What Is the Average Salary of an Actuary?

Actuaries analyze statistical data to identify risk factors and determine the cost of policies for insurance companies and financial services providers. Read on to find out about the average salaries in this field, including the factors that can influence how much you're paid. Schools offering Risk Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Requirements

A bachelor's degree in actuarial sciences or mathematics is required for most entry-level jobs. Additionally, further study in graduate-level degree programs in actuarial science may provide more lucrative job opportunities. Certification may also be required and is offered by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA). Both societies sponsor a number of initial exams, which you may take while still in college. The certification process can continue for several years after graduation with further examinations. Eventually the exams focus on specialty areas of the actuary profession. For example, CAS exams deal with property and casualty, while SOA exams cover the insurance and financial fields.

Important Facts About Actuaries

On-the-Job Training Long-term training required
Key Skills Mathematical proficiency, problem solving, interpersonal, computer competency, oral and written communication, analytical and critical thinking
Work Environment Office setting
Similar Occupations Accountant, auditor, budget analysts, cost estimators, economists, financial analysts, insurance underwriters, mathematicians, personal financial advisors, post-secondary teachers, statisticians

Average Salary Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for actuaries was $110,090 per year, as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). While this figure represents an average for all professionals in this field, entry-level salaries may be lower. According to PayScale.com, salaries for those with zero to five years of experience ranged from $47,943-$101,480 in September 2015.

Salary by Industry

The industry in which you work can influence your salary. As of May 2014, the mean annual wage for actuaries working for insurance carriers was $106,090 according to the BLS. Professionals working for management, scientific and consulting firms earned average annual salaries of $115,390. Nondepository Credit Intermediation companies paid the highest mean wage of $144,210.

Salary by Location

Location can also influence an actuary's salary. The BLS reported the top-paying states for this occupation as of May 2014. The following mean annual wages of top-paying states include:

  • Kansas: $138,210
  • New York: $135,620
  • Connecticut: $115,880
  • District of Columbia: $113,360
  • Vermont: $111,600

Some of the lowest-paying states at that time included Alabama, New Mexico, Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma and Georgia. Salaries ranged from $68,790-$93,320.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects actuary job growth to be at a fast rate of 18% from 2014-2024. Although it expects the most growth to be in the consulting services industry, fast growth is also expected in the health, property and casualty insurance industries. There will also be a lot of competition for positions. States with the highest concentration of employment for this occupation in May 2014 included New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Connecticut.

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