Actuary Career Training, Advancement and Other Qualifications

Actuaries are going to need strong backgrounds in many different areas, such as, general business, mathematics and statistics. Most often an actuary is going to acquire their bachelor’s along with the requirement of passing an exam set before their able to become a certified actuary.

Training and Education

Actuaries are going to need to have those strong foundations as mentioned above and usually will earn their undergrad in statistics, actuarial science, mathematics or other business related fields, including, business, finance or economics in order to pursue that knowledge and set themselves up for success. The student, while still in college should complete the coursework that’s required for professional certification, including:

  • Economics
  • Corporate finance
  • Applied statistics

Moreover, there will be many students that will gain experience through obtaining internships before they graduate and enter into their profession fulltime. There are well over 100 universities and colleges that will offer a program in actuarial science to their students. Most of those universities and colleges will also offer degree option in finance, economics, mathematics and statistics.

More and more, businesses are necessitating that their potential employees have passed the first of the actuarial exams (described below) before considering hiring, which will test the individual’s proficiency in the following areas:

  • Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Probability
  • Calculus

The beginning actuary will often rotate between many different job types within a business, such as, underwriting, product development, marketing and financial reporting, in order to learn the different insurance work levels and the various processes for actuaries. Initially, they’ll prepare the data for the actuarial projects and/or execute additional modest everyday jobs as needed.

As the actuary continues to gain more experience, an actuary can do other tasks, such as, prepare correspondence, supervise clerks, conduct research and draft reports. Additionally, as an actuary is advancing in the early stages of their career they might go to one business to another as they’re gaining more knowledge and going into more advanced positions.

Career Advancement

Advancement is something that depends, for the most part, on the amount of actuarial exams that you’ve passed and you’re overall job performance. There’s the possibility to get high-level positions within a company, such as, a Chief Financial or Risk Officer through gathering a very broad knowledge base in subjects like:

  • Pension
  • Employee benefits fields
  • Insurance
  • Investment

The broad based skills that are acquired will not just be used to assess risk, but assess risk and then apply it on an entire business level. The actuaries that have supervisory abilities will often advance into positions in management within many different areas, such as:

  • Data processing
  • Advertising
  • Underwriting
  • Marketing
  • Underwriting

Once actuaries gain high levels of experience, some of them will transition into work as a consultant, most often through the opening of their personal consulting firm. There are a number of actuaries that will transfer into faculty positions in universities and colleges.

Other Qualifications

Actuaries will need to have the ability to use standard statistical analysis software, develop and use databases and spreadsheets along with an overall strength in computer skills. Another thing that’s not necessarily a requirement for almost all positions, but would be extremely helpful is knowledge of the different programming languages, such as:

  • SAS
  • Visual Basic for Applications
  • SQL

Companies will also show a significant preference towards those that have a well-rounded education and capabilities, such as, possession of strong communication skills, a strong technical background and some business training. Another very important skill, especially for those that are consulting actuaries, will be excellent interpersonal skills.

In order to perform their duties effectively, actuaries must be able to keep up with the current social and economic trends as well as new legislation. Additionally, they must also keep up with the developments in business, finance and health. Essentially, actuaries must have knowledge in all areas of things that could affect investment or insurance practices.

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