What are the Different Actuarial Careers?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are four different actuarial careers available: insurance, consulting, financial, and academic. An actuary is a highly skilled professional who has specialized training in mathematics, risk theory, statistics and probability. These skills are used to provide information to help companies and individuals plan for the future and reduce their level of risk.

People who report the greatest job satisfaction in the different actuarial careers are detail-oriented, enjoy working with numbers, and prefer solitary work to a team environment. Actuarial careers require dedication, focus, and the ability to communicate complex concepts in a simple way. There is a limited amount of personal interaction as an actuary, and people who rely on others for their motivation and energy will find this career very draining.

An insurance actuary is responsible for calculating and providing recommendations on the level of risk associated with different types of insurance policies. For example, an actuary for a large insurance company will review research information and data on naturally occurring fires over an extended period of time to determine the risk of a fire occurring in a specific area. The higher the risk, the larger the premiums will be for that type of insurance. This role is very important, as it allows insurance companies to manage their exposure while providing coverage to customers.


It is typically only actuaries with at least ten years working experience have the client base and experience necessary to become full-time consultants. An actuary can be expected to find consulting opportunities working for school boards, government agencies, lawyers, and other professional services firms. Many actuaries find they prefer to use a consulting firm to manage the business aspect of being a consultant, allowing them to focus on their area of expertise.

A financial actuarial career involves working for a financial institution or government agency responsible for managing money. The role requires an increased amount of personal interaction and presentations, as the data must be analyzed and then provided to the management in an easy to follow format.

The academic option provides a wealth of different actuarial careers, where the actuary can decide to teach, conduct research, write books, or participate in government think tanks and related associations. The courses taught by an actuary are typically in the last year of an undergraduate degree, or at the graduate level. In addition, many actuaries use the stability provided by an academic career to publish articles that criticize the current government decision-making process.



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