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How Much Money Do Actuaries Make

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

There are several advantages to being an actuary, and one of them is the fact that the remuneration is one of the most attractive.

A six-figure median salary is common in the field, but actuaries who pursue the highest levels of certification can make considerably more money than the average employee. 

At this level of expertise and qualification, actuaries may be able to command incomes of up to $300,000 per year or even $400,000 per year. A successful actuarial profession has a wide range of income opportunities from entry to senior levels.

It’s not uncommon to see someone with an actuarial science degree in property and casualty insurance earn the most, followed by actuarial science positions in the fields of life and health insurance.

Read on to discover which careers in actuarial science make the best salaries. Do the math and find out how much different kinds of actuaries make.

What Should You Anticipate From Your Actuarial Science Salary?

As long as you remain with actuarial science as a career, you may expect to make a very good wage. A six-figure median annual pay is reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for this field, while salaries below the midpoint remain significantly above the median salary for all careers. 

In 2020, actuaries in the 25th percentile made $83,550, while those in the 10th percentile earned $66,030 per year while making less money than the rest of the field.

Actuarial students should also prepare to put in a lot of extra time and effort in order to maintain their earning potential improving as time goes on.

Work experience alone can boost an actuary’s earning potential, but pursuing actuarial certification and passing the required examinations can yield a far greater gain in salary. 

Passing marks on these tests isn’t simple, but they’re worth the effort gave the rewards. Additionally to their base compensation, actuaries may be eligible to receive bonuses, which can increase their overall income.

Prospects for Pay with a Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science

There is a good chance that you already know that you cannot expect to make $100,000 a year in your first year. In spite of this, even novice actuaries are paid quite well. 

According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, the average beginning wage for 2017 was $49,785.

As of 2017, the beginning wage for entry-level actuaries was $45,000 to $65,000, which is at least a few thousand dollars more than the national average.

Accurate actuarial science wages are far more profitable than those in many other commercial fields, regardless of the prestige of the institution.

PSU students who majored in actuarial science were paid an average starting income of $75,000, compared to the Smeal College of Business’ average starting pay of $60,093.

In order to earn as much money as possible from your first actuarial job, you should prioritize your studies. Prospective employers look at your college grades and give priority to candidates who have already started taking and completing their certification examinations. 

Internships are a great way to get real-world work experience. Many internships lead to permanent full-time careers at the firm where they interned, and even if there are no permanent roles available, internships may provide good networking possibilities.

When it comes to finding their first employment, recent actuarial science grads are in the minority. Numerous employment offers are frequently extended to college graduates who maintain a good grade point average, complete an internship, and pass one or more certification examinations while still in school.

Potential Compensation Based on Actuarial Certification Level

Progress toward complete professional certification influences actuaries’ income potential more than any other element. Getting certified as an actuary isn’t a quick procedure at all. 

Each of the tests demands a significant amount of study time spread out over a period of months. According to the BLS, fellowship certification might take up to a decade or more.

Because certification is a lengthy and arduous procedure, actuaries are paid more as they advance through the ranks. Every time an actuary passes a test, they are eligible for a raise that can add a few thousand dollars to their annual salary.

Salary ranges from $71,000 to $356,000 per year for actuaries who have earned their associate certification, according to the 2019 EzraPenland.com United States Actuarial Salary Survey. 

Aspiring actuaries may expect to earn anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 per year or more, according to the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society’s official portal for aspiring actuaries, Be An Actuary.org. 

The EzraPenland.com United States Actuarial Salary Survey estimated that actuarial fellows may expect to earn between $100,000 and $528,000 per year.

By attaining fellowship qualifications, actuaries earn more than those who don’t, according to research from the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Because of this, actuaries who never obtain the designation of fellow are unable to make up for the lost income potential they would have otherwise had.

The most lucrative sectors for actuaries

There are two elements that affect income potential for actuaries: the industry in which they work, and where they work. 

BLS statistics show that actuaries will be paid well in the following fields in 2020:

  • Investing and associated operations in the financial sector, where the average pay is $139,100 per year
  • At an average income of $129,610 per year for insurance agencies, brokerages, and other insurance-related activities
  • Employers in the insurance industry earn an average yearly wage of $124,550.
  • At a mean annual salary of $121,920, management, scientific, and technology consulting services.
  • Company and enterprise management, with an average yearly salary of $111,820 paid to actuaries

More than two-thirds of actuaries will be employed in financial services and insurance, according to BLS projections. Only 11 percent of actuaries worked in the professional, scientific, and technological services business, which was the second-largest employer.

