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Career profile Actuary

Also known as Actuarial Analyst, Actuarial Associate, Actuarial Consultant, Actuary, Consulting Actuary, Health Actuary, Pricing Actuary, Pricing Analyst, Product Development Actuary, Retirement Actuary


Also known as Actuarial Analyst, Actuarial Associate, Actuarial Consultant

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$66,030 - $196,010 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves and liabilities necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.
  • Design, review, and help administer insurance, annuity and pension plans, determining financial soundness and calculating premiums.
  • Determine, or help determine, company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public.
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What does an Actuary do?

Actuaries analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits.

In addition, Actuaries may ascertain insurance rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

What kind of tasks does an Actuary perform regularly?

Actuaries are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves and liabilities necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.
  • Design, review, and help administer insurance, annuity and pension plans, determining financial soundness and calculating premiums.
  • Determine, or help determine, company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public.
  • Provide advice to clients on a contract basis, working as a consultant.
  • Analyze statistical information to estimate mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates.
  • Construct probability tables for events such as fires, natural disasters, and unemployment, based on analysis of statistical data and other pertinent information.
  • Negotiate terms and conditions of reinsurance with other companies.
  • Collaborate with programmers, underwriters, accounts, claims experts, and senior management to help companies develop plans for new lines of business or improvements to existing business.
  • Determine equitable basis for distributing surplus earnings under participating insurance and annuity contracts in mutual companies.
  • Testify before public agencies on proposed legislation affecting businesses.
  • Determine policy contract provisions for each type of insurance.
  • Testify in court as expert witness or to provide legal evidence on matters such as the value of potential lifetime earnings of a person disabled or killed in an accident.

The above responsibilities are specific to Actuaries. More generally, Actuaries are involved in several broader types of activities:

Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Actuary salary?

The median salary for an Actuary is $111,030, and the average salary is $123,180. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Actuary salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Actuaries earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Actuaries earn less than $66,030 per year, 25% earn less than $83,550, 75% earn less than $151,060, and 90% earn less than $196,010.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Actuaries is expected to change by 24.5%, and there should be roughly 2,400 open positions for Actuaries every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$66,030 - $196,010
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Actuaries?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Actuary are usually higher in their Conventional and Investigative interests.

Actuaries typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Actuaries typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Actuary tend to value Working Conditions, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Actuaries strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Second, Actuaries moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Actuaries moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Actuaries must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Actuaries, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Actuaries need?

Many Actuaries will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Actuaries usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Actuaries

  • 2.0% completed some college coursework
  • 0.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 62.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 23.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 11.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Actuaries

Actuaries may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, economics and accounting, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Actuaries might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Actuaries

Actuaries must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Actuaries need abilities such as mathematical reasoning, number facility, and deductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Actuaries, ranked by their relative importance.

Mathematical Reasoning
The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Number Facility
The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Actuaries

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Actuaries frequently use skills like mathematics, critical thinking, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Actuaries, ranked by their relative importance.

Using mathematics to solve problems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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