Insurance Career Secrets: A blog about the best and fastest ways to become an actuary
If you know anything about insurance, you know that the job titles are a mouthful. Agent, broker, or actuary? It’s a common question that students have when thinking about what field to go into with their degree — should I be an actuary or not? The answer might surprise you.
So let’s say you DO want to become an actuary. After all, you love crunching numbers and problem solving in a safe and secure environment. You want to make money while you sleep. What better job could there be? You hear that becoming an actuary is challenging…perhaps even the most difficult job interview you’ll ever face? This doesn’t scare you, but excites you because you know with your talent and will power you can achieve anything. But how do you get into this business? How do you become an actuary?
It’s not an easy road to take, but if you’re willing to do the hard work, you’ll have no problem finding a job in the insurance and risk management industry.
The career of an actuary is one of the most sought after jobs in the insurance industry. Actuaries solve very complicated problems using statistics and probability to accurately assess risks that are taken by various kinds of insurers. This involves working with computer models, very large numbers, managing teams, and arguing with their mother-in-law.
There is a lot to love about the actuarial profession — and I’m not just talking about all the math. (Though I will get to that later.) However, with that said, becoming an actuary is no easy feat. It takes years of education and some heavy number-crunching to get there.
What is an actuary?
In simple terms, an actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk.
Actuaries use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk.
Actuaries’ work includes using financial theory and statistics to estimate the likelihood of certain events occurring in the future. They evaluate insurance claims and determine their validity, as well as calculate premiums and cash reserves needed to ensure that an insurer has sufficient funds to pay for claims. They also design, price and evaluate financial strategies, products and programs that minimize risk and maximize profitability for insurance companies.
Actuaries often specialize in certain types of insurance, such as life, health or property, or in a particular type of actuarial work such as pension consulting or investment analysis.
What steps do I need to take to become an actuary?
To become an actuary you usually have to complete a degree in mathematics, actuarial studies or statistics at university with several actuarial subjects. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required.
There are three main routes to become an actuary:
- The Core Technical (CT) route. The CT route is aimed at those with a background in mathematics and statistics. It provides a thorough grounding in actuarial theory, techniques and practice.
- The Core Application (CA) route. The CA route is aimed at those who have studied business or non-actuarial science subjects, especially economics, business studies and politics. It provides a broad financial education that includes elements of economics, accounting and management studies
- The Specialist Technical (ST) route. The ST route is aimed at those who are already qualified actuaries but want to specialize in a particular field of work.
For all three, you will need to complete a number of examinations in order to gain your qualifications, as well as a minimum of two years’ work experience.
How much money can I make as an actuary?
The short answer is that you can expect to make between $50,000 and $80,000 as a first year actuary. Salary will depend on the type of employer and location. As an experienced actuary you can expect to earn between $70,000 and over $130,000.
As you progress in your career you can expect to be making between $80,000 and over $150,000 in your 20s and early 30s.
Do actuaries get bonuses?
The average bonus for an actuary is about 5% of salary. Bonuses can be as high as 20% of salary for exceptional performance at large companies, but many employers offer incentives in addition to salary such as stock options or a company car.
Choosing your path as an actuary:
When it comes to selecting a career path, there are many factors to consider. You want to make sure that the job you choose is in demand, and will provide you with financial security, while also allowing you to enjoy what you do.
Research the profession. Actuaries are hired by insurance companies to analyze risk, calculate premiums and evaluate claims. They use statistical models to estimate the total cost of a given policy or plan. For example, they can estimate how likely it is that a person will get sick or die within a certain period of time, and how much that would cost the insurance company.
Actuaries often specialize in one area of insurance or finance, like health care or property insurance. Some actuaries focus on retirement plans, annuities and other financial products for individuals. Others work for corporations or government agencies.
Becoming an actuary will be a challenge, but not an impossible one. Like anything else in life, the key is to keep pushing forward even when things become difficult or too difficult. When you focus on the goal, find time for studying and practice, it will become easier to push through the difficulties. Stay focused and your hard work will pay off in the end. The rewards of becoming an actuary are well worth the challenges you will face along the way.
Get in touch with a Questpro representative today to see what company would be the best fit for you!