How to become an actuary

It takes on average between three and six years to qualify as an actuary, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Most actuaries start their training once they graduate, but the information below also applies to people entering from another career.

Step 1 - Take an A-Level or a Higher in maths or an equivalent

You'll definitely need this to become an actuary. But it's worth noting that whatever you eventually decide to do, taking maths will broaden your career options.

Step 2 - Get a good degree

For most actuarial employers, a 2.1 or better is essential. Any subject is acceptable, but employers prefer candidates with numerate degrees such as actuarial science, maths, stats, economics, engineering, chemistry or physics.

We have links with universites with accreditation or exemption agreements, do you want to find out more?

Step 3 - Find a trainee position

Join an actuarial firm and develop your skills while you qualify. Your careers adviser can help, and you can download a Directory of actuarial employers offering work experience or graduate trainee positions, or visit the actuaries pages of the Inside Careers website. There is no age limit for joining the profession. If you're interested in changing from another career or profession, we usually recommend you undertake one or two of our examinations independently, to assess your skills. Your experience in your current career may be valuable to an actuarial firm, and you may wish to contact actuarial employers directly to discuss your potential.

Step 4 - Register as an actuarial student and gain your qualifications

To become an Associate or Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries you must pass our examinations, or be granted exemption from them, and also attain a satisfactory level of work-based skills. This usually takes between three and six years. You study by distance learning, and many employers offer support for study, some offering paid study leave during your training. In the Students section of this website you can learn all about the qualifications you need to enter the profession, how and when to apply for student membership, and you can download and complete an application form. Our qualifications shows you what exams you need in order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow of the Profession. The Student Handbook is a helpful resource in outlining the route through the exams we recommend.

Step 5 - Enjoy a job anywhere in the world

Within the actuarial profession there are many different and exciting career paths, and once you're qualified, your skills can take you anywhere. Some actuaries specialise in technical research, while others may focus more on commercial activities. Most go on to be practising specialists in one of the traditional financial fields, with many becoming senior managers in insurance companies or firms of consultants.