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What Are the Education Requirements for a Career As an Actuary?

Learn about the job duties of an actuary, and the education needed for employment. Find out about professional certification and licensure requirements.

Overview for Actuary Careers

Actuaries are professionals who analyze data to determine financial risk and find ways to minimize that financial risk. They often work in the insurance industry and create or analyze health, life, and property insurance plans. Actuaries must be good with numbers and have a sound background in finance. Although actuaries must typically complete a bachelor's degree in actuarial science, preparation for a career as an actuary can begin in high school with courses in math, finance, and computers. Professional certification is typically required for a career as an actuary.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018)$102,880
Job Outlook (2016-2026)22% growth
Similar Occupations Accountants and auditors, financial analysts, statisticians
Degree Fields Actuarial science, actuarial mathematics

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Aspiring actuaries typically complete a bachelor's degree in actuarial science or statistics. A degree in finance, accounting, or economics can also lead to a career in this field, particularly if the program is strong in math. Courses in programming languages and statistics are also required for this career, and courses focusing on statistics, regression, and forecasting can enhance analysis skills. A basic understanding of economics is also important. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's helpful to complete an internship and sit for certification exams while in college (www.bls.gov).

Licensure and Certification

The BLS reports that the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries must enroll pension actuaries. Additionally, all actuaries, including pension, health insurance, and life insurance actuaries, may seek professional certification from the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries. Both of these organizations require that certification candidates meet experience requirements and pass multiple exams to achieve associate and fellowship certification levels. Actuaries who have completed an internship and two certification exams during college are likely to be more competitive job candidates, according to the BLS.