Career Corner: Actuaries

The first time I heard about actuaries I thought they were people who did some stuff with birds. Maybe I was confused with an aviary, a place where they keep birds? Nonetheless, I was wrong.

Actuaries deal with numbers, not birds. They may deal with birds, if they are calculating financial risk for an aviary.

And that, is primarily what actuaries do. They calculate, using mathematical models, financial risks for companies and help the companies minimize the cost of risks. They mathematically calculate the chance of future events occurring and then plan ways to prevent unwanted events. If these undesirables end up occurring, actuaries figure out to reduce their impact. I guess you could think of actuaries as financial superheroes, they predict the problems, try to stop the problems, and then if they can’t stop the problem, do everything in their power to alleviate the consequences of the problem. Actuaries do a lot of business with insurance agencies, though their expertise is also used in many other areas.

Actuaries need to be strong in business, statistics, and most importantly mathematics. I personally love math. Calculus is currently my favorite class of the ones I am taking. The fact that math is not up for debate, there is an answer or there is not, draws me to it. There is always a way to either find a solution or admit there is no solution.

Alas, this is not a math appreciation post but a post about actuaries. Time to get back to business (no pun intended). My calculus teacher recommended to my mom that I be an actuary, as did my dentist and a few others.

It takes a lot to become an actuary, however, but the rewards are fruitful. Actuaries are in high demand and always needed. They never have to worry about losing their job because companies always need someone to determine risk. Actuary science is also a very lucrative job. My dentist said his son’s friend entered with a starting salary of $80,000 with no internship experience under his belt.

All these benefits come at an initial price, though, because there are a lot of tests needed to become certified. Many people give up because the math gets too complicated or the stress becomes too high. It takes a special kind of person, but maybe that person is YOU.

Actuary science is often a forgotten career path, but one not to be understated. If you love math, it could be an option for you; I know I am looking at it as an option for me. Who knows, maybe one day we will be crunching numbers together (at an aviary, of course).

 

To learn more about actuaries:

http://www.actuary.org/

http://beanactuary.org/what/

http://www.math.purdue.edu/academic/actuary/what.php?p=what

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Math/Actuaries.htm

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