The number of exams in total will depend on which society you're getting credentialed in, but the first five are the same for both:
I've seen discussions between actuaries about whether someone could work as an actuary without a college degree. Many seem to think it possible, but no one has ever heard of anyone doing it. I think it would make things outrageously difficult. Pass exams, enjoy college, get an internship, then look for a full time job.
And yea, saying "actuary" around here is like saying "Candyman" five times, except you only have to say it once, and I don't kill people.