How do I Become an Actuarial Scientist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 07 March 2020
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To become an actuarial scientist, it is necessary to get a college degree in mathematics or a related field and take a series of qualification exams to receive certification. It can take several years to complete these exams, and people often choose to start working in the field while taking them, acquiring practical experience they can use on the tests and in applications for employment. This work requires a detailed grasp of mathematical concepts, along with an interest in probability, statistics, and related matters.

Actuarial scientists are responsible for assessing risk for organizations like banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. On the basis of recommendations make by actuaries, companies decide what kind of insurance coverage to buy or offer, and make other important financial decisions. This information is also important for disaster planning and preparedness. A person who wants to become an actuarial scientist can work in a variety of settings, covering diverse topics related to risk assessment and prediction.


High school students can get a head start by taking math classes beyond those that are required, and pursuing advanced math at a local college, if it is open to high school students. People may want to consider getting prerequisite classes taken care of before college as well. A student who plans to become an actuarial scientist will need to attend a college or university with a good mathematics program. Some institutions offer a degree in actuarial science, an excellent option for students planning to pursue actuarial careers.

It is possible to pursue a graduate degree while on the path to become an actuarial scientist, but many students do not. While there are some advantages to advanced training, people usually want to start working right away, and to begin taking their qualification examinations so they will be able to obtain certifications. Study guides and other tools are available to help people prepare for the series of exams, which test practical knowledge, educational attainment, and math skills.

Once someone has become an actuarial scientist with full qualifications, a number of employment opportunities are available. Major financial companies need people with these skills on their staffs, and there are often job openings. The work usually requires spending long hours in the office, and it is important to pursue continuing education to maintain qualifications and keep up with news in the field. This can provide opportunities for travel, as actuaries usually need to attend conferences and other events to build professional connections and exchange information and ideas.



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