Pursuing a career as an actuary is an excellent choice for those seeking a satisfying and secure career path. The path to achieving this career is a lengthy one. However, it comes with many perks which include earning potential and job prospects. An actuary career gives assurance to businesses by analysing the financial costs connected with the risks they take by providing coverage.
A career as an actuary offers an intellectual challenge to those who appreciate critical thinking. Actuaries analyse complex data, create mathematical models and make educated forecasts, requiring a strong analytical mentality and problem-solving abilities. As an actuary, you will apply your knowledge of business and economics, as well as statistics and investment theory, to provide strategic, commercial and financial guidance.
In this piece, I will walk you through the steps to becoming an actuary and how to pursue a successful career as an actuary.
How to pursue a Successful Career as an Actuary
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, mathematics, business or a related field. The curriculum for the course you study should contain statistics, corporate finance and economics.
Develop Technical Skills
Apart from your knowledge in business and mathematics, it is important to also acquire relevant skills. You can take courses in coding and programming. Additionally, you should develop your communication, public relations and speaking skills. These skills are important as they can set you apart in the employment market and make you employable.
Obtain Licenses and Certification
You should obtain certifications in actuary such as CAA and IFOA. This will prove your level of competence to hiring organisations and give you an upper hand in the employment market. Additionally, you can gain extra skills and knowledge which obtaining the certificates.
Get an Actuarial Internship
An internship will allow you to obtain work experience and make connections. These are both important for your CV and help you understand the day-to-day responsibilities of an actuary. Additionally, internships are essential in enabling students their career paths that are suitable for them.
Choose an Area of Specialisation
There are various fields under actuary that you can specialise in. You can practice in areas such as casualty, pension, life and health. You can choose an area of specialisation according to your area of interest. Additionally, you can also get a guide from a mentor or a senior colleague.
Join a Professional Association
You can join professional associations such as the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Additionally, you can register with professional organizations you are familiar with in this field. This can give you access to networking opportunities, job opportunities and career growth.
Areas of Specialisation in Actuary
- Life Insurance: Life insurance actuaries deal with both mortality and risk related to longevity. They review and price life insurance products, create mortality data and do research on policyholder behaviour and mortality patterns.
- Property and Casualty Insurance: Actuaries in this field deal with risks related to property, liability and casualty exposures. Furthermore, they access prospective losses due to natural catastrophes or accidents and establish reserves for future claims.
- Health Insurance: These professionals examine healthcare data, create price models for healthcare products and access the financial impact of healthcare policies. Overall, they specialise in assessing healthcare expenses, utilisation of patterns and medical trends.
- Risk Management and Enterprise Risk Management: Risk management actuaries work across sectors to discover, assess and manage risks. They assist organisations in understanding and mitigating financial, operational and strategic risks.
- Pension and Retirement: Actuaries that specialise in pensions and retirement plans assist in the design and management of pension programmes.
Workplace of an Actuary
A career as an actuary is common in insurance companies where they examine the risks associated with issuing insurance policies. However, actuaries can be found in any work environment that requires risk management and evaluation. Furthermore, they can be found in government agencies, financial institutions and technology firms.
Key Skills for Actuaries
- Analytical Skills
- Communications Skills
- Computer Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Mathematics Skills
- Problem-solving Skills
- A thorough understanding of economics and financial services.
Universities in Africa to Study Actuary
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- North-West University, South Africa
- University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
- University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
- University of Ghana, Ghana
- Tunis University, Tunisia
- University of Sfax, Tunisia
- Cairo University, Egypt
- University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
- University of Nigeria, Nigeria
- Makerere University, Uganda
- University of Lagos, Nigeria
Pursuing a career as an actuary will make you very significant to society and the company that you work for. An actuary needs to be knowledgeable and skilled in economics, statistics and financial analysis. These are the major requirements that make you a good actuary. Therefore, you need to make sure you are well-grounded in these skills to be able to thrive.