How to Qualify as an Actuary?
Because of the attractions offered by actuarial career, many wish to be an actuary. But, you need to be really qualified in order to stand out from the crowd and become an actuary. So, how can you qualify as an actuary? The actual qualification process helps students to gains the required skills to excel as an actuary in real work environment. There are different methods you can go through to qualify as an actuary. Whatever method you choose, you would have to spend three to six years to qualify as an actuary. Let us look into all these methods in detail.
Usually, actuarial science students need to go through examinations in 4 different stages. They are Core Technical, Core Applications, Specialist Technical and Specialist Applications stage. These examination standards were developed by Institute of Actuaries and Faculty of Actuaries. Though these are separate institutions based in United Kingdom and Scotland respectively, by working together, they made the qualification process identical.
First method is the usual route of attending a graduate or masters degree in actuarial science and proceeding. If you go through this route, by completing the degree, you would have completed a set of examinations, projects, assignments etc based on the syllabus the college follows. Thus, you would have acquired basic skills required to become an actuary by the time you complete the course. Then, you need to get an actuarial internship in a reputed organization. As actuarial internship is very important in gaining real time working experience, you might have to really strive hard to achieve this. You need to be very good in academics because most employers look for excellent students to appoint as actuarial interns.
You need to prepare well and apply for actuarial internship at the correct time. Most reputed organizations fill actuarial intern positions well before, usually even before October. You should never lose your internship as your application reached employer late. Once you are shortlisted for interview, you need to prove yourself worth as an actuary during the interview process. Employers will test thoroughly your mathematical, analytical and problem solving skills. Once you get the internship, you are really lucky to work side by side with experienced actuaries. You would usually have a study mentor to help you during your practice in the organization. Once you complete internship, you would have transformed your classroom knowledge into industry working experience.
Second route is attending special courses in particular universities that have exemption agreements. You would be eligible for exemptions in case you have demonstrated required knowledge of the syllabus followed in particular universities. For example, if you have an actuarial science degree or diploma, you can exemptions on some or all subjects of Core Technical, Core Applications or Specialist Technical stages. Even if you hold a non-actuarial degree or diploma, you can get exemptions from some of the Core Technical subjects. Anyhow, if you are eligible for exemptions, you don’t have to write specific exams.
Third option is of course independent study. This option is suitable for those who failed to meet entry requirements might be because they could not pass examinations or did not get time or reached the Profession later. To proceed with this route, you can take Certificate in Financial Mathematics so that you become eligible to enter into Profession. This exam also gives you an overall idea about the exam system of actuarial qualification process. Though you pass this certificate, you could not exempt from entry requirements. If you could successfully convince employer that you still have actuarial skills, though you could not meet entry requirements, there are chances to get into actuarial career. Or, they might suggest you something else which could help you to gain an employment.