By Nsim Team
If you want to become an actuary, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an actuary:
• You have an excellent business sense, including accounting, finance and economics
• You enjoy learning and like solving complicated problems
• You want a well-paying and satisfying career in insurance, finance or a related field
• You enjoy interdisciplinary work that involves mathematics, statistics, risk management and creativity
A career as an actuary offers excellent financial compensation and high job satisfaction, and you don’t need a graduate degree to enter this field.
With that in mind, becoming an actuary is an excellent career choice for those who also want a career that involves intellectual stimulation, creativity and a relatively low-stress work environment.
Actuaries are responsible for designing programs that help organizations mitigate risk. They use mathematical and analytical skills to help insurance companies, financial planners, and multinational corporations manage risk and protect themselves from loss.
Actuaries are responsible for analyzing statistical information in order to calculate the probability of certain events that would occur in the future, among a defined group of people. For example, they may use car accident data to calculate the expected time between a car accident and payment of the claim.
The data that actuaries manage, analyze, interpret and present helps their organization’s business segment leaders and senior management make decisions impacting the business unit’s goals as they relate to profit and loss.
Actuary Job Duties
• Confer with clients or management to gain an understanding of their risk tolerance levels
• May be responsible for setting insurance premiums
• Monitor profitability of premiums and insurance coverage
• Valuating an organization's reserve fund levels
• May advise an organization as to how to set up trust funds to cover anticipated future expenses
• May help investment fund managers optimize their fund’s return based on the nature of benefit liabilities
Many employers prefer to hire candidates for Actuarial jobs that have a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Accounting, Finance or a related field.
Successful actuaries are able to learn and assimilate a wide range of information and communicate it effectively. Consider pursuing some of the coursework listed below in order for you to develop a well-rounded education within your degree program:
• Linear algebra
• Calculus-based probability and statistics
• Actuarial science courses
• Computer science courses
• Marketing courses
• Communication courses, such as speech, business writing and technical writing
• History, Political Science, and other liberal arts classes
In order to become effective in a career as an Actuary, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will help you make the most of your career as an actuary by allowing you to perform your job duties with competence, and by helping you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work.
Many of these skills and traits are also in high demand with companies that hire actuaries; you will see many of these skills and traits, or variations of them, listed on Actuarial job postings.
• Enjoy consulting with other professionals in the field
• An interest in mathematics and complex calculations
• An interest in long-term professional development
• Self-motivated achiever
Soft and Hard Skills
• Able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people
• A methodical and patient approach to work activities
• Good business sense, relating to finance, accounting and economics
• Specialized math knowledge in calculus, statistics and probability
• Strong computer skills, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis programs and database manipulation
Actuaries are hired on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by a variety of organizations. They may be hired to evaluate uncertainties associated with life or property or casualty insurance, annuities, social security, worker's compensation, pension or other employee benefit plans.
Types of Actuary employers include:
• Investment firms
• Financial and banking institutions
• Consulting firms, such as compensation and benefits consulting
• Life insurance companies
• Property or casualty insurance companies
• Reinsurance companies
• Colleges and universities
• Government departments
• Large corporations
• Self-employment (as consultants)