2 answers

What is the path for an actuary after college?

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More schooling? Testing? Internship? #actuary #careerpath

2 answers

Sharon’s Answer


Depending on your college major and courses, I recommend taking at least one of the actuarial exams while still in college if possible. This is easier if your classes match up well with an exam (if you're in an Actuarial Science program and taking a probability course, for example), but it is very possible to study and pass on your own. Passing at least one exam opens the door for more internships while you're still in college, which makes it easier to find a full time job when you graduate. The first few exams are the same regardless of your job, so you don't need to choose a path (life/health vs. property/casualty) until later.

I don't believe additional schooling is necessary beyond a bachelor's (in anything); passing actuarial exams is much more important for starting the career. Most employers of actuaries will support continuing taking exams while working full time with paid days off to study, paying for study materials and classes, and paying for the exam fees themselves.

Sharon recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out beanactuary.org to learn about the exam process and start studying for an exam
  • Look into internships while still in school

Ken’s Answer


The most important thing for you to do to determine your path to success as an actuary, is to get to know yourself better to find out how your personality traits will match with people who are successful in this broad field and then meet and talk to people who are doing what you think that you want to do to see what they do, how they got there, and see what advice and suggestions that they might have for you.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
  • Let me share an interesting story about internships: During my daughter's senior year in high school, the highlight of the year (and of the whole high school experience) was to be a several month long internship program. Everyone signed up and indicated the type of internship that they wanted - all except for one girl. This girl wanted to become a doctor and wanted her internship to be with the local EMS unit at the local fire station. So, she talked to the head of the EMS unit and got his approval and made arrangements with the school to create her own internship. Of all of the students about which I heard, she was the one who benefited the most by her internships. My daughter's was definitely not the highlight of her school career. Her first choice fell through and her final assignment was not really what she wanted and did not give her the type of exposure that she had hoped for. This shows that you can create your own internship! Locate a company that fits the parameters of the type of experience and exposure that you are seeking and work with them and the appropriate people in your school to put it in motion. After all, if there is an internship program existing today, anywhere, it had to be created by someone.