Best Risk Management Certifications/ Courses (2021) ranked by Bankers

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:


Risk Management has taken on a new impetus since the 2007 financial crisis. The global financial collapse proved that the old risk management and credit rating systems were faulty. They were based on assumptions about event probabilities that were inaccurate.

Rather than crying over spilled milk, banks and credit rating agencies quickly began to make changes to their risk models. Regulators across the world demanded that the probability of  long-tailed events be taken into account in a more realistic way.

This new world of risk management is not like the old. It is fast paced with decisions having to be made in real time. Gone are the days when you would make a month-end analysis of your portfolio and send it up the chain of command. Now, there is real time tracking of each risk metric.

To succeed in this new risk environment, you need skills that match what the banks and other institutions are demanding. This is a list of courses and certifications that will help you do just that.

1. Risk Management Professional Certificate from the New York Institute of Finance

Why take this course?

  1. This is a practical course meaning you spend less time on theory and more time with case studies and building skills that you need to hit the ground running. The course is taught by Wall Street professionals so you can be sure that the focus is more on on-the-job skills and less on the academic minutia.
  2. All the major financial asset classes and risks are covered. Risk reporting, tools and risk management is also covered well. All of that makes this a good starting point for most risk professionals. note that this is general risk management. If you are focused solely on credit risk, then this other article lists the best credit risk courses.
  3. A good portion is dedicated to stress testing and regulations. As someone with a fair bit of credit risk experience, I can say that this is indeed something that you a lot of your time on as a risk professional.
  4. NYIF is an excellent brand to have on your Resume. They have been training bankers and finance professionals for almost a century and their real world expertise is reflected in the quality of the content. This course will not only provide you a conceptual understanding but also strengthen your CV in a rather competitive field.


  • Time to Complete: Around 40 hours
  • Available online and on-demand or a in virtual classroom if you prefer that.
  • Recommended for analysts and associates in risk management or related fields.

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2. Financial Engineering and Risk Management from Columbia  University (Parts 1 and 2)

Why take this course?

  1. This is the most beginner friendly financial risk management course on this list. That is not to say that you won’t benefit form this course. The curriculum is equivalent to what you would be taught at an Ivy league MBA program, it’s just this course is more foundational.
  2. Columbia University provides exception brand value to your CV and that is another great reason you should consider these two courses. Risk management roles attract a lot of candidates it can be challenging to even get shortlisted unless your CV really stands. You need every advantage you can get.
  3. The course covers basic concepts and risk measurement, derivatives that are used for managing risks including credit derivatives and structured products like CDOs, MBSs,  CDSs and so on. The course is exceptionally well presented and I highly recommend it to anyone just for building your core concepts and adding tremendous value to your CV.
  4. The course is suitable for investment banking risk, forex and commodity risk, market risk, structuring and other related roles.


  • Time to Complete: Around 30 hours for both parts.
  • Available fully online and on-demand.
  • Highly recommended for the brand value. Well suited for those looking to break into risk management.

Check Course Details –  Part 1

Check Course Details –  Part 2

3. Risk Management in Banking and Financial Markets from IIMB

Why take this course?

  1. A comprehensive course that covers risk in financial markets as well as banking rather well. You will learn about all the risk instruments that are used in the debt, equity and forex markets including derivatives and special instruments like CDOs, CDSs, swaps and all that good stuff.
  2. The course has pretty much everything you need to know about financial risk management at an intermediate level. The breadth of the topics covered itself is staggering. It will serve you well no matter which niche within risk management you are planning to target.
  3. IIM Bangalore is a prestigious institution and the course curriculum is relevant for a global audience. For those desirous of an all-encompassing financial risk education at the beginner to intermediate level, this really is top grade stuff.


  • Time to Complete: Around 80-90 hours
  • Available fully online and on-demand.
  • Covers the widest variety of financial risk topics. Well suited for analysts and associates.

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4. Financial Risk Manager Certification from GARP

Why take the FRM?

  1. FRM has really grown in popularity over the last decade. The 2007 crisis boosted the demand for risk managers like nothing before it. The FRM is the gold-standard when it comes to Risk.
  2. FRM is a very comprehensive certification. Its more quanty than the CFA and will take you several years to earn (especially since there is a minimum work-ex requirement).
  3. That last point is my biggest issue with certifications like the CFA and FRM. You can’t get certified without the work-ex, and that sort of defeats the purpose of why you would want to be certified in the first place! You need the CV boost the most at the beginning of your career. This is why the FRM is not #1 on my list.


  • Time to Complete: Several years (requires relevant work experience).
  • NOT available online or on-demand.
  • The gold standard for Risk Management certifications.

5. MS in Financial Risk Management

Why take this?

  1. Several universities offer full-time risk management programs. Many of these focus on business risks and enterprise risks but some are focused on financial risk management as well.
  2. Most of these courses will come bundled with a lot of other subjects and topics like financial accounting, corporate finance etc. which makes such programs a decent option for finance newbies.
  3. A formal academic program can restrict you to a specific filed so only go for these if you know for a fact that financial risk management is your jam. Maybe you have some years of risk management experience already under your belt and you already know this is what you want.


  • Time to Complete: Several years
  • These are not online courses but full-fledged graduate programs

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6. Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Designation from PRMIA

Why take the PRM?

  1. The PRM is another globally recognized risk certification. It focuses mainly on financial risk management principles related to market risk, credit risk and operational risk.
  2. You need to clear four exams in a span of two years to earn the designation. Topics include ethics, risk management practices, financial theory and market instruments and the mathematical aspects of risk measurement.
  3. PRM is a decent risk designation but the experience requirements are too high in my opinion. Which means you wont get the benefit when you need it the most – at the very beginning of your career.


  • Time to Complete: Usually takes several years. Also requires minimum work experience of 2-4 years and academic qualifications.  Please check the website for exact requirements.
  • NOT available online or on-demand.
  • Requires an ongoing commitment to maintain the designation.
About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav started his career as a Corporate and Investment Banking intern at Citi in 2009 and eventually ended up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Wholesale Banking division a few years later. By 2016, Gaurav was consulting FinTech start-ups in London with product development in the institutional banking space. He also advises mid-market Private Equity/ Asset Management firms and Banks in North America and Europe with investments in the financial services and FinTech sector. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from European Union banking regulations and FinTech to Blockchain startups and the inevitable rise of our AI overlords! He has an Engineering degree in Computer Science and an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.