Becoming an actuary is a multistage process that can take several years to complete. Once you've completed the process, you'll be a fully-qualified actuary. Here are the steps to becoming an actuary:
- Earn a bachelor's degree in math, business, actuarial science, finance, statistics or a related field. Although a master's degree may be helpful, it's not necessary. A successful actuary also has good communication skills, as well as good computer skills. [source: Actuary Prerequisites]
- Apply to a school, college or university that offers a fully-accredited actuarial course. If necessary, contact the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) for a list of schools in your area. The SOA and CAS also offer self-study courses for exam preparation.
- Apply for the required exams through the SOA or the CAS. The exams are given in two parts. The basic or preliminary part covers various theories and actuarial models. The advanced part includes the Associate and Fellowship exams.
- Apply for a job as an actuary while taking the exams; this gives you the opportunity to both earn a salary and gain experience during the examination phase. Many employers are willing to hire people who passed one or two exams, provided they intend to complete all of them [source: Actuary Exams].
- Apply for the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) exams. Although these aren't part of the standard exam series, they are nevertheless required.
Once you've have passed these exams, you can begin your career as an actuary. Good luck!