How to Become an Actuary


Actuary: A Quick Look
Median Salary $80,965 per year or $24 per hour
Entry-level Education Bachelor’s degree
On-the-job training Long term on-the-job training
Primary employers Insurance Companies, Financial Service Companies
Number of positions (U.S.) 24,300
Job Growth (2012-2022) 26% (Much faster than average)
New positions (2012-2022) 6,300

Actuary Job Description:

Actuaries determine the premium rates that are required and cash reserves that are necessary to ensure payment of future benefits on insurance policies. They must also analyze statistical data and build probability tables to predict risk and liability for future payment of benefits. Actuaries fill in different variables in data models and then analyze the effects it has on insurance policies. This involves examining data from incidents and adjusting the rates and terms of the policy as necessary. An Actuary’s work environment is usually a full-time office setting, but some must travel in order to consult with clients. Discover more about the Actuary job description.

Actuary Salary:

The median Actuary salary is $80,965 and the pay scale range is between $50K and $130K. Factors that contribute to earnings are geographical location, experience, skills, and the employer itself. The average Actuary salary is much higher than other related occupations such as accountants, analysts, and business consultants. Actuaries have other incentives to their salaries, including bonuses, profit sharing, and excellent health benefits. Read more

How to Become an Actuary:

Candidates looking to become an Actuary need to have a Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science or a field related to statistical analysis. One must also pass a series of exams in order to become a certified professional Actuary. A strong background in computers, math, stats, and business is crucial. It is also beneficial to seek any internship positions while in school or upon graduation. Discover more about How to Become an Actuary here

Actuary Job Outlook:

The Actuary position is predicted to grow 26% between 2012 and 2022. However, because the job field is relatively small this only translates to about 6,300 new jobs. Almost 3 out of every 4 Actuaries have 10 years or less experience. Because positions will not be opening up due to retirement, and because the pay and benefits are on the higher end, competition for job openings will be strong. The healthcare and property/casualty insurance industries are going to see the largest increase in demand for Actuaries due to changing healthcare laws and the recent upswing in natural disasters (super storms). Read more


Actuary Salary:

The median Actuary Salary of all currently employed Actuaries (according to as of July 2, 2015) is $80,965. For a more detailed analysis of how much more and how much less you can make as an Actuary, see below for different salaries according to high/low brackets of the Actuary salary pay scale:

  • The top 10% earn on average $130,000.
  • The top 75 percentile earns $111,000.
  • Median Actuary salary is $80,965.
  • The bottom 25 percentile earns $60,000.
  • The bottom 10% earn on average $50,000.

Other factors contributing to an Actuary’s salary are geographical location, experience, skills, and employer.

  • The top earning U.S. cities for an Actuary’s median salary: San Francisco ($108,416), Hartford ($114,423), and Des Moines ($117,249).
  • The bottom earning U.S. cities for an Actuary’s median salary: Philadelphia ($91,996), Los Angeles ($88,371), and Louisville ($84,439).
  • Actuaries in Atlanta have the lowest median salaries in the country at 22 percent below the national average.
  • Entry-Level (0-5 years): $64,000.
  • Mid-Career (5-10 years): $101,000.
  • Experienced (10-20 years): $126,000.
  • Late-Career (+20 years): $140,000.
  • Skills that can increase ones salary: Financial Modeling (+21%), Pricing (+17%), Financial Analysis (14%). Statistical Analysis is one skill that does not affect salary positively (-8%).
  • Popular employer salaries for Actuaries: Towers Watson ($67-158K), MetLife ($94-175K), and ACE Group ($85-198K).

Compared to other related professions Actuaries are on the higher end of the pay scale in terms of median salary. On average Actuaries make a significant amount ($20-30,000) more than accountants, business consultants, and various types of analysts. The one related occupation that makes more on average than an Actuary is a Finance Manager at $86,000. Actuaries also have other financial incentives such as Bonuses ($521-$24,537), and Profit Sharing (up to $20K) to go along with their salary. Actuaries also tend to have great health benefits: 92% have medical insurance, 80% have dental, and 64% have vision. Only 7% of Actuaries report no benefits.

How To Become an Actuary

How to Become an Actuary

Are you interested in learning How to become an Actuary? Candidates looking to become an Actuary need a few things going for them to be competitive when applying for a job. They should be highly familiar with computers, as they will need to quickly manage large amounts of data to discern trends. For this reason a strong background in math, stats, and business is crucial. Anyone looking to become an Actuary would also be wise to seek internship opportunities while they are still in school or after graduation.

