Welcome to our short guide for finding a good actuarial training school.
The field of actuarial science can be interesting and the job market for actuaries is steady. Most actuarial jobs are in the insurance sector, and career tracts are well-defined.
Most actuaries start by earning a bachelor’s degree at a good school. Their degree will include courses in actuarial science, mathematics, finance, statistics, business, economics and insurance. These courses help contribute to the student’s development in the areas of quantitative reasoning and critical thinking.
Actuarial science is an intellectually rigorous discipline. Students are expected to develop superior math skills and reasoning ability. SAT scores for undergraduate actuarial science majors typically exceed the SAT scores for the average college major. The actuarial science major is typically an interdisciplinary program with the major area of focus resting with the mathematics department of the school or university.
As they become college juniors and seniors, actuarial students learn actuarial mathematics of life insurance, pensions and life contingencies, risk theory, economics, population theory, the management of interest rate risk, and the convergence of actuarial mathematics with financial economics. There will be courses in the basics of actuarial life and casualty models. Students will learn how to use probability theory in the context of life and property insurance situations.
Actuaries need to pass a short series of professional designation exams. And for students interested in a career in actuarial science, preparation for these actuarial exams starts with their school courses.
Students typically sit for one to several of these examinations prior to graduation. These exams are jointly administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Many schools will offer opportunities and training courses to prepare for these exams, especially the first and second.
Some students may go on to enroll in a Master of Arts in Mathematics with a Specialization in Actuarial Science degree program. This type of program will provide a student with a deeper knowledge of the mathematical foundations of actuarial work and applied statistics.
Most graduates will head off to the world of work after graduation day. Many graduates will have taken internships after their junior year. These internships will typically involve collecting raw data, providing other types of research help, providing some type of analysis and perhaps writing up a preliminary summary. An internship is a terrific method to learn more about the typical day to day work of an actuary.
Students can often develop relationships with actual working professionals through the student school organization Gamma Iota Sigma.
Strong applicants for entry-level actuarial jobs will typically have a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, statistics, mathematics, finance, accounting or economics. Most hiring companies will prefer an applicant that has successfully passed one or two of the actuarial examinations.
Many of the jobs will be in the insurance industry. Job duties may often involve performing complex calculations for either property and casualty, life and disability, or health care insurance situations. These calculations will provide technical assistance with analyses during rate-making, pricing, and management reporting.
The world of the actuary can be rewarding, and it can all start with the right school.
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