Loss Prevention Degree and Certificate Program Options
There are two types of loss prevention specialists. First are private security specialists employed by businesses, who protect a business' assets by taking shoplifters and others into custody and by periodically inspecting rest rooms, dressing rooms and stock areas. Second are those who work for insurance companies, inspecting insurance applicants. They assess risks the insurance company may face, and recommend changes to lessen the likelihood of loss.
Associate Degree in Loss Prevention for Security
Although there are certificates and bachelor's degrees available in loss prevention, the most common degree is an associate degree in loss prevention. Usually these degrees are part of a criminal justice program. They are designed to prepare students to work in private security, or in protecting corporate, industrial or retail assets. Other job opportunities may be found in law enforcement agencies or correctional facilities. Schools offering these programs require only a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent.
Associate degrees require some core general education courses. Courses common to loss prevention degree programs address:
- Administrating asset protection and loss prevention operations
- Basics, history and theory of criminal investigation
- Investigative methods in private security
- Laws for private security protection
- Orientation to criminal justice and law enforcement
- Promoting safety in loss prevention
- Property security, risk analysis and safety
- Role of law enforcement in preventing and controlling aberrant behavior
- Security and other aspects of loss prevention
The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists those who work in private security under the heading of private detectives and investigators. Employment for these professionals is expected to see a 21% increase between 2010 and 2020. As of May 2012, the median annual salary for private detectives and investigators is $45,740 (www.bls.gov).
Most states require private investigators and detectives to be licensed. There is a wide gap between state requirements. Several certifications are available. The Loss Prevention Foundation offers the Loss Prevention Qualified (LPQ) certification for anyone interested in the field, and Loss Prevention Certified (LPC) designation for management and executives. Both may be gained by passing stringent exams; preparation courses are available. Some schools accept the LPQ for bachelor's program credit and the LPC for master's credit.
For those with a bachelor's degree, ASIS International offers the Certified Protection Professional (CPP). Recertification every three years requires four continuing professional education (CPE) units each year.
Bachelor's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
For people interested in working in loss prevention in insurance companies, bachelor's degrees in insurance and risk management are the most common option. These programs offer a foundation of business courses. An understanding of the global insurance industry is presented. Insights for using objectives of risk management to support the objectives of an organization are a focus.
Some programs are offered online, and may require an associate degree in business administration, or two years of college credits. A college GPA of 2.25 or higher is generally required. Some programs require applicants to have had coursework in information technology, macroeconomics, microeconomics, accounting principles and business statistics.
Courses specific to insurance and risk management are required, in addition to general business courses. Risk management and insurance courses may include:
- Decision-making processes for insurers and consulting firms
- Examination of major causes of liability losses and finding risk treatments
- Examination of major causes of property losses and finding risk treatments
- Government regulation of insurance
- Integrating risk management processes with risk control and financing techniques
- Internship in risk management and insurance
- Laws of torts, contracts and agency
- Principles of insurance
- Processes of risk management and financial planning options
- Risk control
Loss control representatives in insurance companies are listed under the banner of management analysts by the BLS. Job opportunities for management analysts are expected to increase by 22% between 2010 and 2020 due to a high demand for those who can assist with controlling expenses and increasing efficiency within companies. The BLS notes that these analysts earn a median salary of $78,600 per year.
Two primary certifications are available for the risk manager in insurance. The most prominent one is the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) designation from PRMIA. Four exams must be passed to earn this designation. The exams may be taken singly over a period of two years if necessary. PRMIA offers online, in-house and classroom training programs, as well as webinars.
The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) offers the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification. The two FRM exams cover nine major topics in risk analysis. Study materials and practice exams are available, as is a list of available courses to aid in preparation for the exams. These are located around the world; some are online. GARP has a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program that offers a total of 40 CPE units. Other training is also available.
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