Following graduation from high school, those of you interested in becoming an Actuary need a few things going for them to be competitive when applying for a job. A Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science or a field related to statistical analysis is a must in the Actuary Education background. An advanced degree might also be needed for different companies. Prospective Actuaries must also pass a series of exams in order to become a certified Actuary. They should be highly familiar with computers, as they will need to quickly manage large amounts of data to discern trends. For this reason a strong background in math, stats, and business is crucial. Anyone looking to become an Actuary would also be wise to seek internship opportunities while they are still in school or following graduation.


Job Description

Actuary Job Description:

A typical Actuary job description generally reads the same. Actuaries determine premium rates that are required and cash reserves that are necessary to ensure payment of future benefits. In order to accomplish this goal they must analyze statistical data (mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates) and build probability tables to predict risk and liability for future payment of benefits.

Insurance companies look to Actuaries to serve as analysts who help the company determine whether or not they should issue an insurance policy and what the premium for said policy should be. An Actuary must examine large amounts of data, so statistical analysis is crucial to the process. In order for insurance companies to reduce their financial risk and maintain profitability, they trust the Actuary to manage this risk by finding a balance between the cost of issuing policies and the exposure to financial loss.

Actuaries fill in the many variables in data models and then analyze the correlation it has on insurance policies. This involves examining data procured from incidents (such as damage to a home and it’s geographical location) and adjusting the rates/terms of the policy as necessary. They may also access data from differing sources when coming up with rate adjustments. For instance, with home insurance an Actuary may take into account the area’s crime and poverty level when coming up with the rates and terms. An Actuary’s primary responsibility in these cases is to always take into account the ongoing re-calculation of risk exposure for the insurance company.

An Actuary’s work environment consists mostly as a full time office setting. Some Actuaries work as consultants, in which case they may need to travel frequently to meet with clients.

  • Combine statistics and information for analysis
  • Estimate probability of the cost of an event such as death, sickness, accident, or other occurance
  • Design and test insurance policies, investments, pension plans, and other business strategies to reduce risk
  • Create charts, tables, and reports to explain calculations
  • Explain findings and proposals to company executives, government officials, shareholders, and clients

Job Outlook

Actuary Job Outlook:

Now that you know how to become an Actuary, you might be wondering what the Actuary job outlook is. The Actuary position is predicted to grow 26% between 2012 and 2022 (according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics). This is higher than the national average, but because of the small number of positions (around 24,000) this growth only translates to about 6,300 new jobs.

Of the current Actuary field:

  • 15% have less than 1 year of experience
  • 32% have 1-4 years
  • 26% have 5-9 years
  • 17% have 10-19 years
  • 10% have 20 or more years

This means that 73% of current Actuary positions are filled with employees that have worked for 10 years or less. This means that not many positions will be opening due to retirement. For this reason, and the overall small size of the occupation field, competition for these jobs will be strong. Those who have passed at least two actuarial exams and have some experience (as with an internship) have the best chance for an entry-level position. On a side not this is a male dominated profession with females only making up about 26% of all Actuary positions.

Actuaries generally work for insurance companies and financial service companies, but one field that looks to dominate the increased need for Actuaries is the health insurance industry. With the recent changes in healthcare laws more Actuaries will be needed to evaluate how changes in coverage and clientele relate to insurance policies. Actuaries will also be needed to consult with different companies concerning new healthcare plans in their benefit programs.

Actuaries working in Property and Casualty Insurance will also see a spike in job growth if the trend of yearly powerful storms continues. The increased risk that communities face will need to be evaluated and assessed accordingly. Actuaries will not only have to predict the likelihood of damaging storms but also have to calculate the cost of insuring vulnerable properties and create specialized policies.

