Every time I give an “Actuarial” talk at a local university or college. This question always comes up.
First off, in order for you to become an Actuary, you must pass the Actuarial Exams sponsored by an Actuarial Organization. In my case, I had to pass the exams offered through the Society of Actuaries (www.soa.org). It often takes many years (4+) after graduating from college for people to pass all the Actuarial Exams to become fully credentialed (i.e. Fellow of the Society of Actuaries: FSA)! I’m counting 22 different requirements you have to pass which includes both difficult exams and online E-learning modules.
Most employers who hire actuaries require that you have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Many of us major in Mathematics, Statistics, Actuarial Science, Computer Science, or Business. Having a strong GPA and having computer skills will also increase your chances of getting that entry level position.
While in college, it is also a good idea to try to get an Actuarial internship with a company. This will give you a leg up when you try to apply for a full-time position. Don’t forget to try to pass a few actuarial exams while you are still in college. The competition out there is stiff!
Once you graduate, it may now be time to try to apply for a full-time actuarial job. Most companies who hire actuaries have an Actuarial Study Program. This means that you will be expected to pass actuarial exams while working, but the company will often pay for your exam fees and books/study manuals. They will also give you study time and likely a raise when you pass each exam. This varies by company so make sure to research this. Study time means, you can take time away from work to study. For instance, a work week could be 30 hours of work and 10 hours of study time. Beware though, you can be kicked out of an Actuarial Study Program if you can’t pass your Actuarial exams. That ultimately means you can lose your job!
So there you go… How to become an Actuary? If you want to build your technical skills to stand out, make sure to sign up for my courses. Good luck!