Are you interested in becoming certified to manage risk professionally? If so, you have a lot of financial risk certifications to choose from!

After all, it’s a lucrative field with a lot of career options for ambitious finance professionals: wealth management, investment banking, asset management firms, and so on. 

But there are tons of certifications for practitioners to choose from— so which one should you get? 

Naturally, starting your career as a professional risk manager is much harder if you can’t even figure out the first step. That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about each position before deciding on which one you want to earn.

Based on my research, these are the top 5 risk management certifications in the field. Each of these are good in their own way— but some are just better than others. 

In order to help you decide, I’ve organized these globally recognized certs based on education requirements, average salary, and job availability. There’s even a bonus prep course recommendation for each one, so you can start preparing as soon as you make up your mind.

Let’s get started!

#1 Chartered Financial Risk Engineer (CFRE) Certification

A CFRE is a professional specializing in financial risk management. Because of that, becoming certified requires a strong working knowledge of quantitative modeling, model validation, and enterprise risk management. 

Essentially, this career path has a heavy focus on computer science— valuable skills for both understanding and mitigating risk in business. Despite this, the educational requirements are lighter than you might expect:

CFRE Education Requirements

You don’t need a 4-year degree to get started— although having college experience with computer science, statistics, and advanced mathematics will help your chances. Instead, you just need to pass an entrance exam before taking a 10-month program. 

Over the course of that program, you need to pass 2 other tests focusing on fixed income, derivatives, risk management, and programming.

Becoming a CFRE is a good option for anyone trying to save time and money on their education. Plus, CFREs are in high professional demand— so you’ll have an easier time getting hired after completing your training.

CFRE Careers and Salaries

CFREs are very good earners. Typically their starting salary averages around $72K a year. Plus, long-term CFREs can see their salaries increase to $110K.

There’s a very high demand for CFREs due to how useful their skill sets are. Every company needs someone who can manage risk effectively. When looking for work, make sure to check out any consulting positions for financial firms such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley.

#2 Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification

A certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM) is similar to a CFRE in a few ways. Obviously both are enterprise risk management professionals, but they approach this work with different skillsets. 

Instead of computer science, Financial Risk Managers prioritize tools and techniques used to manage risk in a global environment. You’ll need to understand how products affect financial markets, common market risk and credit risk models, and best practices for the risk management profession. Knowing these skills makes an FRM a highly valued asset wherever they’re employed.

FRM Education Requirements

In order to obtain the Financial Risk Management certification, you have to complete a 2 part exam based on the skills mentioned above. For the most part, you’ll need to apply that knowledge to real world concepts— which is how FRM exam questions are structured.

Once you’ve passed the test, you’ll then have to complete two years of work experience in the risk management industry. But after all of that, you’ll be officially recognized as an FRM by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

FRM Careers and Salaries

FRMs are solid earners, but they make a bit less than CFREs. On average they earn $67K a year. If you’re lucky and experienced, you may earn up to $95K a year— but these positions are uncommon.

Ultimately, career options for FRMs are very good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for this certification is projected to grow 15% by 2029. Most FRMs work in banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. However, there’s always a demand for this position in almost any industry.

Best FRM Prep Course: AnalystPrep

Analyst Prep

Currently, AnalystPrep is the best option for anyone working towards the FRM designation. Their study notes and video lectures help you learn the content of the exam, and their practice tests let you get comfortable with the testing format. Thanks to that, you’ll have a much easier time completing the FRM exam and starting your career in the risk management profession.

See our full list of the best FRM review courses here!