How Do You Become an Actuary?

ActuaryTurning your passion for statistics and love for numbers into a rewarding in-demand career is possible when you choose to become an actuary. Actuaries use their mathematical skills to help organizations assess the financial costs of uncertainty and create policies that will minimize this risk. Actuaries typically work for insurance carriers, but they can also find employment in private corporations, government offices, credit rating bureaus, banks, investment firms, and consulting agencies. It’s projected that actuaries will be in strong demand to help price insurance products, predict policy claims, and respond to potential financial risks. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the employment of actuaries will skyrocket much faster than average by 26 percent by 2022. Below we’ve created a step-by-step guide you should follow to reach your actuarial goals.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Before you can become an actuary, you’ll need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Most actuaries develop their analytical skills by majoring in actuarial science, mathematics, statistics, accounting, or business. To become certified, you’ll need to fill up your course electives with economics, applied statistics, and corporate finance. It’s advised that you take a few computer science classes to better understand statistical software used in risk management. Aspiring actuaries need to have stellar communication abilities, so enrolling in a public speaking or writing course is also recommended.

Gain Internship Experience

While earning your bachelor’s degree, you should start building your resume with relevant work experience through supervised paid or unpaid internships. Employers often offer permanent actuarial jobs to interns, so you could get your foot in the door full-time. Most internships will place you on a team with more experienced actuaries to perform basic tasks like collecting statistical data and entering the information in software systems. However, with time, you’ll have added responsibilities in conducting research, testing policies, crafting reports, and explaining findings to executives. Working in a company’s underwriting department could also be beneficial for segueing into a career in actuarial science.

Pass the Actuarial Exams

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll be required to pass a series of professional actuarial exams that are provided through the Society of Actuaries (SOA). After taking mandatory e-learning workshop courses on professionalism, candidates must pass at least five certification exams to obtain the Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA) credential. This will typically take around four years to achieve. From there, you can advance your leadership capabilities by obtaining the Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) or Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) credentials with more exams. Those working specifically in property and casualty insurance should receive their certification from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Most training seminars and exam prices will luckily be covered by employers.

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Overall, actuaries play a prominent role in predicting what events could possibly happen tomorrow to develop plans today that effectively manage the company’s financial risks. Actuaries help businesses make more strategic decisions based on a clear forecast of what the future holds. In exchange, actuaries earn a handsome six-figure average salary of $110,090 per year. If you’re looking for a lucrative financial profession where you can help bolster profits and savings for organizational stability, take these steps to start your journey to become an actuary.