Getting a Career as an Actuary

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Actuaries enable businesses and individuals to make knowledgeable decisions by giving them a comprehensible view of the possible financial outcomes from various future events. Services of actuaries are availed in constructing and analyzing probable problems in finance, risk management, and product design are used extensively in the areas of insurance, pensions, investment, banking, finance, and health care. In these businesses, actuaries play a wide gamut of roles such as the design and pricing of product, financial management, and corporate planning. Actuaries also undertake overall management of insurance companies and pension, gratuity, and other employee benefit funds schemes; they have legal roles in insurance schemes sponsored by the government. Actuaries are appointed primarily in insurance companies in which they need to estimate the significant amount a firm will shell out in claims. An actuary has to combine the skills of a statistician, economist and financier and employ techniques of probability, compound interest, law, marketing, management, etc. to forecast the outcome of future incidents and plan solutions to lessen the impact of such events.

Actuaries can work under different titles as salary actuaries, pension actuaries and many others. Pension actuaries, who are enrolled under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) analyze pension plans covered under the act and demonstrate the financial soundness to map federal, sponsor and plan members. The actuaries working in the government sector aid managing social plans such as ‘social security and Medicare'. Apart from salaried actuaries, a number of consulting actuaries render suggestions to customers on a contract basis. Customers may include corporations, insurance firms, healthcare providers, health care maintenance firms, attorneys, and other government organizations. The responsibilities of these actuaries are similar to the salaried ones. This may include designing pension programs through estimation of the future value of present deductions from profits and by establishing the total amount of company contributions.

Actuaries usually have office or desk jobs and their workplaces are pleasant and comfortable. They work for at least forty hours per week. Consulting actuaries may also have to visit places to interact with clients.

Actuaries are required to have a firm academic background in general business and particularly in mathematics. The candidates aspiring for actuarial occupations should have at least a bachelor's degree in actuarial sciences, statistics, mathematics, or business associated areas such as accounting, finance, and economics. Many universities and colleges in the United States are offering specific actuarial science programs.

Adeptness in mathematics is crucial, especially using the knowledge of statistics, probability, and calculus. Apart from basic computer knowledge, the individuals should have working knowledge of some programming languages like Visual Basic. They must be able to use software related to database and statistical analysis software.

There are numerous examinations which are held by esteemed educational institutions to test the skills and capability level of actuaries. SOA, the Society of Actuaries supervises various actuarial certification tests for health and life insurance, investment, or financial fields and pension programs. Other is CAS, that is, Causality Actuarial Society, which arranges a set of tests for causality and property field which covers medical negligence, accident, fire, workers compensations and liability for personal injuries. They should also have attended training courses in business administration and related subjects.

Prior work experience is important if one is planning a career in actuarial fields. A well qualified candidate can join for internship programs firms like insurance companies, firm of Consulting Actuaries, asset liability management companies, large banks and investment firms, pension banks and Employee Benefit Companies, large capital & turnkey project handling companies, software development companies, and actuarial BPO companies.

The employment opportunities for actuarial are expected to rise primarily insurance intermediates, pension providers, education institution, re-insurances, computer field and other data processing, management, health services, and consulting companies.

Actuaries are one of the highest paid professionals in the world, a freshly qualified actuary is likely to receive an average pay of around $70,000 per year in USA.

The work of an actuary involves lot responsibilities. The nature of work is quite tedious, nevertheless it offers rewards in terms of intellectual challenge, status, job satisfaction, and earnings. As their judgment forms the foundation of decision making for many business activities, and their career paths often lead to upper management and executive positions. Overall, there are bright enough job opportunities in the field of actuaries. One can earn a huge salary if one has acquired all the needed qualifications and experience.
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