18 Tips on How to Become an Actuarial Analyst

Certified actuarial analyst: Actuarial analysts who work in the insurance industry use statistical models to analyze data.

And calculate the probability of and costs associated with certain events.

Such as product failure, accidents, property damage, injury, and death.

They use the results to design and price insurance policies.

They also estimate the likelihood of catastrophic events.

Such as hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemics, and terrorist attacks.

As well as assess the risk exposure of insurance companies.

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Certified actuarial analyst

If you love statistics and problem-solving, a career as an actuary might be ideal.

Actuaries measure and manage risks and are frequently found in the insurance industry.

To become an actuary, you should take math, statistics.

And finance in college before preparing to take your certification exams.

The road to becoming an actuary is long, but it’s a great career once you reach the end!

Certified actuarial analyst

18. Start preparing in high school.

It’s never too early to start preparing to become an actuary!

While in high school, you should take a math class each year.

Including any AP math classes offered.

Also, sign up for computer science courses.

17. Choose an appropriate college major.

Actuaries are not required to take any particular undergraduate program.

However, most actuaries study math, statistics, economics, finance, or business.

Some schools also offer a major in actuarial science.

Certified actuarial analyst

16. Take college math courses.

Regardless of your major, you should take certain math courses before taking the actuary exams:

  • Three semesters of calculus
  • One semester of linear algebra
  • Two semesters of calculus-based probability

15. Learn computer skills.

Actuaries use many different computer programs, so you should take classes in the following computer programs:

  • Excel
  • Access
  • SQL
  • SAS or VBA

Certified actuarial analyst

14. Improve your communication skills.

Volunteer to give talks or presentations to community groups or college clubs.

It doesn’t matter what the subject is on.

You’re trying to refine your ability to communicate with different groups of people.

  • Also take courses in speech, technical writing, and business writing.

13. Load up on extracurricular activities.

Most actuaries study for the actuary exams while working full-time.

For this reason, employers want to see that you can juggle a heavy work schedule.

While in school, join different clubs that interest you.

12. Intern with an actuary firm.

An internship will help you see whether you like the work.

Many companies also prefer graduates with at least two internships.

Find internships listed at your school’s career center.

Or contact actuary companies directly to see if they are willing to take on an intern.

You can receive college credit.

  • Ideally, you should have one internship at a traditional insurance company and a second internship at a consultancy.

Certified actuarial analyst

11. Take at least one exam before you graduate.

Many actuary companies won’t hire someone unless they have passed at least one exam.

Ideally, you should pass two before graduating.  

The first two exams you will take are Probability and Financial Mathematics.

10. Set aside enough time to study for your exams.

Generally, you’ll need to spend 100 hours studying for each hour of an exam.

For example, the Probability exam is three hours.

So you will need to study for about 300 hours for it.

  • Prepare by taking practice exams.
  • Take exams under timed conditions so that you simulate the test-day environment.

    Certified actuarial analyst

9. Fulfill your Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) requirement.

Economics, corporate finance, and applied statistical methods are not tested on any exam.
However, they are important classes for you to have.

So you must validate that you’ve taken these courses in college.

  • Generally, you must get at least a B- in these courses.
  • The courses must be VEE-approved, so search the directory.
  • You must have taken two of the actuarial exams before you can apply for VEE credit.

8. Complete the other preliminary exams.

In addition to probability and financial mathematics.

You will need to pass a couple of other exams:

  • Models for Financial Economics
  • Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models
  • Statistics and Probabilistic Models or Actuarial Models: Life Contingencies.

7. Choose between the SOA or CAS track.

In the U.S., actuaries can choose to be credentialed by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Generally, SOA members specialize in life, health, or pensions. CAS members specialize in property or casualty.

  • SOA and CAS administer most of the preliminary exams jointly, so you don’t need to choose between the two until you are later in your career. By the time you complete your preliminary exams, you will be working in a job and know which area you want to specialize in.

6. Complete your remaining exams.

The exams will depend on whether you go the SOA or CAS route.

If you choose CAS, you will need to complete the following:

  • Basic Techniques for Ratemaking and Estimating Claim Liabilities
  • Regulation & Financial Reporting
  • Estimation of Policy Liabilities, Insurance Company Valuation, and ERM
  • Advanced Ratemaking
  • Financial Risk & Rate of Return

Certified actuarial analyst

5. Create a stellar resume.

Someone at your school’s career center can help you if you don’t know-how.

A great resume should highlight your relevant experience in a crisp manner.

Ideally, your resume should only be one page.

  • Include your GPA, which actuarial science recruiters expect to see.
  • Mention any SOA/CAS professional exams you have completed.
  • Explain how you have used your computer skills in any projects.

4. Stop into your career center to find job openings.

Note any requirements, such as an internship or minimum GPA.

The job posting should also tell you what to submit to be considered (e.g., resume, writing sample, etc.)

  • Your school might also host job fairs that actuary companies attend.

Certified actuarial analyst

3. Search actuary websites for job openings.

Your career center won’t have everything.

Search for actuary firms by doing a general Internet search.

And look at each firm’s website to see if there are openings.

  • Even if no jobs are listed, you can still send cold emails to actuary firms.
  • Send a friendly email introducing yourself along with a copy of your resume.
  • Ask if they have any job openings.

2. Prepare for your interviews.

Most importantly, research the company thoroughly online.

Also, call anyone you know who works in the firm.

You should be prepared to ask at least two insightful questions about the firm at your interview.

  • Contact your career center to do a mock interview.
  • In particular, focus on your body language.
  • You should sit with your back straight, which conveys confidence.
  • Always keep your hands above the desk but below your collarbone.
  •  If you move your hands around too much, you’ll come across as skittish.

Certified actuarial analyst

1. Send thank-you notes after each interview.

The notes can be simple. Thank the person for their time and emphasize your interest in the firm. Remember not to be too informal. Refer to people as “Mr.” or “Ms.”

  • For example, you could write, “Thank you, Ms. Jones, for meeting with me on Thursday, the 2nd. You answered every question I had, and I left convinced that ABC Insurance is a great place to work as an actuary.”

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