How To Become Successful in an Actuary Career

Become an Actuary in 2021? Salary, Jobs, Education

Outlook for actuary careers

There is a rising demand in the market for these job positions within the actuarial field.

Health insurance actuaries

Most actuaries are in the health insurance industry. They create long-term policies by forecasting the costs of providing care under the specific contract. The predictions encompass various factors, like occupation, geographic location and family history.

Casualty and property insurance actuaries

They create insurance policies that protect policyholders against liability or property loss resulting from events like accidents, fires and natural disasters. They calculate the number of claims that insurance companies can expect due to car accidents, which varies according to the type of vehicle, driving history and age of drivers.

Pension and retirement benefits actuaries

They develop, test and assess companies pension plans to ensure available funds are adequate for paying future benefits. They also provide financial advice to individual retirees.

Enterprise risk actuaries

They identify risks that can impact a companys objectives, both short- and long-term, and develop strategies to mitigate these issues. They evaluate financial, economic and geopolitical risks.

As federal government employees, they evaluate proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security.

How to become successful in an actuary career

You can gain entry into the actuary field or grow your existing professional career by following these four steps.

1. Get a bachelors degree

The career requires you to obtain a bachelors degree in actuarial science, mathematics, business or a related field. Youll also complete coursework in corporate finance, statistics and economics to become a certified professional.

Classes outside business and mathematics are essential. Companies value candidates who take additional coursework in computer science, mainly coding and programming. In the business world, the ability to communicate effectively is valuable, so you can also take classes in public relations and speaking.

Actuaries job duties involve using statistical analysis tools, databases and spreadsheets, which are vital abilities to learn.

2. Seek licenses and certification

Two professional organizations offer actuaries the opportunity to become certified professionals: the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Both provide associate and fellowship certification levels.

The CAS certifies professionals working in casualty and property fields, including workers compensation, medical malpractice, homeowner and automobile. The SOA certifies professionals in investments, retirement benefits, finance and insurance. Both organizations only accept candidates who pass all seven exams required for associate-level certification. The candidates should also complete coursework in mathematical statistics, finance and economics while in college.

Both SOA and CAS require candidates to attend seminars on professionalism and e-learning. Each exam requires months of research and hours of study, so it often takes four to seven years to earn associate-level status. It takes three more years to earn fellowship certification. Many employers prefer candidates who pass at least one of the first actuary exams required for full professional status before college graduation.

3. Start with an internship

Internships are essential in enabling students to choose their career paths because there are many kinds of practice areas, such as casualty, pension, life and health. Most interns are in teams with mentors.

Trainees start with basic tasks, like compiling data, but they may write reports and conduct research after gaining experience. Interns often work in other departments, including product development and marketing, to study how actuarial work influences other business areas.

Some mentors can offer support during the certification process. For example, some companies pay for the study materials and exam fees while others encourage interns to study in groups and offer allowances as an incentive.

4. Prepare for the job interview

The first step to success in a job interview is thorough preparation. Conduct research on the companies you want to send applications to and note all the essential details in their job posts. Formulate questions regarding your role and how you can fit in the companies workforce and culture.

Whether youre starting your career or youve been out of practice, most actuary interviews use a mixed approach. A technical interviewer may request candidates to demonstrate expertise and problem-solving skills. The job also requires teamwork and strong communication skills, so expect behavioral questions as well. Potential employers often ask about your motivation for seeking the actuary job position, the hard decisions to make when dealing with angry customers or ethical dilemmas you expect to face on the job, and how to overcome them.

Career advancement depends on the number of exams you pass and job performance. Once you achieve fellowship status, you can provide advice to senior executives and supervise other actuaries. With experience and knowledge in risk management, you can seek executive positions, such as chief financial officer (CFO) or chief risk officer (CRO).


Actuaries require specific qualities to enable them to perform daily job duties. Here are some skills that employers look for:


With the qualifications for an actuarial career, you can seek any other employment opportunities discussed below:


Economists collect data and analyze trends to examine the production and supply of resources, products and services. They require communication skills because they condense complex economic data for audiences with no technical background.


Accountants examine and prepare financial records for organizations. They ensure the correct taxes are paid on time and maintain accurate financial records. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations in organizations, ensuring efficiency and productivity. In addition to preparing and analyzing financial documents, they also explain the findings through face-to-face meetings and written reports.

Budget analysts

Budget analysts work in private and public institutions as financial experts, monitoring institutional expenditure and preparing budget reports. They are expert mathematicians and knowledgeable in statistical modeling. Budget analysts require interpersonal and communicative skills to persuade management to approve their appeals.

Cost estimators

Cost estimators collect and examine data to estimate the labor, materials, money and time needed to offer a service, construct a building or manufacture a product. Theyre industry specialists who usually visit job sites and consult with clients to estimate all costs required for a project. Cost estimators require advanced mathematical skills, a keen eye for detail and comprehensive knowledge of mechanical processes and construction.

Financial analysts

Financial analysts advise individuals and businesses on making the correct investment decisions. They evaluate various kinds of investments, including stocks and bonds. Analysts working in financial institutions often track a companys performance using an existing plan. They provide periodic reports to senior management, assisting in strategic and tactical decisions.

Insurance underwriters

Insurance underwriters decide whether to offer insurance premium services and the relevant terms. They check insurance applications and determine coverage amounts. Underwriters focus on different kinds of insurance, including health, commercial, travel and homeowners. When drafting insurance policies for less common things or including variables, underwriters rely on their insight, knowledge and experience rather than computer algorithms.


Mathematicians solve real-world problems in various fields, such as healthcare, engineering and business, by analyzing data and applying mathematical techniques. Successful mathematicians are accurate and have a genuine interest in solving practical problems. Top candidates reason quantitatively and abstractly to critique others and construct viable arguments.

Financial advisors

Financial advisors offer professional advice on a wide range of economic issues, including retirement benefits, taxes, college savings, insurance and mortgages. Its an actuary career alternative with duties that entail talking to clients about their financial goals and risk acceptance before recommending suitable financial planning strategies.

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