Careers in Actuarial Science
Actuaries consistently appear at the top of the list when it comes to job satisfaction. Find out more about what this career path entails, and whether it may be a good fit for you at http://www.beanactuary.org/
The BeAnActuary.org site above provides some general course work recommendations; UA courses that have been found useful include: MATH 122A/B or 125, 129, and 223 (the calculus sequence), MATH 464 and 466 (probability and statistics). MATH 464 should be helpful in preparing for the P exam. The Math Department has a new course, MATH 462 (financial math) intended to prepare students for the FM exam; it is available in UAccess beginning spring 2018, and will typically be offered only in spring.
ECON 200, 332, and 361 have also been reported to be useful (see VEE requirements below). Note that ECON 200 can fulfill the University's Tier 2 Individuals & Societies General Education requirement. To enroll in ECON 332 or 361, students usually need to declare a major or minor in Economics.
VEE: Validation by Educational Experience
As of July 1, 2018, actuaries need VEE credit in three topics: Economics, Accounting & Finance, and Mathematical Statistics.
|VEE Topic||Relevant UA Coursework||Dates Approved|
|Economics||ECON 332, ECON 361||1/1/1980 to 12/31/2021|
|Accounting & Finance||ACCT 250, FIN 311, FIN 301||Submitted Fall 2018 - not yet approved|
|Mathematical Statistics||MATH 466||Submitted Fall 2018 - not yet approved|
Please note that students must meet enrollment requirements in order to take the listed courses. In particular, ECON and FIN courses may require a declared major or minor.
You can access a full list of UA or other courses that can be used for VEE credit here.
Anyone can submit a course for VEE approval; see https://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-vee.aspx for information.
Exams, Internships, & Planning
Students usually need to have completed two exams and an internship to land a job after graduation; completion of one exam is usually necessary to land the internship. Be sure to let your advisor know you are interested in this career path whenever you plan courses together.
The first two exams are P (Probability) and FM (Financial Math); it is usually easier for our students to take course work in preparation for the FM exam first:
Statistics & Data Science Major
|Freshman Year:||122A/B or 125 (Calculus 1)||129 (Calculus 2), programming||122A/B or 125 (Calculus 1)||129 (Calculus 2), programming|
|Sophomore Year:||223 (Vector Calc), 313 (Linear Algebra)||323 (Proofs), 462 (Financial Math)||223 (Vector Calc), 313 (Linear Algebra)||363 (Intro to Stats), 462 (Financial Math)|
|Take FM exam after completion of MATH 462. Apply for Summer Internships early in Fall semester of Junior year.|
|Junior Year:||355 (Diff Eq), 464 (Probability)||466 (Statistics)||375 (Stat Computing), 464 (Probability)||466 (Statistics)|
|Summer Internship. Take P exam after completion of MATH 464. Apply for jobs in Fall semester of Senior year.|
|Senior Year:||4XX (depends on emphasis chosen)||4XX (depends on emphasis chosen)||467 (Appl Lin Models)||469 (Intro to Data Sci)|
The Casualty Actuary Society maintains a helpful site for students, CAS Student Central; if you are interested in property/casualty actuary jobs, this is a great site for you to join. Not only do they have useful information about course work to take, they also have internship and job listings!
Our liaison to the CAS tries to visit each Spring to give a presentation about the field, exams, etc. She has shared the slides from her most recent visit: UA_Slides_2019.pdf
Our CAS liaison recommends The Infinite Actuary: https://www.theinfiniteactuary.com/ for exam preparation. Though she's credentialed through CAS, they also have materials for the SOA exams. They even have mobile apps!
Another resource for preparing to take actuarial exams is "Coaching Actuaries": http://www.coachingactuaries.com/ You can view free previews on the site, but there is a fee for the full version. This site is great for practice, but students will typically also want an exam study manual to supplement.
Additional information about careers in Actuarial Science can be found on the following web pages created by Professor Emeritus Donald Myers: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~donaldm/actuarial/actuarl.html and http://www.u.arizona.edu/~donaldm/homepage/prob_st.html. We will be working on updates to this information over the coming months.
Current U of A students can also request to join our Actuarial Science Interest listserv.