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Route to becoming an actuary

If you’re passionate about maths and have the determination to succeed you’ve already taken the first steps towards becoming an actuary.

We will guide you through every step of your journey, from picking the right subjects at school, right up to starting your IFoA exams. 

If you are a teacher, careers adviser or parent we have a number of specialist resources available to help you support students interested in becoming an actuary.

Where do I begin?

There's more than one way to become an actuary and you can choose the route that best suits your situation now and your long term ambitions. Most people start with a maths-based degree at 2:1 or above and begin taking actuarial exams once they have secured a graduate role.

Others choose an actuarial apprenticeship and get started that way. 

If you don’t have a background in maths but are interested in an actuarial career, we recommend you take one of our non-member exams to gain an understanding of the level of maths required to become an actuary.

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Routes to becoming an actuary diagram

Choosing the right school subjects

As a minimum, we recommend that you start with an A Level or equivalent in Maths. This is not only helps you build the groundwork for future exams, it is often a requirement for many employers. Beyond maths, it’s important to look at subjects you are most likely to enjoy and be successful at. This could be supporting subjects such as economics or physics, but don’t underestimate the value of other subjects such as languages – these can help demonstrate your communication skills! Find out more about the different subjects you can choose in our blog 'what subjects you should study in school'.

What university course should I pick?

With so many university courses to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Firstly, we recommend a course that is maths-based. You can chose from a number of maths-based subjects such as economics, physics, pure maths or statistics. We recommend choosing a course that includes a significant amount of maths modules.

Find out more about the different maths-based degrees you could choose in 'what degrees can help'.

If you would like to study a course that is specific to the actuarial profession, there are a number of actuarial science degrees that are accredited by the IFoA, which will help you prepare for a career as an actuary. We accredit university courses around the globe which can provide you with exemptions to some of our exams. This means you’ll have less exams to complete after you graduate, giving you a head start with your exams.

Visit our university exemption page to find out more about our accredited degree programmes.

Whatever programme you pick, most employers will look for a 2:1 as a minimum so make sure that you study something that you will enjoy and excel at.

What type of person is suited to the actuarial profession? Watch our video to find out.

Actuarial Apprenticeships

There are a number of actuarial apprenticeships available for those who don’t wish to go to university after leaving school. Our Level 4 actuarial technician apprenticeship will start you on your journey to becoming a fully qualified Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA ). Once you complete your apprenticeship you may complete the CAA exams and qualify as a Certified Actuarial Analyst, or you may wish to consider applying for a Level 7 apprenticeship to begin your path to qualifying as an Actuary. 

More information about apprenticeships is available on our actuarial apprenticeships page.

To find out more about the CAA qualification visit the CAA Global website.

Finding a graduate or trainee role

Whether you choose to go to university or complete an apprenticeship, you will need to secure your first actuarial role. This role will help you to put the skills you gain thorough our exams into practice and will provide you with the necessary work experience you need to qualify as an Associate or Fellow of the IFoA. Many employers will provide you with study support and fund your exams. The entry requirements for trainees will vary depending on the employer and the specific role. 

Find out how you can improve your chances of securing a trainee role in 'how to secure an actuarial internship'.

Dr Mark Farrell FIA, sets out five key skills graduates need to meet the rapid changes in the actuarial profession.

To find out more about the types of roles available for trainees download our Employer Directory. If you are an overseas students, we have tailored resources available to guide you as you take your first steps towards a career in actuarial science.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news about trainee and graduate roles and employer events. 
 

Watch our members discuss how to become an actuary

Starting your exams

Although our exams may seem complex, there is plenty of support and guidance available to you. Depending on the modules you study, the grades you achieve and whether your degree programme is IFoA accredited, you can apply for exemptions from IFoA exams. This will help reduce the number of exams you will need to take to become an actuary. If you don’t have any exemptions, you will start with our first exam. 

Exam pathway diagram

There are 2 opportunities to sit exams each year, in April and September. To find out more about the exam dates and the deadlines for application visit Exams Dates 2021.

The exams are not as scary as you think! Watch our video for tips on managing the challenge of exams.

