Employment Outlook

The actuarial profession consistently ranks among the best career fields, based on salary, job security, career perspectives, work-life balance and overall job satisfaction. Actuaries possess a vast set of skills and expertise that are in high demand by insurance companies and other financial service institutions. 

In addition, the Twin Cities area is a major insurance hub, with several large insurance companies headquartered here. You’ll have many employment opportunities as a result, and we offer numerous extracurricular activities to help you prepare for career fairs and interviews. St. Thomas’ Career Development Center offers another valuable on-campus resource.

How much can an actuary earn?

Ultimately that’s up to the individual, but there is a strong correlation between salary increases and completion of the actuarial exams. In 2005, typical starting salaries for graduates who have completed at least one professional exam were $50,000 and up. (For updates on salary figures, see here.) How far can an actuary go? Broad knowledge of the insurance, pension and employee benefits fields often leads actuaries to top administrative and executive positions.

Today, many major insurance companies in the Twin Cities and throughout the country are headed by actuaries. In a recent, nationwide survey of 100 actuaries, almost half were vice presidents, presidents and directors of the corporations for which they worked.

What is an actuary?

Actuaries are experts in risk management. In particular, actuaries are involved in the design, pricing, financing, and operation of benefit plans, which protect people from risks of injury, illness, death, property damage, and the loss of income due to unemployment or retirement. Actuaries use mathematical skills to create and manage programs that reduce the adverse financial impact of life’s expected and unexpected events, including financial risks from investment.

You’ll find that insurance companies employ actuaries in all phases of operations including management, marketing, investments, accounting, administration and selection of risks. Many actuaries work for consulting firms that advise insurance companies and some provide pension advice to corporations, labor unions and various government agencies.  Employment counselors and business analysts promote the profession as one of the most promising career choices of the future. It has received a consistently high ranking in the Jobs Rated Almanac.

An actuarial specialization in mathematics also provides good preparation for non-actuarial careers in banking, finance or insurance fields. The statistics background developed by an actuarial student is valuable in a variety of other fields. Approximately one-third of mathematics graduates pursue careers in business.

Entry-level actuaries generally earn a higher average income than most college graduates—an income edge that is maintained throughout the actuary’s career. The need for well-qualified actuaries and the scope of what actuaries do are both expected to grow.

Sound good so far? Your knack for mathematics—and ability to take on multiple responsibilities—can open up an actuarial career with outstanding salary potential, a variety of possible work locations and environments, a number of possible job emphases, and a range of opportunities for promotion.