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Careers FAQs

  • What qualifications do I need to become an actuary?

    Most employers are looking for graduates with at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-levels or equivalent.

    The minimum requirements for admission as a student of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) are:

    • Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B, together with a second A-level (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C, or
    • three Scottish National Qualifications Authority Higher passes, one of which must be in mathematics at grade A, or
    • the Irish Leaving Certificate in at least five subjects; one of the passes must be in mathematics at grade A,
    • or
    • other qualifications which are considered to be equivalent to the above

    For holders of a second class honours degree or above in a non-mathematical subject, the maths A-level requirement is reduced to a grade C

    For holders of a third class honours or above in a mathematical or actuarial science degree, the maths A-level requirement is dropped.

  • What if I don’t meet the entry requirements?

    There is the option to take some exams as a non-member which will give you the option to see if the maths skills and experience you have is enough to take our exams. If you do take and pass the exam, then you will be eligible to become a member of the profession. However, there are a few things to note before you consider this option:

    • most employers look for students with a minimum 2:1 in a numerate degree and A level maths
    • you will be up against students with 1st or 2nd class numerate degrees who will be exempt from several of the IFoA’s exams
    • each company, especially in the recession, will have raised their entry requirements in order to facilitate the huge number of applicants for each position; if you do not meet the basic requirements it may put you at a disadvantage
    • if you speak to an employer and explain that you have/or are thinking of gaining entry to the profession, this may exempt you from some of their entry requirements. However, please note that this cannot be guaranteed: each company will have its own specific entry requirements.  Employers details can be found in the Directory of Employers.
  • How do I choose my university course?

    Most employers prefer candidates with a numerate degree from a university department with a strong reputation. A numerate degree may also lead to exemptions from some of the profession's exams. Actuarial science degrees, in particular, are likely to carry exemptions.

    You could look at the University League Tables for further information on how the universities you are interested in are rated.

  • Will I benefit from studying a degree in actuarial science?

    Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science, which offer exemptions from some or all of the Core Principle subjects examinations.

    The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

    • it gives you the opportunity to find out more about actuarial work before accepting an actuarial trainee role with an employer
    • if you achieve a sufficiently high standard in the appropriate university exams, then you will be recommended for exemption from the corresponding professional exams
    • if you have an actuarial degree you should be able to qualify more quickly than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions
    • a higher number of exam passes or exemptions may mean that you receive a higher salary (probably staggered and dependent on future exam success)
    • a degree in actuarial science is an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as the actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.
  • Will I be at a disadvantage if I am not doing an actuarial science degree?

    There are benefits to studying alternative degrees:

    • non-actuarial degrees enable students to study a greater range of subjects
    • non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the Core Principle subjects
    • some employers are less enthusiastic than others about employing actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers
    • experience in the office is at least as important as exam passes. Actuarial graduates should not assume that they will necessarily be paid more than other graduates.
  • What about post-graduate degrees?

    Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from Core Principle subjects or Specialist Principles.  These have similar advantages to the actuarial science degrees noted above.

  • What exemptions from the professional examinations will I obtain?

    Some undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offer exemptions from all eight of the Core Principle subjects. Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from some examinations  and Specialist Principles.  Visit the University courses with exemptions page to find out more.

  • What happens in a graduate placement?

    Once you have obtained a placement within a firm, you will be able to start to work your way through the exams, eventually gaining the necessary work experience for you to qualify as a Fellow of the IFoA.

    Typically employers give you one day off a week to study, although this is at the discretion of each individual employer. You will be given a study mentor who will be able to support you through the exams. Your salary will normally increase when you pass exams and take on more work and responsibility.

  • How long does it take to qualify?

    In order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow, students must pass a number of examinations and complete a satisfactory period of work experience. The time to qualification will depend upon an individual's progress through the examinations, any exemptions obtained and completion of work experience. To qualify as a Fellow takes, on average, 6-7 years.

  • Will I need to continue training once I have qualified?

    Yes, actuaries are required to maintain their competence once qualified through continuing professional development (CPD).

Contact Details

You can contact the Careers team at:

careers@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 7th Floor Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP

We aim to respond to all enquiries within five working days.

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Events calendar

  • SIAS Event: Navigating Organisational Politics Positively

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    3 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The term 'office politics' usually has a lot of negative connotations and indeed an inability to be able to navigate an organisation's formal processes and interact effectively with others at work can have far reaching adverse consequences.

  • Spaces available

    Public scrutiny of what investment funds deliver for consumers continues to be high profile, with the FCA’s Asset Management Market Study requiring fund managers to make (and publish) an annual assessment of value for authorised funds from the end of 2019.

  • Reimagining ageing

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7Q
    14 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Reimagining ageing, hosted by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, in partnership with the ILC

  • Spaces available

    Increasing global concern over the impact of climate change has recently led to public scrutiny over the adequacy of existing risk management practices by insurance firms and pension schemes in dealing with these challenges, that potentially impact both individual actuaries and the IFOA generally.

     

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI is a well-established one-day seminar designed to increase awareness and encourage discussion on a variety of topical issues across the general insurance industry. 

    There will be an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers to provide a variety of perspectives and challenge covering technical and professional areas. 

  • Cass Event – New Thinking about Deferred Annuities

    Cass Business School, Executive Education Facilities 200 Aldersgate St, London EC1A 4HD
    21 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Our motivation for discussing this important subject comes from some exciting recent research which has analysed the impact of behavioural factors on the decision to purchase an annuity. This work has shown that behavioural factors can explain the well-known low demand for immediate annuities but this research also identifies an important opportunity in relation to deferred annuities (DA). The research suggests that these factors lead to positive incentives to purchase a DA and that, for longer deferred periods, a DA could be an attractive product for both consumers and insurers.

  • IFoA/SAS Joint Professional Skills Training – Singapore

    Room 903, NTUC Centre, Level 9, One Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018989
    25 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Singapore Actuarial Society (SAS) are organising a joint Professional Skills Training (PST) in Singapore. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019 + Volunteer and Member Drinks Reception

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • IFAM event - Actuarial Teachers’ & Researchers’ Conference 2019

    Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics Department of Mathematical  Sciences The University of Liverpool Mathematical Sciences Building Peach Street Liverpool, L69 7ZL
    27 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (IFAM) at the University of Liverpool is pleased to host the 2019 Actuarial Teachers’ and Researchers’ Conference from 27-28 June 2019. This annual two-day event has been running annually now for many years, each time hosted by a different university, and provides all those interested in actuarial research and education a great opportunity to share their ideas and catch up on the latest developments.

  • IFoA/ASM Joint Professional Skills Training – Kuala Lumpur

    Menara AIA, Auditorium, 99 Jalan Ampang, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
    28 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Actuarial Society of Malaysia (ASM) are organising a joint Professional Skills Training (PST) in Kuala Lumpur. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year.