When considering how to become an actuary, students should understand that he or she must earn a bachelor’s degree. However, in the 21st century, it’s acceptable for students who are in a hurry to begin or change their career to earn the degree in a shorter amount of time in an accelerated program. The first step to becoming an actuary quickly, then, is to find a school that offers an accelerated degree program in actuarial science. A person may also earn a degree in mathematics, statistics, or another analytical area of study. During the course of the program, a student studies math, statistics, economics, and even corporate finance courses, among others.
How to become an actuary requires a person to have at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the aforementioned fields. Without a bachelor’s degree, a person won’t be eligible to earn even entry-level position in the field. While the requirements for how do I become an actuary seem stringent, an employer will often allow a person to work for him or her after only completing one or two of the necessary exams. Employers recognize that the answer to how do I become an actuary is an entailed process.
Methodology: Ranking the Fastest Actuarial Science Bachelor’s Programs
Obviously, students who want an accelerated program want it fast, so Great Business Schools editors began with accredited programs that offered various options for speed, including accelerated classes, multiple start times, and generous transfer credits. From there, programs were also ranked according to their cost, salary potential, and student satisfaction, using data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche.
1. Indiana University
Indiana University offers a BS in Mathematics that is available entirely online. IU’s BS undergraduate program includes an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary option. Students enrolled in IU’s undergraduate actuarial/mathematics program must complete 120 credit units to graduate; 27 credit units of which are considered mathematics core courses. Coursework for this class includes Abstract Math, Statistical Techniques, Finite Math, Complex Variables, and Intuitive Topology, to name a few. Indiana University allows for up to 90 credit units to be transferred from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
Indiana University was established in 1820. IU operates two primary campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis, plus seven regional facilities as well. The student enrollment for the entire university exceeds 110,000 students.
Highlight: Indiana University boasts an impressive list of alumni, including the author of the Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins, and bandleader Hoagy Carmichael.
Degree: Mathematics, BS
2. Chadron State College
Chadron State College offers an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary through the school’s Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Mathematics, which is available online or in a hybrid or an on-campus in a traditional format. The curriculum offered through Chadron State College’s BS in Mathematics program includes Differential Equations, Probability, and Statistics, Calculus I, II, III, and Linear Algebra, to name a few. CSC’s core credit unit requirements for BS Mathematics majors include 36 credit units.
Chadron State College was established as a public institution of higher education established in 1911. CSC is a recognized open admissions school and the only four-year school located in Nebraska’s western/northern half of the state. CSC’s campus covers more than 275 acres and serves approximately 2,900 students.
Highlight: Chadron State College’s mission is to serve students from the FAR (Frontier and Remote) Communities, and the Nebraska High Plains.
Degree: Mathematics, BS
3. Mercy College
Mercy College’s BS in Mathematics can be completed 100% online. Mercy College’s undergraduate mathematics degree can be the educational springboard for those students interested in enrolling in an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program. Mercy College’s BS in Mathematics program requires the completion of 120 credit units by completing classes like Discrete Structures, mathematical Modeling, Foundations of Computing I, II, and Number Theory, among others. Mercy College has a residency requirement of 15 credit units in math, computer info systems, or computer science.
Mercy College was established in 1950. Mercy College is a private institution of higher education that operates as a nonsectarian university. The school’s suburban campus in Westchester County, NY, serves more than 11,000 students and is located less than an hour from midtown Manhattan.
Highlight: Mercy College operates several campuses – two in Westchester County and two in NYC – in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Degree: Mathematics, BS
4. Lock Haven University
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania’s (LHU) College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences/Department of Mathematics offers a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics that can be completed entirely online. LHU offers a two-year advanced actuarial degree in its graduate choice of programs that can be used as an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary springboard degree program. Students in the BS Mathematics program with an actuarial track complete coursework in finance, business, and statistics, plus the participation in a 2 credit hour internship program during their senior year.
Lock Haven University was established in 1870 as a teacher training college. Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania is a member school of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The school’s 200-acre campus is home to approximately 4,500 students studying for the 70+ undergraduate and graduate degrees offered.
Highlight: Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania became a member school of the Pennsylvania State System in 1983.
Degree: Actuarial Science, BS Online/ Two year advanced degree
5. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University offers two undergraduate mathematics degree programs that are available completely online. A&M offers students interested in an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program a choice of a distance learning option of either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree program in Mathematics. Students enrolled in A&M’s undergraduate math programs find rewarding work as actuaries, stochastic processes, and even underwater signal processing for acoustics. The school offers small class sizes and honors degree classes for advanced math students.
Texas A & M University was established in 1871 and is a land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and senior military institution of higher education. The school’s college-town campuses serve nearly 70,000 students – making A&M one of the largest school enrollments in the country and the largest in the Lone Star State.
Highlight: Texas A & M University is the founding school of the Texas A&M University System.
Degree: Mathematics, BS/BA Online
6. Midway University
Midway University offers a BS in Mathematics that is available 100% online. Midway’s BS Math program offers an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program utilizing 8-week accelerated courses. Midway University’s student to faculty ratio is an impressive 16 to 1. Degree candidates from Midway’s BS degree program in Mathematics open career opportunities in the fields of actuarial science, engineering, education, data analysis, and computer science, to name a few.
Midway University is a private institution of higher learning that was founded in 1847. Midway University offers both associate and bachelor degree programs to its more than 1,700 students. Midway University is affiliated with the Christian Church – the Disciples of Christ.
Highlight: Midway University operated as the only exclusive women’s school in Kentucky until the mid-2010s when men were admitted for the first time.
