CWU News

Two Online Risk Management, Insurance and Safety Degrees to be Offered at CWU

Responding to a growing need in a number of U.S. industries, Central Washington University will be offering two new online degrees this spring.

CWU’s Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction (ETSC) department is now accepting applications for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science programs in Risk, Insurance, and Safety Management (RISM). Through the first-of-its-kind program, students will learn about insurance, risk management, safety management, business, and more.

The four-year degree program is designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies required of all entry-level risk management professionals. An added benefit is that all of the classes are presented online.

“Offering these degrees at CWU is in line with our mission of access,” said Sathy Rajendran, the ETSC department chair and program coordinator at CWU. “Place- and time-bound students and working professionals can complete these degrees 100 percent online.”

Rajendran added that the BAS degree program presents opportunities for students who have associate’s degrees in applied science, while a broad-based education in risk and insurance will be crucial for graduates seeking entry- and mid-level positions in risk management, insurance, and safety. 

The industry offers numerous career paths, including safety manager, risk manager/analyst, underwriter, loss prevention representative, and workers’ compensation claims manager. Each of these professions also provides financial stability, with U.S. risk management professionals earning a median income of $120,000 per year and mid-career occupational safety professionals with bachelor’s degrees earning a median salary of $94,000. 

“Risk and safety professionals are essential to organizations in the public and private sectors alike, and these skills are in very high demand,” said Vianney Muse, president of the Washington chapter of RIMS. “We believe the unique degree will provide students with an in-depth knowledge they will need to assess and respond to the numerous risks faced by organizations of all types.” 

The CWU program will focus on seven key areas defined by RIMS, the Risk Management Society: core competencies, attributes, organizational knowledge, business knowledge, risk management knowledge, technical skills, and management skills. Students also can participate in an internship program that allows them to apply what they have learned in real-world settings. 

The BS and BAS degrees meet the Board of Certified Safety Professionals’ Qualified Academic Program requirements, and will help graduates become eligible to receive the national Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP) designation. 

Jeanna Madlener, a vice president at the insurance company Woodruff Sawyer, said a degree in RISM is the perfect complement to other applied science programs already offered by CWU. There’s also a tremendous need for these skills in the industry.

“The opportunities in risk management and insurance are abundant, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting near 20 percent growth in this field by 2026,” she said. “Obtaining a degree in RISM sets students apart from their peers when seeking a position in this growing and profitable profession.”  

Rajendran thanked the Spencer Educational Foundation, the Risk Management Society of Washington, and the Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation for their financial support and help in developing and promoting the RISM curriculum for CWU’s new degree programs. The Risk Management Society of Oregon also provided support in developing the program curriculum and requirements.

Visit to learn more about the BS-RISM and BAS-RISM degrees. 


Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,