Job Universe: Actuary

Employment of actuaries is expected to increase by about 24 percent over the 2006-16 period.

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  • The job: Through their knowledge of statistics, finance, and business, actuaries assess the risk of events occurring and help create policies that minimize risk and its financial impact on companies and clients. Most actuaries are employed in the insurance industry, specializing in either life and health insurance or property and casualty insurance.
  • Outlook: Employment of actuaries is expected to increase by about 24 percent over the 2006-16 period, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. Employment growth in the insurance industry—the largest employer of actuariesis expected to continue at a stable pace, and more significant growth in actuarial jobs is likely in other industries, such as healthcare and consulting firms.
  • Experience: Actuaries need a strong foundation in mathematics, statistics, and general business. They generally have a bachelor's degree and are required to pass a series of exams in order to become certified. Usually, actuaries earn an undergraduate degree in mathematics, statistics, or actuarial science, or in a business-related field such as finance, economics, or business.
  • The not-so-good: Despite the fact that employers are supportive during the exam process, home study is necessary, and many actuaries study for months to prepare for each exam.
  • Pay: Median annual earnings of actuaries were $82,800 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $58,710 and $114,570. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $46,470, while the top 10 percent earned more than $145,600.

Learn more: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos041.htm.

This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics .