Career Development

Comparing the Benefits of Risk Management Courses With Professional Certifications

Monday, May 30, 2022

By Liz Alton

Could risk management courses or certifications help you land your dream job? If you're looking to enter or advance in the field of risk management, there are a variety of useful educational programs, from introductory courses to formal certifications.

It's important to consider the cost, time commitment, and potential long-term benefits. To help you choose the right approach, here is an examination of the pros and cons of both risk management courses and professional certifications.

Time Commitment

How long will it take you to complete a given course or certification? Courses that offer a taste of risk management and help you cultivate basic skills might take several weeks, while professional-level programs or academic studies could take years to complete.

Certifications, on the other hand, often look at the years of experience you have in the field as well as your performance on exams. It may take weeks or months to study for specific exams, so consider where you are in your career trajectory and how quickly you want to see results. For example, if you're in the first few years of your career and seeking to establish a foundation for long-term growth, studying for a certification while accumulating work experience can be a great use of your time. If you're just taking your first steps into the field, an initial course is often the way to go.

Long-Term Career Gains

Risk management requires ongoing learning. To understand the value of specific learning experiences, it can be helpful to consider the following:

  • Will this experience help you gain the skills or knowledge to perform better in your desired jobs?
  • Will this course or certification be recognized by your current or prospective employer? Could it help you gain a promotion or become a more competitive job candidate?
  • Will this learning opportunity enable you to recoup your investment through a higher salary?

Note: Both courses and certifications may offer long-term career gains through development of knowledge and technical skills. Certifications often have additional value with respect to brand building, higher salary potential, and new job opportunities.


Another aspect of risk management courses and certifications to consider is cost. While it’s helpful to view risk management education opportunities as investments, it’s important that such investments are strategic. How much will a given course or certification cost, and what are professionals receiving in exchange for that fee? Determine whether financial support is available to help finance or reimburse the cost of courses or certification exams you are considering. For instance, the Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) Certification is a certification that's equivalent to a master's degree in 10 national and regional educational systems; funding is available in Singapore to assist with the cost of the FRM.

Global Recognition

Is the course or credential you're considering widely recognized? If you're considering a certification or credential, ensure that prospective employers view it as valuable to your function. For example, the FRM is wideley considered the leading certification for risk managers. Globally, major banks or firms with active financial risk management functions respect this credential, and leading firms may even require it for certain roles. 

Overall, if a prospective employer believes your educational pursuits would make you a key asset, they will likely view your application more favorably.

Strategic Decisions

Risk management courses can help you establish the technical foundation needed to perform well in a risk management job or expand your knowledge into an emerging area, such as cyber risk or climate risk. In addition, developing an ethic of continuous learning early in your career will undoubtedly serve you well in the future. It's important to consider whether a given learning experience can be codified into a credential that will support your long-term career development.

Risk management professionals aiming to advance their careers will likely find that both courses and professional certifications can help them become more competitive applicants, expand their base of knowledge, develop critical skills, and achieve their career goals.

Ready to learn more? See how GARP 's FRM Certification might be the right next step for your career.

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