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Changes made in 2020 to the Professional Skills Training regime

31 December 2020

The IFoA is committed to supporting our members in attaining the high levels of professionalism that assures our profession’s global reputation.

Our Professional Skills Team and IFoA members have been working together to deliver planned improvements to the IFoA Professional Skills Training regime. The changes are designed to support a more flexible learning approach and to ensure we deliver the appropriate professionalism training at the right time in members’ careers, in a way that better fits around members’ busy working lives.

How is the IFoA changing its Professional Skills Training regime?

New Stage 1 Professionalism Course

We are replacing the current Stage 1 Online Professionalism Awareness Test (OPAT) with a 4 part modular e-learning course.

The course content will cover material included in the previous Stage 2 Professional Skills Course (PSC), so that Student members will benefit from developing this knowledge early on in their actuarial careers. 

The new Stage 1 Professionalism Course can be accessed at any time of your choosing, but must be completed before you can apply to sit CB3 Business Management Exam.  The online course should take around 3 to 4 hours to complete.  Computer based assessments are included but an unlimited number of attempts are permitted. 

New Stage 2 Online Professionalism Course

We are replacing the current Stage 2 Professional Skills Course with a new Stage 2 Online Professionalism Course.   

The course will build on the knowledge acquired in Stage 1, with a format based around discussion of case studies with input from specialist ethicist and actuary facilitators. We have responded to member feedback, condensing the course into a shorter time period and focussing the course content on developing advanced ethical reasoning skills with expert input. The new course case studies will be more accessible and globally relevant as we move away from a practice specific approach.

The new Stage 2 Online Professionalism course will take place over a 1 week period, with pre-reading of case studies to be undertaken and online contributions to be made in advance of the course beginning. The course must be completed, either before you qualify as an Associate, or within 6 years of joining the IFoA.

New course fees

In order for these new courses to be sustainable we will need to charge a course fee for each stage. 

There will be a charge for each of these new style courses from 1 July 2020. A reduced rate fee will be available, for members currently on a reduced rate membership subscription fee, consistent with our pricing structure for other elements of the qualification. 

The fees will be:


Full rate

Reduced rate

Stage 1 Professionalism Course



Stage 2 Online Professionalism Course



Who will the new Professional Skills regime apply to?

The new arrangements will apply to all Students who join the IFoA on or after 1 July 2020.

There will also be transitional arrangements for Students and newly qualified Fellows who joined before 1 July 2020.

Students who join the IFoA on or after 1 July 2020

  • Student members who join on or after 1 July 2020 must complete the new Stage 1 Professionalism Course before they can apply to sit the CB3 exam.
  • Student members who join the IFoA on or after 1 July 2020 must complete both the new Stage 1 and Stage 2 Professionalism Courses before they will be eligible to qualify as an Associate
  • Student members who join on or after 1 July 2020, who are not eligible to qualify as an Associate within 6 years of joining the IFoA, must complete the new Stage 1 and Stage 2 Professionalism Courses within 6 years of joining the IFoA.

Students who join the IFoA under the Transfer of Prior Learning (TPL) process

  • Student members who are accepted under the Transfer of Prior Learning (TPL) process, on or after 1 July 2020, must complete the new Stage 1 Professionalism Course within 6 months from the date of their admission to the IFoA.

What are the transitional arrangements for Students and newly qualified Fellows?

Students who joined the IFoA before 1 July 2020

  • Students who joined the IFoA before 1 July 2020, who have not already completed the relevant Professional Skills course (Stage 1 and/ or Stage 2) will be required to complete the relevant Stage of the new Professional Skills course.
  • All students are required to complete Professional Skills Stage 1 course before taking the CB3 Business Management examination

Newly qualified Fellows who joined as Student members before 1 January 2019

  • Newly qualified Fellows, who joined as Student members before 1 January 2019, and have not yet completed the Stage 2 Professional Skills course will be required to complete the new Stage 2 Professional Skills course within one year of transferring to Fellowship.

Members who have completed (current) Stage 1 and are required to complete the new Stage 2 under the transitional arrangements will also have the option to do the new Stage 1 at a time of their choosing, should they wish to do so. This will be given to eligible members free of charge due to the substantial shift of content from the former Stage 2 PSC to the new Stage 1 Professionalism Course. If this applies to you please contact to book your free place.

Withdrawal of current Professional Skills courses

The current Online Professionalism Awareness Test (OPAT) will be withdrawn from 1 July 2020.

An additional, final Stage 2 Online Professional Skills Course will begin on 6 July 2020, to accommodate demand on a first come first served basis before the new regime is implemented. This course is now fully booked.

For further information please contact

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