 

Becoming a student member

Before you can begin your exams and gain exemptions, you will need to become a student member of the IFoA. The only exception is if you have chosen to take one of our first exams as a non-member. As a student member, you will be able to access to a range of resources to support your studies and become part of a global network of talented individuals.

Find out how you can join the IFoA as a student member.

Find out more about the actuarial profession

Download our Careers Guide for for more information about becoming an actuary, the routes you can take and advice to help you get started.

If you would like to find out more about how you can secure work experience, placements or graduate opportunities and hear from those within the actuarial profession, download our Employer Directory.

If you’re based outside of the UK, we have tailored resources and local networks to guide you as you take your first steps towards a career in actuarial science.

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

  • Spaces available

    Climate-Related Risk - This free to view webinar on Climate-Related Risk is the first in a series focusing on some of the ‘Hotspots’ identified in the JFAR Risk Perspective bringing the Risk Perspective to life with practical illustrations and insights from subject experts from the IFoA and other Regulators

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    Recent decades have seen institutions, such as employers and financial services, give people more choice and flexibility, but these freedoms have come with more responsibilities. Individuals are now responsible for managing more of their own financial risks, from ensuring they put enough money into their pension to securing affordable protection to be financially resilient.

  • Actuarial Innovation in the COVID-19 era

    This event is online. 
    26 April 2021 - 7 May 2021
    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new IFoA webinar weries comprising of a fortnight of webinars, panel sessions and a hackathon, that showcase the range of ways in which the actuarial profession has added value, in the public interest, to the understanding and management of the current and future pandemics through insight and learning.

  • Spaces available

    This event is now temporarily closed on Monday 26 April, but the session will be repeated on Tuesday 27 April, 09.00-10.30. Please click here to register your place. 

    Actuaries have a lot to offer biodiversity management over the next decade as the world develops more depth to its response to this global challenge. This sessional offers an opportunity to learn about this emergent risk, to contribute to our thinking as a profession and help us develop the next steps forward.

  • Europe Town Hall

    28 April 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual Europe Town Hall, hosted by John Taylor with IFoA Council Members Alan Rae, Jennifer Hartley, Maribel Vasquez Flores and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann.

  • Spaces available

    Sessional Meeting - Free to viewMis-estimation risk is a key element of demographic risk, and past work has focused on mis-estimation risk on a run-off basis.  However, this does not meet the requirements of regulatory regimes like Solvency II, which demands that capital requirements are set through the prism of a finite horizon like one year.  This paper presents a value-at-risk approach to mis-estimation risk suitable for Solvency II work

  • Finance & Investment Virtual Conference 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    10-12 May 2021
    Spaces available

    This year's Finance and Investment Virtual Conference takes on the timely theme of ‘resilience’, something we have all learnt a lot more about in the last year! Our diverse range of talks will explore the theme of resilience in a variety of ways including in building robust investment portfolios, in the incorporation of ESG factors, in govern

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    This talk will explore the potential benefits that wearable tech can bring to health & protection insurers and their customers. The traditional approach of integrating wearables into insurance has largely focused on measuring steps and using rewards-based incentive programs to encourage more activity.

  • Spaces available

    Join us for this talk with Professor Sir Adrian Smith as part of the 'Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series'. Professor Smith joined The Alan Turing Institute as Institute Director and Chief Executive in September 2018. In November 2020, he became President of the Royal Society, in addition to his leadership of the Turing. He is also a member of the government's AI Council, which helps boost AI growth in the UK and promote its adoption and ethical use in businesses and organisations across the country. He received a knighthood in the 2011 New Year Honours list.

     

  • CILA 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    19-21 May 2021
    Spaces available

    We continue to live in a world of global uncertainty. Survival depends on our ability to simultaneously navigate through the diverse root-causes, ranging from: the consequences of Climate Change; on-going financial consequences of the COVID pandemic; or self-imposed changes in regulatory requirements and accounting standards.

  • Pensions Conference 2021

    Online webinar series
    16-22 June 2021
    Spaces available

    Welcome to the programme for our 2nd Virtual Pensions Conference. This year's conference features 11 webinars offering members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the pension industry. There will also be opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.