How to Become an Actuary

Two Methods:Choosing to be an Actuary as a First CareerChanging Careers to Become an Actuary

If you want to become an actuary, you will need to possess superior analytical skills. Actuaries compile and analyze statistics and use the information to help companies calculate financial risks.[1]

Method 1
Choosing to be an Actuary as a First Career

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    Start preparing for your career while you are still in high school. If you take the right combination of classes in high school, you’ll have a tremendous advantage when you start college.
    • Take the college preparatory program.
    • Take as many math classes as you can—every year.
    • Enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, especially courses in statistics and calculus.
    • Place a heavy emphasis on computer skills such as SQL, SAS, VBA, Excel, Access, and C++
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    Attend an actuarial summer program.[2] These programs will help you learn about your intended career and put you in touch with industry professionals.
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    Choose a college that has an actuarial science curriculum. It isn’t strictly necessary to attend a college with an actuarial curriculum; you can enjoy a solid career as an actuary if you have a strong background in math, statistics and finances. You will also need to pass 2 actuarial exams. Probably Exam P and FM since they are considered the easiest.
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    Complete the credentials process. After you graduate from college, you will have to complete the remainder of the actuarial exams, as well as e-Learning components and other requirements of the profession. Programs are offered by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)[3]and by the Society of Actuaries (SOA)[4]
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    Study independently. You can sign up for a free trial account in the fundamentals of actuarial practice[5] and get a full idea of what the profession requires. In fact, you can study actuarial science using this free program and attempt to take the actuarial exams without attending college, or before you graduate from college.
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    Investigate available internships. An internship, paid or unpaid, will help you gain valuable on-the-job experience.[6]

Method 2
Changing Careers to Become an Actuary

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    Look at all the pros and cons. Actuaries spend as much as 7 years getting prepared to be professionally certified. If you have a busy family or social life, you will have to curtail many of your activities for a very long time. Ask yourself if you have the commitment and stamina to enter this demanding industry.
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    Brush up on the skills you will need. Actuaries have to possess superior math, quantitative and analytical skills. You will need to pass a very difficult examination before you can become an actuary, so prepare yourself. Visit the website of the Casualty Actuarial Society [7] to find out what is required to become a professional.
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    Don’t let your past get in your way. You may be at the top of your field in your current profession, but when you change your career, you’re going to start pretty close to the bottom. You’ll have to exercise patience and learn the ropes—just like you did the first time.


  • Ask your educational advisor if there are any career fairs for the actuarial profession. Attending one of these fairs can put you in touch with a wide range of potential employers.
  • Don’t forget to research grants and scholarships that may be available to you. Look at the terms of eligibility and the selection criteria used for grants and scholarships.[8]

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Categories: Finance Careers