What Is an Actuarial Science Degree?
Actuarial science is the study of financial risk. Actuaries, as they’re called, study complex statistical data and apply their knowledge in mathematics, business and economics to assess and provide strategic financial advice. Actuaries are commonly used in the insurance and investment banking industries, although private clients also rely on actuaries to guide them in their daily investment decisions.
An actuarial science degree is perfectly suited to the student who wants to work in finance on a research and statistical level. Actuarial science assesses risk in a variety of financial situations. For example, an insurance company might hire an actuary to review a specific demographic and assess the liability risk of that particular group of people, after which the insurance will decide how to insure this group based on the actuary’s findings.
Actuaries also assess financial risk in investment. Many actuaries are tasked with determining and reporting risks associated with investments as they pass through the frenetic pace of the financial markets. Other investment actuary work includes assessing the risk of pension and benefit funds for investment fund managers.
All of these key financial players, and many others, rely on the actuary to sift through the complexity of the numerical data and present the risk factors and, oftentimes, solutions in simple English. Without the actuary, many insurance companies and investment banks would become victims of bad financial decisions, costing them and their customers, a tremendous amount of money.
The same holds true for the personal investor hiring the actuary to look over his or her own financial portfolio. When assessing risk, an actuary is better suited than the personal investor to determine what the next move should be in the investment strategy.
Students strong in mathematics and economics should consider an actuarial science degree, and because the field is so technical and complex, earning the degree is critical to the student’s success as a future actuary.
Actuarial Science Job Opportunities
Actuarial science graduates have the option to work one-on-one with personal clients, or with corporate entities such as insurance companies and investment banks. With whom the student wishes to work will determine the pay scale to a certain extent.
Actuaries straight out of university begin earning salaries that range from £25,000 to £35,000, depending on whether they work in a big city or smaller area.
Actuarial science majors who begin working within the insurance industry will command a little higher starting salary at £40,000, with the possibility of going up to £55,000, depending on the size and location of the insurance company.
As the graduate earns experience in the field, salaries will rise to between £60,000 and £100,000, again, depending on who the actuary works for and where the work is located.
Actuarial Science Curriculum
Mathematics, statistical analysis, probability theory, business, finance and economics are all part of the curriculum while earning an actuarial science degree. What the student might not expect is that communications is also critical in earning this degree. While the primary focus will be on preparing students for the collection, analysis and application of statistical data to financial situations, actuarial science students must also be able to discuss the findings in such a way that the layperson understands the complex theories discovered during the actuary’s investigation.
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