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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

  • India Town Hall

    Webinar
    28 January 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual India Town Hall 2021, hosted by John Taylor with IFoA Council Member Mahidhara Davangere and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann. 

  • Spaces available

    What are the options for the world economy looking ahead?

    In this Thought Leadership Lecture, Economist, Vicky Pryce, will be discussing world economic trends, including the differences in geographical performance and how output is recovering and where.

  • Spaces available

    Trust and Leadership for Actuaries

    Led by Dr. Jim Baxter, University of Leeds, this webinar introduces some key ideas in the ethics of trust, with a particular focus on those in, or on the path to, leadership roles. Dr Baxter is joined by a panel of experienced leaders who will give their personal perspectives on how they understand the value of trust and how they seek to promote and inspire trust, drawing on their experiences of leadership. The panel includes:

  • Health and Care Hot Topics webinar

    Online webinar
    10 February 2021

    Spaces available

    In this webinar, we have two presentations showing the latest research on the implications for life and health insurers of two key issues: genomics and pandemic risk.

    Dr Peter Joshi and Paul Timmers will share their research on how well-established underwriting processes can allow for genomics in predicting expected mortality and morbidity. They will then discuss the potential for stratified screening and personalised medicine to improve health and reduce claim costs.

  • Spaces available

    As the world’s attention begins to turn to COP26 later this year in Glasgow, Sarah Gordon (Chief Executive, Impact Investing Institute) will share her vision for how the financial services industry can deliver for people and the planet, as well as how to encourage more investment with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa Town Hall

    26 February 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual SSA Town Hall 2021, hosted by John Taylor with IFoA Council Members Mukami Njeru, Prosper Matiashe and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann.

  • MENAP Town Hall

    2 March 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual MENAP Town Hall 2021, hosted by John Taylor and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann.