Great News: A Career with a Lucrative Salary and Practically No Unemployment

Actuarial Sciences: A Career with a Lucrative Salary and Practically No Unemployment

8/31/12 ASHLAND, Ohio – While some colleges are reporting that graduates are unable to find jobs upon graduation because of the current economic conditions and high unemployment rates, there is some good career news coming out of colleges.

How about a career that offers a very lucrative salary and a practically nonexistent unemployment rate, with most graduates having jobs in hand before they receive their degrees. That career field is actuarial sciences.

Students who graduate from actuarial sciences programs become actuaries, a profession consistently ranked as one of the top five careers in the United States. Actuaries help businesses assess the risk of certain events occurring and formulate business and financial strategies and policies to minimize that risk and its impact on a given corporation.

“It’s still a relatively obscure field and you certainly don’t hear a lot of kids saying I want to be an actuary when I grow up,” said Dr. Chris Swanson, associate professor of mathematics at Ashland University. “However, I am starting to see more and more students with an interest in this growing field.”

Ashland University started its actuarial sciences program in the fall of 2010 and is among a limited number of schools offering this program in the Midwest.

“We will have more than 15 students majoring in the program when classes start this fall and we are happy with the growth we are seeing,” Swanson said. “When we started the program our goal was to bring in five students a year.”

Swanson is even more excited because of the success that has been achieved by those students in the Ashland University program.

“Our students have had very good success. All three of the students who have taken the Society of Actuaries’ financial mathematics exam (Exam FM) passed it on their first attempts,” he said. “I feel good about how we have prepared them.”

Exam FM, which is one of the exams required to achieve professional status as an actuary, covers the fundamental concepts of financial mathematics and how those concepts are applied in calculating present and accumulated values for various streams of cash flows as a basis for future use in: reserving, valuation, pricing, asset/liability management, investment income, capital budgeting, and valuing contingent cash flows.

A report earlier this year by discussed the employment outlook for those in this field and it noted that college graduates who major in actuarial sciences have a practically nonexistent unemployment rate.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of actuaries is expected to grow rapidly (27 percent) through the next decade, and much faster than the average for all other occupations.

In addition to being able to find a job, actuarial sciences is a lucrative field. Actuaries earn a median annual salary of $87,650, and the top 10 percent of actuaries earn more than $160,000. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, annual starting salaries for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in actuarial sciences averaged $56,320 in 2009.

For information regarding Ashland University’s Actuarial Sciences program, contact the Office of Admission at 1-800-882-1548 or 419-289-5052, or email at, or visit the Actuarial Sciences program website at

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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