“My son, during his junior year in pursuing Actuarial Sciences,” he paused for emphasis, “made $1000 a week during a summer internship.” He looked at me for a moment. “A thousand a week for being an intern without a degree.” Obviously, he and I were talking about career paths available to those who can do math.
Earlier today, a conversation with a colleague revealed what many educators now know–a degree in education, liberal arts, the humanities just sets you up for long-time suffering at the hands of state legislators. Like it or not, this is the sad reality. It’s why my colleague was quick to point out that his son majored in the Humanities, but also, Actuarial Sciences.
If, like me, you don’t know what Actuarial Sciences are, let me share this informative tidbit from Wikipedia:
Actuarial science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified in this field through education and experience. In many countries, actuaries must demonstrate their competence by passing a series of rigorous professional examinations.
Actuarial science includes probability, mathematics, statistics, finance, economics, financial economics, and computer programming. Historically, actuarial science used deterministic models in the construction of tables and premiums. The science has gone through revolutionary changes during the last 30 years because of the proliferation of high speed computers and the union of stochastic actuarial models with modern financial theory (Frees 1990).
Many universities have undergraduate and graduate degree programs in actuarial science, and these programs usually have highly specialized coursework schedules and series of exam preparation courses to prepare students for the actuarial exams and the insurance industry. In 2010, a study published by job search website CareerCast ranked actuary as the #1 job in the United States (Needleman 2010). The study used five key criteria to rank jobs: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and stress. A similar study by U.S. News & World Report in 2006 included actuaries among the 25 Best Professions that it expects will be in great demand in the future (Nemko 2006).
As an English major, Spanish minor, I’ve found my ability to write and technical competence helpful in achieving my humble career goals. Fortunately, my daughter is able to do well in writing AND mathematics, and I’m grateful for her abilities.
My colleague pointed out to me that his wife had said to him, “ince this field is often dominated by Americans who are less than articulate, having a double-major in English and Math will pay off financially and professionally. The career path means you’ll be a CEO because of the actuarial sciences and your ability to communicate effectively.”
and, “if you can put aside your expectation of straight As, as long as you can earn a degree in actuarial sciences and pass the exams, no one will ask what grade you made.”
Certainly, good advice. In the meantime, check out this infographic that highlights the facts visually.
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