FRM Fees and their true meaning

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


A Cost versus Value Perspective

Years ago there was no single gold standard qualification for financial risk professionals in the world.

More education meant more value, as each individual struggled to get ‘just one more degree’ or ‘just one more certification’ for a competitive advantage in the finance industry.

However, in that never-ending race, there were clear disconnects between formal educational curriculum and what employers actually wanted.

Enter the Financial Risk Manager certification course by the Global Association of Risk Professionals, GARP, in 1997. Things changed for good.

As a result of their entrance, it is now easy to sharpen your professional risk management skills through the FRM course.

Just like that, risk management skills were readily available without having to drown yourself in debt to pursue degree after degree.

Career advancement as a risk professional is now a sure thing via a single straightforward process through a reputable organization. But…what about those fees?


What are the costs actually like?

Yes, it does take a considerable amount of money to attain certification, but the amount is much lower than what other educational programs require.

However, depending on your work environment, the value of the Financial Risk Manager certification will be the same or even higher than graduate and postgraduate degrees.

So, to get started in the program, you will part with US$400 for an initial registration.

You will then spend another $425 for your level 1 exam fee, and a similar amount for your level 2 test.

Additionally, the amount of money you pay for registration also depends on the time in which you apply for it.

  • The above mentioned $425 for each of level 1 or 2 exams falls under early registration; that is January for the May exam, or June for the November exam.
  • The fees for standard registration (February or August respectively) is $550 while late registration (April or October respectively) will cost you $725.
  • If you don’t clear any of the level 1 or level 2 exams in the first go, you will be required to re-pay the exam fees to retake the exam (no enrollment fee is charged).
  • However, if after four years you haven’t yet successfully cleared the course requirements, you will be required to re-enroll in the program.
  • Assuming you are an early registrant in both level 1 and 2, and that you clear the exams in the first take, enrollment and fees will cost over US$1,100.


What are the payment deadlines?

  • For the May exam, early registration closes on the last day of January
  • Standard registration closes on the last day of February, while late registration closes in mid-April
  • For the November exam, early registration closes on the last day of July, while Standard registration closes on the last day of August
  • For late registrants, the deadline is mid-October


What is the total cost of GARP books?

After registration, the next step is to acquire study materials to aid in your exam preparation. The study materials include textbooks that cover all the topics in the syllabus as designed by GARP.

Afterward, you can also explore third party options to boost your chances of success. 

The Complete set of part 1 books by GARP costs $300 plus shipping. The books include the topical segments:

  • Foundations of Risk Management
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Financial Markets and Products
  • Valuation and Risk Models

Similarly, the total cost of level 2 books come in at US$300 plus shipping. The books cover the following segments:

  • Market Risk Measurement and Management
  • Credit Risk Measurement and Management
  • Operational Risk and Resiliency
  • Liquidity and Treasury Risk Measurement 
  • Risk Management and Investment Management
  • Current Issues in Financial Markets

Therefore, the total amount you can spend on GARP study materials for the FRM program is about US$600.

These costs, however, are for hard copies. If you go the E-book route, you get to reduce your costs noticeably.

  • The part 1 E-Books by GARP is currently US$250.
  • The part 2 collection of E-books also demands US$250.
  • The books are available in a downloadable digital format on GARP’s website.


What is the cost of materials from third party providers?

There are several third party course providers that can help you in your exam preparation.

You can explore options such as self-study through extra course materials, classroom training, or online coaching. At FRMQuestionBank, we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality content at the best prices.

Our advice to you is to research the different rates offered by third party providers, and gain a clear understanding of what is being offered and what isn’t.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Is this provider forcing me to buy options I don’t want or need?
  • Is the information clearly laid out and easy to understand?
  • Do they provide free sample questions on their website?
  • How many questions will I get?
  • What is their customer support like?
  • Is it a properly registered business?
  • Do they have an EV SSL certificate to prove their registration?

There are a number of providers, and you can explore your options to beat down the price. There are also different package levels.

A survey of the providers shows that charges vary wildly for all the study materials and assistance.

As a reminder, we offer FREE:

  • Sample questions and answers
  • Study guides
  • Study plans
  • Articles
  • Formulas


What is the total cost to complete everything?

To arrive at this figure, we will sum up the costs of enrollment plus exam registrations, GARP textbooks, and the fees of third party materials and or training.

Please note that everything else after acquiring the GARP textbooks is optional. However, if you don’t have a background in finance, outside materials may be essential to cement your knowledge.

