You’ve decided that insurance is your calling, but you’re having trouble deciding whether to major in actuarial science or finance at college. That’s okay; there are lots of things to consider when choosing your degree path and figuring out what you want to do with your life, so if you aren’t sure yet, that’s perfectly normal! Here are six great reasons why studying actuarial science can lead to a fulfilling career in insurance.
1) An Affordable Education
The cost of an actuarial science education is more affordable than you might think. In fact, at many schools, it’s cheaper to study actuarial science than it is to study finance or risk management. And, unlike other math-based disciplines, actuarial science programs don’t require students to take on a lot of debt.
Additionally, there are no prerequisites for getting into an actuarial science program, and many schools offer aid packages that can help you cover tuition. And since most students who graduate with an actuarial science degree go on to work at insurance companies, they often receive full or partial scholarships while they’re studying. Plus, many firms will even help pay for your exams through their sponsorship programs. The numbers may surprise you. Let’s take a look at how much it would cost you to study each of these degrees. We’ll assume you have no financial aid and use average tuition costs from universities in the United States so your results will be similar if you attend university elsewhere.
2) Two Careers in One
A degree in actuarial science can lead to two very different, but equally important, career paths: risk management and mathematical modeling. Risk management is all about identifying and minimizing the risks that come with insurance policies. Mathematical modeling, on the other hand, is used to develop the complex algorithms that actuaries use to price insurance policies.
With different approaches but similar end goals, risk management and mathematical modeling are two lucrative careers that can be achieved through an actuarial science degree. Risk managers work on behalf of insurance companies, while mathematical modelers provide consulting services to insurance companies or work directly for one company. Both positions typically require at least five years of experience—usually gained through an actuarial associate position—and generally lead to six-figure salaries. Other qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) and some form of certification or accreditation from your country’s regulatory bodies.
3) The Job Market
The actuarial science job market is good. In fact, it’s one of the few markets that’s expected to grow in the next decade. The median salary for an actuary is $101,560 per year, and the top 10% of earners make over $187,199. And it’s not just the money—actuaries have a great work-life balance. They typically work 40 hours per week and have great benefits.
All these things are good, but let’s be honest—the best part of being an actuary is doing interesting work. Most actuaries work for insurance companies and use their knowledge of statistics and data analysis to help determine how likely people are to file claims or how much those claims will cost. The more accurately you can predict things like these, the better your company can serve its customers and keep them from filing claims. As an added bonus, actuaries are always helping people stay safe when it comes to something as important as insurance.
4) Work-Life Balance
A career in actuarial science offers a great work-life balance. The hours are reasonable, the work is interesting and challenging, and there is little to no travel required. Plus, you can work from home or anywhere else with an internet connection.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different. The key is to know what you want from your career, then see which job provides it for you. Don’t get caught up in labels like too boring or too hard or just for numbers people. Instead, take into account all of your interests and skills when deciding on a career path. For example, if you love nature and statistics but enjoy working with people more than working on numbers by yourself at home, then actuarial science might be an option worth exploring.
5) The Field is Growing Rapidly
The insurance industry is growing rapidly, and with it, the demand for actuaries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of actuaries will grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022—faster than the average for all occupations. So if you’re looking for a stable career with good job prospects, actuarial science is a great choice.
Some of what makes actuarial science such an attractive field is that it lets you enjoy meaningful work without being limited by workplace hours. On average, workers in insurance have flexible schedules and also work from home. Plus, you’ll get great benefits, such as low-cost health care, reimbursement for continuing education courses and more. And of course, as an actuary working in insurance you can enjoy job security with steady pay increases and interesting challenges on a daily basis.
6) Satisfaction Through Complexity
The first reason to study actuarial science is that it is complex. And, for many people, that’s a good thing. The challenge of working with complex problems and finding solutions that satisfy customers is one of the things that drives many actuaries.
The second reason to study actuarial science is the diverse range of opportunities it provides. Actuaries can work in a variety of industries, including insurance, consulting, and finance. And, within each industry, there are many different types of companies that an actuary can work for.
The third reason for becoming an actuary is the satisfaction in doing so. Generally, those that go into this field enjoy it because it can offer them intellectual stimulation, financial incentives, and stability.
A bachelor’s degree in actuarial science provides students with entry-level job prospects and starting salaries that are competitive with those available for other business degrees. It also opens doors for lucrative positions within an organization as you gain more experience and additional skills. However, these opportunities don’t come without hard work –and an understanding of how actuaries add value to organizations through problem solving can help you achieve success on your terms.