Posted in Business, Glossary of Careers Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Top 8 Cover Letter Mistakes That Are Downgrading Your Applications

Cover Letter Mistakes

So many things that can affect how a hiring manager perceives your cover letter. In that regard, you have every right to be a bit terrified of the process. While a well-written document almost certainly positions you as the best candidate for a potential employer, a few cover letter mistakes all but guarantee that you won’t be called back for an interview. Besides the obvious no-nos like abhorrent spelling mistakes or rudeness, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes which you may have accidentally included in your own cover letters. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Career Counselling, Work Life Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

15 Best Self Help Books on Career Guidance to Boost Your Career

Best Self Help Books

Want to get in some summer reading and benefit from career guidance at the same time? We have created a list with some of the best self help books of all time that will boost your career and inspire you to achieve your goals. Discover our 15 favorite, career oriented best self help books / self improvement books below and dare to succeed in your future! Read more ›

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Posted in Blog, Career Counselling Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygenist


Dental Hygenist: A Quick Look
Median Salary $70,210 per year $33.75 per hour
Entry-level Education Associates degree and a state license
On-the-job training None
Primary employers Dental offices
Number of positions (U.S.) 192,800
Job Growth (2012-2022) 33% (Much faster than average)
New positions (2012-2022) 64,200

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

“Dentist.2″ by Erik Christensen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Dental Hygienist Job Description:

Dental hygienists work closely with people every day of the work week. The primary Dental Hygienist job description revolves around examining and cleaning patients’ teeth. They remove plaque and tartar from teeth. They also obtain patients’ medical information and document any issues patients have had with their teeth. Dental hygienists also serve as educators. They teach patients about preventative strategies to avoid disease and infection such as proper teeth brushing and dental flossing techniques. You can discover more about the Dental Hygienist job description.

Dental Hygienist Salary:

The BLS* estimates the median value of a dental hygienist salary at $70,210 per year (or $33.75 per hour). As you can imagine, the high Dental Hygienist salary (compared to the loose education requirement) spurs on a solid influx of new professionals in the field. Read more

How to Become a Dental Hygienist:

Dental hygienists almost always hold an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Some individuals choose to attain a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. However, this distinction is typically not required to work in a private practice. If you are interested in teaching or doing research, it may be beneficial (or necessary) to hold this aforementioned bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. Since dental hygienists work closely with people, it is important to have strong social and communication skills. They should also be perceptive and able to read people fairly easily. Find out more about How to Become a Dental Hygienist here

Dental Hygienist Job Outlook:

According to the BLS*, the Dental Hygienist job outlook should grow by approximately 33% between 2012 and 2022. This projected growth is much faster than almost all other occupations. along with the average of all other jobs (11%). There will continue to be a need for dental hygienist and dentists as dental hygiene is an important field. The Affordable Care Act should provide more individuals with greater accessibility to medical and dental care. This should lead to an increased demand for dental hygiene services. Read more


Dental Hygienist Salary:

The median wage of all employed dental hygienists was estimated by the BLS* to be $70,210 in May 2012. The Dental Hygienist salary is much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations within the United States ($34,750). The lowest 10% of dental hygienists employed within the United States earned less than $46,540, and the top 10% of dental hygienists in the United States earned more than $96,200. Pay may fluctuate slightly based on the location of the dental office the hygienist works at. For example, pay may be somewhat higher in an urban dental office than in a rural dental office. Also, years of experience as a dental hygienist may also influence salary. In 2012, more than half of all dental hygienists in the United States worked part-time jobs. Some of the highest paying dental hygienist positions are located in metropolitan areas in California. In these areas, dental hygienists can anticipate earning from $99,000 to nearly $113,000.

How To Become a Dental Hygienist

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

If a person is interested in learning how to become a dental hygienist, it is beneficial that they start planning for their education early. This will help them down the road as they get into their focused dental hygienist studies. It can be helpful for high school students who are interested in a career in dental hygiene to take advanced mathematics and science classes (such as biology).

After high school, people who want to become dental hygienist should enroll in associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs for dental hygiene. Most people choose to pursue an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. A bachelor’s degree or master’s degree is beneficial and may be necessary for individuals who want to teach in a dental hygiene program or complete research pertaining to dental hygiene. Dental hygienist programs are typically offered at community colleges or technical schools. Some dentals schools also offer dental hygiene programs. There are currently over 330 programs created for the study of dental hygiene. Many of the programs take approximately 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees typically take 4 or more years to complete. It is important to note that the path to become a dental hygienist is different than the path to become a dental. You cannot jump from being a dental hygienist to being a dentist very easily. Dental hygiene students typically take courses on human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, dental hygiene, radiology, pathology, and pharmacology. They may also be required to take basic general education classes such as English and psychology.


Following completion of an accredited dental hygiene program, dental hygienists are required to acquire licensure in the state they want to work in. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. You must pass your state dental hygiene exam in order to obtain your dental hygienist license. Dental hygienists cannot work without a license.

