn around $64.000 per year, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $94.000 and more per year.

How much does it cost to become a risk manager?

In most cases, you would need a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, in order to become a risk manager.

To improve job prospects, you can consider getting a master’s degree or taking some postgraduate courses.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (bear in mind that the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

A master’s degree will typically cost you over $30.000.

To become a PMI Risk Management Professional, you would need to pass the certification exam that will cost you between $520 and $670.

What is the demand risk managers?

Between 2018 and 2028, the risk manager job market is expected to grow by 16%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.

The growth of the financial sector and the number of businesses will increase the demand for risk managers.

The candidates that possess a master’s degree and plenty of experience will have better chances of getting the highest-paid job.

How long does it take to become a risk manager?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to get a master’s degree. A Ph.D. will take you a minimum of 4 years to complete.

You can consider seeking an internship during your last year in university to get that on-job experience as the majority of employers prefer the candidates to have at least a few years of experience.

To qualify for your PMI-RMP certification exam, you need to have at least 30 hours of risk management education and 3.000 hours of project risk management experience.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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