Best Actuarial Science Degrees 2021

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Insurance companies and government agencies hire actuaries to assess different forms of short-term and long-term risk. The career involves analyzing statistical data, using the results to develop investments and insurance programs, and coordinating with senior managers to institute new policies. Actuaries specialize in health insurance, life insurance, benefits packages, or enterprise risk.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that actuaries earn a median $108,350 annual salary. This salary more than doubles the median wage for U.S. workers. Also, the BLS projects that employment for actuaries from 2019-2029 should grow 18%, approximately 350% faster than the average growth rate for all professions.

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An actuarial science degree, a professional certification, and on-the-job-training can help prepare workers for this lucrative career. Typical admission requirements for actuarial science programs include high school prerequisites, a competitive GPA, and standardized test scores. Incoming students also submit FAFSA results.

Top 10 Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science Programs

How to Use an Actuarial Degree

  • Q. What jobs can you get with an actuarial science degree?

    A bachelor’s degree in actuarial science can help qualify graduates for a position as a trainee. They receive extensive on-the-job training, preparing them for certification examinations.

  • Q. Is there a demand for actuaries?

    The BLS projects that jobs for actuaries should grow significantly from 2019-2029, indicating a strong job market for graduates.

  • Q. Do actuaries get paid well?

    Professionals with an actuarial science bachelor’s degree, certification, and experience generally earn more than $100,000 annually. This high salary can help degree-holders live comfortably and save for retirement.

  • Q. How long does it take to become an actuary?

    Entry-level actuaries must gain on-the-job experience and pass multiple examinations. Professionals may need up to 10 years to earn a fellowship certification.

Best Bachelor’s in Actuarial Science Programs 2021

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What Are the Goals of an Actuarial Science Degree?

College applicants pursue either a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science or a bachelor’s in business with a concentration in actuarial science. Other options may include selecting between a BA and a BS. Both degrees feature the same major curriculum while requiring different general education courses.

Typical courses include financial mathematics, international finance, and risk management. The best actuarial science degrees require these and other courses to prepare students for either Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) certification. Many learners begin the certification process before graduation by passing one or more examinations, such as the SOA Exam P or CAS Exam 1.

Why Get an Actuarial Science Degree?

Actuarial science degrees impart multiple benefits to degree-seekers and alumni. Graduates can enjoy the following outcomes while in school.

Work-Life Balance
Although the actuary profession may include long hours and extensive travel, the career generally allows entry-level and experienced professionals to achieve a positive work-life balance.
Challenging Work
No matter their job title, actuaries face new challenges every day. A dynamic work environment encourages creative thinking and prevents burnout.
Growing Need
BLS projections indicate that jobs for actuaries should grow much faster than other industries between 2019-2029. College seniors and recent graduates should enter a strong job market.
High Salary
Experienced actuaries working in the U.S. typically earn more than $100,000 annually. Professionals with additional certifications, education, and training may make more than their peers.
Numerous Specializations
Actuarial science programs offer students various career specializations, such as health insurance, property and casualty insurance, and pension benefits.

What Are the Requirements for an Actuarial Science Degree?

First-year admission requirements include high school transcripts, and some programs accept GED scores. Competitive applicants also possess high school prerequisites in mathematics and lab sciences. Transfer students with some college credit or an associate degree submit official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a satisfactory GPA.

Actuarial science degrees’ unique graduation requirements may include an internship wherein learners gain hands-on experience observing and working under a fully certified actuary. Students also pass courses SOA requires for validation by educational experience (VEE), an essential step in the certification process. Degree-seekers must earn a minimum “B-” grade in VEE-designated courses.

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Professional Organizations for Actuarial Science Students

Students earning an actuarial science bachelor’s degree join professional organizations to explore career opportunities, navigate the complicated and lengthy certification process, and apply for exclusive scholarship opportunities. Organizations like those listed below provide learners with other helpful resources. They also charge degree-seekers an affordable annual membership rate.

  • American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries Undergraduates join ASPPA to receive industry publications, discounts on conferences and webcasts, and access to the latest actuarial research. Certifications unique to ASPPA include qualified pension administrator and certified pension consultant. Student and professional members also enjoy a personalized website to track their personal development progress.

  • Casualty Actuarial Society Student Central Approximately 8,000 undergraduates throughout the United States join CAS Student Central to receive free practice exams, webinars, and invitations to networking events. Learners also network on an online message board and explore internship opportunities nationwide. CAS Student Central does not charge degree-seekers membership fees.

  • Society of Actuaries Although SOA does not typically accept student members, the organization provides degree-seekers with free resources, such as internship opportunities, a scholarship board, and career path guides. SOA networking events bring students, professionals, and employers together in person and online. College seniors can find their first career by posting a resume on the SOA Job Center website.

Scholarships for Actuarial Science Students

Although actuarial science programs prepare students for a lucrative career, their tuition may exceed learners’ ability to pay. Degree-seekers may attain financial aid and avoid debt through private scholarship opportunities. Many scholarships appeal to actuarial science students and learners majoring in mathematics or a related STEM field.

  • Actuarial Diversity Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Members of a minority group earning a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science may qualify for the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship. Other application criteria include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and full-time enrollment. First-year college students must also meet an ACT or SAT score cutoff.

    Amount: $1,000-$4,000

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  • Actuary of Tomorrow Stuart A. Robertson Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship recognizes rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates must also pass at least two introductory CAS or SOA examinations. The scholarship committee uses a June application deadline and awards funding for the following fall semester.

    Amount: Up to $9,000

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  • Curtis E. Huntington Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Curtis E. Huntington Memorial Scholarship differs from other awards, as applicants must obtain a professor’s nomination. Other requirements include passing at least one CAS or SOA examination, maintaining a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and enrolling full time.

    Amount: $3,000

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