How to Become an Actuary (5 Step Guide)  

Published: October 18, 2023

Curious about how to become an actuary? Look no further! Actuaries are professionals who assess and manage risks using mathematical and analytical skills. They play a vital role in the insurance, finance, healthcare, and consulting industries. 

With the increasing complexities of the business world, the demand for actuaries is rising. Pursuing a career as an actuary can lead to lucrative salaries and benefits, including attractive remuneration packages and international opportunities. The average salary for an actuary in the US is $152,551 annually.

Strong mathematical and analytical skills are crucial for success in this field and other relevant competencies that we shall highlight in this guide on becoming an actuary.

An actuary working on analyzing loan balances data

In this guide, we’ll explore the path to becoming an actuary, providing valuable insights for a rewarding career in this dynamic profession. Let’s uncover the world of actuaries and the steps to achieve your goal!

What is an Actuary?

If you are wondering what is an actuary in the first place, then let us begin with the basics.

Actuaries are highly skilled professionals who manage and mitigate risks for organizations. Through their expertise in mathematics, statistics, and data analysis, they provide invaluable insights and strategic guidance to help companies navigate uncertain terrain and make informed decisions.

In the insurance industry, they assess probabilities, set premiums, and ensure financial stability. Actuaries also play a crucial role in finance, analyzing investment risks, and designing pension plans. 

Their expertise extends to consulting, where they provide strategic advice on risk management and financial forecasting. Using their mathematical and analytical skills, actuaries help companies make informed decisions, optimize performance, and navigate uncertainties. 

With their ability to analyze complex data and anticipate potential risks, actuaries are invaluable assets in various industries. Their contributions ensure that businesses can thrive in a volatile and unpredictable business landscape.

5 Steps to Become an Actuary (Fastest Way)

Calculators, numbers on sheets, and money stack representing actuary career

If you want to become an actuary, you must take on the following steps based on expert opinion.

  • Step #1 Earn A Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science
  • Step #2 Get an Entry-Level Actuarial Science Job
  • Step #3 Earn Your Masters of Actuarial Science
  • Step #4 Get a Job as an Experienced Actuary
  • Step #5 Consider Continuing Education or Specialization

Step 1: Earn A Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science

Choose an actuarial science degree program that covers math, statistics, and economics. These subjects are vital for actuaries. 

Look for calculus, probability, and data analytics courses to build a strong foundation. Consider internships or work experience opportunities during your studies to gain practical skills. Selecting the right undergraduate program sets the stage for a successful career in actuarial science.

Step 2: Get an Entry-Level Actuarial Science Job

Gain real-world experience to kickstart your career. Look for entry-level positions like Actuarial Analyst or Actuarial Assistant. These roles provide hands-on exposure to actuarial work and help you apply your knowledge. 

Network with professionals in the field, attend industry events and join actuarial organizations to expand your connections and discover job opportunities. Be aware of any certification or licensing requirements needed for entry-level positions. Then, start building your actuarial career with practical experience and a strong network.

Step 3: Earn Your Masters of Actuarial Science

Consider pursuing a Master’s degree in actuarial science to enhance your expertise. Look for graduate programs that offer specialized coursework in advanced actuarial topics and provide opportunities for research or a thesis. 

A Master’s degree can deepen your knowledge, improve your job prospects, and potentially lead to higher-level positions in the field.

When selecting a program, consider factors such as faculty expertise, industry connections, and research opportunities. Prepare for a successful actuarial career by pursuing a master’s degree tailored to your interests and goals.

Step 4: Get a Job as an Experienced Actuary

Progress in your actuarial career by aiming for senior-level positions Like Actuarial Manager or Chief Actuary. These roles involve leading teams, managing projects, and making strategic decisions. 

Stay updated with industry trends, regulations, and advancements to stay competitive. Network with professionals, attend conferences, seek mentorship to expand your professional connections and learn from experienced actuaries. 

