Career Detail

“Risky Business ”
Main functions of actuaries is to help businesses assess the risk of certain events occurring and formulate policies that minimize the cost of that risk.
The Job
Actuaries assemble and analyze data to estimate the probability and likely cost of an event such as death, sickness, injury, disability, or loss of property.
Work Environment
Actuaries have desk jobs, and their offices usually are comfortable and pleasant. They often work at least 40 hours a week.
College Majors
Complete coursework in economics, applied statistics and corporate finance, which is a requirement for professional certification.
Minimum Qualifications
Actuaries need a strong foundation in mathematics, statistics, and general business. They generally have a bachelor's degree and are required to pass a series of exams in order to become certified.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Good communication and interpersonal skills also are important, particularly for prospective consulting actuaries.
Quick Facts
  • A strong background in mathematics is essential; actuaries must pass a series of examinations to gain full professional status.
  • About 6 out of 10 actuaries are employed in the insurance industry.
  • Employment opportunities should remain good for those who qualify, because the stringent qualifying examination system restricts the number of candidates.
  • Annual starting salaries for graduates with a bachelor's degree in actuarial science averaged $56,320 in July 2009.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of actuaries were $84,810 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $62,020 and $119,110. The lowest 10 percent had wages less than $49,150, while the top 10 percent earned more than $160,780.
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