Job Description

Dental Hygienist Job Description:

The Dental Hygienist job description perform a variety of tasks all while working closely with people. Dental hygienists clean patients’ teeth by scraping away tartar and plaque, polish teeth, take x-rays, examine teeth and gums for signs of diseases and cancer, inquire about patients’ medical histories and issues they have experienced with their teeth, apply sealant material to teeth to protect from cavities, apply fluoride treatments to teeth, and educate patients about proper teeth brushing/dental flossing techniques. The job of a dental hygienist requires flexibility both when working with a variety of patients and when creating a work schedule. The Dental Hygienist job description requires that the professionals must be able to work some evenings and weekends in order to accommodate patients’ schedules.

Dental hygienists should appreciate variety and diversity as they will likely work with a diverse population of patients. For that reason, it is important that dental hygienists be understanding and compassionate towards their patients. During various dental procedures patients may experience pain or may have fears about receiving dental care. Dental hygienists should be able to support and encourage patients all while taking care of the patients’ dental needs. This career also requires close interaction with other staff members in a dental office. Therefore, strong interpersonal skills are extremely beneficial to dental hygienists. They work closely with dentists in additional to patients.

Dental hygienists may spend a great deal of their time standing and bending over patients as they clean their teeth and perform procedures. It is beneficial if dental hygienists have some degree of physical stamina to keep up with the physical demands of this career. It is beneficial if dental hygienists maintain their physical fitness so as to prevent stress and strain on the joints. Dental hygienists use their hands throughout their time on the job, all while working in the small confines of patients’ mouths. As a result, dental hygienists must be rather nimble with both hands in order to handle the instruments used for dental care. Good hand-eye coordination is essential for dental hygienists.

Some dental hygienists serve as educators for their patients. They may go into schools to teach children proper oral hygiene techniques. Within the dental office setting, dental hygienists often help their patients master the proper oral hygiene techniques. They may need to instruct patients on specific groups of teeth that need more attention during teeth brushing or on the correct way to dental floss teeth. It is important to be aware that dental hygienists may be exposed to various illnesses and diseases when treating patients. For that reason, dental hygienists must wear various protective equipment such as face masks, plastic or latex gloves, face shields and safety glasses, and disposable gowns. A dental hygienist must be able to work comfortably and effectively while wearing various protective equipment. It is important for dental hygienists to be able to cope well with stress as the job of a dental hygienist can become quite stressful at times.

What does a dental hygienist do? The typical job attributions of a dental hygienist can include the following:

  • Apply fluorides to add a layer of protection to teeth
  • Educate patients on proper oral hygiene techniques
  • Take x rays of patients’ teeth
  • Track patients’ dental care plans and files
  • Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from the patients’ mouth

Job Outlook

Dental Hygienist Job Outlook:

The Dental Hygienist job outlook appears extremely good. The expected growth of dental hygienist employment is 33% from 2012 to 2022. As society becomes more aware of the benefits of preventative dental care, the demand for dental care services should also continue to rise.

The Dental Hygienist job outlook is far greater than the combined average of all occupations within the United States (11%). The large number of people born during the baby boom from 1946 to 1964 will also require specialized dental care as they age. Additionally, the passing of The Affordable Care Act should provide more individuals with greater accessibility to medical and dental care. This may lead individuals who previously could not afford medical and dental care to seek such services quite possibly for the first time. These combined factors lead to great job security and growth in the field of dental hygiene.

*All the numeric data in this article was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

Posted in Glossary of Careers, Medical and Health Professions Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Social Engineering Scams Higher Education Security Threat

Social Engineering Scams

Universities and higher education platforms have been an important target of phishing attacks for a long time now. Dealing with cyber-threats of various kinds has consequently been an important priority of network system engineers and administrators of these institutions to keep up with the attackers. Nevertheless, the cyber-attacks and phishing scams only seem to get more and more sophisticated as time passes. The most recent higher education security threat consists of social engineering scams, breaches of sensitive information through emails or another form of communication, relying on gaining the trust of people inside the network (like students and university employees). Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Education News, Education Technology Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Will Same Sex Marriage in the US Affect Religious Colleges

Same Sex Marriage in the US

The Supreme Court has been quite busy making news in the field of education and employment this summer. On Friday June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America made a bold, monumental move. This ruling on gay marriage made same sex marriage in the US possible in every state. At last, all couples in the United States can elect to get married whether the couple consists of a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man. It is not surprising that this bold decision was met with both anger and disagreement for some, and joy and absolute support from others. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Education News, Education Policy Tagged with: , , , , ,

