What is an Actuary?

Does this sound like you?

Your personal characteristics consist of self-motivation, creativity, and independence. You have the ability to work well with others, strong math and computer skills; you are very analytical and have high ambition. You enjoy learning and improving, love to solve complicated problems, enjoy writing and talking to people, and are interested in a variety of historical, social, legislative, and political issues.

If this sounds like you, actuarial science could be a potential field to go into to become an actuary!

What is an Actuary?

Actuaries are like fortune tellers without their crystal ball. Instead, their “crystal ball” is using numbers to evaluate the likelihood of future events, and they manage the risk of the future. They are creative, and like making an impact; those are the ways they can reduce the likelihood of undesirable events or decrease the impact of those undesirable events that do occur.

The main job of an actuary is to manage risk. Some example problems of what an actuary does are:

  • Determine how much an insurance company should charge for auto insurance.
  • Assist banks in managing their assets and liabilities and develop ways to manage financial risk.
  • Help companies establish their retirement plans.

Many people tend to associate actuaries with insurance. However, this field is not only insurance, but has other areas of expertise such as financial services (banking and investment management), transportation (shipping and air travel), energy (utilities, oil, and gas) and environment (issues on climate change).

Several perks of being an actuary are a good work-life balance, low-stress environment, a high income that can double within the first five years, traveling to clients, and most importantly, the satisfaction of helping others. This means helping people get good health care, helping people protect themselves in old age, helping companies in hard times, and so much more.

If this sounds like a field you would like to go into or if you would like to learn more about what an actuary does, you can read more at:


By Melissa J. Sawyer
Melissa J. Sawyer Senior Associate Director/Operations Manager, Undergraduate Career Development, Pulsifer Career Development Center Melissa J. Sawyer