Q&A: What Can You Do With an Actuarial Degree? (With Skills)
If you enjoy predicting future outcomes and helping companies make decisions, you may want to consider earning an actuarial degree. This degree program teaches students how to evaluate risks and maintain economic stability in an organization. Understanding potential career opportunities and the type of employers hiring these professionals can help you determine if it's the right option for you. In this article, we discuss what an actuarial scientist is, share what types of jobs you can do with an actuarial degree, explain who typically hires graduates with this degree and discuss the average job outlook for this role.
What is an actuarial science degree?
An actuarial science degree is an academic program where individuals learn about evaluating risks and maintaining economic stability in an organization. This program teaches students math, probability, statistics and economic techniques to quantify risks and calculate the potential cost. Those who complete this type of degree can help organizations define the potential implications of uncertain future events. An actuarial science degree typically comprises math, finance and business courses. Students can earn either a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree in actuarial science. Some courses students take in an actuarial science program include:
Statistics and probability
Related: What Is Actuary Sciences?
What can you do with an actuarial degree?
Here are six jobs to consider pursuing with an actuarial degree:
National average salary: $56,716 per year
Primary duties: An auditor prepares and analyzes financial statements to help organizations find potential risks or opportunities. Once they find these results, they present them to a business and recommend solutions. Auditor job responsibilities include examining a company's accounts, reviewing financial reports for accuracy and preparing audit reports.
Related: Learn About Being an Auditor
2. Data analyst
National average salary: $65,674 per year
Primary duties: A data analyst retrieves and gathers data on behaviors, such as sales numbers and market research. They use this information to produce internal and client-facing reports so organizations can make better decisions. Job duties for a data analyst include identifying patterns, collaborating with other departments, providing technical expertise in data mining and maintaining databases.
Related: Learn About Being a Data Analyst
National average salary: $70,370 per year
Primary duties: A financial planner advises individuals or companies to help them achieve their financial goals and needs. This includes helping clients budget, save for college and invest their capital in stocks. Financial planners also maintain client records, act as a liaison between the client and financial professionals, help with conducting financial analysis and track client success.
National average salary: $71,869 per year
Primary duties: An investment analyst examines financial and investment information to determine suitable investment strategies. They often choose to specialize in a niche, such as a specific geographical region or industry. Job duties for investment analysts often include reviewing previous investment decisions, liaising with fund managers, compiling advisory reports and developing financial models.
National average salary: $74,261 per year
Primary duties: A business analyst reviews an organization's operations, structure and policies to provide a recommendation about potential solutions to help accomplish their goals. They begin by identifying what the company's needs are and the problems they face. Other job responsibilities for a business analyst include ensuring their solutions meet business requirements, overseeing the implementation of new systems or technology and running training sessions.
Related: Learn About Being a Business Analyst
National average salary: $74,352 per year
Primary duties: An underwriter determines whether to accept applicants for insurance coverage based on risk factors for the company, such as age and health. This involves reviewing files submitted by applicants and requesting more information as needed. Underwriters also use specialized computer programs to analyze statistical data, write quotes, liaison with insurance brokers and determine the terms and conditions for insurance coverage.
Related: Learn About Being an Underwriter
7. Risk analyst
National average salary: $74,840 per year
Primary duties: A risk analyst advises organizations about potential dangers that may interfere with the success of their business. They predict future trends and forecast factors, such as costs, that may pose a potential risk. Risk analyst job duties include creating visual models to show potential outcomes, reviewing financial statements, compiling reports and determining solutions to help minimize risks.
National average salary: $114,323 per year
Primary duties: An actuary estimates the financial impact of various outcomes related to illness, accidents, investments and consumer demands. After performing complex calculations on specialized computer software, they present their findings to insurance companies or other stakeholders. Other job duties for an actuary include collecting statistical data, creating policies to minimize risk and preparing reports.
Related: Learn About Being an Actuary
Who hires professionals with actuarial degrees?
Professionals with actuarial degrees typically work for either an insurance company or in the financial industry. They help health insurance companies calculate the costs for their services to help set a price to charge policyholders. In the financial industry, actuarial professionals help individuals and businesses analyze their investment strategies, retirement plans and enterprise risk. Those with an actuarial degree may also work as federal or state government employees, conducting demographic studies or examining the rates charged by insurance companies.
What are some skills you can gain from an actuarial degree?
The following are some skills you can gain from completing an actuarial degree:
Strong numeracy skills
Ability to decode complex data
What's the job outlook for actuaries?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment opportunities for actuaries may increase by 24% between 2020 and 2030. This is much faster than the average rate for all other occupations. The BLS predicts this growth may result from the continual need for actuaries to help companies manage their risks to adjust their investment or business strategies. Insurance companies also may need actuaries to help them better develop their products and set competitive prices for their services.
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