How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer


Civil Engineer: A Quick Look
Median Salary $79,340 per year $38.14 per hour
Entry-level Education Bachelor’s degree
On-the-job training None
Primary employers Federal Offices, Architectural and Construction Firms, Local Government Offices, etc.
Number of positions (U.S.) 272,900
Job Growth (2012-2022) 20% (Much faster than average)
New positions (2012-2022) 53,700

Civil Engineer

Commander, Civil Engineer visit NGA project site by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Civil Engineer Job Description:

Civil engineers are the workers designing, projecting, inspecting and overseeing the construction or repair of various buildings or large systems for several purposes. These purposes cover living quarters, industrial complexes, stadiums, you name it. Basically, there can be no major building project, private or public, without employing quite a few civil engineers to work closely with the team of architects and construction teams. Find out more about the Civil engineer job description.

Civil Engineer Salary:

The median value of a civil engineer salary was estimated by the BLS* at $79,340 per year or $38.14 per hour. This is a bit less than the average for all engineers ($86,200 in the same year) but much higher than the average for all occupations (which was at a value of $34,750). The pay is attractive enough to spur quite a consistent level of competition for professionals in the field. Read more

How to Become a Civil Engineer:

Although highly paid and quite demanded on the job market, this isn’t the highest echelon of engineering specialties. It only requires a bachelor degree in the field (4 years of study). After graduating from a bachelor program in civil engineering technology, a freshly graduated civil engineer must complete a licensing program of study, certified by the government, required in order to obtain their license of practice as a PA (professional engineer). Find out more about How to Become a Civil Engineer here

Civil Engineer Job Outlook:

According to the BLS*, the civil engineer job outlook should reside around the 20% mark from 2012 to 2022. This rate is incredibly faster than the average for all occupations (estimated at only 11%) and even faster than the average growth for engineering occupations (which the BLS estimates at only 9% for the same period of time). While this job may  not pay as much as other engineer positions, the rate of job growth is much more optimistic. Read more


Civil Engineer Salary

The median wage of all employed civil engineers was estimated by the BLS* to be $79,340 in May 2012, a bit less than the median salary for all engineers (which was $86,200 at the same time) but much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations ($34,750).

To get a more accurate picture of how much more and how much less you could make as a civil engineer, let’s take a look at the top and bottom percentiles on the civil engineers earning scale. In 2012, the BLS calculated that the top-earning 10% of all civil engineers made more than $122,020 per year, while the lowest-earning 10% of them made less than $51,280 per year.

In the same year (2012), the top 5 industries which hire civil engineers had the following median salaries for their civil engineers:

  • In federal government, excluding postal service: a median civil engineer salary of $89,440 per year
  • Local government (without education and the medical system): a median civil engineer salary of $83,670 per year
  • Architectural and engineering services: a median civil engineer salary of $79,470 per year
  • In state government (without education and hospitals): a median salary of $74,180
  • In non-residential constructions: a median salary of $73,740 per year.

How To Become a Civil Engineer

How to Become a Civil Engineer

Anyone who is interested in how to become a civil engineer should take some consistent mathematics and science classes in high school, followed by a bachelor program in civil engineering or a sub-specialty of the field. During this bachelor program, the student will be required to master both theoretical coursework in fields such as mechanics, statistics and math etc., and practical skills trained during laboratory hours and fieldwork. This typically takes 4 years, and after graduation the aspiring civil engineer should also complete a program accredited by the ABET in order to complete their licensing and be allowed to practice as professionals. After passing all the required exams and stages (such as becoming a civil engineering intern and afterwards a civil engineer in-training), an aspiring civil engineer may finally be licensed as a full professional.


Once the practicing civil engineers gains quite a few years of experience on the job, they may apply for senior positions in project management or functional management (in areas such as design, maintenance, risk management and so on).

For better networking, continuous training, support in applying to positions in the field, as well as general advice and protection from a professional guild, all civil engineers should apply for a membership to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Job Description

Civil Engineer Job Description

Being a civil engineer means being involved in construction and major engineering projects that require your vision and expertise before moving forward with anything. The Civil Engineer Job Description revolves around being responsible for the design, construction and operations supervision, and maintenance of large buildings, constructions. A civil engineer must also oversee infrastructure projects (such as water pipes, roads, airports, dams and so on). Working as a civil engineer means performing an indoor office job most of the time, and stepping outside to the construction site every now and then only for on the spot supervision tasks. Quite a large number of civil engineers don’t work on construction projects per se, but as consultants within government offices (or in research facilities, design, or education settings).

