want to be an actuary?


You love numbers but how does that translate into a career? Of the myriad of careers you could choose, why choose to become an actuary?


PropertyCasualty360.com  says, “The ability to price risk contingencies is an essential part of our economy and society. Without an active insurance market and a strong quantitative foundation for measuring the potential impact of risks, developments in the world that we take for granted don’t occur: bridges and skyscrapers aren’t built, people don’t live in certain areas and new products aren’t invented and disseminated.” If you like to feel like you are making a significant contribution to society, choosing to become an actuary will make that happen.

Don’t believe me? The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 24% growth in actuarial positions through 2030. This is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. BLS also predicts 0% unemployment for actuaries over the same time period. That level of demand indicates a highly valued career.


Because it is multidisciplinary with a high level of technical skill and insight, being an actuary is challenging. Each project requires research and problem solving. Modeling and evaluating potential catastrophic events requires knowledge of several sciences. Understanding psychology and sociology are necessary to model human behavior in a risky environment. Finance and economics are the contextual basis for estimating the potential financial impact of risk, and modeling terrorism or cybersecurity risks require an understanding of socioeconomic and political issues. If you become an actuary, you will have to balance risk and reward as a critical part of the job.


Tell someone you work with statistics and their first guess at your career will be, “Are you an Actuary?” People are impressed with someone who is good with numbers. They are viewed as clever and respected for working in a professional environment of intelligent and dedicated individuals. Actuaries, when polled, say they find their work rewarding, enjoyable and they are proud of what they do.

Actuaries also have a high level of responsibility in their organizations. They are responsible for predicting events and managing the financial risk associated with that event. The accuracy of their analysis can be the difference between a profitable year or a disastrous year for their organization and their customers. With great responsibility comes great respect.


The passing of exams to reach two levels of accredited status for an actuary, Associate and Fellow, can take ten years. Companies support the process by paying for some tests and providing some office time for preparation but many hours of personal study time go into passing each exam. Becoming a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries or a Fellow in the Casualty Actuarial Society  gives an official accreditation that lends itself to a more credible, promotable set of skills. Much like Doctors who receive respect for the length of their education and residency, Fellow status in an actuarial career reaps benefits of respect and job security.

Interested in discussing your actuarial career? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Actuarial Science Executive Recruiter, Rory Hauser, at rhauser @smithhanley.com.

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