According to data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay of an actuary – an individual who analyzes statistical data for the purpose of forecasting risk and liability – was $108,350 as of May 2019, the most recently available data. This breaks down to an average compensation of $52.09 per hour. The typical actuary works full time in an office for a particular employer, but some work as consultants, traveling frequently to meet with clients.

Actuaries working with insurance brokerages and financial institutions earned $110,020 – whereas those working for general companies earned $98,880.

Key Takeaways

  • An actuary is a financial specialist who analyzes statistical data so as to forecast risk and liability.
  • Actuarial science is a small, specialized field currently employing around 25,000 people in the United States.
  • Job growth forecasts are strong, with the field expected to increase by 20% over the ten-year period of 2018-2028.
  • According to the U.S. government, the median annual pay for an actuary was $108,350, or roughly $52.09 per hour, as of May 2019, the most recently available data.

States With the Highest Pay

The Highest-Paying States for Actuaries | FindTheBest

The yearly salary of an actuary also varies by state. The top five payers in 2019 were New York ($152,920), North Carolina ($134,280), Washington ($133,210), District of Columbia ($130,750) and Massachusetts ($125,430).

Not surprisingly, actuaries working in metropolitan areas earned more than those employed in non-metropolitan areas.


The pace of job growth in the actuary field forecast over the ten year period between 2018-2028.

Job Outlook

Actuaries are essential to the insurance industry, and thus the job outlook for actuaries is very promising, with employment growth of 20% expected between 2018 and 2028, according to the most recent data. This is much more rapid than the average growth for all careers and is estimated to result in roughly 5,000 new jobs over the 10-year period. Overall, however, this is a relatively small field, with only 25,000 actuaries employed as of 2018.

In order to become an actuary, an individual must have a bachelor's degree in actuarial science or some other related field and must pass a series of exams to become certified in the field. Actuaries need a strong background in math, statistics, and business. Salary and job outlook are partly determined by the amount of training and certificates an applicant has, but also by the location of the job and what specific industry is hiring.

The metropolitan areas with the highest level of employment for actuaries are New York-Newark-Jersey City, in areas spanning NY, NJ, and PA, followed by Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, in areas spanning IL, IN and WI.

Where the Jobs Are

More actuaries will be needed in the health insurance industry to determine the effects of changing healthcare laws. More jobs will also be created in property insurance and casualty insurance to determine the risks to communities prone to more frequent storms and other types of extreme weather. Enterprise risk management, the practice of helping companies manage their own risk, will also boost job opportunities for actuaries.