Typically, a Civil Engineer Job Description also includes some administrative or supervision experience, being in charge of overviewing the work on a construction site or even becoming a city engineer and thus taking on a more important position in urban planning. To draw more accurate lines to differentiate privately employed civil engineers from federally employed ones, the ones working in the private sector are, on average, better-paid than the ones working for the government, but the ones working in the federal sector may be invested with the extra authority of inspecting certain projects or buildings to make sure that they comply with the official regulations. There are 4 main types of civil engineers, according to the specialization:

  • Construction engineers: they usually oversee building projects and they are also tasked with making sure temporary constructions (used as props and aids during the building process) are stable and safe;
  • Geotechnical engineers: these professionals are involved in large infrastructure buildings that interact with the earth (soil, rock and so on) and local geography (such as dams or tunnels etc.), to make sure the buildings are solid, or to design the construction plans over a slope and so on;
  • Structural engineers: these engineers are tasked with designing major project to make sure they make the durability of the entire structure as solid as possible;
  • Transportation engineers: whenever everyday transportation systems such as roads and highways are to be built, it falls to this type of engineers to do the job. Larger projects like airports and harbors are also in the sphere of competence of transportation engineers.

What does a civil engineer do? The typical job attributions of a civil engineer can include the following:

  • Analyzing surveys, maps and statistical data in order to assess the situation and plan the project;
  • Performing or overseeing soil tests, water tests and any other measurements required to determine how doable the project is;
  • Compiling and submitting documentation to local, state and government authorities in order to verify the project’s compliance and to obtain the necessary authorizations;
  • Presenting their findings to the larger public whenever bid proposals, environmental studies or other such topics are on their agenda;
  • Testing the construction materials (like concrete, steel and so on) for their resistance adequacy for being used in the project;
  • Assess the costs of the project, the government regulations and various risks involved, in order to paint an accurate picture of all stages of the project and their associated costs and risks (estimates);
  • Using special software in order to design the building or system commissioned in accordance to the client’s vision and the legal guidelines and limitations;
  • Performing and overseeing the practical operations of constructing the project (this may also involve supervising civil engineering technicians);

Managing the repair and maintenance of previously constructed buildings and systems.

Job Outlook

Civil Engineer Job Outlook

Job positions for the civil engineering specialty are among the most promising in the field and in the general occupational landscape as well, when it comes to job outlook. The BLS* estimates that the number of civil engineering jobs in the country will grow by 20% from 2012 to 2022. If in 2012 there were approximately 272,900 civil engineering jobs in the U.S., by 2022 we can expect to have 53,700 new ones added to those. The average job growth for all occupations is at 11% for the same time period, and the projected job growth for all engineering occupations in general is expected to be at 9%, even lower than that. This means that civil engineering is among the most promising and reliable engineering specializations one could choose, and that the country’s economy will definitely be in need of more civil engineers in the foreseeable future.

This expected Civil Engineer job outlook is mostly due to the high rate of development of residential projects: the population growth and the higher living standards will lead to an increased need for spaces to inhabit and for greater ingenuity in using the available space. Also, the already aged infrastructure will continue to age, leading to a great need to manage risks, perform maintenance, repair and replacement projects for various structures such as bridges, railroads, levees and dams etc. Last, but not least, the increased concern for the environment and for minimizing the population’s impact on it will lead to a greater need to dispose of waste more efficiently, and waste management projects will require more building and greater structures being built and implemented in response to the problem. All of these facts will lead to a highly favorable professional landscape for civil engineers in the years to come.

*All the numeric data in this article was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

Posted in Engineering, Glossary of Careers Tagged with: , , , ,

Are We Heading for a Student Loan Bubble Burst?

