Inside Actuary Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Easy Job Compared To Schooling...
I was surprised how easy the job was, compared to the schooling and exams. The college courses I had to take were very difficult. The actual day-to-day work is pretty easy. Also, finding a job was relatively easy." (Actuary; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Actuarial Science at Penn State in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"I was surprised to find that as a analyst I do not only had to do desk job; but also was responsible for lot of PMO and project budgeting issues. Analyst should be able to analyze anything that has brought to his/her table." (Actuarial; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Hawaii, female
School: Studied Actuarial Science And Mathematics at University Of Central Missouri in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Probability And Statistics...
Being an actuary is a much different branch of mathematics than I expected. Much of the math involved relies on probability and statistics, whereas I expected it to be more heavily based on linear algebra and multivariable calculus. Also, much of what actuaries do depends on communicating your results with others." (Actuary; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Mathematics at Southeastern University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"I was surprised to find other actuaries are not very helpful to people new to the field. A lot of independent research and studying go along with this field. I was prepared for the studying but the lack of professional support was surprising." (Actuary; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Mathematics at University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Actuary: "I find the best part of the job seeing how the EXPECTED results compare to the ACTUAL results as time goes on. I love trying to predict all the factors that can effect the outcome and trying to estimate their impact. Getting paid to study is a benefit and there is always a demand for actuaries. The worst part is passing the exams. They are hard and they don't let many people pass. It is not a people-person job. You have to like computers and numbers and programming." (2011)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Lots Of Studying...
If someone is interested in being an actuary they must love math. You also have to be prepared to take lots of exams, even after college." (Actuary; 2014)

"Get Certified Beyond Your Degree...
Although, having a degree sounds great skillet, it is essential to have certifications. It is always advisable to select specific domain and follow it." (Actuarial; 2013)

"Must Be Willing To Work With Introverts...
You absolutely need a strong background in math, computer science, and business and have to be disciplined enough to study on your own. Ideally, you should start taking the exams while in college. Try to get an internship while you are in school to see if you like working with actuaries, because actuaries tend to be introverts and very technical people. Take probability and statistics classes, computer programming as well as general business. If you like these classes you will probably like actuarial work." (Actuary; 2011)