Search
All About Actuaries

All About Actuaries

You're business-oriented and self-motivated. You love analyzing problems, and you think of exams as challenges rather than ordeals. If these qualities sum up your personality, consider a career as an actuary, a professional who advises businesses about economic risks.

The traditional actuary works for an insurance company, setting rates for auto, life or homeowner's policies, or calculating how much money a company must set aside now to pay pensions later.

"But that doesn't have to be the case," says Meredith Lego, market manager for the Society of Actuaries (SOA), a major actuarial trade association. "It's a position that is convertible into many other industries and functional areas. There are so many different applications for actuaries' skills sets."

For instance, your insurance and finance training may help you shift into mutual fund risk analysis or into handling the statistical analysis portion of a market research project.

About two-thirds of actuaries work in the insurance industry, where they predict future claims costs. The rest typically work for pension, law or consulting firms, banks, corporations or the government.

To work as an actuary, you need to be a math whiz who understands calculus, statistics and probability. You should also have a working knowledge of finance, accounting and economics, as well as spreadsheet, statistical analysis and database programs.

The Right Degree

Breaking into the field takes a bachelor's degree in math, statistics, economics, finance, accounting, or better yet, actuarial science from one of the colleges with actuarial programs. Once you have the appropriate sheepskin, prepare to start studying for a long series of exams. Some students take the first of the series before graduation, while others take entry-level jobs and then start the tests.

Tests, Tests, Tests

If you're determined to enter the actuarial field, you'd better like exams. The studying and test-taking process continues for a decade, with most actuaries shooting to pass enough tests to reach the associate-actuary level in five years. Many then go on to work toward achieving "fellow" designation.

The first four actuarial exams are joint tests offered by two professional actuarial societies. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) offers exams for property and casualty insurance actuaries. SOA does the same for life and health. Actuaries who do pension work must be enrolled by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries.

The first part of the SOA and CAS exams covers the same subjects: probability, calculus, statistics and math. Passing that first hurdle makes it easier to find a higher-paying entry-level job -- employers want to hire those with proven test-taking abilities.

The tests are so demanding that employers often offer study materials, prep courses and on-the-job study hours as employee benefits. Undergraduates recruited by The Hartford for its actuarial student program receive those benefits, plus exam-based salary increases as they rotate through several lines of business.

"It does take a lot of personal dedication and time commitment, but it's definitely worth it, and you usually get great support at your company," says Anju Arora, an assistant actuary for The Hartford.

Looking Ahead

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth for actuaries will be much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. Good bets within the field include property and casualty insurance and positions at consulting firms.

For more on actuarial careers, visit Be an Actuary.

Latest Jobs

Powerserve Technologies
Posted: 09/19/2014
Jupiter, FL, 33458
Annouced at Interview
Posted: 09/19/2014
Boise, ID, 83716
CyberCoders
Posted: 09/19/2014
Minneapolis, MN, 55401
CyberCoders
Posted: 09/19/2014
Santa Ana, 92707
Adisys Corporation
Posted: 09/19/2014
Redmond, WA, 98052

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.55.59-209
eTrustLogo