ActuaryJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

An actuary is someone who is essentially the eyes, ears, brains, and foreshadower of a business. It is their job to assess and analyze business data, markets, historical market catastrophes, financial theories, and more in order to steer a business in the right direction for potential growth. They are paramount to helping a business avoid pitfalls and continue on a growth trajectory. 

Actuaries deal constantly with risk, and they need to be extremely knowledgeable with the market that they’re working in. Because this is a risk position, it often requires a lot of experience. The ideal candidate for becoming an actuary will be level-headed, strong-willed, and willing to take risks that are calculated.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking to hire an actuary. As our new Actuary, you will be tasked with helping keep our business on the growth path and avoid as many adversities as possible. While we understand that every business encounters growing pains and certain resistance in their growth endeavors, we feel that with a skilled and relentless actuary you will help us to avoid some of these and optimize our potential. You will be in charge of gathering data from employees, computer systems, financial records, and hiring records in order to effectively assess potential risks within our company. If you enjoy a challenging but rewarding career, and are willing to work hard daily to always give us your best, then we want to talk with you.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Create comprehensive reports that will allow you to find patterns and imperfections in the business model
  • Help clients minimize the financial risks associated with a company 
  • Gather and analyze statistical data
  • Develop reports, graphs, and tables 
  • Translate technological data into simpler terms 
  • Hold meetings with clients
  • Prepare presentations and showcase risk findings
  • Calculate insurance policies for the clients

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent 
  • Bachelor’s degree in science, mathematics, statistics, business, or a related field 
  • Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society certifications
  • Experience with statistics software

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong mathematical skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Analytical skills 
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Skilled in taking calculated risks
  • Knowledge of statistics and an excellent trend reader
  • Technologically competent 
  • Familiarity with financial concepts
  • Good organizational skills
  • Knowledge of GAAP
  • Advanced Microsoft skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 5 years of experience as an actuary in a multi-million dollar company
  • Master’s degree in finance or a related field
  • Certifications related to becoming an actuary

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an actuary is $108,000 per year in the United States. Compensation will vary based on experience, geography, industry, and company size.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$107,400$145,300
Los Angeles, California$121,200$163,950
Denver, Colorado$100,100$136,600
Washington, DC$123,000$166,400
Miami, Florida$100,500$136,000
Orlando, Florida$92,700$125,450
Tampa, Florida$93,650$126,700
Atlanta, Georgia$98,250$132,900
Chicago, Illinois$112,900$152,750
Boston, Massachusetts$122,100$165,200
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$97,300$131,650
New York City, New York$128,500$173,900
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$104,650$141,600
Dallas, Texas$101,900$137,850
Houston, Texas$101,450$137,250
Seattle, Washington$117,500$158,950
National Average$91,800$124,200

Typical work environment

Actuaries work in an office setting. When not in the office, there will be times when they travel to meet with clients, especially if they work in a firm. Generally, actuaries work closely with a manager or teammates who work in a related field. This job can be considered a sedentary job as most of the work is done on a computer.

Typical hours

The majority of actuaries work full time and average 40 hours per week or more. Working the traditional Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM business hours is most popular with actuaries.

Available certifications

Becoming an actuary may be difficult, but getting certifications will help you secure your position in the workforce. There are many certifications available, including:

  • Associate of the Society of Actuaries certification (ASA). This certification increases the knowledge needed for an actuary. It teaches basic methods and applies those to unforeseen events in the workplace. To obtain this certification, you’ll need to take an exam, verify your education, and also do a project assessment.
  • Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA). This certification verifies that you have agreed to the standards of the actuarial profession. There aren’t any guidelines or requirements, but you will have to agree to bylaws and apply either over the phone, in person, or by mail.

Career path

In order to become an actuary, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, actuarial science, or a related field. You need to have strong analytical and mathematical skills, be detail-oriented, and understand risks and cost benefits for every industry you’re working in. Experience is not always required, as most entry-level actuaries are offered on-the-job training. This is why internships are available and preferred by most employers. Certifications are also available for those who want to improve their education in the actuary field. However, if you want to secure a higher-paying job, gathering experience throughout school and obtaining a master’s degree will set you apart.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-2011

2020 Employment27,700
Projected Employment in 203034,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 24% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift6,800 increase

It is estimated that between now and 2030, actuary jobs will grow by 24%. Averaging about 2,400 jobs opening each year as people leave the  workforce and retire or leave their jobs for other reasons, this is a great position to work toward.

Becoming an actuary is a great career option as there are a variety of industries that use them. Typical employers include insurance companies and financial risk management firms. Life as an actuary can lead you to management or even executive positions as you gain more experience and become more skilled. Actuaries are extremely important to employers as they help avoid and manage any financial risks.

Sample interview questions

  • What caused you to apply for this job?
  • What skills would you say are the most important as an actuary?
  • What does your daily routine look like?
  • What do you enjoy most about being an actuary?
  • Which statistical software have you used in the past? Which one do you enjoy using the most?
  • Can you tell us what an actuarial table is? Why are they useful?
  • How do you keep up to date on business trends?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you had a major challenge? And how did you solve it?
  • What keeps you motivated?
  • What would you say is your greatest strength? What about your weakness?
  • Would you say you are a team player?
  • Do you have any certifications that are applicable to an actuary?
  • Why should we hire you instead of the other candidates?

Actuary Jobs in Ashburn

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