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Actuarial Science Major

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Actuarial Science

1,633 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
432 Master's Degrees Annually
#30 in Popularity
$103,330 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Actuarial Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many actuarial science graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,585
Master’s Degree 435
Basic Certificate 36
Graduate Certificate 5
Undergraduate Certificate 4

What Actuarial Science Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to actuarial science were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Actuarial Science Majors

Actuarial Science majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Actuarial Science Majors

When studying actuarial science, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Actuarial Science Majors

As you progress with your actuarial science degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science?

1,585 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
44% Percent Women
20% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 56% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of actuarial science majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 152
Black or African American 39
Hispanic or Latino 78
White 886
International Students 339
Other Races/Ethnicities 91

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Actuarial Science, too. About 21.4% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Actuarial Science Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $76,880 to $116,250 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to actuarial science. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Actuarial Science Major  ( 76880 to 116250 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with actuarial science may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to actuarial science have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 3.1%
Some College Courses 2.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 43.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 9.4%
Master’s Degree 7.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.1%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 4.3%
Doctoral Degree 26.7%

Online Actuarial Science Programs

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 129 schools offered some type of actuarial science program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 2 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 8 1
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 26 2
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Actuarial Science Worth It?

The median salary for a actuarial science grad is $103,330 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 159% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,268,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to actuarial science.

Major Number of Grads
Management Science 19,595
Other Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods 11,382
Business Statistics 2,996

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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