BECOME AN ACTUARY
Polls regularly show that the actuarial profession is both highly regarded and is a highly satisfying one. This is documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos041.htm. Also see www.beanactuary.org
What is an actuary and how do you become one? Getting an entry level job in the field ordinarily requires the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in mathematics/statistics together with some course work in business (economics, accounting, finance). To continue and progress requires gaining certification from one or more professional organizations (and/or the IRS), certification depends on examinations and gaining experience. For information on the exams or other requirements see one or more of the following
Society of Actuaries (SOA)
475 North Martingale Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173-2226
Telephone: (312) 706-3500
Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)
1100 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22201
Telephone: (212) 560-1018
American Academy of Actuaries
1100 17th Street N.W. 7th Floor
Washington D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 223-8196
The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries
Link for description of credentials and exams
Information about “Enrolled Actuaries”
A very useful link with lots of other links and information
The actuarial profession is very international, the following are a few examples of actuarial organizations outside the US.
|Actuaries in Great Britain||actuary jobs in the UK||The Actuarial Outpost||Actuarial organizations in the European Union|
Some Useful links
|The Actuarial Grads Network||The YoungMathematicians Network||The Actuarial Foundation|
|Concept of a financial actuary||Financial Engineering News||Financial Economics and actuarial practice|
Finding a Job
Begin by looking at the SOA and CSSA websites.
|D.W. Simpson, actuarial recruiters, See link for entry level job openings||Elliott Bauer, actuarial recruiters||Jobs for actuaries||Opportunities at CIGNA, see link about internships|
Many companies offer summer internships, the number and availability of these will vary from one year to the next. http://atp.soa.org/actuarial_training_program.php
Actuarial Studies at the University of Arizona
The University does not offer a degree in Actuarial Studies but does offer courses that are pertinent to gaining an entry level position and passing the first couple of exams administered by SOA and CSSA. The Probability and Statistics option for the Mathematics major is a good place to start, http://aprr.web.arizona.edu/data/064/A6zMATHzBSxzPRB.html. Although this option allows choosing between Math 413 and Math 468, both would be strongly recommended Alternatively the Economics/Finance option http://aprr.web.arizona.edu/data/064/A6zMATHzBAxzEFx.html for the Mathematics major might be used. In this case Math 413, Math 466 and Math 468 should be included in the major. It is not required to have a mathematics major per se to prepare for or to take the exams, rather it is the mathematics coursework that is pertinent. Also Math 368, Mathematics of Investments
In addition various courses in business are strongly advised, these include Accounting 200/210, Economics 201A/201B, Economics 332, Finance 311 and Finance 360. These might be used as part of a Thematic Minor (which must be approved by your advisor). Note that admission to some of these courses requires permission from the Eller College of Management.
Although not explicitly included in the Actuarial examinations, there are additional skills or preparation that are either critical or very useful in getting the first actuarial job. These include written and oral communication skills, the ability to work with others and “computer literacy”. While programming, e.g., FORTRAN, C/C++, can be relevant in some positions, familiarity and experience with various software packages is likely more important. These include a word processing package such as MS WORD or WordPerfect, a spreadsheet such as MS EXCEL or Quattro Pro, a database package such as MS ACCESS and at least one statistical package such as SPSS or SAS. Many employers will have proprietary software but you will learn that on the job. Good study habits are essential, for you will be expected to prepare for and pass a variety of exams while employed. If you are interested in working outside the US then fluency in one or more other languages could be a real advantage.
While having passed one or more exams prior to seeking your first job can be an advantage it will not usually be a requirement. Typically you would be hired as an Actuarial Trainee and working under the supervision of an Associate Actuary or a Fellow
It appears that graduate study and graduate degrees are not particularly useful in getting your first position.