How realistic is a career transition for mid-career professionals into Actuarial Science?
Actuarial Science is a desirable field for career changers who possess strong quantitative skills. Actuaries need a Bachelor’s degree and students must complete coursework in economics, applied statistics, and corporate finance, as well as pass a series of exams to become certified professionals.
Transitioning to actuarial careers takes commitment. The first few years for entry-level actuaries can be demanding, with both work and study taking large amounts of time. Most companies give their entry-level employees time on the clock to study, but it is also expected that a large majority of the study time will be done off the clock.
During the first couple of years in actuarial sciences you may find yourself working and studying for many hours
There are certain individuals who are done studying and taking tests once they reach an Associate Status, while others move towards the Fellow Status, based on their interests or career goals. It can take about 3 to 5 years to obtain an Associate Status and up to another 3 to 5 years to obtain Fellow Status. To learn more about the different levels of status in Actuarial Science, please visit the Society of Actuaries website here: https://www.soa.org/member/
Which exams does the program prepare you for?
UVM’s Actuarial Science Certificate prepares students to take the first two actuarial exams. There are two courses in particular that we recommend that students take as a part of their preparation for the P/1 and FM/2 exams.
STAT 151/Applied Probability is recommended for students preparing for the P/1 exam. MATH 183/Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics is recommended for students preparing for the FM/2 exam.
There are other exams beyond the P/1 and FM/2, but these are generally not taken until you have a few years of experience in the field.
You can visit the websites below for more information on the exam process:
General Information: www.beanactuary.com
For Associate Status: http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-asa-req.aspx
For Fellow Status: http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-fsa-req-2013.aspx
What are the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) Credentials?
The Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) Credentials are something that you can apply for once you have passed at least two actuarial exams and are working in the field of actuarial sciences. The following courses available through UVM’s Actuarial Science Certificate are designed to help students qualify for these credentials:
EC 011/Principles of Macroeconomics and EC 012/Principles of Microeconomics qualify students for the Economics VEE Credit. Both courses are required.
STAT 183/Statistics for Business qualify students for the Applied Statistical Methods VEE Credit.
BSAD 180/Managerial Finance qualify students for the Managerial Finance VEE Credit.
For more information about the VEE credentials and the qualification process, please visit the Society of Actuaries’ webpage here: https://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-vee.aspx
Do you need to take the classes in order?
In general, students may take the courses in the Actuarial Science Certificate in any order they wish. It is important to note, however, that some courses do have prerequisites (please see “What prerequisites do I need?” below).
Most students will choose to start with STAT 151/Applied Probability or MATH 183/Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics as they begin to prepare for the P/1 and FM/2 exams. Please note that the exams themselves can be taken in any order. Students do not have to pass the P/1 exam before taking the FM/2 exam.
Once students have passed their first two exams, they can then continue with the other courses in the certificate in order to qualify for the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) Credentials (please see “What are the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) Credentials” above).
Other students may choose to take the VEE Credential courses at the same time as the two exam prep courses. For more information about an academic plan that will work best for you, please contact a program advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-800-639-3210
What prerequisites do I need?
Students wishing to take STAT 151/Applied Probability and MATH 183 /Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics to prepare for the P/1 and/or FM/2 exams need to have taken up through Calculus II in order to meet the course prerequisites. If students are not ready for Calculus, they can begin with College Algebra or Pre-Calculus. At UVM, students can fulfill these requirements through one of two sequences:
- MATH 009/College Algebra > MATH 019/Fundamentals of Calculus I > MATH 020/Fundamentals of Calculus II
- MATH 010/Pre-Calculus > MATH 021/Calculus I . MATH 022/Calculus II
While we do our best to offer the necessary prerequisites online, not all of the above courses may be available online every semester.
How much time do I need to prepare for the exams?
Students wishing to take the P/1 exam should take STAT 151/Applied Probability and then plan to take an extra four weeks to prepare for the exam through self-study and practice problems.
Students wishing to take the FM/2 exam should take MATH 183/Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics and then plan for an extra four weeks or more to prepare through self-study and practice problems before taking the exam. A little more time may be required to prepare for the
FM/2 exam because of the wide range of material that it covers.
It is recommended to do enough practice problems so that the different types of problems become familiar and solution methods become intuitive.
There are a lot of practice problems available online. Students can also purchase exam prep books.
The total preparation time varies by student, but most students will spend around 500 hours preparing for the two exams.
Please note that it is not recommended to study for both exams at once.
How do I know if Actuarial Science is a good fit for me?
One way to know if actuarial science is a good fit is to go online to a website like www.beanactuary.com and try some of the practice exam problems. If you find the math and problem solving enjoyable, then that may be a good indicator that actuarial science will be a good fit for you.
How realistic is it to get a job in the field? How competitive are entry-level jobs? What is the best way to break into the field?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of actuaries is projected to grow 26% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Students who have passed at least one or two actuarial exams and have had an internship should have the best job prospects for entry-level positions.
For more information, please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website here: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/actuaries.htm#tab-6
Can I take the Actuarial exams online?
Actuarial exams are currently not available online. However, students are able to take the exams all over the U.S. and the world at Prometrics testing centers. To find a testing center and exam schedules see: https://www.prometric.com/en-us/Pages/home.aspx
What requirements and restrictions exist for international students who want to complete the online program?
International students are welcome to participate in the Actuarial Science Certificate courses that are offered online. However, it is important to note that participation in the certificate does not qualify students to receive an invitation letter or any other documentation from UVM to travel to the United States for the purposes of the program.
Are VA Benefits available for this program?
The University of Vermont is able to certify VA benefits for this program. If you intend to use VA benefits for this program, please apply to the program and contact UVM’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator, David Carlson, via email at email@example.com or by phone at (802) 656-0581 to inform the university of these intentions.