Students interested in careers where they can use statistics and mathematics to solve problems often choose careers in actuarial science. Actuarial science is a field that analyzes and studies risk factors in different businesses such as insurance companies and financial institutions. More individuals are choosing actuarial science as a career because of the numerous possibilities it offers, including working with insurance companies, helping to keep the elderly healthier, dealing with global warming and acting as financial consultants to name a few. Learn more about actuarial science and what a career as an actuary entails.
What Actuaries Do
Actuaries are highly trained professionals who analyze the economic or monetary costs of risks and uncertainty. They use statistics, mathematics, financial theories and various skill sets to assess the amount of risk of possible events and circumstances. Actuaries collect data and numbers to analyze the probability of risks for clients and businesses.
An example is with auto insurance companies. Actuaries collect information and data on a potential client, such as age, gender, driving history, location and type of vehicle. They analyze all this information and compare it with other clients having the same factor. Using all this data and information, they assess the risk for the auto insurance company, which in turn helps the insurance company determine the best premium for the customer.
Actuaries spend a great deal of time on computers and know database, modeling and statistics software. The majority of actuaries work for insurance companies, but some work on business strategies, pension plans, investments and shareholders.
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How to Become an Actuary
Actuaries must have a degree in actuarial science mathematics, statistics or a similar analytical field. Some actuaries have master’s degrees while others obtain their positions with only bachelor’s degrees. They take courses in statistics, economics, business, computer science, databases, programming languages and corporate finance. Because of the large amount of time actuaries spend on computers, they must be very proficient with computers and various programming areas.
In addition to having a degree, actuaries should have a strong background in statistics, mathematics and business. They must also possess good communication skills because they spend a lot of time communicating with others in the business world. Actuaries can obtain certification through the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. The type of certification the actuary pursues will depend on the type of work he or she will be doing.
For instance, actuaries working with life insurance, health insurance, investments, retirement benefits and finance will want the SOA certification. Actuaries working with property and casualty, such as homeowners insurance, auto insurance or workmen’s compensation insurance will choose the CAS certification.
Career Outlook for Actuaries
Actuaries are very much in demand and can expect good job growth for the next several years. A 20 percent growth is predicted for the decade of 2018-2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The bureau also reports that actuaries have the potential to earn very good salaries. As of May 2018, actuaries earned yearly wages ranging from $61,140 to $188,110. The average annual and hourly wage nationwide was $116,250 and $55.89. States where actuaries earn the highest wages are:
• New York – $150,950
• Connecticut – $132,910
• Washington – $131,330
• District of Columbia – $129,540
• New Hampshire – $129,110
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Careers in Actuary Science
Candidates pursuing careers in actuarial science are generally interested in working as actuaries. However, an actuarial science graduate might pursue several other jobs.
• Budget Analyst
• Cost Estimator
• Insurance Underwriter
Working in the area of actuarial science can be a challenge, but it can also be lots of fun because it gives individuals the pride and satisfaction of being able to save others some money. With the various positions available to graduates of actuarial science programs, an individual can almost hand-pick his or her career.
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