Due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and technological advances across various industries, risk management is an increasingly in-demand degree. Students who want to earn their insurance and risk management degree online have many options, so we’ve put together this ranking to help them find a program that offers the right mix of quality instruction, accreditation, affordability, and flexibility.
We’ve identified three schools that check all those boxes, but if you’re looking for more options, A full rankings list will be coming later this year. Whether you’re a recent high school grad or already have some college credits under your belt, an online risk management degree can be a great way to embark on a career identifying, managing, and minimizing risk for companies and organizations.
Indiana State University
ISU is one of only four colleges in the U.S. to offer over 10 risk management and insurance undergrad courses. The B.S. in insurance and risk management offers fully online courses in an asynchronous format, although on-campus classes are also an option. Students take a mix of liberal arts, business, and nine major courses while enrolled in the program. The program boasts excellent placement rates for graduates in related industries including sales and marketing, insurance underwriting, safety management, and more.
The program was developed in conjunction with the Insurance Advisory Council. For the past three decades, the council has invested nearly $2 million in the program, making it a great choice for professional development and real-world preparation. ISU’s Gongaware Center for Insurance Management Development was created specifically to offer internships, professional networking, scholarships, and more to students in the insurance and risk management program.
Students in the program are eligible for all types of federal financial aid, veteran’s benefits, and special scholarships for first-year and transfer students. ISU offers free tuition for Indiana and Illinois Pell grant recipients.
- Insurance and Risk Management B.S.
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years (full time), option to enroll in program part time
- Cost: $342 per credit in-state | $445 per credit out-of-state (for the online option)
- Mode: Fully online, on-campus visits not required
- Accreditation: The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the Scott College of Business is accredited by the AACSB International.
University of Colorado, Denver
The Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) program at UC-Denver is one of top ranked public business school programs in Colorado. Students receive a well-rounded education comprised of liberal arts classes, core business courses, and major classes. Courses can be completed entirely online, and most of the online courses are asynchronous, meaning they can be completed at the times that work best for you.
UC-Denver’s online risk management degree program has a required experiential learning component that includes an internship, special project, or study abroad semester. The program even has a special study abroad opportunity in London, often referred to as the risk management capital of the world. Throughout the program, students have access to networking with risk management professionals, internships, shadowing days, and RMI-specific career fairs. The program prides itself on its 100% job placement upon graduation.
In addition to a number of school-based scholarships for first generation students, transfer students, veterans, and more, UC-Denver offers $50,000 in dedicated risk management and insurance scholarships per year.
- Risk Management and Insurance, B.S.in Business Administration
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years (full time), option to enroll in program part-time
- Cost: $515 per credit in-state | $608 per credit out-of-state (for the online option)
- Mode: On-campus or online, with most classes offered online
- Accreditation: The University is Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the CU Business School is accredited by the AACSB International.
Eastern Kentucky University
The risk management and insurance program at Eastern Kentucky University is the only bachelor’s level program of its type in Kentucky. The program is a great option for students looking for flexibility. With six start dates per year, accelerated eight-week terms, and an asynchronous schedule, students can complete coursework on their own terms. While the 120-credit program usually takes an average of four years, students with prior credits can opt in for a fast-track opportunities. There is also the potential for internships to count toward credit hours.
Students have dedicated advisors who help them navigate their degrees and plan for post-graduation life. If students pursue the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) certification, they may be able to apply credits toward it.
In addition to robust career resources, the EKU program has a number of other bonuses including free textbooks and free online tutoring. Plus, the school offers significantly reduced tuition for active-duty military members and their spouses.
- Risk Management and Insurance, Bachelor of Business Administration
- Credits: 120
- Length: Approximately 4 years, but opportunities for accelerated learning and/or ability to utilize transfer credits
- Cost: $421 per credit in-state | $421 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Completely online
- Accreditation: The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Business School is also accredited by the AACSB International.
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Risk Management Degree Program
Many risk management degree programs are part of a university’s business school, so students will likely take plenty of business courses (e.g., financial management, business analytics, marketing) along with specialized risk management classes such as principles of risk and insurance, commercial property risk management and insurance, risk analysis and control, and international financial management. An online degree in risk management will prepare students for opportunities in a wide range of industries including finance, insurance, and technology. Depending on their career goals, students may go on to get professional certifications such as the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) or Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP). No matter which program you choose, you’ll probably take classes in the following foundational topics:
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Effective business communication
- Business administration across a number of industries
- Financial management and accounting
- Risk and insurance analysis
- Property and casualty insurance management
- Business technology (e.g., cyber risk management and cyber warfare)
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
First and second year students of online risk management degree programs generally take a mix of general education courses (e.g., Communications and English 101) and core business classes like Marketing 101 and Accounting. These entry- and mid-level options are meant to create a strong foundation for later, more specialized courses. Every program and school will have their own specific requirements, but in general undergraduates can expect to take classes like the following:
- Principles of Financial Accounting: This course is a primer on the financial statement process, specifically how that information is communicated externally to investors and regulators. Students will learn about measuring business income and analysis of gross margin, short-term and long-term liabilities, and cash flow.
