Actuary Salary Guide

Updated September 28, 2022

Get detailed information about the average actuary salary. Find out how much actuaries make, explore job outlook, and discover which industries pay the most.

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Actuaries use mathematical analysis to help businesses manage financial risk and make sound business decisions.

Actuary salary varies by location, industry, and experience. According to Indeed, actuaries in the United States earn an average annual salary of $111,950 as of August 2022. Indeed notes that emerging professionals with 1-2 years of experience make an average of $84,660 per year, while senior actuaries with over 10 years on the job average $134,880.

Keep reading to learn more about the average actuary salary, along with earning potential and job prospects in the field. For more information about how to become an actuary, explore our actuary career overview.

How Much Does an Actuary Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), actuaries in the United States earn a median annual salary of $105,900 as of 2020.

An actuary's salary can rise or fall depending on where they live, what industry they work in, and how long they've been on the job. For example, Payscale notes that an actuary's annual salary can increase by about $85,000 as they gain experience during a 20-year career.

The BLS projects that the actuary jobs will grow 24% from 2020-2030. This is three times the average projected growth rate for all occupations, making actuarial science an attractive field for people looking for growing career opportunities.

Actuaries


Median Annual Salary, 2021

$105,900

Source: BLS

Actuarial Science Salary by Education

The journey to become an actuary usually starts with a bachelor's degree. Most bachelor's programs take four years to complete. As of July 2022, Payscale reports that actuaries with bachelor's degrees make an average of about $71,000 a year.

Some actuaries choose to earn a master's degree as well. A MS in actuarial science increases average actuary salary by $3,000 per year, according to data from Payscale. An MBA brings the average up by $22,000.

Certification plays a major role in how much an actuary can make. Once certified, actuaries can earn salaries of well over $90,000 per year.

To get certified in the U.S., actuaries take exams through either the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. Candidates must pass seven exams to become certified associate actuaries. To become a fully qualified certified actuary, people must pass 10 exams.

Advanced education and certifications can raise an actuarial science salary. However, they involve added costs for tuition and exams. Certification also takes time to complete, which can delay entry into the workforce.

Salary by Experience

The longer actuaries work in their field, the more their salaries may increase. Doing a good job can lead to promotions or performance bonuses, both of which can boost an actuarial science salary.

How much does an actuary make as they gain experience? The biggest salary jump for actuaries happens between early career and midcareer positions, when salaries grow by an average of $29,000. Professional certifications may increase a person's earning potential as well.

Salary by Location

Location also affects an actuary's salary. For example, an actuary working in Michigan earns an average annual salary of $88,440 as of 2021, according to the BLS. In contrast, the BLS reports that actuaries in North Carolina make an average of $129,350 a year.

Also consider the potential salary differences between rural and urban areas. Cities like Atlanta, Georgia and Boston, Massachusetts offer some of the highest actuary salaries in the United States. However, metropolitan areas often have a higher cost of living.

Top-Paying States for Actuaries, 2021
State Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

Georgia

870

$235,310

New Hampshire

30

$150,200

New York

2,410

$147,420

Connecticut

1,270

$140,130

Vermont

N/A

$139,670

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Actuaries, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

810

$245,520

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

2,870

$144,550

Springfield, MA-CT

140

$144,320

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

880

$143,490

Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

630

$139,510

Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as an Actuary?

The BLS projects actuary jobs to grow by 24% from 2020-2030, much faster than the average projected growth rate for all occupations.

That means that demand for actuaries will likely outpace the number of actuaries able to fill open positions. This high demand may translate into more opportunities and increased salaries for professionals in the field.

Demand may vary based on location. States that employ more actuaries, like New York and Pennsylvania, may offer more job opportunities than states with lower actuary employment levels. Gaining experience and certifications can help job-seekers be more competitive and find higher-paying positions.

Actuaries


Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030

+24%

Source: BLS

Best Areas

Actuaries can find positions in most states. The best areas for actuaries usually have more open positions, which can lead to better job opportunities. For instance, New York and Pennsylvania employ more than 2,000 actuaries each.

Good areas for actuaries also boast better-than-average job growth. For example, Projections Central projects that actuary positions in Arizona will grow by about 44% from 2020-2030.

That's almost double what the BLS projects job growth to be for actuaries across the United States in the same period. Projections Central also estimates that actuary positions in California, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Texas will increase by more than 30% from 2020-2030.

Top-Employing States for Actuaries, 2021
State Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

New York

2,410

$147,420

Pennsylvania

2,320

$123,540

Illinois

1,940

$113,550

Texas

1,740

$107,510

California

1,340

$116,540

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Actuaries, 2020-2030
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-2030 Average Annual Openings

Greatest Projected Percentage Increase

Arizona

44%

20

Texas

38%

130

New Hampshire

33%

10

California

31%

120

Colorado

31%

20

Most Projected Average Annual Openings

New York

23%

220

Illinois

25%

190

Ohio

22%

130

Pennsylvania

25%

130

Texas

38%

130

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Actuaries, 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

2,870

$144,550

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

1,590

$116,110

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

1,250

$134,350

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

880

$143,490

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

810

$245,520

Source: BLS

Best Industries

Actuaries work in many sectors. People should consider their interests when picking the best industry for them. For example, actuaries interested in public service might look for jobs with the U.S. federal government.

Job availability, annual salary, and promotion opportunities can also vary by industry. For instance, agencies and brokerages hire fewer actuaries than larger employers like insurance carriers, but pay higher salaries.

Top-Paying Industries for Actuaries, 2021
Industry Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

Legal Services

N/A

$227,470

Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations

N/A

$182,220

Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities

N/A

$147,330

Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities

4,850

$143,570

Federal Executive Branch (OEWS Designation)

290

$138,560

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Actuaries, 2021
Industry Number of Actuaries Employed Average Annual Salary

Insurance Carriers

11,480

$119,860

Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities

4,850

$143,570

Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services

3,030

$115,540

Management of Companies and Enterprises

1,170

$115,140

State Government, Excluding Schools and Hospitals (OEWS Designation)

540

$96,920

Source: BLS

Questions About Average Actuary Salary


Is an actuary a high-paying job?

According to the BLS, actuaries make a median annual salary of $105,900 as of 2021. This is over $60,000 more than the median for all occupations in the United States.

Where is the best state to work as an actuary?

The best state for an actuary depends on a person's career goals and standard of living. Having said that, actuaries make the highest salaries in Georgia, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Connecticut.

What is the best industry to work in as an actuary?

Top industries for actuaries vary by a person's qualifications, location, and interests. Insurance carriers offer the most jobs for actuaries. The highest-paying industries for actuaries includes legal services, agencies and brokerages, and the federal executive branch.

How much money can you make being an actuary?

Actuary salary can increase or decrease based on a person's education, industry, and certifications. Location also plays a role. Georgia has the highest average annual salary for actuaries as of 2021 -- $245,520. The average annual salary for actuaries across the United States is $105,900.

Is an actuary a stressful job?

It depends. Actuaries perform mathematical and statistical analyses, which require attention to detail. They usually work on several projects at once. An actuary job could be stressful for people who struggle with statistics or prefer focusing on one task at a time. Conversely, Monster.com ranked actuary as one of the lowest-stress, highest-paying careers.

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