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What is an Actuary?

Actuary Job Description Analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. May ascertain insurance rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

List of Actuary Job Duties

  • Collaborate with programmers, underwriters, accounts, claims experts, and senior management to help companies develop plans for new lines of business or improvements to existing business.
  • Analyze statistical information to estimate mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates.
  • Determine policy contract provisions for each type of insurance.
  • Construct probability tables for events such as fires, natural disasters, and unemployment, based on analysis of statistical data and other pertinent information.
  • Provide expertise to help financial institutions manage risks and maximize returns associated with investment products or credit offerings.
  • Negotiate terms and conditions of reinsurance with other companies.

What Every Actuary Should Know

Actuaries state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Types of Actuary Jobs

  • Pricing Analyst
  • Retirement Actuary
  • Pricing Actuary
  • Insurance Actuary
  • Actuarial Consultant

Job Opportunities for Actuaries

In the United States, there were 23,600 jobs for Actuary in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 22.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,300 new jobs for Actuary by 2026. There will be an estimated 2,100 positions for Actuary per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Actuaries in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Actuary are Colorado, North Carolina, and Iowa. Watch out if you plan on working in District of Columbia, Washington, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Actuaries Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of an Actuary ranges between $61,140 and $186,110.

Salary Ranges for Actuaries

Actuaries who work in New York, District of Columbia, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Actuaries in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $102,080
Arkansas $87,730
California $120,680
Colorado $119,660
Connecticut $132,910
District of Columbia $129,540
Florida $107,850
Georgia $118,790
Idaho $121,590
Illinois $110,430
Indiana $100,950
Iowa $107,390
Kansas $113,910
Maine $106,660
Maryland $98,500
Massachusetts $114,050
Michigan $95,120
Minnesota $116,150
Mississippi $107,910
Missouri $100,180
Nebraska $106,630
Nevada $86,200
New Hampshire $129,110
New Jersey $111,580
New York $150,950
North Carolina $117,190
Ohio $100,620
Oregon $107,410
Pennsylvania $120,090
Rhode Island $102,730
Texas $107,260
Utah $74,180
Vermont $98,500
Washington $131,330
Wisconsin $106,850

Tools & Technologies Used by Actuaries

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Actuaries:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Project
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Structured query language SQL
  • SAS
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • R
  • Oracle software
  • Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBA
  • Statistical software

How do I Become an Actuary?

Education needed to be an Actuary:

Actuary Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become an Actuary?

Actuary Work Experience

Where Actuaries Are Employed

Actuary Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Actuaries employed by various industries.

Actuary Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being an Actuary may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Actuary in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: QWFP via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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