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Career and Education Opportunities for Actuaries in Des Moines, Iowa

If you want to be an actuary, the Des Moines, Iowa area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 520 people are currently employed as actuaries in Iowa. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 23% to about 640 people employed. This is better than the national trend for actuaries, which sees this job pool growing by about 21.4% over the next eight years. Actuaries generally analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits.

Actuaries earn approximately $40 hourly or $84,650 yearly on average in Iowa. Nationally they average about $40 per hour or $84,810 annually. Actuaries earn more than people working in the category of Statistics Analysis generally in Iowa and more than people in the Statistics Analysis category nationally. Actuaries work in a variety of jobs, including: actuarial associate, actuarial assistant, and actuarial consultant.

The Des Moines area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Des Moines where you can get a degree as an actuary. The most common level of education for actuaries is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Des Moines 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

Drake University - Des Moines, IA

Drake University, 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311-4505. Drake University is a medium sized university located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,753 students and an admission rate of 69%. Drake University has a bachelor's degree program in Actuarial Science which graduated twenty-six students 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: Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa photo by BinaryBoyXP

Des Moines is located in Polk County, Iowa. It has a population of over 197,052, which has shrunk by 0.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Des Moines, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Des Moines cost $175,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Des Moines, down from three hundred nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Des Moines are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 21.8% of Des Moines residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Des Moines is 7.1%, which is greater than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Des Moines residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Epworth United Methodist Church, Union Park Baptist Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church are all churches located in Des Moines. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Des Moines is home to the Activities Center and the Blank Park Zoo as well as M L King Park and Des Moines Botanical Garden. Shopping centers in the area include Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Park Fair Mall and Southridge Mall. Visitors to Des Moines can choose from Palace Inn, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines and Casa Bella Motel for temporary stays in the area.