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Actuarial Profession: Need Help!

  1. Jun 2, 2005 #1
    Hey guys. I am a freshman in college, (currently taking summer courses) and entering my sophomore year I will be taking discrete mathematics, calculus 4: differential equations, a probability and stat class, a more specialized statistics class and a game theory course for my sophomore year.

    as of now i am an applied mathematics and economics double major. i hear this is a great choice for those who wish to delve into the actuarial profession. for spring 2006, i will be taking a course for the first actuarial exam, and hopefully pass the exam over the summer, before starting my junior year.

    anyway, i have some questions about the actual profession
    1) should i take any operations research classes if i want to be an actuary? and which ones? stochastic or deterministic or both?
    2) how much programming is actually involved with being an actuary? is it more based towards being able to use certain programs rather than actually being able to program in C++ or any other higher level language? Right now for the summer I am taking a introduction to computer science course that will teach me introductory Java programming. i know i might need something a little higher, but how much?
    3) my school offers a combined dual degree BS/MS in applied math. And I can get the degree in either Stats, Operations Research or Computational Applied Mathematics.

    Is a masters even required to be an actuary? I hear after I pass the first exam, companies will hire me and pay me to learn to pass the next exams. would i be wasting my time going for a masters? Because If i necesarrily dont need a masters, and if its going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars in debt, i certainly wont do it.

    any other help or info about the actuarial profession is greatly appreciated
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2005 #2

    I'm not an actuary or purusing one, but here is what I know....
    -I heard operation research is fairly important, especially stochastic processes. One of the exams will cover it.
    -I think you need to only know the basics, but be familiar w/ statistical programs, and excel and stuff like that
    -to be an actuary, getting these exams is the best. you can have just a BS and get a job, as long as you have some exams passed. depending on how competitive your area is, getting a higher degree will only get you in the door if needed.
  4. Jun 8, 2005 #3
    You need to request a copy of the syllabus from what ever actuarial society offers exams in your country. The syllabus will describe the requirements. Use the syllabus to guide you in your course work. In the USA, you can buy all study materials and books. Call the actuarial society to find out who sells the study stuff. What ever you do in school or out of school, take exams. There are actuaries out there who only have a high school education. Just keep in mind that the exams are to weed you out. Even if you pass all exams(can take 7 years), being an actuary is being a business person. There are other routes like a risk management certification ( a quant ) if you want a career. You will need to be a cross between a sales person, a tax attorney, a mathematician and a magician. Ask yourself if you have these skills. GOOD LUCK!
  5. Jun 8, 2005 #4
    One last thing, the more exams you pass the more you are worth. Companies don't necessarily want you to be worth more. Companies want people who can do the work.
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