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Actuary Vs. Mathematician: Which Degree Is More Valuable In The Job Market?

Discover the surprising truth about which degree, Actuary or Mathematician, is more valuable in today’s job market!

If you have a passion for numbers and problem-solving, you may be considering pursuing a degree in either actuarial science or mathematics.

While both fields involve advanced mathematical concepts and skills, they differ in their applications and job prospects.

Actuaries are professionals who specialize in assessing and managing financial risks using statistical analysis. They work primarily in the insurance industry and help companies calculate premiums, determine investment strategies, and evaluate potential risks.

On the other hand, mathematicians use their problem-solving skills to analyze data and develop theories that can be applied to various fields such as engineering, finance, computer science, or research.

Both degrees require strong analytical abilities but have different career paths that lead to distinct professional opportunities.

In the following paragraphs, we will compare the curriculum of each degree program and examine some of the industries where graduates typically seek employment.


  1. Actuarial Science Curriculum
  2. Mathematics Curriculum
  3. Job Prospects For Actuaries
  4. Job Prospects For Mathematicians
  5. Comparing The Value Of Each Degree In The Job Market
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Conclusion

Actuarial Science Curriculum

An actuary is a professional who uses mathematical and statistical analysis techniques to evaluate financial risk.

To become an actuary, students typically pursue an undergraduate degree in actuarial science or a related field, such as mathematics or statistics.

The curriculum of an actuarial science program includes courses on calculus, probability theory, and financial mathematics.

In addition to these foundational courses, students prepare for the rigorous actuarial exams that are necessary to become certified in the field.

These exams cover topics such as life contingencies, financial economics, and enterprise risk management.

Passing these exams demonstrates proficiency in the complex mathematical concepts and analytical skills required of actuaries.

Overall, the focus of an actuarial science program is on developing strong quantitative skills and applying them to real-world situations.

Graduates with this degree are well-equipped for careers in insurance, finance, or other fields where risk assessment is essential.

Mathematics Curriculum

As we have seen in the previous section, an actuarial science curriculum focuses on developing skills and knowledge that are relevant to a career as an actuary. But what about mathematics? Is a degree in mathematics more valuable than one in actuarial science when it comes to the job market?

First of all, it’s important to understand that mathematics is a broad field with many different specializations. Some mathematicians work in academia, conducting research and teaching at universities. Others work in industry, using their mathematical expertise to solve real-world problems.

In terms of job prospects, there is no clear winner between actuarial science and mathematics. One key difference between the two degrees is that a degree in mathematics tends to be more theoretical than one in actuarial science. This is because mathematicians study pure mathematics – the abstract study of numbers and patterns – whereas actuaries focus on applied mathematics – the use of mathematical tools and techniques to solve practical problems.

However, both degrees can lead to careers that are highly valued by employers across many different industries.

Job Prospects For Actuaries

If you are considering a career as an actuary, you may be wondering about the job prospects in this field. The good news is that the demand for actuaries is on the rise and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of actuaries is projected to increase by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

One factor contributing to this growth is the increasing need for companies to manage risk and uncertainty in their operations. Actuaries play a key role in helping organizations evaluate and manage financial risks related to insurance, investments, and pensions. As such, they are highly valued professionals who can command competitive salaries. For example, according to data from Glassdoor, the average base pay for an entry-level actuary is around $73,000 per year.

To become an actuary, you will need to pass a series of rigorous exams administered by professional societies such as the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. These exams cover a range of topics including probability theory, statistics, finance, economics, and more. Passing these exams demonstrates your proficiency in these areas and can help improve your job prospects as well as your earning potential.

Many employers also offer support for exam preparation and may provide bonuses or other incentives for passing them. Overall, if you have strong analytical skills and enjoy working with numbers and data, a career as an actuary can be both challenging and rewarding. With a positive job outlook and competitive salaries available at every level of experience, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a stable career path with plenty of room for growth.

Job Prospects For Mathematicians

Mathematicians have a wide range of job opportunities, both in the private and public sectors. These professionals are highly sought after for their analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and attention to detail.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of mathematicians is projected to grow 33% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

In terms of salary expectations, mathematicians can earn a lucrative income. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030 as of May 2020. However, those working in computer systems design and related services earned even more with a median annual wage of $129,890. Additionally, those with advanced degrees or extensive experience can earn even higher salaries.