  • Enrollment and two exam registrations: US$1,100
  • GARP textbooks for level 1 and 2: US$600
  • Third party practice questions: US$400

So, at the time of this writing, your total fees for certification come to approximately US$2,100. However, this is assuming that no exam is repeated and you will only be using one external source for practice questions.


How do FRM fees compare to an MBA in finance?

Professional certifications have grown in popularity as the sure path to career advancement.

Even though GARP is the gold standard qualification in financial risk management, the field of finance has many other higher level courses. One obvious consideration is doing an MBA in finance.

We have relative footing to compare these two with the program because the advancements may be similar for risk professionals and MBA graduates.

Analyzing these other programs, you will find that the certification course by GARP is the least expensive option, yet it carries much value. 

Pursuing an MBA from a reputable institution can cost between $45,000 and $90,000 in program fees for two years.

Even after parting with such a whopping amount, you will need to cater for expenses such as living, food, travel and other miscellaneous costs.

Doing an MSC in Finance may cost slightly less than an MBA, but it still towers over GARP’s in terms of expenses. 

Given that the earning scales can be similar, it would make more financial sense to pursue the certification after college, as opposed to going for a Master’s programs directly.

What else can you do with $2,100?

Not a whole lot. Yet, this amount of money has the potential to give you a return of between $50,000 and $165,000 every year (potential salary scale).

Your fees could:

  • Buy you a new iPhone: $999
  • Replace your old tablet: $799
  • Get VIP tickets to a music concert: $1000

This program by GARP is, therefore, an extremely worthwhile investment.

Unlike the purchases you make in this example, this certification is not perishable; it doesn’t depreciate.

More so, it has a return on investment in terms of higher salaries.


Should I attempt the course if I already have a degree?

College education and success are gradually starting to run on divergent lines. As mentioned before, there is a clear gap between university programs and what employers want.

You need this qualification to enhance your practical skills in financial risk management. You will gain access to a vast knowledge base that will be useful in the industry, and to optimize your ability to create valuable opportunities.

Such laser-focused training is lacking in many university programs. We understand that the fees may seem like just another daunting expenditure, but, trust us, it will be well worth it.


The intrinsic value of your fees

The costs of attaining the certificate are actually quite low, compared to the value you will obtain from it. This achievement is a designation of an individual equipped with the knowledge that the industry needs.

Risk professionals are problem solvers and value creators. They are leaders and the primary defense a company has against risk. 

The ever-changing face of risk and the new challenges that arise have exposed many companies to losses.

Recruiters are, therefore, looking for individuals that have the latest knowledge in risk management. They seek professionals that can see the bigger picture, cope with new challenges in management and adopt defenses as conditions change.

GARP’s course encompasses all that and much more. We encourage all to take the leap and register today.


Student debt and continued education

Student dent can leave your dreams dead in their tracks right after college. After graduating, you find that pretty much everyone else also has a degree. For a clear advantage in the job market, you find that you need to get something even higher.

But you are still servicing your seemingly insurmountable student loans. Graduate and postgraduate programs are not cheap.

What do you do? If you are in the field of financial risk or, are interested in it, the answer is simple. Pursue certification by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.


Job satisfaction

You are more likely to have higher job satisfaction after attaining your accreditation. That is because your salary rises, and your ability to perform well at tasks increases too.

The title also boosts your self-esteem, confidence and networking scope. These intangible values can propel you to higher heights in life.


The guarantee of excellence

Should you choose to pursue another degree or a masters or a Ph.D in finance-related courses, you can use this validation as a launching pad.

You will find numerous concepts covered in your course is contained in your higher level business courses.

In other instances, these risk experts have been able to attain scholarships in their higher learning engagements because of their superb results in the renowned program.


An investment of a lifetime

Spending approximately $2,100 in fees is an investment whose value is long lasting. Unlike a car, a piece of electronic gadget, or an expensive vacation, the knowledge from the course will not depreciate.

No one can take it from you. When everything else goes to waste, you can always rebuild through the skills you have.


The bottom line

Although your FRM fees amount to a considerable sum of money, you will not pay a king’s ransom like in other programs. The value of having this endorsement is also similar to or higher than most masters programs.

The FRM certification is a lifetime investment. Join now. You won’t regret it.

Thank you for going through our article and be sure to have a look at the others as well! And remember to get all the free content on the shop page.


Always move forward,

The QuestionBank Family