Obtaining Your Actuary License

There are two professional societies that will sponsor programs in order to lead to full professional status within the actuarial specialty:

  1. Casualty Actuarial Society – Property and Casualty field, including, medical malpractice, personal injury liability, auto insurance, home insurance and workers compensation
  2. Society of Actuaries – Fields of retirement systems, life insurance, finance, life insurance, investment, health benefit systems

Both the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries will require that actuaries pass a series of examinations before being granted full accreditation.

The initial four of the seven exams for either society is going to be covering the same material and will be jointly sponsored by both of the societies. It’s for this reason that the students won’t be required to make a specialty commitment until after they’ve taken their initial evaluation. This is going to test an individual’s competence within mathematics and will help evaluate their actuarial potential. Once the candidate passes their initial examination, the prospects will be able to begin taking the next series of examinations through the help of courses and self-study guides. Those who are able to pass two or more exams will have both higher starting salaries as well as much better employment opportunities than those that haven’t. You can begin the initial examinations while you’re still in college.

Most people will go to work as an actuary first after they’ve graduated and then work through the process of certification while they’re gaining experience in their field. You’ll find that most employers will either pay for, or have a reimbursement plan, for the fees and exams along with providing their employees time to study for the exams. Although employers are going to be supportive throughout your examination process, you’ll need to still allot time for home study. There’ll be around 4-8 years for the entire exam certification process, which will be accounted for many actuaries working and having to study for months in order to prepare and then take each examination.

Pension Actuaries

There are going to be some specific requirements that will apply to the pension actuaries. A pension actuary is someone that will verify the financial status of the United States Federal Governments defined benefit pension plans. The actuaries that work for the Federal Government will need to be enrolled by both the United States Department of Labor (for the Enrollment of Actuaries) and the United States Treasury Department. In order to qualify for enrollment, the application is going to be required to meet specific requirements which are passing two additional examinations, as stipulated by the Board and administered by the Society of Actuaries.

Society of Actuaries

The Society of Actuaries certification process is going to blend computer learning models and exams along with other coursework. After the initial exams have been taken, the candidate will need to make a specialty choice, such as, retirement benefits, group and health benefits, enterprise risk management, investments or finance management or individual life and annuities.

To reach the level of ASA or Associate, the candidate needs to complete the first five examinations, along with the coursework in economics, applied statistics and corporate finance by the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society, eight different computer modules and two subsequent essays and a professionalism seminar. This is a process that most generally takes 4-8 years of time.

To get to the level of FSA or Fellowship, the candidate is going to need to complete an additional two examinations within their chosen specialty, along with the completion of a professionalism seminar, three computer modules and the fellowship admissions course. After you’ve reached the ASA or Associate level it’ll take another 2-3 years to attain your Fellowship status.

Casualty Actuarial Society

Gaining certification within the Casualty Actuarial Society will primarily an examination based process. The first level of certification is going to be the ACAS or Associate level. In order to reach the first level the candidate is going to have to attend on professionalism course, complete seven examinations and complete coursework, required by both the Casualty Actuarial Society and Society of Actuaries within the following areas, economics, applied statistics and corporate finance. This is a process that’s going to take 4-8 years to complete.

To get to the level of FCAS or Fellowship level, it will come with the requirement of passing two additional examinations in advanced topics, such as, valuation of insurance, investment and assets and dynamic financial analysis. After attaining the status of Associate, it will take approximately 2-3 years more to reach the level of Fellowship.

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