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Career profile: Actuary

Career profile: ActuaryAre you good with numbers and able to explain your sums to people who find maths more difficult? If yes, then read on to discover how to become an actuarial consultant.

A what?

An actuarial consultant records financial trends and makes predictions about the future of the market.

On the job

What you do on a day-to-day basis will depend on what your company chooses to focus on. It could be giving pensions advice, monitoring mergers and acquisitions, or researching current developments within the business world.

Most of the daily work will involve analysing statistics and assessing risks. Usually actuarial consultants do not make direct decisions about the actions of the company, but their research and advice will inform the larger decisions taken by management.

Course entry requirements

The minimum requirement for entry to the Faculty or Institute of Actuaries is A-level Grade B in Mathematics, A-level Grade C in any other subject and three GCSE Grade C in three subjects including English.

Alternatively the applicant should hold a degree and has either studied mathematical sciences as a major subject as part of an honours degree and gained at least third class honours, or obtained a first or second class honours degree in any subject, together with at least a Grade C at A level in any mathematical subject.

As actuarial employers are looking for students with a numerate degree, either first or upper second class, you would be able to study a wide choice of subjects including mathematics, statistics, actuarial science, physics, chemistry, economics, engineering and any other course with a large mathematical content. After your degree you will need to gain a Fellowship from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. For this you will need to study and take exams, there are 15 exams that you will need to take and three years of work based skills. Most students complete their Fellowship within three to six years.

What does training involve?

Training is an important part of an actuarial career. The qualification is split into two sections.

  • Associateship Students can become Associate members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and gain the right to describe themselves as an actuary and to use the letters AIA or AFA. In order to gain this qualification you must pass the Core Technical and Core Application subjects, do one year of work based skills and attend a one day professionalism course for Associates.
  • Fellowship Members of the profession who wish to continue their studies to an advanced level, or who specialise in a particular actuarial field, may take further specialist exams to qualify as a Fellow. Fellows use the letters FIA or FFA and are highly sought after as experts in their chosen field. Members will be admitted to the class of Fellow on successful completion of the Associate exams (Core technical and Core applications subjects), two of the specialist technical subjects, one of the specialist applications subjects, and having met the work-based skills requirement.

Most students of the profession complete the exams working with an employer on a graduate trainee scheme. However, you can take the exams independently.

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