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Earning a professional designation can boost a risk manager's career, particularly in its early stages, according to veteran risk managers.
Designations raise a risk managers' profile within their organizations and help keep their professional knowledge up to date because maintaining the designation often requires that continuing education courses be completed.
Debra L. Rodgers, senior vice president-global risk management at Aramark Corp. in Philadelphia and Business Insurance's 2010 Risk Manager of the Year®, earned the associate in risk management designation conferred by The Institutes — the operating name of the Insurance Institute of America and the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, in Malvern, Pennsylvania — about 20 years ago.
“It was very meaningful when I got it, because it did raise my stature within the function of my company and in the outside world,” she said. “I think it's a really important designation in the early part of your career.”
Richard J. Roberts, vice president of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. and senior manager of risk, enterprise risk management and employee benefits at Ensign Bickford Industries Inc. in Simsbury, Connecticut, holds both the ARM and RIMS Fellow designation.
He said the ARM “was critical to being able to move into the risk management position.'' He also said the RIMS Fellow courses are “forward thinking,” not “like you're in the beginning stages of your risk management career.”
Professional designations elevate careers, and the education “allows you to move into many different positions within the company,” he said. “It gives you depth and breadth within your organization. And you can operate in any part of the company and it allows you to speak the language of people in other parts of the company.”
J. Michael Bale, director of risk and property management at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, also has earned multiple designations — ARM and Certified Risk Manager, conferred by the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research in Austin, Texas.
He said he likes the CRM “because it has the annual requirement for continuing education. I use the principles taught at the CRM classes all the time. I recently reviewed the risk management process with our board of regents. It's something that's used daily.”
“There's no question it's a benefit to your career and it benefits the day-to-day operations of the risk management office,” he said.
Who students, recent graduates and other job candidates know can be just as — sometimes more — important than what they know when it comes to landing a job in the well-connected insurance industry.