Degree: Mathematics, BS Online/ 8 weeks Accelerated
7. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Mathematics Education that can be finished entirely online. GCU’s BS in Math Education is a smart stepping-stone academic degree for those wishing to enroll in an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program. Graduates from GCU’s undergraduate math degree enter the workforce as Economists, Teachers, Statisticians, and Actuaries, to name a few. Degree candidates must complete 120 credit units to graduate, of which 80 credit units must be within the mathematics major.
Grand Canyon University was established in 1949. The school is considered a non-denominational Christian Church and serves more than 20,000 students on-campus and more than 69,000 students online.
Highlight: Grand Canyon University holds the distinction of being the largest Christian institution of higher education in the world.
Degree: Math Education, BS Online
8. Stevenson University
Stevenson University offers a BS in Applied Mathematics that is available 100% online and a bachelor’s to a Master’s program in Mathematics as well. Stevenson University’s mathematics degree programs work as great education springboards for those interested in completing an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program as they vie for a career as an actuarial scientist. Students can opt for a focus in actuarial science and enter the workforce as an Insurance Analyst, A financial Analyst, a Statistical Analyst, or and Investment Analyst, to name a few.
Stevenson University was established in 1947 and was originally named Villa Julie College. Stevenson University operates two campuses in the state of Maryland and serves approximately 3,500 students. Stevenson University offers more than 80-degree programs – including newly created professional degrees.
Highlight: Stevenson University boasts a tremendous amount of distance learning options and students.
Degree: Applied Mathematics, BS Online/ Bachelors to Masters Program
9. University of Hartford
The University of Hartford’s Department of Mathematics offers two undergraduate mathematics courses that are available entirely online through the school’s distance learning platform. UHart offers two accelerated bachelor degree in actuary programs through the online options of the school’s Bachelor of Science (BS) degree or the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Mathematics. The BA program requires the completion of 44-45 major credit units, whereas the BS degree program requires the completion of 60-61 credit units to graduate – which includes math and physics classes.
The University of Hartford was established in 1957. The school’s suburban campus in West Hartford serves nearly 6,800 students studying from more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs offered by the university’s seven schools/colleges.
Highlight: The University of Hartford’s student body includes students from nearly 50 states and more than 40 countries.
Degree: Mathematics, BS/BA Online
10. Clarkson University
Clarkson University’s Department of Mathematics offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Mathematics that can be completed entirely online. Clarkson University’s BS in Mathematics program is a smart undergraduate degree for students interested in completing an accelerated bachelor degree in actuary program. Coursework for Clarkson’s BS in Math program includes Projective Geometry, Differential Equations, Mathematical Statistics, and Computer Algorithms, to name a few. Clarkson University offers its mathematics major students access to many cooperative work programs and internships around the world and the country.
Clarkson University was established in 1896. The school’s 600+-acre campus is home to more than 4,200 students and located in the state’s capital region upstate. Princeton Review considers Clarkson University one of the most environmentally responsible universities.
Highlight: Forbes recognizes Clarkson University among the top 50 most entrepreneurial institutions of higher education in the country.
Degree: Mathematics, BS Online
What is an Actuary and What Do They Do?
A person may have heard the term “actuary” and wonder what is an actuary. First and foremost, the definition of actuary is someone who analyzes risks and their uncertainty. The definition of actuary also includes the fact that this individual must minimize the cost of the risk since part of the job description of an actuary is helping either businesses or individuals or both to create insurance policies that decrease the cost of the risk. Additionally, part of the job description of an actuary is to help individuals and businesses create a policy tailored to the clients’ needs. When someone is asking what does an actuary do, a person should understand that these individuals tend to work in insurance. Additionally, what does an actuary do includes using math on a regular basis.
The actuary job description includes using statistics and data. The actuary job description also includes estimating the cost of certain events and how they would affect the client. To summarize what do actuaries do, they create policies, pension plans, or investments to minimize a person’s risk and maximize their profit.
Most of what an actuary does includes working on computers. What an actuary does also includes taking into consideration the insurance company and their profit.
Generally, when a person is answering what do actuaries do takes into consideration where they work. Generally, an actuary works in health, life, or property insurance. Another option that helps answer what do actuaries do is work with pension plans.
Are There Lots of Jobs for Actuaries?
Before someone decides to go to school for actuary science, he or she may want to know about the prospective jobs for actuaries, in particular the job outlook for actuaries. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a promising future of actuary science. In fact, the BLS reported 25,000 jobs for actuaries as of 2018. The actuary jobs outlook is positive since the BLS projects the number of jobs will grow by 20 percent. In terms of the actuary jobs outlook in comparison to other jobs, the job outlook for actuaries is expected to grow faster than average.
Besides taking the job outlook for actuaries as a whole into consideration, a person should understand that certain areas have more actuarial science job opportunities than others. The actuarial science job opportunities are most plentiful in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and California. In other states, there isn’t much of a future of actuary science because these states had under 30 jobs for this field as of 2018.
When thinking about the future of actuarial science, a person should take into consideration that most jobs with insurance carriers. A person should also take into consideration that the employment outlook for actuaries is also possible with brokerages, consulting services, and management companies. However, the employment outlook for actuaries is more than likely going to remain high with insurance companies.
How Much Can I Make as an Actuary?
The BLS notes that the median salary for an actuary in the U.S. was $102,880 annually. This salary for an actuary is equivalent to $49.46 per hour. Besides understanding the average salary of actuaries, a person should also know that certain fields pay higher. For instance, the average salary for an actuary with an agency or brokerage is $121,480 while the average salary of actuaries who work with management or consulting companies is over $120,000 per year.
A person should also be aware that the average salary of actuaries varies based on the area a person lives in. For instance, what is the salary of an actuary in New York is much higher than the average in Minnesota. The average salary for an actuary in New York is $150,950, making this state the state with the highest paid actuaries on average. Another state that has high paying jobs is Connecticut. On average, what is the salary of an actuary in Connecticut is $132,910 per year.