Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Risk Analyst

Job Description:

Risk analysts investigate the risk in transactions and make financial recommendations based on their market knowledge and research findings. Risk analysts help companies prioritize their risks and safeguard their assets as they move their business forward. There are several types of risk analysts within the field of finance, and all of them have different specializations, including credit risk analysts, market risk analysts, operational risks analysts, and more.

Risk analysts typically need at least a bachelor's degree in business, finance, or a related subject. As the demand for highly skilled risk analysts increases, more professionals are now seeking risk-management certifications through Global Association of Risk Professionals, Professional Risk Managers' International Association, and other associations offering certification exams. Certifications may not be a requirement but they can help you stand out from the other candidates since it demonstrates a high-level of expertise in the field.
Median Salary:
$69,625 -$94,375
According to the Robert Half Finance & Accounting 2013 Salary Guide, operational risk analysts with three to five years of experience made an average salary of $69,625, and those at the manager level made an average of $94,375 in 2012. Individual salaries vary greatly depending on your risk analysis specialization, employer, location, experience, and education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts earned the most money working in New York, Oregon, Connecticut, District of Columbia, and California in 2012.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 23% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Risk analysts are eligible for a diverse range of job opportunities, all showing promising growth possibilities over the next seven years. Various U.S. markets are expected to continue expanding internationally, requiring qualified risk analysts to assess the best course of action for major corporations and companies to facilitate this process. Also, there is an increasing demand for risk analysts with specific regional expertise in individual countries around the globe, as new investment opportunities are being offered in previously low-profile areas. Risk assessors are included in the 14% of financial analysts working in 'other financial investment activities', followed closely by management of companies and enterprises, according to the BLS. Risk analysts are among the majority of financial professionals that may find favor with private clients small investment or equity firms in the near future, as increased trading restrictions on large banking institutions may affect a shift in industry employment.

Continuing Education:

Risk analysis can be a competitive area of the financial planning industry. Typically, candidates looking to advance to the highest-possible risk analyst position within a company should have advanced education, credentials, and professional training to prove they are qualified for the job. Financial analysts may obtain the chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification, as a first step to career eligibility, while others may elect to obtain the specialty chartered risk analyst (CRA) credential, as sponsored by the American Academy of Financial Management. Organizations like the Casualty Actuarial Society offer resources for professionals to maintain their credentials with mandatory continuing education, through course work including identifying risks, integrating risks, exploiting and treating risks, and monitoring and reviewing. Those looking for a career in risk analysis would be wise to pursue continuing education in addition to their formal education in this area, which may help lend an advantage to qualified candidates.