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Appalachian to offer degree in actuarial sciences beginning in August

BOONE—Appalachian State University will offer a degree in actuarial sciences beginning in August. The bachelor of science degree will be based in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

In addition to courses offered in the math department, students also will take courses from the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance.

“We have built this major from the ground up, following guidelines of the Society of Actuaries,” said Mark Ginn, chairman of Appalachian’s Department of Mathematical Sciences. “Currently, it’s the only one of its kind at any of the UNC system schools. Several have what we had in the past, where students who wanted to be actuaries majored in math and took business electives.”

A career in the actuarial sciences is a popular option for students majoring in the mathematical sciences and who have an aptitude for business. It also will help address workplace needs expressed by the state’s leading insurance companies.

“Actuaries try to quantify the risk and uncertainty in any business situation. Traditionally that has been in the insurance industry, but more businesses are employing actuaries,” Ginn said.

In addition to insurance companies, career options include employment with government insurance departments, colleges and universities, banks and investment firms large corporations and public accounting firms.

The Jobs Rated Almanac lists actuary as one of the top four best jobs in the United States.

According to the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society, the average starting salary is $46,000. The average climbs to $76,000 for those with five years of experience. Actuaries with 10 years of experience have an average salary of $120,000.

“If you get this degree and pass the first two national exams, getting a job is not an issue,” Ginn said.

The new degree will prepare students for the first two exams required by the two national actuarial societies and lay the foundations for the third and fourth exams. Students will take the first two exams prior to graduation.

The coursework will be similar to a general mathematics or statistics major with significantly more business and finance courses than required for either of those majors.

For more information about the new degree, contact Mark Ginn in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at (828) 262-3050, or e-mail ginnmc@appstate.edu.

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