Be aware of any certification or licensing requirements needed for senior-level positions. Further your actuarial career by gaining experience, staying current, and building a solid professional network.

Step 5: Consider Continuing Education or Specialization

Explore continuing education opportunities to advance your actuarial career further. Pursue advanced top-rated actuarial courses or specialized training to broaden your knowledge and enhance your expertise in specific areas.

Continuing education can open doors to new opportunities and increase your marketability. When selecting a program, consider its reputation, curriculum, and relevance to your career goals. 

Specialized actuarial roles offer unique challenges and opportunities, such as Healthcare Actuary or Pension Actuary. Stay proactive in your professional development by considering continuing education and exploring specialized roles to excel in your actuarial career.

7 Actual Responsibilities of Actuaries 

Team of actuaries working together

Now that we know what an actuary is, you must be wondering what actuaries do and what are their job responsibilities. Well, look no further, as we have them here for you.

  1. Analyzing and interpreting data to assess financial risk
  2. Assessing and managing financial risks for organizations.
  3. Developing and implementing strategies to manage risk
  4. Creating financial models and projections
  5. Communicating complex information to stakeholders
  6. Staying up-to-date with industry regulations and trends
  7. Ensuring long-term financial stability and success for businesses

Given the nature of actuarial science jobs, we highly recommend that you check out the best financial modeling courses first before you dive deep into becoming an actuary. This way, you can get a taste of the field and make an informed decision.

How to Become an Actuary Without a Degree?

While getting an actuary degree is the traditional path, it is possible to become an actuary without a degree through alternative routes. Self-study, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training are viable options. However, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges of this path, such as increased competition and limited opportunities. 

Dedication, self-discipline, and a strong work ethic are crucial to success. Additionally, pursuing professional certifications like the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) can help establish credibility.

Be aware of certification and licensing requirements, as they may vary. Pursuing a career as an actuary without a degree requires perseverance and a commitment to continuous learning.

Career Trajectory for Becoming an Actuary

An actuary’s working table shot

Actuaries have diverse career paths, including roles as consultants, executives, or specialists in areas like healthcare or pensions. Therefore, networking and staying updated with industry trends are vital for career advancement. 

Experienced actuaries enjoy competitive salaries and benefits, reflecting their expertise and value to organizations. To achieve long-term success, continue learning and pursuing professional development opportunities.

 Build a strong professional network, attend industry events, and seek mentorship to gain insights from seasoned professionals. Actuarial careers offer lucrative prospects, as discussed initially, but staying adaptable, continuously improving skills, and embracing new challenges is critical to thriving in this dynamic field.

How to Become an Actuary - FAQs

How Hard Is It to Become an Actuary?

Becoming an actuary requires dedication and a strong aptitude for math and analysis. It can be challenging due to the rigorous exams and coursework, but with perseverance and commitment, it is achievable.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become an Actuary?

To become an actuary, you typically need a Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science or a related field, along with passing a series of actuarial exams. In addition, strong mathematical and analytical skills are essential, and gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions is beneficial.

What Is the Fastest Way to Become an Actuary?

The fastest way to become an actuary is by pursuing an actuarial science degree, passing actuarial exams while in school, and gaining relevant work experience through internships or entry-level positions. It requires a focused approach, effective time management, and a dedication to continuous learning and exam preparation.


Becoming an actuary is a challenging yet rewarding journey. By following the steps outlined in this guide on how to become an actuary, including earning a degree, gaining experience, pursuing advanced education, and staying updated with industry trends, you can set yourself on a path to success in this dynamic field. 

Remember to network, seek mentorship, and embrace continuous learning for long-term career growth. So, if you have a passion for math, analysis, and managing risks, embark on the exciting path to becoming an actuary and unlock a world of opportunities.

Start your journey with the help of to become an actuary today by researching the top-rated actuarial science programs, exploring internship opportunities, and connecting with professionals in the field. So embrace the challenge, invest in your education, and pursue your passion for numbers and risk management. Your future as an actuary awaits!