What is an actuary?
In its simplest form, actuaries are specialists in quantifying risk for insurance companies and consulting firms. They help “predict” the future, but unlike fortune tellers, they use historical information and their problem solving and quantitative skills. Actuaries need to have strong analytical and computer skills, but also need good communication skills to relay their findings to people that do not necessarily have actuarial background knowledge.
There are many different types of actuaries, with the most popular being Property & Casualty actuaries and Life & Health actuaries. Property & Casualty actuaries deal with risks related to property and businesses, while Life & Health actuaries deal with risks related to people’s health and well-being.
Like lawyers and doctors, actuaries have to pass a series of professional exams; however, they can study and take these exams while working as a full-time actuary.
Check out these useful websites for additional information:
Additionally, here are a few helpful videos!
UW-Madison is proud to offer a BBA degree in Actuarial Science (not all universities have an actuarial program!) that helps students prepare for up to five professional exams. As part of the Wisconsin School of Business, UW-Madison’s actuarial science program provides students with business acumen that is beneficial in the workplace. Alternatively, UW-Madison also offers an applied mathematics degree with an emphasis in actuarial science. Other benefits that this program offers include a Risk and Insurance specific career fair, a wide variety of actuarial and risk and insurance courses offered year-round, an active Actuarial Club, many opportunities to network through CCLB and Actuarial Club speaker events, and industry experienced, highly credentialed faculty. UW-Madison is designated as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by The Society of Actuaries.
Courses to Take in High School
Courses you can take in high school to prepare for your college career in actuarial science include AP Stats, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science, AP Economics, and AP Psychology (a Wisconsin School of Business requirement). If these courses aren’t offered at your school, try taking math and computer courses every school year and any other AP courses that can fulfill your general education requirements at UW-Madison.
Request a Presentation at Your High School
If you and your classmates are interested in pursuing a major and career in actuarial science, request a club member to present at your high school!* This presentation would include more information on the actuarial career, the benefits of majoring in actuarial science at UW-Madison, and what you can do right now in high school to prepare you for your college career. There would also be a Q&A session at the end to answer any questions you may have. Contact the High School Outreach Program Coordinator, Paul H. Johnson, Jr., PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org), expressing interest or with any questions.
*The High School Outreach Program is offered mostly only in the Wisconsin area. However, if you are not in this area, please still reach out to see if it is available at your high school or if other arrangements could be made.