This fact sheet gives recommended upper level courses that will be particularly useful to students interested in actuarial science.
What is an Actuary?
Actuaries quantify future risks for companies and organizations. The insurance industry are an obvious source of employment for actuaries, but most major companies and the government also employ actuaries. They price insurance policies and pensions and help to make decisions about beneficial future activities. Although the actuarial profession is small (a recent estimate was 18000), the actuarial career has been given a very high rating (the fourth best job) by the Jobs Rated Almanac in 2000.
Actuaries must not only have a strong knowledge of the analytical tools needed (mathematics, statistics, computer science), but also know the industry / company / organization they are evaluating. The ideal preparation is a major in mathematics with a minor in business, such as finance or applied statistics. Other useful areas of study include computer science, economics, liberal arts, and communications.Becoming an actuary requires taking a series of exams that measure proficiency in skills deemed necessary. Most students will take one or two of these in college, and companies which employ actuaries give time and bonuses for completing the rest. It can take five to ten years to advance in this career, earning the professional designations of Associate, and then Fellow.
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