- Principles of Managerial Accounting: Rather than financial statements, this course focuses more on accounting data for internal managerial decisions. The ultimate goal is to provide data that will help managers reach the organization’s financial goals. Topics might include product and activity costing, cost behavior and decision making, budgeting, capital investment decisions, and performance evaluation.
- Business Analytics: In this course students will learn reliable ways to collect and analyze data and use that data for broader decision making. A number of analytic tools may be covered including enterprise resource planning (ERP) software like NetSuite or a customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce or HubSpot.
- Principles of Marketing: In this course, students learn basic marketing fundamentals including consumer demand, supply chains and distribution, branding, and advertising. Students learn the broader role marketing plays in business operations and how it relates to other areas such as sales and technology.
- Business Statistics: With a focus on data and problem solving, this course covers basic statistics concepts related to the business world. Students will learn to apply statistical tools to areas such as marketing, production, finance, research and development, and personnel for effective decision making.
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
As students progress in their studies, they will begin to focus on business core and major core classes. Program requirements vary, but in general, risk management and insurance majors will take about eight to 10 major-specific classes. There may also be opportunities to earn credits through internships and study abroad opportunities. Programs often have requirements regarding transfer credit. For example, transfer credits can only be applied to lower division courses. Junior and Senior students in the risk management and insurance major may take courses such as:
- Commercial Property and Liability Insurance: Students will learn how to effectively manage property and liability risks as they relate to insurance. The course will likely cover risk exposures for direct and indirect property, general liability, and catastrophic liability. Students may cover case studies to practice real world application.
- Employee Benefits Management: In this course, students will study the field of employee benefits and how they relate to risk. Topics covered will include pensions, 401(k)s, profit-sharing plans, group life and health insurance plans, and flexible benefit programs.
- Principles of Risk and Insurance: As one of the core upper division courses, this class will cover risk identification, analysis, and remediation methods. The class will likely cover both personal and business risks and how they can be managed via insurance.
- Life Insurance and Estate Planning: In this course, students will study the fundamentals of individual life and health insurance. Students will learn about the broader insurance industry and how it operates and study the following topics: moral hazards, pensions, group health insurance, various life insurance products, and life insurer asset/liability management.
- Corporate Risk Management: With a focus on businesses rather than individuals, this course will discuss the financial and operational risks and how organizations can mitigate them. Topics coved will include corporate insurance programs, loss prevention, self-insurance, and more.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Risk Management Degree Program
The competitiveness of an online risk management degree will largely depend on the college. Top-rated programs are generally on the more competitive side thanks to their high demand. The most competitive programs usually require a high school or transfer GPA of at least 2.5, and some may require a certain grade in related classes such as math. For example, applicants to Indiana State University’s insurance and risk management program must pass both the English and math standardized high school exams and have a 2.5 GPA.
For many programs, students will apply directly to the institution and choose their major later. At Old Dominion University, applicants must be accepted as an ODU undergrad and then apply to the risk management program within the business school. To position themselves for acceptance and to receive scholarship money, the best applicants will demonstrate solid grades and standardized test scores, supportive letters of recommendation, and a well-written personal statement. The exact requirements will vary by school, but these are common across the board. It’s important to note than in some insurance and risk management programs (such as the one at Indiana State University), students are required to be U.S. or Canada residents.
Common Admissions Checklist
- Completed application and any required fees
- Official transcripts (high school or previous college if transferring)
- Standardized test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
Paying for Your Online Risk Management Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
Like most college degrees, enrolling in an insurance and risk management degree online is a big decision and likely a significant investment. It’s important to understand and plan for the costs of your degree, but don’t let the sticker price scare you off. There are many sources of funding available to students at accredited schools, including federal loans and grants and institution-based and private scholarships.
