How to Become an Actuary

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Becoming an Actuary involves more than just number-crunching; it’s about predicting the future to mitigate risks for individuals and companies. This involves blending mathematics, statistics, finance, and elements of computer science.

Interestingly, many students don’t pursue a specific degree in actuarial science. Instead, they opt for mathematics or related fields and later apply those concepts to their careers as actuaries. Actuarial online programs often concentrate on various degree types, meaning the path to becoming an actuary might lean towards degrees in math, statistics, or finance.


The Society of Actuaries says that actuaries are:

  • Part super hero
  • A little fortune teller
  • Part trusted advisor

That’s because they have to understand that the world is full of risk. As a result, actuaries evaluate the likelihood of a future event using numbers, not crystal balls and design creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events.

Plus, because these undesirable events are unavoidable, actuaries look for ways to decrease the impact of these events when they do happen. Many entry-level actuaries start in a training mentor program with other more experienced professionals. During this time, they may be encouraged to seek certifications, which typically lead to raises and bonuses.

This career is more than just crunching numbers. In fact, usually, actuaries are key members on management teams and help protect companies and individuals against emerging risks in a fast-changing world.


Theory of Interest: Learn how interest works and how to calculate it. This course may cover topics like annuities, investments, and bonds.

Actuarial Modeling: In this course, you could discover how to use math to predict a person’s lifespan, and more! This may be used to figure out life insurance terms and costs.

Macroeconomics: Explore big picture factors that have an effect on the economy. This course may cover ideas like growth and inflation.

Calculus: This course may cover key theories in calculus. You could explore functions, limits and continuity, and more.

Linear Algebra: Learn how to represent linear equations. In this course, you could explore concepts from vectors to matrices.


Two professional societies offer certifications for actuaries. They both offer two levels of certification, associate and fellow.

  • Society of Actuaries (SOA): certifies actuaries in life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, investments, and finance
  • Casualty Actuarial Science (CAS): certifies actuaries in the property and casualty field, which includes automobile, homeowners, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation insurance
OrganizationTypes of ActuariesTypes of CertificationNumber of Tests TakenNumber of Years to Earn (Estimated)
Society of ActuariesLife Insurance, Health Insurance, Retirement Benefits, Investments, FinanceAssociated74 – 7
Society of ActuariesInsurance – Life and Health, Retirement Benefits, Investments, FinanceFellowship76 – 10
Casualty Actuarial ScienceProperty and Casualty Field (Automobile, Homeowners, Medical Malpractice, Workers’ Compensation Insurance)Associate74 – 7
Casualty Actuarial ScienceProperty and Casualty Field (Automobile, Homeowners, Medical Malpractice, Workers’ Compensation Insurance)Fellowship76 – 10

Both professional societies require applicants to complete actuary training programs, certain educational needs in economics, finance, and statistics while in college, so it’s important to know the criteria while you’re earning your degree and becoming certified.

Don’t forget, a statistics or finance degree may also develop similar skills and knowledge as an actuary degree, making these legitimate options to pursue a career as an actuary. Complete the form on this page to get matched to the perfect program for you!


There are many career paths you may choose to pursue after attending online courses in an actuary program. Because the basics of a career as an actuary include math, statistics and business, there are many other similar positions you may be prepared to seek after schooling. Study which options may be available using stats from the BLS.


Entry-level actuaries undertake foundational responsibilities. They gather data and immerse themselves in various departments like marketing and product development to understand how their future tasks align with the company’s overall operations. As they gain experience, they might conduct research and prepare reports.

Median Annual Salary: $113,990 per year

Job growth through 2032: 23% (Much faster than avg)

Entry level edu: Bachelor Degree


Financial analysts delve into company histories, business trends, and prior investments to offer insights guiding future decisions for organizations. They extensively analyze financial statements and craft comprehensive written reports. Their employment extends across various sectors including banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other similar entities.

Median Annual Salary: $96,220 per year

Job growth through 2032: 8% (Faster than average)

Entry level edu: Bachelor degree


Accountants and auditors meticulously review, organize, and prepare financial records, ensuring their accuracy. They’re responsible for timely and precise tax filings for companies or individuals. Moreover, they analyze financial data to optimize asset utilization for businesses and individuals. Auditors may propose strategies to enhance revenue and reduce expenses.

Median Annual Salary: $78,000 per year

Job growth through 2032:4% (As fast as average)

Entry level edu: Bachelor’s degree

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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