How to Become an Actuary

If you possess strong mathematical, analytical, asset and liability management and valuation skills, you might want to learn how to become an actuary. An actuary is a professional whose work focuses on assessing the financial security of an organization. The role of this person is crucial particularly as unexpected events such as sickness, death, injury and loss of property can always occur adversely affecting the company’s financial status.

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Employment opportunities for actuaries are foreseen to grow through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals can work in various organizations including insurance providers, government agencies as well as in management, scientific and technical consulting services. The best organization to work, however, is in a consulting firm as this organization normally requires an analysis of various risks it faces.

Actuaries also earn well. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor showed that in 2008, the median yearly wage for this professional was more than $84,800. Data in 2009 from the National Association of Colleges and Employers also revealed that the starting wages for actuaries who have completed a bachelor’s degree was $56,320.

To become an actuary, one must obtain the right education and pass the certification exams. You can start in high school by taking advanced mathematics courses. You may seek the assistance of your school guidance counselor with regards to this aspect.

In college, you can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program with emphasis on math, statistics, actuarial science, accounting, economics and finance. Rigid training in calculus and statistics will be most helpful. But other than these math courses, it would also be to your advantage if you take up liberal arts courses that will improve your communication skills as these will greatly help you in your future job.

A major requirement for becoming an actuary is taking the biannual actuarial exams. These tests can be completed for up to 10 years hence, it is recommended that you take the initial two exams before you graduate from college. This will ensure you get employment in an entry level position right after graduation.

It is not required to complete a degree to take the first few exams so do take advantage of them. Make sure you study well to pass the tests.

Companies also allow their actuaries to work while completing their exams at the same time. Some even allow study time during the regular working hours. They may also shoulder the examination fees, provide internships and award salary increases when the actuary passes the exam.

To learn about the actuarial exams, you can visit various websites. These include the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Society of Actuaries and the American Society of Pension Actuaries.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty of Actuarial Society (CAS) are the organizations that provide programs that enable actuaries to reach their full professional status. The SOA provides certification in the areas of life insurance, health benefits and retirement systems as well as in finance and investment while the CAS administers the exams in the property and casualty field.

So if you have the right skills in math, statistics and even computer, you might want to consider this advice of how to become an actuary and pursue a career in actuarial science.

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