Actuarial work can result in a great deal of professional satisfaction and pride. A career in actuarial science can be a lucrative and innovative option for individuals with an aptitude for math and an interest in statistics. Actuaries also need skills related to analysis, accounting, and finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a total of 30,000 actuary positions in the United States in 2028.
This guide details salary expectations and employment projections for actuaries. The following sections explore the top states for actuary salaries, statistics for related occupations, and resources for actuarial science students and professionals.
HOW MUCH DO ACTUARIES MAKE?
According to the BLS, actuaries earn a median annual salary of $102,880. However, earning potential depends on the individual’s education and experience level. Geographic location also impacts salary. Professionals in areas with high costs of living and high demand for actuaries typically earn more.
As they gain professional experience, the average salary of an actuary can more than double. Actuaries with less than a year of experience earn an average annual salary of $59,830, according to PayScale. Professionals with 1-4 years of experience earn an average salary of $74,969 per year. After working for 10-19 years, actuaries earn an average of $120,494 annually.
Salary by Degree
Most actuaries hold bachelor’s degrees in finance, business, or accounting. Although no degree guarantees a specific salary, earning a master’s degree can increase earning potential. The table below illustrates typical salaries for professionals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance.
Finance Degree Salaries
Median Salary: $73,000
Median Salary: $101,000
Many professionals maintain the title of actuary throughout their entire careers. According to PayScale, actuaries earn an average annual salary of $87,648. However, experienced actuaries can pursue leadership positions such as chief actuary. As the following table illustrates, chief actuaries earn an average salary well above that of actuaries.
What Are the Top States for Actuary Pay?
Many factors influence an actuary’s earning potential, including geographic location. For example, professionals in areas near major cities often earn higher salaries. The table below details the top states for actuaries.
- NEW YORKAnnual Mean Wage: $150,950
- CONNECTICUTAnnual Mean Wage: $132,910
- WASHINGTONAnnual Mean Wage: $131,330
- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAAnnual Mean Wage: $129,540
- NEW HAMPSHIREAnnual Mean Wage: $129,110
While the majority of actuaries work in the insurance industry, the insurance industry itself is not one of the top five industries for actuary pay. However, insurance-related agencies and brokerages is the fifth highest-paying industry. Actuaries in business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations earn the highest mean salary. Below are a few top industries for actuaries.
|INDUSTRY||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations||$155,490|
|Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)||$129,990|
|Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services||$126,610|
|Scientific Research and Development Services||$125,290|
|Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance-Related Activities||$121,480|
ARE ACTUARIES IN-DEMAND?
HISTORICAL CAREER GROWTH
Historically, actuary positions have grown rapidly. According to the BLS, there were 19,940 actuary positions in the U.S. in 2016. By 2018, the BLS reported 20,760 actuary positions. Additionally, the employment of actuaries increased in several states from 2016 to 2018:
- The number of actuaries in Ohio increased from 990 to 1,560.
- In Illinois, the number of actuaries increased from 1,590 to 1,950.
FUTURE CAREER GROWTH
The BLS projects a 20% employment growth for actuaries from 2018-2028, which is well above the national average for all occupations. Of the approximately 800 positions BLS data covers, actuary has one of the highest projected employment growths.
Top States for Job Growth
Many factors contribute to each state’s projected growth for actuaries. The prevalence of winter weather-related accidents in mountainous areas may impact Colorado’s growth rate for actuaries, which is the highest in the country. The projected growth rate for actuaries in Iowa may be due in part to low location quotients.
37% Change from 2016-2026
35.9% Change from 2016-2026
33.3% Change from 2016-2026
32.8% Change from 2016-2026
31.7% Change from 2016-2026
HOW DO ACTUARIES COMPARE TO OTHER ACCOUNTING CAREERS?
Compared to other careers in accounting, actuarial occupations earn competitive salaries and have strong job growth projections. Actuaries earn a median salary of $102,880 per year, according to the BLS — significantly more than many other accounting professionals:
- ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS$70,500
- BUDGET ANALYSTS$76,220
- FINANCIAL ANALYSTS$85,660
Similarly, the BLS projects employment growth for actuaries from 2018-2028 to be well above average, at 20%. This growth compares favorably to similar occupations.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN YOUR CAREER TODAY
LEARN MORE ABOUT ACTUARY SALARIES AND JOB GROWTH
- Bureau of Labor StatisticsThe BLS provides a national median actuary salary along with job growth projections. The BLS also offers reports on regional location quotients, employment, and salary data.
- Indeed.comThis a popular online job listing site that offers detailed salary profiles for a variety of professions. Salary profiles include the average salaries for actuaries in large companies such as Liberty Mutual.
- PayScaleThis resource provides salary data for employers and job seekers. The website offers salary data for specific areas and degrees, along with salary profiles for a variety of professions.
- Projections CentralProjections Central compiles short-term and long-term employment growth projections from the BLS into an easily searchable database. The Projections Central search engine helps users find projections for individual states.
- Salary.com:This website displays actuary salary data alongside information such as housing costs for major cities, typical compensation packages, and recent job openings. The website’s blog features tips on topics such as professional development.
Kick off your finance career with one of these affordable online accounting degrees. Compare the top programs, crunch the numbers, and get the best value.
A master's in accounting opens the door to in-demand, lucrative careers. Explore our list of the best master's in accounting online programs for 2021.
Bachelor's degrees in accounting can build strong careers. Become an accountant through an accredited, affordable program that leads to CPA certification.
Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.
Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.