How to Become an Actuary
Actuaries need a bachelor’s degree, typically in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, or some other analytical field and subsequently must pass a series of further exams to become certified professionals.
Coursework or work experience in computer science, especially programming languages, and the ability to use and develop spreadsheets, databases, and statistical analysis tools, are valuable.
To qualify as an actuary you need to apply to become a student member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in the UK. You then need to pass their exams, or obtain exemptions from them and gain a satisfactory level of work-based skills
What are work-based skills?
The aim of the work-based skills (WBS) requirement is to help you to demonstrate that you have put into practice the actuarial theory you gain through taking the exams.
What do I need to do?
In summary you will need to do the following:
How long will it take me?
You should start to maintain your learning logs when you start relevant employment. The minimum time required is then 1 year for Associateship, and 3 years for Fellowship.
Your initial actuarial career
Most entry-level actuaries start out as trainees. They are typically on teams with more experienced actuaries who serve as mentors. At first, they perform basic tasks, such as compiling data, but as they gain more experience, they may conduct research and write reports. Beginning actuaries may spend time working in other departments, such as marketing, underwriting, and product development, to learn all aspects of the company’s work and how actuarial work applies to them.
Most employers support their actuaries throughout the certification process. For example, employers typically pay the cost of exams and study materials. Many firms provide paid time to study and encourage their employees to set up study groups. Employees usually receive raises or bonuses for each exam that they pass.
Advancement for Actuaries
Advancement depends largely on job performance and the number of actuarial exams passed. For example, actuaries who achieve fellowship status often supervise the work of other actuaries and provide advice to senior management. Actuaries with a broad knowledge of risk management and how it applies to business can rise to executive positions in their companies, such as chief risk officer or chief financial officer.
Important Qualities for Actuaries