Actuarial careers at Principal

Actuarial careers at Principal

Working at Principal isn’t just about skill sets and job responsibilities. Through actuarial internships and full-time actuarial work, we care about offering you diverse experiences, rewarding challenges and global opportunities that push you to reach for bigger life goals.

We’re always looking for future actuarial leaders. 

    Internship program

    Actuarial Internship Program

    Our interns don’t sit on the sidelines. You’ll be an active member of our team, getting real-world experience in a supportive, inclusive environment.

    Here’s what you can look forward to: 

    • Helping people live their best lives.
    • Working closely with credentialed actuaries and Actuarial Development Program participants on meaningful actuarial work that gives you insight into the profession.
    • Opportunity to develop business skills, industry knowledge, and technical skills needed to further your career as an actuary.
    • Leaders that are approachable, accessible, and want to help you learn.
    • Participation in our Actuarial CodeJam—a multi-day, team-based project where you’ll work with other interns to develop solutions to actuarial business problems outside of your assigned area.
    • Housing provided—We take away the hassle of finding a place to stay by providing high quality, fully-furnished housing for our actuarial interns.
    • Small group meetings with senior leaders give you insight into the strategy and thinking that drive our company forward.

    You can also look forward to an inside track to a career at Principal. Our internship programs are a major pipeline for full-time talent. Although internships are considered temporary employment, a successful actuarial internship can jumpstart your career in the Actuarial Development Program.

    Internship requirements

    You’ll get the chance to make connections with influential people who care deeply about your success. And, you’ll get a variety of work experience and opportunities in the areas of life insurance, disability insurance, group insurance, annuities, retirement, and investments. To do that, here’s what we need from you:

    • Ability to pass actuarial exams and a commitment to attain the Fellow of Society of Actuaries (FSA) designation
    • Knowledge of actuarial mathematics, including probability, statistics, numerical analysis and compound interest
    • Effective communication and teamwork skills, along with an eagerness to develop as a leader

    Benefits and perks

    You'll have a great time! We’ll work hard to make your experience both in and outside of the office fun, enlightening and dynamic.

    You'll have access to employee perks, like:

    • State of the art fitness facilities/classes
    • Discounts at businesses around town
    • Free public transportation
    • Free parking during business hours

    You'll also be invited to join networking and social events, have opportunities to participate in charitable/volunteer activities and be exposed to Des Moines—a city that consistently wins awards for being a great place to work, live and play. To see what makes Des Moines so special, check out the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

    How to apply

    Applications for our Actuarial Internship Program open in late September of each year. Visit our careers page to check out our internships.

    Development program

    Actuarial Development Program

    We bet you’re looking for more than just a job. And that’s what we’ll give you. Actuaries at Principal are valued members of our enterprise-wide community and contribute to challenging, meaningful work.

    As a full-time member of the actuarial development program, you’ll learn about our different business areas through several rotations, while developing strong actuarial, business and leadership skills.


    Designed to introduce future leaders to all aspects of the company, you’ll develop strong actuarial, business and leadership skills through three cross-functional rotations, ranging in length from 18-30 months. Each rotation is designed to help you learn about a different business area, while providing you broad exposure and meaningful work.

    Rotations include business areas, products, and functions like:


    Business Area Products
    Specialty Benefits Dental, Vision, Group Life and Disability, Individual Disability
    Individual Life Life Insurance for individuals and businesses
    Retirement & Income Solutions Annuities, Pension Risk Transfer, 401(k), Guaranteed Investments
    Principal International Retirement Plans, Annuities, Mutual Funds
    Corporate Support for business areas


    Actuarial functions

    • Pricing
    • Modeling
    • Risk Management
    • Financial Reporting
    • Data Analytics
    • Asset/Liability Management
    • Investments
    • Forecasting

    Exam support

    You’re going places. And with a people-first reputation, you can count on us to help. Actuarial Development Program participants must pass actuarial exams and be committed to attaining an FSA designation with the Society of Actuaries. But rest assured, we’ll lend a hand. We offer support through a competitive study program that has industry leading exam pass rates, along with:

    • A supportive environment with peers taking similar exams
    • Paid study time
    • Onsite dedicated study facilities
    • Exam materials including study manuals, textbooks, and study notes
    • Exam fees
    • Competitive exam raises

    Development opportunities

    We’re dedicated to helping you advance and become a “go-to” actuary. Here are some of the ways we help you do that:

    • You’ll be paired with a mentor who can provide guidance and support
    • You’ll have many chances to network with members of senior management
    • We offer local continuing education both onsite and with the Des Moines-based Iowa Actuaries Club

    Program requirements

    • Bachelor's degree required at time of hire in actuarial science, mathematics, finance, or some related field
    • Ability to pass actuarial exams and a commitment to attain the FSA designation with the Society of Actuaries
    • Knowledge of actuarial mathematics including probability, statistics, numerical analysis, and compound interest
    • Effective communication skills and an eagerness to develop leadership talents
    • Completion of one or more exams in the education system with the Society of Actuaries
    • Initiative to lead
    • Proven track record of academic excellence

    How to apply

    Applications for our Actuarial Development Program open in late July of each year. Visit our careers page to check out our jobs in the actuarial field.

    Hear from past interns

    Hear From Past Interns

    An internship with Principal gives you the chance to build a foundation of businesses experience, develop your career potential and work with people across the globe. But don't take our word for it. Hear from other students how an internship at Principal is helping them achieve their career dreams.

    What past interns had to say

    Interning with Principal gave me the confidence to view myself as more than a student, number, or work horse. I felt very valued in my internships, and it was obvious that my teammates and leaders legitimately cared about my personal and professional development. I’ve heard stories from my friends who interned elsewhere that they felt deflated and small after their internships. I felt the opposite: empowered, capable, and confident. This is 100 percent attributable to the people I worked with in my time as an intern.”

    • Jordan, Dordt College

    “The willingness of senior executives to meet and converse with interns surprised me. Some of the actuarial interns had been scheduled for a 30-minute meeting with Terry Lillis, who was CFO at the time. When our thirty minutes was up, he looked at his watch and asked us if we had another thirty minutes to talk some more. The CFO of a Fortune 500 company asked interns for thirty more minutes of our time. I was blown away, but I’ve learned that is the culture here at Principal. Everyone is willing to help you grow professionally and often will go out of their way to do so. They care and want to see you succeed.”

    • Houston, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    “I was given meaningful projects that I felt would actually make a difference and that I could take ownership of. One of the best parts of the internship was all the exposure we received to the many business units at Principal. Meeting with senior leaders is an opportunity not many interns outside of Principal receive. Throughout my internship I learned so much about the insurance industry that you can’t learn in a classroom. I was able to improve upon my soft skills and technical skills which was immensely helpful in preparing for full-time work.”

    • Christy, University of Iowa

    “My biggest takeaway from my internship here at Principal was being able to make so many connections within the Actuarial community. Everyone at Principal was so welcoming and willing to help me out in any way. I wasn’t treated like an intern but like a valuable member of the team.”

    Miranda, Robert Morris University

    Interested in applying?

    Find out what positions are available for interns or in the actuarial field