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In our complex world we are always encountering difficult situations and managing potential risks in our everyday life. Why not do that as a profession and get paid big bucks for it too?
In short, they manage risk. Actuaries use stats to predict the likelihood of future events, come up with innovative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events and make contingency plans for mitigating damage if such an event does take place.
An actuary’s job is extremely critical due to the complex nature of issues and risks that we face nowadays. They not only rely on numbers, but they have to really understand the environmental dynamics of an issue to be able to suggest a road map. They are research-oriented people with strong analytical and financial skills, in addition to great written and verbal communication skills. They need all these to be able to comprehend local and world events and how external factors can become a potential risk to their business.
To enter this field you have to pass a series of challenging exams to earn an actuarial designation through the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries. Which track you choose depends on if you want to specialize in property/casualty/ life and health.
The exams can take anywhere from 6-10 years to complete but you can start working as an actuarial assistant after completing the first two. Most employers will give study-time, pay your fees, link passing of exams with bonuses etc. so it is possible to get real-world actuarial experience while preparing for the exams.
A high school and college background in advanced mathematics and computer skills is definitely a good starting point. Most students start preparing and sitting for the exams in their undergrad – if you can pass the first test and still love actuary, then you are meant to be in this profession.
Actuaries get paid very well. Experienced professionals make anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 annually while many actuaries make much more than that. Actuary has consistently been ranked as one of the best jobs in the US in terms of salary, growth opportunity and job security to name a few.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts the employment of actuaries is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2014.