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How Do I Get an Actuarial Degree?

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  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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An actuary is a professional who provides solutions to financial problems within a company. The actuary is an expert in financial risks, liabilities and asset management. There are numerous steps for obtaining an actuarial degree, starting with preparation in high school. Once an individual gets an actuary degree and passes the required examinations, he or she can work as an actuary.

An actuary must be independent, practical, innovative, resourceful and versatile. He or she must be a good communicator and must be able to apply a well-thought solution to a complicated issue. If a person has these qualities and decides to pursue an actuary degree, the preparation can begin in high school. The student should take as many math courses as possible, particularly advanced classes such as calculus and statistics. Additionally, computer science classes are a good idea, as actuaries work daily with computers and need solid skills here.

The actuary degree requires a college education based largely on math and business. If the college does not give an actuarial degree, consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business or math. Additionally, some schools may place a heavier concentration on science and award students an actuarial science degree. The coursework will be comprised mainly of math, business and communications classes.

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An actuarial degree requires successful completion of courses in these fields because the work involved is a composite of genres. Math classes are heavily based in statistics and probability, while business courses convey the basics of finances, accounting and economics. Communications courses help those pursuing actuarial degrees to acquire these skills that an actuary needs to deal with people and accomplish results. Examples of courses offered in this field include speech and business communication. A few computer science courses are also necessary to enhance the student’s understanding of how technology aids this career path.

A degree in actuarial science should include some additional liberal arts classes. This will give the actuarial degree recipient a wide spectrum of knowledge about anything he or she may encounter on the job. Outside of the liberal arts requirements unique to each institution, getting an actuarial degree usually requires three semesters of calculus, two of statistics, three of economics, one of finance and one of business communication.

Actuarial science degrees prepare the individual for the examination that must be passed before a person can become an actuary. Most actuaries do not pursue further education past a bachelor’s degree. A list of universities that offer actuarial degrees and scholarship help may be found using the internet.

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