Types of Actuaries and Their Compensation

Pay for actuaries varies depending on their specialty. According to the EzraPenland.com United States Actuarial Salary Survey, the middle 85 percent of pension actuaries earned between $53,000 and $337,000 in 2019. 

Of course, the $53,000 income was reported for the lowest-paid actuaries with minimum experience and examinations completed, and the $337,000 wage was for actuaries with fellowship level qualifications and more than 20 years of experience.

The lowest salary for health actuaries was $57,000, while the highest was $457,000. Life actuaries earned anything from $56,000 to $468,000. Property and casualty actuaries of all sorts earned anywhere from $60,000 to $528,000 in annual salary.

At $556,000 per year for casualty insurance, $528,000 per year for life insurance, $423,000 per year for health insurance, and $364,000 per year in pension positions, the highest actuary salaries by kind of employment were recorded by DW Simpson in the past.

Actuarial Employment and Wages by State and Community

New York City has the highest actuarial salary, at an annual average of $145,180. Washington, D.C., and Connecticut’s actuaries make a mean salary of around $127,000. 

Georgia and Washington have average annual actuary salaries of around $121,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a mathematician, you may be wondering how these numbers work together.

A median salary of $101,560 is reported by the BLS for the actuarial profession, however individual actuaries earn significantly more or less. 

Fewer actuaries are employed in many of the high-paying businesses mentioned, so their high average wages don’t accurately reflect the earning potential for most actuarial professions.

There are also many measurements, such as median pay vs mean or average wage, used by BLS for different categories of data.

By the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metropolitan areas where actuaries make the highest money are Charlotte, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and the New York-Newark-Jersey City area, which includes regions in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Opportunities in Texas, notably in San Antonio-New Braunfels and the adjacent Milwaukee-Tampa-Seattle metropolitan regions, are also available.

Because actuarial positions tend to be concentrated in a small number of places, there may be no options for those who live outside of certain areas.

More than a dozen states in the United States have less than 200 actuaries employed, whereas in other states there are thousands of actuaries – and the BLS doesn’t even publish data on actuarial employment for 13 states.

can still find work in other states, but the demand for their services may not be as strong as it is in other parts of the country, according to the data.

You could uncover advertisements for actuary jobs in Michigan if you’re searching for them. the BLS does not publish any information on the number of actuaries employed here, Actuaries in New York make an average of $154,150 a year and there are 2,570 of them working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you’re looking for a high-paying job, don’t always go for an industry that employs a lot of actuaries. There are more actuaries employed in finance and insurance and professional, scientific, and technological services than in any other industry, according to the BLS.

Companies Offering Actuaries the Highest Pay

As you might expect, your ability to make an actuarial science income is heavily influenced by your employer. Salary.com estimates that Goldman Sachs’s actuary salaries at the actuary V level, which signifies a high degree of expertise and experience, vary from $156,709 to $190,772. 

According to Income.com, the average salary for fifth-level actuaries at Goldman Sachs in 2021 was $173,171. Goldman Sachs isn’t the only place where actuaries get a good salary.

Job search and career study website Zippia reports that management consulting firm McKinsey & Company Inc. has the highest actuary compensation, at $143,080 per year on average. 

Despite the fact that USAA is the second-highest-paying actuarial business, the average annual salary is just $130,187. Also included in the top ten highest-paying firms for actuaries are Zurich, AIG, and Genworth.

A salary of $125,00 or more is not unusual for actuaries working at firms recognized for their generous benefits packages; in general, the more senior your position, the more money you may make.

Becoming the world’s highest-compensated actuary

The idea of becoming the highest-paid actuary in the world may sound a little over-the-top at first. 

You should remember the following if you wish to earn everything that you can as an actuary:

  • Instead of studying mathematics or physics, you should consider pursuing an actuarial science degree instead.
  • Internships while in college can help you land a better career after graduation since they provide you with valuable work experience.
  • Making it a top priority to pass examinations as early as possible can allow you to make more money throughout your career. Exam passing is generally associated with higher compensation. Moving from an associate certification to a fellowship certification can dramatically increase your earning potential.
  • Thinking of starting your own business? Two percent of actuaries, according to the BLS, work for themselves. Actuaries who operate as consultants for big domestic and international corporations as self-employed individuals are only limited by the number of hours they are prepared to put in and the rate they are willing to charge for their services in determining their revenue.

Your best bet at earning the most money may be to relocate to a region where the average compensation for actuaries is greater. When estimating your wage, don’t forget to take into account the cost of living in the various regions you’re considering moving to.

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