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Steps to Become An Actuary

An Actuary is an expert analyst who performs risk assessment using mathematical calculations for business ventures for their clients and helps them figure out the best possible solution to avoid, eliminate or minimize any risks.

What Does an Actuary Do?

The job description of Actuaries requires them to analyze and assess the financial fallout of any risk or uncertainty. The nature of their job demands them to acquire excellent mathematical, statistical and financial theories. These skills allow them to calculate and predict risk of probable events. Most Actuaries work closely with the insurance industry and other businesses in development of policies to control the cost of potential risks.

Common duties of Actuaries include:

  • Assembling and analyzing the statistical data as well as any additional information
  • Calculating the probable cost of events like death, chronic diseases that may result in death, natural disasters or accidents etc.
  • Designing, testing and implementing policies, business strategies, investments or pension plans etc. to minimize risk
  • Explaining their findings through charts, tables or reports to the government officials, clients, company executives and shareholders etc.

Steps to Become an Actuary in the US

The job of an Actuary is quite demanding and requires a particular skillset including excellent mathematical, analytical, computer and problem-solving skills. In addition to that, Actuaries must have very good communication skills to be able to make their point across the table. If you are interested in this career and want to know how to work in this field, here is a step by step guide for you.

Step-1: Education

To acquire an entry-level position as an Actuary as fast as possible, you can pursue and complete a 3 to 4-year bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science, Economics, Commerce or a closely related field. According to the BLS website, prospective candidates with a degree in Engineering or another subject from Social Sciences or even arts may be able to work in the field after passing certain set of mandatory courses.

Step-2: Career Advancement

As mentioned in the education section, people with degrees in an unrelated field must complete courses in Business and Statistics to be eligible for working in this profession. Other than that, Actuaries may pursue a few more courses in certain programming languages like, C++, SQL or VBA to enhance their job prospects.

Step-3: Certification

There are 2 professional societies that sponsor certain programs which can bestow the title of “a full professional” on a candidate. These societies are:

  • The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)
  • The Society of Actuaries (SOA)

Both of these societies offer 2 different levels of certifications; an associate and a fellow. Actuaries who choose to work in casualty or property fields get certified by the CAS. On the other hand, the Actuaries who choose to work in insurance companies, investments, financial institutions or retirement benefits etc. are certified by the SOA.

How Much Can I Earn as an Actuary in the US?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an annual mean salary of $116,250 for Actuaries in 2018 which amounts to approx. $55.89 mean wage per hour. The annual mean salary increased to $120,970. In addition to that, BLS predicted a 20% employment growth for this career between 2018 and 2028 which is considered to be much faster than average for other careers. Moreover, New York was named as the state with the highest employment level (2,330) and as the top paying state with an annual mean income of $152,920 in 2019.

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