Found mainly in the insurance and financial fields, an actuarial analyst evaluates the risk or probability of certain future events. Actuaries use this data to develop plans and policies to help limit the negative consequences and costs related to those possibilities. The track to become an actuarial analyst requires appropriate high school and college coursework in addition to meeting professional development requirements.
Preparation to become an actuarial analyst begins in high school. An aspiring actuarial analyst should focus heavily on mathematics. Advanced coursework in calculus and statistics is heavily recommended. High school students should also focus on gaining exposure to computer science and college preparatory coursework. Students wishing to become an actuarial analyst should begin researching and visiting colleges that offer actuarial degrees or curriculum.
Actuarial analysts have a variety of options when considering degree paths. Specific actuarial degrees are offered at some colleges, but the completion of other degrees can also provide a college student with the necessary knowledge and coursework for a career as an actuary. Other degree options common to those pursuing a career as an actuary include finance, economics, mathematics, and statistics.
Those hoping to become an actuarial analyst should at minimum include some specific coursework in their curriculum, no matter what degree they choose to pursue. This includes classes in finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, calculus, algebra, probability and statistics, and computer science. Advanced coursework in these fields can also prove beneficial.
Actuaries must pass a combination of exams in order to enter the field, obtain certification, and become an actuarial analyst. Passage of one exam will normally allow recent graduates to work as actuarial assistants while studying and completing the remaining exams. For initial certification at the Associate level, candidates must pass seven exams.
Further testing is done throughout a career as an actuarial analyst. Those wishing to pursue certification at the Fellowship level must pass two additional exams. The total time to complete all exams up to the Fellowship level can take six to eleven years. Often, professionals take the exams while employed and receive compensation for testing fees as well as pay increases with the successful completion of the exams.
In addition to the educational and certification requirements, those interested in a career as an actuarial analyst should focus on developing specific skills. This includes strong computer skills, such as computer programming, and good communication skills. In addition, actuarial analysts must stay up to date on trends affecting their industry.