desk scene - one hand on computer keyboard and one hand on calculatorLife is risky, but actuaries help businesses manage some of that risk. A good actuary has both strong analytical skills for numbers and an understanding of human behavior. They are referred to as the backbone of the financial security system. It’s a challenging and rewarding career, but what is in it for you?

The Society of Actuaries asked some of its members to describe a typical day. It seems, however, that there is no typical in actuary work:

  • Actuaries can end up traveling a lot, working with clients in their offices, both nationally and internationally.
  • Actuaries are always studying up on different areas of business, from life insurance premiums to the financial projections for a new business.
  • Actuaries say that not only do they have to parse the statistics, but then they also have to ask, “Does this make sense in the real world?” The world changes fast, which means those answers can change fast, too.
  • Actuaries are always peeking into the future, whether it's catastrophe modeling or examining low-frequency/high-severity events.
  • When insurance companies want to take on new products, actuaries analyze the numbers to see if they will pan out. When businesses want to enter new fields, actuaries scout the terrain.
  • Spreadsheets, data-review, and talking with non-actuaries about what can be seen in the numbers are always part of the day. Communication can be as important as number-crunching.

With their forecasting prowess, actuaries are not only in demand at insurance companies but also at private corporations, universities, banks, accounting firms, labor unions, rating bureaus, government agencies, and more. Because their analytical skills and judgment are so valued, actuaries often move into the upper ranks of management and leadership. So a typical day tends to change as actuaries explore different fields and move up through the management ranks.

Actuary is often listed among the best jobs for the things you most likely care about: work environment, job security, growth opportunities, and salary. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, actuaries have a median salary of over $100,000 a year.*

Walden University can help put you on the path to a satisfying, challenging, and rewarding career as an actuary. Our MS in Finance is a natural fit for actuarial jobs, with coursework that will help you understand risk management.

If you look at the data, a career in risk management is a low-risk/high-reward option. Pretty much any business that deals with money and wants to keep it in the face of an uncertain world wants someone who can help spot where the dangers and profits might lie. If you like crunching numbers and observing what people do, managing projects and teams, exploring new fields, and challenging yourself, becoming an actuary might be the right career choice for you.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Actuaries, on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/math/actuaries.htm.

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