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Becoming an actuary without majoring in Acturial Science?

  1. Jan 15, 2012 #1
    I am a high school student who will be attending at university this fall to study mathematics. During pure mathematics education, I wish to prepare for acturial exams concurrently, but without taking any Acturial Science courses. I do realize that majoring mathematics demands a lot of work and acturial exams are quite challenging, but is it necessary to take ActSci courses to become an actuary? Wouldn't a math major with several exams passesd be sufficient? I was just wondering because I really want to take art courses like philosphy or other language courses rather than taking Stats or ActSci courses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2012 #2
    http://www.beanactuary.org/exams/what/?fa=what-does-it-take has everything you need know

    Basically, you just need to pass the first couple exams. The website should have the recommended texts, study them, take the tests, pass.

    After you pass, apply as an actuary apprentice or something along those lines. Your degree wont matter too much as long as you have one and passing the exams will indicate you are serious. If you get the job, awesome, they will give you some study time and pay for your exams in a lot of cases.

    A sample job posting:

    Job Duties & Responsibilities
    GEICO seeks a highly-motivated individual committed to an actuarial career to join us as an Actuarial Assistant. This position will start you on a career track that is well suited for mathematics, economics and actuarial science majors, or those majoring in a related field emphasizing strong quantitative and analytical skills.

    We offer opportunities in two key areas - pricing and reserving. As a pricing actuary, you will assist in setting rates for our various insurance products. In reserving, you'll help determine the amount of money GEICO needs to hold in reserve in order to make future payments on existing claims.

    In either role, you will work not only with auto data but also motorcycle, RV, ATV and related products. Many actuaries rotate between the pricing and reserving areas to develop a well-rounded company and career perspective.

    Actuaries analyze data to make decisions that allow the company to properly manage its risk. On a typical day, this may include extracting and analyzing premium and loss data, using computer and statistical programs, evaluating results for reasonability and communicating observations to various teams to help achieve bottom-line goals.

    GEICO's actuaries do more than crunch numbers -- they tackle a variety of problems such as creating business strategies, developing and enhancing products, presenting proposals to management and forecasting and assessing industry trends. Actuaries are key members of GEICO's management team, as a wide range of important decisions are based on their projections and professional opinions.

    An important part of an actuary�s professional development involves advancing through a series of exams offered by the Casualty Actuarial Society. At GEICO, we provide you with up to115 paid study hours per exam along with opportunities to take review courses, financial support for CAS exams and VEE courses, onsite quiet rooms for studying and an exam coordinator to assist with exam processes. As you pass your exams, you may be eligible for raises and first-time passing bonuses!
    Candidate Qualifications
    * Bachelor's degree in mathematics, economics, actuarial science, statistics or related field
    * 3.0 overall GPA
    * SAT (or other standardized test) score of at least 600 in math and 500 in other sections;
    * Very good quantitative, analytical and problem-solving skills;
    * Effective written and verbal communication skills;
    * Strong Word and Excel skills;
    * Some computer programming knowledge useful (such as Access, SAS, SQL or other
    programming language);
    * Permanent U.S. work authorization
    * Commitment to take and pass actuarial exams, with preference given to candidates who
    have passed at least one exam

    ***Please be sure to attach both your COVER LETTER and your RESUME to the application. You can do this in ¿My Career Tools¿ on your application home page.***
    Salary Information
    $45,000 - $50,000
  4. Jan 17, 2012 #3

    It depends on where you are located. If you are located in the US, you do not need to bother with an actuarial science degree. In Canada it is trickier; outside North America it will depend on the country you live in.

    In the US employers have mixed feelings about an actuarial science degree. There are a few who value it. Most don't care. A few actually look down upon it.

    No one in the actuarial department I work in has an Actuarial Science degree.
  5. Jan 17, 2012 #4
    From what I've seen, a lot of Math departments will have an actuarial science track within their statistics program. The classes might not even be called actuarial science, but they will are geared towards helping you pass those first tests. Locrian, is passing the first couple of tests the best way to get into the profession?
  6. Jan 17, 2012 #5
    In the US, absolutely. Exams open the door, but don’t garner an invitation. Employers will also be looking for other typical measures of employability such as fit in the organization, past experience (internships, etc.) and technical skills (excel, VBA, etc.). Very few actuaries in the US even have an AS degree. In my not-so-humble opinion it isn’t wise to get one. With an AS degree, you can get AS work. With a statistics degree you can work many places, which can include actuarial work. Actuarial exams, designations and degrees have limited value outside of insurance and some areas of banking.

    As for taking classes related to the preliminary exams, I suppose it can help. If there are classes that get you through all preliminaries and you can afford to take them, go for it. On the other hand, if you can’t teach yourself – with no guidance or formal class structure – exams 1/P and 2/FM, then C/4 will destroy you and you might as well do something else for a living. I’ve seen people get stuck on those later exams for years. It’s a terrible thing.

    In Canada it is also theoretically possible to get a job without a degree in Actuarial Science, but it is considered much more difficult to do so. The AS programs there have lots of good connections in industry and it is not unusual for their graduates to have 4+ exams already passed and multiple internships. An AS degree is almost necessary just to be competitive. I’m not sure Actuarial Science is a wise career choice in Canada; they’ve had an oversupply of candidates for years, and it’s tough to move south to the US.

    The UK and Australia have similar but different systems to the US. I think in France it’s just a degree you get in college. Despite having read about these other designations on a couple of occasions my knowledge remains fuzzy and if you live outside North America, I’ll defer to someone else.
  7. Jan 17, 2012 #6
    Meh, let me restate. I have no idea if it is a wise choice for any individual. I do, however, feel that any individual that chooses actuarial science as a career in Canada must be exceptional and be willing to work very hard. Maybe all they really need is to be aware of the situation.
  8. Jan 18, 2012 #7
    that is something i considered
    SChools with actuarial degree programs are actually quite rare

    However, u do not need a dgree. You just have to pass the exams.
    However, it is helpful to major in something relevenat, such as math, applied math, statisitcs, accounting, etc...
    You will want to major in something and take classes that will help you pass the actuarial exams though.
    So if you major in math, you will want to take extra stats, accounting classes. Likewise, if you major in accounting, you will want to take extra math and stats classes as well.
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