An online degree in insurance and risk management is usually comprised of 120 credits, so depending on the school, students can expect to pay between $35,000 and $110,000 over the course of their studies. That’s a wide range, but costs can vary a lot depending on the type of school and the scholarships available. As you consider programs, keep in mind the types of things that can affect cost. Online programs are often less expensive than on-campus programs, thanks to reduced fees and no campus room and board. Public universities often offer drastically lower tuition rates for in-state students. Still, keep in mind that while private colleges have a higher sticker price, they may be able to offer more institutional aid and scholarships.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|University of Central Arkansas B.B.A. in Insurance and Risk Management||Public, not-for-profit||120||$285 / credit||$285 / credit|
|Old Dominion University B.S.B.A. in Risk Management||Public, not-for-profit||120||$374 / credit||$407 / credit|
|Grand Canyon University B.S. in Risk Management||Private, for-profit||120||$485 / credit||$485 / credit|
|Eastern Kentucky University B.B.A. in Insurance and Risk Management||Public, not-for-profit||120||$ 421/ credit||$ 421 / credit|
|Ohio Dominican University B.S. in Insurance and Risk Management||Private, not-for-profit||120||$900 / credit||$900 / credit|
Students enrolled at an accredited school, like the ones we mention on this page, are eligible for federal and state financial aid including loans, grants, and work-study positions. The first step in qualifying for aid is filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you’re not sure if you’ll qualify for aid based on income, you should still fill out the FAFSA, as many institutional aid opportunities and scholarships require a completed form. Some insurance and risk management programs offer their own scholarships. For example, the University of Colorado-Denver’s RMI program awards $50,000 in scholarships each year, and Indiana State University offers the Gongaware scholarship for students planning to major in insurance and risk management.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Risk Management Online
Are online risk management degree programs offered 100% online?
For the most part, these types of programs are offered completely online rather than in a hybrid format. The structure of the courses may vary (asynchronous vs. synchronous, 13-week vs. eight-week sessions, etc.), but students generally do not have to visit campus for lectures or exams. While the programs may be 100% online, keep in mind that there may still be some residency requirements (e.g., only open to U.S. and Canadian citizens).
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in risk management?
Graduates of an online degree in insurance and risk management work in a wide range of industries from business continuity to insurance underwriting. Students in these programs learn to anticipate and manage risks within an organization and ultimately prevent loss, so there’s opportunity to work in almost any field.
Some common jobs include:
- Insurance Underwriter
- Business Continuity Manager
- Workers’ Compensation Claims Manager
- Risk Analyst
- Loss Prevention Representative
Is earning a risk management degree worth it?
Yes, for most students in online risk management programs, the degree will be worth it. Graduates of the program will have access to diverse career opportunities, high earning potential, and job security, making it a desirable career track. Thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic and changes in technology, the demand for risk management positions will continue to rise. As an example, the job outlook for information security analysts (a common job for program graduates) is expected to grow by 35% over the next decade.
What accreditation should I look for in a risk management degree program?
Choosing an accredited school is important because it ensures the quality of the education, the ability to transfer credits if necessary, and eligibility for federal financial aid. The main type of accreditation to look for is institutional. The best colleges and universities have regional accreditation, which is the most rigorous standard. National accreditation usually focuses primarily on technical and trade schools. Many business schools, which risk management programs often fall under, also have accreditation from organizations such as Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in risk management?
Most bachelor’s degrees in risk management and insurance are comprised of 120 credits which takes about four years of full-time study to complete. However, some programs offer accelerated formats that may shorten the completion time. For example, online courses are often offered in eight-week blocks as opposed to the more traditional 13-week semester. Students who transfer into a program and bring credits with them may also be able to graduate sooner. Conversely, students enrolled in programs part time may need six or more years to complete the degree.
Will an online risk management degree prepare me for any professional certifications?
Yes, some program credits will even count towards certification requirements. Risk management grads often pursue the following professional certifications:
- The Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP) certification, offered by the Risk Management Society, is designed to prepare risk managers for leadership positions.
- The Project Management Institute (PMI) has a program for risk professionals called Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP).This is geared toward entry level risk management professionals looking to advance their careers.
- The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, also administered by RIMS, is a good option for graduates working in the insurance industry.
Employment Outlook with a Risk Management Degree
Employees in risk management related fields are generally expected to see job growth over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates over 20% job growth through 2031 for the actuary profession (a very common career for risk management grads). Another common position for graduates, financial risk analyst, expects to see 8% growth through the same time period.
The salary potential for graduates of online risk management and insurance degrees is often higher than the national median. Entry-level salaries for common jobs (risk manager, claims adjuster, insurance adjuster) in the industry come in at over $50,000 per year.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialist||$64,120||7%|
|Property Appraisers and Assessors||$61,340||4%|
|Personal Finance Advisor||$94,170||15%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics