Requirements to Become an Actuary

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    Function

    • As an actuary, you advise decision makers in government and industry. Drawing on your education and proven track record of forecasting risk, digesting probability statistics against the backdrop of current economic events and developing mathematically sound assessments of several different financial transactions and their outcomes, it is your job as an actuary to help minimize financial missteps by your employer.

    Significance

    • Actuaries are intimately involved in the drafting of pension plan legislation, the administration of insurance policies and their pricing, and also the decision making processes that go into the day to day operations of various industry branches. Unlike an accountant who deals with the numbers such as they are currently available, an actuary deals with numbers, facts and figures such as they may occur in the future.

    Considerations

    • Enrollment in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in actuarial science or actuarial statistics is a prerequisite for a successful career as an actuary. You must study risk assessment strategies, statistics, advanced economics, familiarize yourself with international and national finance and also become an expert at using various mathematical models currently available to forecast risks. At this time, you are required to specialize either in insurance-related actuary studies or look forward to property actuarial work.

    Types

    • For insurance-related work, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) administers the core exams. Applicants for a career in property actuarial work must pass exams designed by the Casual Actuarial Society (CAS). There are three exams all actuaries must pass (jointly administered by the SOA and the CAS): the 1/P, 2/FM and the 4/C exams. CAS members also have to earn satisfactory results in the 2/P through 7/P exams. Once these requirements are fulfilled, you are considered an associate actuary; thereafter there are two more exams that provide a CAS member a fellowship designation. SOA exams are less stringent and are based on actual education and training modules passed; as such you may earn a designation as an Associate (ASA), Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) or Fellow (FSA).

    Potential

    • You have the potential to earn an annual salary of more than $150,000, as has been forecast by the University of California, Santa Barbara. Moreover, you may easily become a high-level company player, perhaps even a CEO. The "US News and World Report" rated this career choice as the number two job in its list of the best jobs, and ever since 1988 this job has never ranked lower than the number 4 on this list.

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