Becoming a Certified Actuary

Statistics and mathematics to analyze risk and determine ways to minimize it for those that employ them are used by actuaries. The large majority of actuaries will work within insurance companies or for the government; however, there are others that are going to work in businesses and the financial sector.

Almost all actuarial jobs are going to hold the requirement for an actuarial science, mathematics or related subject bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, the prospective actuaries will need to pass a series of examinations before they’re able to be certified. Depending on the actuary’s specialty, there will be two main certifying agencies:

  1. Casualty Actuarial Society
  2. Society of Actuaries

Universities and research colleges that have majors in business, actuarial science or mathematics will have some class requirements for you to take in high school. To pursue this or any career path you’ll want to take all of the high school classes required. Most colleges are going to emphasize three core high school class types:

  1. Computer
  2. Accounting
  3. Math

There are more than one-hundred secondary institutions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that will offer specific actuarial science programs. Additionally, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree and applicable classes in one of the following or similar majors in order to get your certification:

  • Actuarial science
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Mathematics

The actuarial certification exams are going to require that you take classes in economics, actuarial statistics, mathematics, economics and corporate finance. Along with all of the basic classes you’re going to need to study additional classes, such as, reinvestment, insurance, interest, investment valuation and depreciation in order to prepare for the actuarial exams.

During college you’ll begin the first of the initial four professional certification exams. You’ll have a major advantage in the job market if you’re able to pass the first two exams before you graduate. The initial four exams are going to cover, life contingencies, probability, financial economics and financial math. There are two professional certifying societies that will cooperate for the first four of your initial exams:

  1. CAS – Casualty Actuarial Society

The Casualty Actuarial Society is going to help those within the property or casualty fields, such as, auto or home insurance, receive their certification. There are requirements of finance, economics, professional ethics and statistics course requirements in addition to a total of seven examinations for CAS certification.

  1. SOA – Society of Actuaries

The Society of Actuaries is going to help those within the life insurance, finance, health insurance, investment or retirement fields receive their certification. There will be a total of five exams along with the same required classes as for the CAS certification. Additionally, the SOA will require there to be completion of two essays and eight computer modules.

For either the CAS or SOA, you’ll be looking at a total of 4-8 years for completion of the process you will begin in college. You’ll be able to start a job within your chosen specialty and then continue on with the remainder of your exams in order to get to and complete the level of associate.

The next step after that will be to complete all of the Fellowship requirements for certification through either the SOA or CAS. There will be two additional exams through the FCAS/CAS on advanced subjects, such as, financial analysis and the valuation of insurance. The SOA will provide the FSA Fellowship certification after they’ve passed two additional examinations in their specialty. Additionally, they will need to complete professionalism courses along with three computer modules.

In either the CAS or SOA you’ll be looking at an additional 2-3 years of time to obtain the Fellowship certification.

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