An actuary designs pension plans or insurance plans so that the plans will be financially sound. For instance, actuaries’ knowledge of business and statistics makes it possible for them to assess risk associated with various kinds of life events such as, for example, injury, illness, disability, property loss or death. Actuaries might also do other tasks such as create investment methods, or they might assist in the management of government-sponsored programs. Actuaries work in a variety of settings such as in casualty insurance, life insurance, health insurance, property insurance, state agencies, financial services or federal agencies. They also do consulting, or they work for accounting firms, labor unions, rating bureaus or private corporations.
To become an actuary, it is necessary to get a college degree in actuarial science or a related subject such as economics, math, statistics or finance; degrees in any of these subjects will enable you to have a sufficient academic foundation to become a successful actuary. If pursuing actuarial science, after taking calculus coursework in college, you will also take courses such as actuarial math, financial math, financial economics and loss models or credibility theory. Receiving excellent grades while taking the coursework is difficult, but necessary, due to the competitiveness of this particular profession. In addition to classroom work in college, doing a college internship in actuarial science can be an asset because it will supplement your classroom experiences, effectively enable networking and make it easier for you to get a job after graduating college.
Taking the Actuarial Exams
An additional step that you will need to take will involve the required actuarial exams. Typically there are at least nine exams and sometimes ten depending on the career path. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) give these exams pertaining to actuarial-related topics such as interest theory, probability, life contingency, risk management and other issues that are relevant to the actuarial science profession. Two of these exams can be taken while you are in college whereas the remaining exams are taken after college. Note that passing the two exams that you take in college is extremely important; if you pass the first two exams, it makes it more likely that you will qualify to get a high-paying job immediately after college graduation.
Going to Graduate School
In order to improve your career options, you could go to graduate school to get a master’s degree in actuarial science after completing three years of actuarial work experience. Indeed, the master’s degree in actuarial science or in some cases the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in actuarial science is typically recommended for anyone hoping to become a chief risk officer, vice president, or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an insurance company. Attainment of a college teaching career or a managerial career in marketing or underwriting is also possible via pursuit of a master’s degree in actuarial science.
It is true that becoming an actuary is not easy; however, please note that many actuaries have described their work as being very interesting. Also, the work environment is typically very pleasant since actuaries usually work in a comfortable office environment. At the beginning of an actuarial career, salary ranges from USD $45,000 to USD $55,000. As you pass exams, your salary increases in large increments; in fact within a few years, it is possible for some actuaries to earn over USD $100,000 per year. Although the process of becoming an actuary is challenging, the outcome can be very pleasant indeed.
Dillon Mathis is a freelance writer who concentrates on banking, finance, accounting and other kindred topics; those interested in the world of finance should consider viewing the finance jobs with moneyjobs.com by visiting moneyjobs.com.
Image credit goes to hadfieldeducation.