The demand for mathematicians has been driven by advancements in technology and the need for data analysis across many industries. As such, mathematicians are needed in fields such as finance, insurance, healthcare, engineering, and scientific research.

With a strong job outlook and potential for high earnings, pursuing a degree in mathematics can lead to a rewarding career path.

Comparing The Value Of Each Degree In The Job Market

When it comes to choosing a degree, it’s important to consider the value it holds in the job market. In terms of actuary versus mathematician, both degrees have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s take a closer look at how they compare in terms of salary and industry demand.

Salary comparison is one factor to consider when choosing between an actuary and mathematician degree. According to Payscale, the average salary for an entry-level mathematician is around $65,000 per year, while an entry-level actuary can earn an average of $72,000 per year. However, as both careers progress, actuaries tend to earn higher salaries than mathematicians due to their specialized skillset.

Another aspect to consider is industry demand. Actuaries are in high demand within the insurance industry for their ability to assess risk and make predictions. On the other hand, mathematicians have a wider range of industries they can work in such as finance, technology, and research.

Overall, when comparing the value of each degree in the job market, it ultimately depends on personal interests and career goals. Both degrees have their own unique strengths that can lead to successful careers with competitive salaries. It’s important to do thorough research and weigh all options before making a decision on which path to take.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Starting Salary For Actuaries And Mathematicians?

The average salaries for actuaries and mathematicians are quite competitive in the job market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020, the median annual salary for mathematicians was $105,030.

On the other hand, the median annual salary for actuaries was $111,030.

Both professions have promising job growth projections in the coming years.

Mathematicians are projected to see a 33% increase in employment opportunities from 2019-2029 while actuaries are projected to see a 18% increase in employment opportunities during that same time period.

Are There Any Specific Industries That Prefer Actuaries Over Mathematicians Or Vice Versa?

When it comes to choosing between insurance and finance industries, it’s important to consider the type of degree that will best prepare you for the job.

Actuarial exams are highly valued in the insurance industry and can provide a competitive advantage over those without this certification.

On the other hand, graduate school may be more beneficial for those pursuing careers in finance as it offers a broader range of skills and knowledge.

It ultimately depends on your career goals and what industry you’re interested in.

Can A Mathematician Become An Actuary Or Vice Versa Without Obtaining Additional Education Or Certifications?

Career options for mathematicians and actuaries overlap, but there are some notable differences in the education requirements.

While a mathematician may be able to transition into an actuarial career without additional certifications or education, they may still need to pass actuarial exams and gain on-the-job experience.

On the other hand, becoming a mathematician typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related field, while becoming an actuary often requires passing several exams and obtaining certification from professional organizations.

Ultimately, both careers offer opportunities for growth and advancement depending on individual interests and strengths.

What Kind Of Skills Do Actuaries And Mathematicians Need To Possess To Succeed In Their Careers?

To succeed in their careers, both actuaries and mathematicians need to possess strong problem solving techniques and analytical skills. They must be able to break down complex problems and find solutions using mathematical methods.

Additionally, communication abilities are crucial for both professions as they often have to present their findings to non-technical individuals.

Actuaries also require a strong knowledge of risk management principles in order to assess and manage potential risks for their clients.

Overall, the key skills for success in these fields involve a combination of technical expertise, critical thinking, and effective communication.

Is There A Higher Demand For Actuaries Or Mathematicians In The Job Market Currently?

Advantages and disadvantages exist for both being an actuary or mathematician, yet the job growth projections show a higher demand for actuaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for actuaries is projected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

On the other hand, mathematicians have a projected growth rate of only 26%, which is still faster than average but slower than that of actuaries.

Despite this difference in job growth projections, both professions offer their own unique benefits and challenges that individuals must consider when making career decisions.


In conclusion, the decision between pursuing a degree in actuary or mathematics ultimately depends on your career goals and interests. Both fields offer high starting salaries and opportunities for growth, but there are specific industries that may favor one over the other.

However, with additional education or certifications, it is possible for a mathematician to become an actuary and vice versa. Regardless of which path you choose, strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities are essential for success in both fields.

While there may be fluctuations in demand for actuaries and mathematicians in the job market, both professions offer stable and rewarding careers. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which field aligns with your passions and career aspirations.