What is an Actuary?
The future is uncertain. Some of the events that can happen are
undesirable. "Risk" is the possibility that an undesirable event will
occur. Actuaries are experts in:
- Evaluating the likelihood of future events
- Designing creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events
- Decreasing the impact of undesirable events that do occur.
The impact of undesirable events can be both emotional and financial.
Reducing the likelihood of these events helps relieve emotional pain.
But some events, such as death, cannot be totally avoided. So,
reducing their financial impact is very important. Actuaries are the
leading professionals in finding ways to manage risk. It takes a
combination of strong analytical skills, business knowledge and
understanding of human behavior to design and manage programs that
Actuaries love what they do. Their work is intellectually
challenging and they are very well-paid. Actuaries are key players in
the management team of the companies that employ them. In a
fast-changing world, with new risks and the need for ever-more creative
ways to tackle them, there are constant opportunities for personal and
professional growth in an actuarial career, and the pleasure of
life-long learning. Most actuaries work in a pleasant environment,
alongside other professionals, and enjoy the respect of their peers.
This is why the actuarial profession has consistently been rated as one of the top five jobs in the United States according to Jobs Rated Almanac.
Actuaries are the analytical backbone of our society's financial
security programs. They are the brains behind the financial safeguards
we have implemented in our personal lives, so we can go about our daily
lives without worrying too much about what the future may hold for us.
These are the safeguards that protect us from life's catastrophes. The
insight into risk that actuaries have also helps to ensure that our
savings are working hard for us, so that everything we love and cherish
can grow and flourish. The work of actuaries benefits all of us.
Where do actuaries manage risk?
At this time, the majority of actuaries work in careers that are
associated with the insurance industry, though growing numbers work in
other fields. They are heavily involved in insurance because that is
society's most powerful answer for managing risk. We reduce our risk of
financial loss by transferring it to an insurance company that accepts
the risk for a price (which is the insurance premium). Actuaries play a
key role in designing insurance plans by determining the premium,
monitoring the profitability of insurance companies, and recommending
corrective action when appropriate. Actuaries working in insurance
companies also ensure that insurance companies have set aside enough
funds to pay claims and provide advice on how to invest the insurance
Actuaries work in all sectors of the economy, though they are more
heavily represented in the financial services sector, including
insurance companies, commercial banks, investment banks, and retirement
funds. They are employed by corporations as well as the state and
federal government. Many work for consulting firms. Some are
self-employed, enjoying financially rewarding careers that also come
with the great flexibility of being one's own boss.
Visit On the Job to read more about where actuaries work and what they do.
Read more about the degree here
The Degree Requirements?
The requirements for the B. S. degree in actuarial science
- STA 226 (an introductory course), QMM 241 (a second course in
statistics, offered by the School of Business Administration), STA 427
(first half of mathematical statistics), and either STA 402 (linear
models) or ECN 405 (econometrics)
- MTH 154-155-254 (calculus), 275 (linear algebra), and one
course chosen from APM 255, 433, 434, or STA 425, 428
- EGR 141 (Computer Problem Solving in Engineering and Computer
- ECN 210 (or both 200 and 201), 302, and 303 (economics courses)
- ENG 382 (an advanced writing course)
- ACC 200 (accounting)
- FIN 322, 416, 422 (courses in finance)
- APM 450 or ECN 450 (a capstone course in risk management)