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Career and Education Opportunities for Actuaries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for actuaries in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. There are currently 520 working actuaries in Iowa; this should grow by 23% to about 640 working actuaries in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for actuaries are expected to grow by about 21.4%. In general, actuaries analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits.

A person working as an actuary can expect to earn about $40 hourly or $84,650 per year on average in Iowa and about $40 per hour or $84,810 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for actuaries are better than in the overall category of Statistics Analysis in Iowa, and better than the overall Statistics Analysis category nationally. Actuaries work in a variety of jobs, including: actuarial associate, actuarial consultant, and actuarial mathematician.

The Cedar Rapids area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree as an actuary. Actuaries usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be an actuary if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Actuary

Actuary video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, actuaries analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. They also may ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

Actuaries ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves and liabilities needed to insure payment of future benefits. They also decide on or help decide on company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives or the public. Equally important, actuaries have to analyze statistical data to estimate mortality and retirement rates. They are often called upon to collaborate with programmers and senior management to help companies design plans for new lines of business or improving existing business. They are expected to testify in court as expert witnesses or to furnish legal evidence on matters such as the value of potential lifetime earnings of a person who is disabled or killed in an accident. Finally, actuaries testify before public agencies on proposed legislation affecting businesses.

Every day, actuaries are expected to be able to deal with basic arithmetic problems. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for actuaries to furnish advice to customers on a contract basis, working as a consultant. They are often called upon to decide on policy contract provisions for each type of insurance. They also decide on equitable basis for distributing surplus earnings under participating insurance and annuity contracts in mutual companies. They are sometimes expected to furnish expertise to help financial institutions manage risks and maximize returns associated with investment products or credit offerings. Somewhat less frequently, actuaries are also expected to oversee credit and help price corporate security offerings.

Actuaries sometimes are asked to construct probability tables for events such as fires and unemployment, on the basis of analysis of statistical data and other pertinent data. and explain changes in contract provisions to clients. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish advice to customers on a contract basis, working as a consultant.

Like many other jobs, actuaries must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Operations Research Analyst. Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods using a computer to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May develop related software, service, or products. Frequently concentrates on collecting and analyzing data and developing decision support software. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Actuary Training

University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316. University of Iowa is a large university located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,475 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Iowa has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Actuarial Science which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Pension Consultant: The Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) credential is designed for benefits professionals working in plan administration, pension actuarial administration, insurance, and financial planning.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Qualified 401(k) Administrator: The Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential is conferred by ASPPA to retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Associateship in the Casualty Actuarial Society: Candidates for Associateship in the Casualty Actuarial Society must fulfill the examination requirements by successful completion of, or credit for, Exams 1-7, and have credit by Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for the required topics of economics, corporate finance, and applied statistical methods.

For more information, see the Casualty Actuarial Society website.

Associate of the Society of Actuaries: An Associate of the Society of Actuaries has demonstrated knowledge of the fundamental concepts and techniques for modeling and managing risk.

For more information, see the Society of Actuaries website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.