Student Loan Bubble

Just a few days ago, Jay Ambrose’s new article raised a couple of questions on the current state of higher education in our country. As everyone is probably aware from the grim news on student debt we are constantly exposed to, college is becoming an increasingly costly affair. The larger share of financial burden is becoming more and more shifted from a public system to the shoulder of the students and their parents. As we said before, this generally grim financial picture of college wasn’t really news to any of us. But, does that mean that a student loan bubble burst is imminent in our near future. And, is there a real student loan bubble occurring at the moment? Read more ›

Posted in Blog, Education News, Education Policy Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Supreme Court Rules on Abercrombie and Fitch Dress Code for Hijab

Abercrombie and Fitch Dress Code

The US government doesn’t always discriminate when it comes to hiring practices. Unlike the recent news of the Federal government meddling in the affairs of a local government’s anti-reproductive discrimination law, sometimes the government does things the right way. This past Monday June 1st, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who accused the Abercrombie and Fitch hiring policy of discrimination after she failed to get a job there on the grounds of wearing a black headscarf (hijab) at the interview. In 2008, when she was 17, the woman, named Samantha Elauf (pictured in the featured photo) applied for a job as a ‘model’ for the company. The sales representatives working for Abercrombie and Fitch are all called ‘models’ as part of their branding strategy. Although the assistant store manager she met was impressed with her and her application, she was eventually denied the job over her black headscarf (which was allegedly non-compliant with the company’s Look Policy or the Abercrombie and Fitch Dress Code). This dress code has been prescribed as the college preppy look, specifically. Read more ›

Posted in Blog, US Employment, Work Life Tagged with: , , , ,

How to Become a Physician Assistant

How to Become a Physician Assistant


Physician Assistants: A Quick Look
Median Salary $90,930 per year $43.72 per hour
Entry-level Education Masters’s degree
On-the-job training None
Primary employers Hospitals, Clinics, Doctor’s offices, Government
Number of positions (U.S.) 86,700
Job Growth (2012-2022) 38% (Much, much faster than average)
New positions (2012-2022) 120,000

How to Become a Physician AssistantPhysician Assistant Job Description:

A physician assistant works together with physicians and surgeons (and under their supervision) in order to help examine patients, as well as diagnose and treat them for their various conditions or injuries. They can practice all fields of medicine depending on their specialty, and can work in various places, from hospitals to private practices. Click here to learn more about the typical Physician Assistant job description.

Physician Assistant Salary:

The median physician assistant salary stands at the $90,930 per year mark as of data from May 2012. That means that most assistants earn roughly $43.72 per hour which is much higher than the median values for health diagnosing and treating professionals (who typically earn only $73,410) and for all other occupations ($34,750). Read more

How to Become a Physician Assistant:

So, you want to know how to Become a Physician Assistant? In order to become a physician assistant, the aspiring individual would need a bachelor’s degree in a science field (4 years of study) followed by a master’s degree in an accredited program for physician assistants (2 further years of study, sometimes 3). Read more here

Physician Assistant Job Outlook:

The estimated physician assistant job outlook is currently projected to be 38% from 2012 through 2022. This rate is extraordinarily fast, considering that the average job growth for all health occupations is projected at only 20% and the growth for all occupations at 11%. Read more


Physician Assistant Salary

According to the BLS, the median physician assistant salary had a value of $90,930 in mid-2012, which is higher than the median value for health diagnosing and treating practitioners (their median salary was $73,410 in the same period of time considered in the BLS report), and also higher than the average for all occupations (which was $34,750 at that time). Per hour, their pay was $43.72, also much higher than average, obviously. This means physician assistants make a pretty good living and the competition and training required in order to become one are consequently high as well. This median salary doesn’t equate to an average value for all the salaries in the branch; instead, the median salary value portrays a more comprehensive landscape of what goes on in a profession, financially speaking. The median salary means that half of the hired physician assistants in May 2012 made more than this value (of $90,930) and the other half of them made less.

The interesting point to pursue would be how much more or how much less physician assistants earn in reality. The official BLS data shows that the lowest 10% of all employed physician assistants earn less than $62,430 while the top 10% of earn more than $124,770 per year, in 2012. The figures on both ends of the spectrum look remarkably positive in today’s economy, even within the low-earning percentile. But then again, no one expected doctors to earn unimpressive amounts of money, so it’s not really a big surprise there (but, rather, part of the profession’s allure (besides the work’s value to society)).

There are also a few factors that can influence a physician assistant salary for the better or worse. Some of them are the usual ones, such as the size of the city where the professional is working in, or the length of the working experience etc. One more interesting such factor is the industry that hires the physician assistant in question. According to the BLS, the median salaries in 2012 for the top 5 industries that hires physician assistants were as follows:

·         Hospitals (state, local and private hospitals alike): a median salary of $93,660;

·         Outpatient care centers: a median salary of $93,520;

·         Offices of health practitioners: a median salary of $90,150;

·         Educational services (again, state, local and private): a median salary of $88,990;

Government sector: a median salary of $86,870.

