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, Also see

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

Suite 800

Schaumburg, IL 60173-2226

Telephone: (312) 706-3500



Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)

1100 North Glebe Road

Suite 600

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.

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, Although this option allows choosing between Math 413 and Math 468, both would be strongly recommended Alternatively the Economics/Finance option 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.