Useful Degrees Series: Actuarial Science Program at Purdue University June 19th, 2012
Stress has been shown to decrease one’s quality of life and even reduce lifespan. A stressful job can take its toll on one’s health, quality of life and as it turns out even “put you in the ground” years or decades earlier. Do you want to earn lots of money and enjoy a fairly low level of job stress? What if such a job existed and it also came with a great deal of job security as well? Even in a tough job market, actuaries enjoy all of these benefits.
The majority of people are either unclear or are confused as to what an actuary does and why their skills are so valued. Actuarial science is a combination of several different skills and subjects. At the top of the list is statistics and math, but that is only the beginning, as actuaries need to also understand finance, economics and increasingly technology as well.
Actuarial science has been transformed like every other industry by the introduction and widespread acceptance and use of the desktop and laptop computer. Yet, with actuarial science it can go deep than a simple understanding of how to use a computer and instead may include understanding basic computer programming as well.
Skills Actuaries Need
- Finance and economics
- Computer programming
- A strong attention to detail
Actuaries are called upon to create models that are used to help companies save money. In particular, actuaries are employed by companies, such as insurance and healthcare companies, who are looking to determine who will die and when, why and how this will occur. Actuaries spend a good deal of their time focusing on the “numbers of death,” as they look to analyze mortality and produce graphs and charts that help insurance companies and health companies save money and adjust their costs.
There are also other areas outside of the insurance and healthcare industries where actuaries find employment. One are is in law enforcement where actuaries evaluate the statistical probabilities related to crimes, for example.
Few people, even actuaries, are likely to compare the occupation to being an astronaut, but there is no doubt that being an actuary comes with a variety of substantial benefits. Generally, actuaries enjoy high pay, low levels of stress, very stable job employment and state that they like their jobs.
There are numerous actuary programs across the country. Purdue University’s Department of Mathematics has an Actuarial Science Program. What should you expect? It will come as little shock that there is a good deal of math involved and serious math at that! Calculus, Differential Equations, Statistics as well as classes on Accounting, Economics, Finance and Investments are all requirements. In short, the program is demanding, but it should be noted that actuaries typically earn well over 0,000 per year.
For students with an interest in both math and business who are looking for stable employment, high job satisfaction, low stress and high compensation, being an actuary could seem rather attractive. The program will generally be deemed as demanding by most, but graduates do find employment with relatively ease.
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