Professions that Use Classical Probability

Jan 16, 2020

Career Options Using Classical Probability

Probability involves determining how likely it is that something will occur. By using statistics and considering the likelihood of specific outcomes, probability can be used to help determine the most likely results. It can be used to determine things like a person's chances of having an accident or the likelihood that weather or another uncontrollable variable may affect progress with a work project. Classical probability simply refers to those rare cases when all outcomes are equally likely; the careers featured here require an understanding of all forms of probability, including classical probability.

Job Title Median Salary* (2018) Growth* (2018-2028)
Actuary $102,880 20%
Cost Estimator $64,040 9%
Insurance Underwriter $69,380 -5% (Decline)
Personal Financial Advisor $88,890 7%
Air Traffic Controller $124,540 1%
Nurse Anesthetist $113,930 26%
Urban and Regional Planner $73,050 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Careers Involving Classical Probability


With a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a similar subject, individuals can be qualified to pursue a career as an actuary. Actuaries specialize in the finances of risk; they use statistics to determine how likely things are to occur and potential costs a company might incur given a particular event. They deal with a lot of unknowns, such as how likely a business is to have employees die or how likely it is that there will be a natural disaster. They use data to generate projections and also make suggestions about how to reduce financial risks that companies or organizations might face.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators are responsible for assessing all information available and projecting the likely cost of a particular project. They may need to determine how much time tasks are expected to take, the number of staff who will work on a project, and factors such as weather conditions and the cost of permits. They then compile all the relevant information and project the likely cost of the project. This involves probability because though they can't be absolutely certain about the costs, they must consider the most likely scenarios and weigh unknown variables to produce an estimate. This career requires a bachelor's degree.

Insurance Underwriter

It's normally necessary to have a bachelor's degree to become an insurance underwriter. Insurance underwriters make decisions about the terms of insurance policies and who to insure. Their work involves probability because they must analyze data and consider risk factors that may be relevant to the person or company seeking an insurance policy. Although they can't absolutely guarantee who will have an accident, who will get ill, or who will have another undesirable outcome that may affect the insurance policy, they consider the likelihood of certain scenarios when determining the risks associated with offering the policy and price it accordingly.

Personal Financial Advisor

When people are planning for their financial future, such as saving for a child's education or preparing for retirement, they are likely to seek out the services of a personal financial advisor. These professionals must have a bachelor's degree, and they help people determine the best course of action concerning investments and savings plans. Since investments can be affected by many factors, personal financial advisors have to consider many variables when determining which stocks they recommend or which savings plans or investments are secure. There is always a risk that investments will underperform, so the work personal financial advisors do involves probability. They use as much information as they can to make recommendations, but the outcome is not absolutely guaranteed.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers need a bachelor's degree. They must also be citizens, and they must pass a number of tests to qualify for a career in this field. They are responsible for coordinating flights arriving and departing from airports. They have to make decisions concerning when and where a plane can land or take off, and they oversee the area and assess risks or other factors that may require a change in plans. This is how air traffic controllers use probability. They have to consider how likely it is that something occurring on a runway or field may affect scheduled activity at the airport; they also consult with pilots during emergency situations, monitor aircraft on radar and help determine if its safe for aircraft to change elevation or make other course adjustments. They also alert pilots when they see an issue that may affect their flight plan and help determine the best course of action.

Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists are responsible for administering anesthesia to patients before and during medical procedures. They have to consider a number of variables, such as the patient's weight, medications they're taking or any allergies they might have when determining how much anesthesia to administer. This involves probability because they have to determine how likely an undesirable outcome may be and make adjustments as necessary. They also need to monitor the patient during the medical procedure and may make adjustments to the anesthesia based on how the patient is being affected by it. Nurse anesthetists need a master's degree in nurse anesthesia.

Urban and Regional Planner

A master's degree in planning is required for a career as an urban and regional planner. Urban and regional planners make decisions and recommendations about whether to allow building projects to occur, or where certain types of structures should be constructed. Their work involves probability because they have to review a lot of information before making decisions about project recommendations. This involves considering a number of factors, such as environmental variables, and thinking about how likely it is that there will be issues arising from the project. For example, will a large number of people or wildlife will be displaced or negatively affected? While they can't always be certain of a specific outcome from a building project, they use as much relevant information as they can to help determine the likelihood that the project will be successful.

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