Career Exploration

How To Pursue a career in Actuarial Science

Written by mrafeeq · >
Risk Management

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Risk Management

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If you have a logical mind, a love of numbers and an interest in the scientific method, pursuing a career in actuarial science is a great way to put your interests and natural talents to work. Actuaries work in all settings, from government agencies and research firms to insurance companies and educational facilities. These professionals fulfil a vital role in society, helping insurance companies set realistic rates, ensuring government programs remain solvent and even helping to develop public policy.

Best of all, actuaries earn an above-average salary and are expected to enjoy better than average job growth over the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for an actuary is more than $93,000 a year, far above the average salary for American workers.

The market for actuaries with the proper training is also expected to be strong. That same Bureau of Labor Statistics report also shows that the field is slated to grow by a substantial 26% a year. That above-average earning power, combined with a strong job outlook, makes a career in actuarial science an excellent choice for those with the right attitude and abilities.

What is Actuarial Science?

Actuarial science is the application of mathematics, statistics and finance to determine the financial consequences of risk.

Actuaries are often called “actuarial scientists” because they apply science and mathematics to assess the consequences of risks. An actuary has grown with the growth in modern society and technological advancements, as we now rely on insurance for more aspects of our lives.

Actuaries Professionals’ Day-to-Day Job – What Does An Actuary Do?

The actuarial profession is a career that many people might not be familiar with. An actuary is someone who calculates and manages financial risks and uncertainty.

An actuary analyzes data and provides information to assist the company in managing risks. They often work on teams with statisticians, economists, mathematicians, and accountants to analyze company risk exposure. Actuaries are also responsible for assessing the probability of risk events such as claims or accidents occurring within a specific time frame, such as a year or decades from now.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), actuaries enjoy some of the highest salaries in the United States currently at an average salary of $117,060 per year.

How to become an Actuarial Scientist?

If you plan to pursue a career in actuarial science, you will need a strong aptitude for math and a good understanding of the scientific method. If you are currently in high school, it is good to ask your teachers and guidance counsellors which classes will best prepare you for this type of career. You will want to take as many advanced math courses as you can while in high school, including algebra, trigonometry and calculus.

After you graduate from high school, you will need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field that will prepare you for your future career. Many actuaries hold degrees in mathematics, and that is an excellent place to start. But, again, it is a good idea to talk to your counsellors and professors. They can help you choose the best classes and get the proper training for life as an actuary.

Once you graduate, you should find a substantial market for actuaries. The market is expected to remain vital for the foreseeable future due to the expansion of the health insurance market and in part due to several other factors. But, no matter what those factors are, they point to a strong job market for actuaries and related professionals.

What do they do?

Actuaries perform a vital function in the business world and the public sector. Whether they work for a government agency like Medicare or Social Security or a private institution like an investment bank or an insurance company, the actuary’s job is to assess the financial cost associated with uncertainty and risk.

Public agencies and private firms deal with risk and uncertainty all the time, and they need to make current decisions based on an unknown future. That is where the job of the actuary comes in. Using a combination of statistics, mathematics and cutting-edge financial theory, the actuary analyzes the risks associated with a specific event. That, in turn, allows the management team at the company or government agency to make an intelligent and informed decision.

The duties and responsibilities vary depending on the company and/or industry in which they are employed. Actuaries are professionals who assess risk in a given situation, typically with their work being used to mitigate risk for insurance companies or other clients who have a need to determine it. Actuaries may also design insurance contracts, rate setting, risk management through investment portfolios, life expectancy calculations, and asset allocation.

Some universities offering a degree in Actuarial Science

In the USA — UCLA, Boston University, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, For a more exhaustive list and to get an idea of cost involved

In the UK — the University of Dundee, University of London, University of Southampton, For an exhaustive list

In India — The Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI) regulates the education & training of actuaries in India. When a student becomes a member of IAI by clearing the ACET exam [Read: All about “Actuarial Common Entrance Test” (ACET)], it is understood that he possesses the skills required to become a successful actuary.

Following are the eligibility criteria to become an actuary:

  • 10+2(H.S.C) or equivalent 
  • Graduate or Post Graduate in Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering, MBA (Finance) and other similar qualifications.
  • Fully qualified members of professional bodies such as:
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India
  • Certified Institute of Financial Analysts of India
  • Fellow of Insurance Institute of India
  • Highly proficient in mathematics & statistics

After clearing ACET, you can apply online ( to become a student member of IAI.

What’s the Difference Between Actuaries & Risk Managers?

Risk management is about minimizing potential losses for an organization. Risk managers are tasked with assessing risks and identifying the best course of action. Actuaries are professionals who are specialists in determining risk.

An actuary analyzes the degree of uncertainty that may exist in the future, determining how much risk is associated with a particular decision or course of action.

On the other hand, a risk manager uses actuarial studies to assess the probability of a given event and what would happen if it did occur. The main difference between actuaries and risk managers is that actuaries are the professionals who assess the likelihood of future events happening, while risk managers are those who conduct policies to manage risk.

The Difference Between Actuarial & Statistical Sciences

According to Forbes, actuarial science is a profession comprising “the application of mathematics and statistics to assess risk in the insurance and financial industries”. Actuaries are responsible for understanding the probability of how much a given company will owe in the future, as well as how much it needs today to pay those future obligations.

Statistical science is a discipline that deals with collecting and analyzing data. It deals with numerical information and the collection of data sets. It is often used in research where there has been an absence of data or lack of conclusive evidence to draw conclusions.

Conclusion: While actuaries work in many different fields of endeavour, the insurance industry simply could not exist without the analysis they provide. The insurance industry is all about controlling risk, and without their actuaries, they simply could not function. But whether you work for an insurance company or not, you can expect a bright future when you become an actuary. The actuary profession offers many challenges but also many benefits. It is a demanding career path requiring the ability to solve complex problems, an aptitude for mathematics, and the analytical skills to make sense of large quantities of data. If you are interested in pursuing this career, one of the first steps will be to find information about educational requirements and resources for getting started on your journey.

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