Considering a career as an Actuary? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.
- What does an Actuary do?
- How to become an Actuary?
- What is an Actuary's Salary?
- How does the future look for an Actuary?
What does an Actuary do?
An Actuary assesses various sources of data to determine the likelihood and depth of financial impact from probable future events.
Most career opportunities for Actuaries are in the Insurance industries; however, many Actuaries are finding careers in different industries as well, such as law, health care, the stock market and other forms of investment management.
An Actuary becomes valuable to an organization when one can properly assess the risk of developing and implementing a company's product (insurance plans for insurance companies) and associate an appropriate price (insurance premium) for the product that allows for acceptible profit margins after all possible future scenarios are accounted for.
In order for an Actuary to properly match risk to price for products like insurance, an Actuary will have to be skilled in researching, planning, organizing and establishing the least risky programs for developing or delivering a company's service or product.
As an Actuary, you will typically need to have a firm grasp of many complex areas of mathematics and strong skills with computers and running risk management software developed for your industry.
Most Actuaries really enjoy their jobs and the benefits associated with the career. As an Actuary, you will typically work in an office environment with other like-minded professionals. As you move up the ranks, you will be granted many more responsibilities. Most experienced Actuaries welcome the addition of responsibility. When managing risk assessment projects and establishing price for future company products, you will have to understand the fundamentals of business and your organization's finances.
Much of what you can learn as an experienced Actuary will prep you for either starting your own business or stepping into upper management positions or the CFO position within your organization.
When becoming an Actuary, opening doors to highly lucrative career opportunities.
How to Become an Actuary?
Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company, the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.
For most actuarial careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree in Business or Accounting. However, for higher paying positions, you may be either required or "encouraged" to acquire business management education and advanced knowledge of finance from a MBA in Accounting or Finance.
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Beyond a quality education and the development of skills necessary to succeed as an Actuary, you will need to learn where to gain experience by finding career opportunities.
You will find some Actuary career opportunities on websites such as the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society; however, you will probably have quicker results if you contact a local recruiter or begin contacting hiring firms directly. You may find Actuary openings under newspaper or online classifieds (Craigslist or Monster.com).
What is an Actuary's Salary?
As an Actuary, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.
The median salary* for an Actuary is $82,800.
However, the top 10% of Actuaries are pulling in an average of over $150,000.
In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company, acquire all associated certifications and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.
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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006
How does the future look for an Actuary?
The career prospects of an Actuary are looking more and more promising every year. Aside from increased demand for Actuaries in Insurance industries, Actuaries are being employed in many other industries for their expertise in predicting risk in ever-changing markets. With increasing competition on a global scale, actuaries are helping to increase margins through minimizing the repercusions of organizations' policies, programs and essentially all company decision making.
The U.S. Department of Labor believes between 2004 and 2014, Actuary career opportunities will increase by 23% from 17,500 to 21,600.
The future looks bright for the Actuary profession, so go ahead and get started!
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