What does an Actuary do?
Most people have very little idea of what an actuary does. Many have heard the occupational title, and perhaps associate it with the insurance industry. But if you ask the people around you what actuaries do on a daily basis, most will shrug their shoulders. It's surprising, considering that actuaries comprise one of the better-paying, fastest-growing occupational groups in the country.
In a nutshell, actuaries have a penchant for math. They love statistics and prediction methodology and are key members of business, finance and insurance companies. Roles can vary with experience and career training. Employers ask actuaries to assess financial risks in creating business strategies, developing investments, benefits and pension programs, and determine the validity of monetary claims against the company. It's a highly responsible role, clearly one for a person who revels in mathematics, probability and keeping an eye on regulations. You can hold a company's prospects for well-being in your hands.
Actuary educational requirements
Whether you earn an undergraduate or graduate degree, you will likely need a solid foundation in database and spreadsheet software, and a bulletproof proficiency in probability, calculus, and statistics. Prepare for success by earning your bachelor's degree in actuarial science, mathematics, economics, finance, or business. Many degree programs require students to undertake internships with insurance companies or financial organizations to gain experience, integrate new skills and develop professional contacts that can lead to long-term job stability. Entry level jobs for graduates can be in underwriting, marketing, product development and financial reporting departments of business firms.
You can boost your career, responsibilities and earnings by completing education and passing exams for actuarial certification organizations such as the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). There are seven examinations, four of which are offered by both societies. The final three exams offer specializations in life insurance and benefits or in the property and casualty field.
You can also bolster your credentials by completing computer science training that focuses on programming languages for databases and other functionalities including Visual Basic for Applications, SQL and SAS.
Actuary salaries and job prospects
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 21 percent growth in actuarial jobs, with the financial services and consulting sectors enjoying the greatest actuarial growth. Consulting firms, the BLS says, may offer the best prospects of all as insurance and financial companies turn toward outsourcing actuarial work. Ultimately, you might become your own boss.
Interested? Research schools and colleges offering actuarial degrees and training for work in a lucrative field where no one may know what you do!
The following colleges can help you earn the necessary educational requirements to become an Actuary: