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Actuary Career Guide

Updated on May 2, 2011

This page provides a comprehensive guide to a high-paying actuary career, complete with realistic points for you to consider while you make your career choice.

Here, you will also find videos, recommended actuarial career guide books, links to professional and student actuarial organizations, as well as other relevant links to help you along the way.

What is an Actuary?

People with actuarial jobs are statisticians who work in risk management. They help evaluate the financial implications of uncertain future events.

To be clear, actuaries solve complicated problems (like the dollar value of a person's life) by using statistics and probability skills. 

If you are the type of person who enjoys math, and statistics class floats your boat, this may be the perfect career for you.

Actuary Salary
Actuary Salary

How Much Money Does an Actuary Make?

Entry-level actuary jobs usually start out paying around $55,000 per year.

Actuary salaries easily top $100,000 a year with full certification - and some actuaries earn more than a $250,000 a year. Indeed, actuarial science is a six-figure career field.

If you are looking for a high-paying career that is in demand, look no further...

CAUTION! You Cannot Do This Job for the Money Alone...

The path to an actuary career is exceedingly difficult without a true interest, and genuine ability in statistics and probability

Some People are attracted to an actuarial career because it is a high-paying job, but take heed... it is not the kind of career to try to enter for the high salary will most likely fail if you do not have the mathematics background and skill necessary.

If you cannot answer yes to all of the questions listed below, you may want to think seriously about why you want to be an actuary.

Ask Yourself:

  1. Do I have strong math aptitude?
  2. Am I a whiz at taking standardized exams?
  3. Am I naturally competitive?
  4. Would I really enjoy working with numbers, graphs, charts and statistics?

If you can answer yes to the above questions, an actuary career might be a good fit for you.

Many people who choose actuarial careers major in math in college. It is important for you to know that future actuaries need to be adept in statistics, probability and calculus.

Actuaries are statisticians at heart, and many colleges and universities have specific actuarial science programs within their mathematics departments.

You will also need to have an interest in economics, and finance to round out your skills

Consider The Realities of The Career

Obtaining an actuary job can be a challenge because the competition for these high-paying jobs is fierce.

Once you are on the job, there is a series of intense examinations you must pass before you gain full professional status, these exams can take up to 8 years to master- it all depends on how dedicated and how well prepared you are.

By now, you should have an idea that the path to an actuary career is not an easy one. But, if you are truly interested in the math and finance based academic disciplines that need to be mastered, your journey will be smoother and you will have a bright future ahead.

So, You Want to Be an Actuary?


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      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Well done! Good point about not just doing the job for the money. There are actually folks that love math. I am just not one of them.