How To Become a Physician Assistant

How to Become a Physician Assistant

The education requirements for a career as a physician assistant are as high as the earning potentials for this career path. The first step regarding becoming a professional career as a Physician Assistant involves attaining a master’s degree. In fact, every Physicians assistant must hold a master’s degree in a relevant, specialized field obtained from a fully accredited program. Completing such a master’s degree takes 2 years or more of postgraduate studies. In order to qualify for one of these graduate programs, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. They typically also have some working experience in healthcare or a healthcare-related field. During the graduate studies (for the bachelor degree), the aspiring physician assistant needs to take as many science courses as possible. These course become pertinent when applying for a physician assistant education program post-graduation.

During the master’s degree studies, the student must score sufficiently in theoretical and practical (laboratory) hours in fields such as: pathology, physiology, human anatomy, pharmacology, clinical medicine, physical diagnosis and medical ethics as well. These programs also include hundreds of supervised clinic hours in several areas (such as pediatrics or general medicine) to be completed before graduation.


On a personal level regarding how to become a Physician Assistant, an aspiring physician assistant must demonstrate that they possess the following qualities which make for a good practitioner of this trade:

  • Communication skills (the outcome of patient care depends on them)
  • Compassion (empathy for their patients should be the driving motivation behind the work of every physician)
  • Emotional stability (the work requires these professionals to be good under pressure)
  • Problem-solving skills (again, people’s lives depend on this trait)
  • Being detail-oriented (for the same reason)

Job Description

Physician Assistant Job Description

A physician assistant (often abbreviated as PA) is a medical practitioner that works within a team to examine, diagnose and treat patients. A Physician Assistant job description always involves working under the direct supervision of more experienced medical practitioners such as physicians and surgeons. They must be able to multi-task and perform many types of jobs for the end purpose of treating patients or at least curing their conditions and ameliorating their lives where the complete curing isn’t possible. As potential downsides, the job requires long hours, doing well under pressure and stressful conditions, as well as being often available for even more overtime when they are on call. The stressful nature of the working environment is meant to be compensated by the high pay and the satisfaction of truly helping people and actually saving lives (or, at least greatly improving them). We must point out the important distinction between physician assistants and medical assistants. The latter only perform routine check-ups and do not practice medicine.

Typically, the job responsibilities of a PA include the following:

  • Reviewing patients’ medical histories and gathering more data
  • Examining the patients to check their state of health
  • Ordering and interpreting laboratory tests to better assess the patient’s condition and reach a diagnostic
  • Educating and advising patients or their families on the best health-preserving practices
  • Making and elaborating a diagnostic about the injury or condition of the patient
  • Recording and evaluating a patient’s progress based on a set of parameters
  • Researching the latest treatments and innovations in their specialty field
  • Treating patients
  • Conducting or participating in outreach programs meant to educate the greater public or promote prevention practices etc.

Job Outlook

Physician Assistant Job Outlook

The projected Physician Assistant job outlook according to data from May 2012 through May 2022 period is 38%* This rate is so much faster than the average projected growth for all occupations (only 11%) and the projected job growth for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners (estimated at 20%). As much as the world is in need of doctors now, the US has a far greater need for quality Physician Assistants in the near future. As living and health standards continue to rise, so do the modern threats to people’s health. The total number of open jobs at the time of the study was 86,700. We predict that the rate of growth will lead to 120,000 new jobs by 2022.

Physician assistants will be demanded in greater numbers since they are expected to take on the primary care duties of doctors more and more. As specialized physicians will continue to retire to more narrow fields of practice and as PAs are a bit cheaper to hire than regular doctors, the trend for PAs should certainly remain in greater demand. Financial politics are at play with these figures, and the tides are particularly favorable for physician assistants: the states’ legislations will continue to allow PAs to perform more and more medical procedures, while insurance companies consequently start covering a wider range of services.

Another factor which will contribute to this colossal job growth will be more recent federal reforms (known as Obamacare). These reforms will enable a growing number of individuals to have access to basic health care (precisely the type of care services which physician assistants provide). The demand for PAs will be especially great in rural areas, since most medical professionals are usually drawn towards cities and large metropolitan areas.

*All the numeric data in this post was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),

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