Have you been looking into becoming an actuary, or are you perhaps just curious about what the term means? If you have an interest in maths and analysis, keep reading this guide on becoming an actuary!
Actuaries are professionals who use mathematical, economic, statistical and financial analysis to evaluate and minimise risk in a variety of business settings.
This highly-specialised career path requires several years of study, but the effort is well worth it in the end. Simply put, actuarial science is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in the world.
Many maths-minded individuals are drawn to the field due to its intense nature and generous rewards.
So what does an actuary actually do, and what skills and education does it take to become one?
Tasks and duties of actuarial analysts
Qualified actuaries examine and analyse statistics, calculating the possible financial consequences of any uncertainties and aiding with risk management.
This may include establishing premiums and expected rates of return or contributions for companies and clients, and ensuring companies have the appropriate financing to minimise risk.
These skills can be applied to design life insurance, health insurance, general insurance, superannuation policies and more.
Aside from the insurance industry, actuaries may also determine the financial risk faced by financial institutions and government organisations, and provide advice to potential buyers or sellers of companies.
Education pathways to an actuarial career
To work as an actuary in Australia, you will need at least an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, Commerce (majoring in Actuarial Science), Mathematics or a related field.
If undertaking an education that does not specifically include actuarial science, you may need to take other courses in business, statistics and the like.
You will also need to complete the Institute of Actuaries education program (although exceptions can be made based on your grades as an actuarial student).
Skills and experience needed to become an actuary
To flourish in this demanding career path, the following skills and experience are recommended:
No matter which form your actuarial career eventually takes, skills in risk management, data-based decision making and data analysis will always be useful.
There is typically also a three-year work experience requirement in order to become a qualified actuary. Pursuing an internship while studying is a great way to gain experience before entering the workforce, putting yourself ahead of other candidates when the time comes.
Internships are also a great way of networking, allowing you to learn from seniors or even be hired by the company you’ve interned for.
Job opportunities in actuarial science
Due to the specific skills required, actuaries tend to be in high demand. Typically employed in the insurance industry, superannuation, education or corporate finance world, actuaries provide specialised knowledge that is required throughout the world.
Aside from these traditional industries, actuaries may also work in up-and-coming fields such as energy resources, data analytics and environmental sciences. Entry-level actuaries may one day have their sights set on executive positions within financial institutions.
In addition to steady full-time employment, actuaries may also work as consultants, assisting several different organisations at once. Due to its complex nature, starting your career in actuarial science can open up the door to jobs throughout the finance, mathematics and banking industries.
A good starting point for finding an actuarial job is looking into professional societies that may have career resources and designated job boards for you to peruse.
Finally, actuarial science is globally relevant, with Australian qualifications allowing actuaries to work in both developed and developing economies around the world.
It is worth noting that big data is set to greatly impact the world of actuarial science. Big data is changing the amount of information we have available to us to inform decisions, with actuaries having to learn and incorporate this into their work.
In the future, there’s sure to be another form of technology that actuaries will have to wrap their heads around, meaning that a passion for lifelong learning is key to succeed and endure in this field.
If you have an aptitude for maths and love a challenge, a career as an actuary could be for you. Browse through our related courses today to kickstart your career.