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Actuary

Actuaries help organizations or individuals manage and monitor risk. They do this by evaluating the likelihood of future events. They design creative ways to assess the potential for undesirable events and their impact if they occur. They may evaluate uncertainties associated with life or property. They also may assess risk in the context of casualty insurance, annuities, social security, worker’s compensation, pension, or other employee benefit plans.

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Actuaries (2161.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries (C061) 
  • 2011 NOC: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (2161) 
  • 2016 NOC: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (2161) 
  • 2021 NOC: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (21210) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to design life, health, and property insurance policies through research

METHODICAL

Interest in preparing records on mortality, sickness, accident, disability and retirement based on research and analysis of statistical, economic and other data

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to provide legal evidence on the value of future earnings, and to assist investment fund managers in portfolio asset allocation decisions and risk management; may supervise the activities of workers engaged in preparing and processing contracts and insurance, annuity and pension policies

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Much of life is uncertain. It involves risks, such as sickness, disability, job loss, property damage or loss, or unforeseen death. No one can predict the chance of these risks for any one individual. However, actuaries use their specialized knowledge of finance, statistics, and risk theory to calculate probabilities. For example, they may measure the likelihood of certain events occurring in the future within defined groups. With that information, they can help design programs to mitigate (reduce damage from) risks.

In insurance companies, actuaries take part in almost every aspect of the business. This includes:

  • Developing new products and services
  • Setting premiums
  • Monitoring profitability
  • Valuating appropriate reserve levels
  • Performing management and administrative tasks

In other settings, actuaries provide a wide variety of services. For example, they may:

  • Help employers, labour unions, and trustees design, fund, and administer private pension plans and other employee benefits
  • Specialize in probabilities of loss arising from sickness or disability, or damages caused by fire, theft, windstorm, or accidents
  • Appear as expert witnesses in court proceedings on issues such as lost future earnings
  • Help sponsors of benefit plans to optimize their investment returns based on the nature of the liabilities and the organization’s risk tolerance
  • Improve medical insurance plans by showing how preventive treatments or new drugs may create long-term savings or how
  • Advise companies on how to set up trust funds to cover anticipated expenses
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Although actuaries work in offices with standard office hours, longer hours do happen. Some travel may be required for business meetings and conferences.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Actuaries need:

  • An interest in and aptitude for mathematics
  • Creativity and a capacity for innovative problem solving
  • Communication skills and business sense
  • The ability to work with a wide variety of people

They should enjoy synthesizing information, solving problems, and taking a methodical approach to their work. They should be comfortable making decisions and working closely with colleagues and clients.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Most actuaries have a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, mathematics, or statistics. For information about degree programs in mathematics and statistics, see the Mathematician and Statistician occupational profiles.

Some Canadian universities offer courses in actuarial science that help students prepare for professional exams.

To become a qualified actuary in Canada, candidates need related education and experience. They also must pass a series of qualifying exams and other requirements. A solid background in math is important. Courses in the following subject areas are an asset:

  • Actuarial science
  • Statistics
  • Economics
  • Commerce
  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Finance
  • Computer science
  • Marketing

Students are encouraged to complete economics, corporate finance, and applied statistics course requirements and write some preliminary exams while still at university. Credit for preliminary exams may be obtained at accredited universities. This is an asset when seeking work as an actuary and counts toward the education requirement. Although most employers give actuarial students some time to study during working hours, students generally have to study on their own time as well.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) offers designations, which include Associate of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (ACIA) and Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA). Some of the requirements for enrolment may be completed by taking examinations offered through the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. University students who take courses at accredited universities may apply to the CIA for credit for some of the preliminary exams.

Other requirements include professional experience and continuing professional development. Candidates working toward Fellowship need to enrol as an Associate of the CIA while accruing Canadian-specific professional experience.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Actuaries may work on a salaried or contract basis. They may work for:

  • Banks
  • Consulting firms
  • Government departments
  • Large corporations
  • Life insurance companies
  • Property or casualty insurance companies
  • Reinsurance companies
  • Universities

There is an increasing demand for actuaries in non-traditional roles. These include compensation consulting, workers’ compensation, health care management, financial planning, investments, environmental liability, enterprise risk management, human resources, and information systems.

Experienced actuaries may advance to senior management positions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group, 78.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Salaries vary depending on the actuary’s qualifications, location, work experience, and type of employer.

Actuaries are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries.

According to the 2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group earned on average from $38.83 to $51.54 an hour. The overall average was $46.51 an hour. For more information, see the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Mathematics
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Be An Actuary website: www.beanactuary.org

Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) website: www.cia-ica.ca

Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) website: www.casact.org

Society of Actuaries (SOA) website: www.soa.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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