Answer this survey question

When answering this question, “What is the highest grade or level of school you have completed or the highest degree you have received?” and two of the options are “Two or Four year college degree” and “Advanced professional or academic degree”

Do actuarial credentials qualify for the “professional” part of “Advanced professional or academic degree”?

  • “Yes” as soon as you pass an actuarial exam
  • “Yes” starting at the Associate designation
  • “Yes” starting at the Fellow designation
  • No…the answer is “No”

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I think “degree” is distributed because of the “or” and that they do not intend for it to say “[advanced professional designation] or [academic degree]”. The SOA/CAS/etc. give designations, not degrees, so I’m voting “No” but I want to hear what you have to say…especially if you’re a grammar zombie.

p.s. I think the problem is that I don’t know what “professional degree” means. From [link], " A professional degree helps students prepare for careers in specific fields , such as law, pharmacy, medicine, and education. The length of the programs vary and can span anywhere from one to five years, depending on the institution you attend." I think it needs to be provided by a degree-awarding-institution, which the SOA/CAS are not.

Who’s asking the question? I can see answering differently based on the audience / purpose.


The Texas Cares Survey…via Kenny’s thread

I would generally say having your credentials would qualify for the “advanced professional [designation]” that is the primary focus of the question, IMO.

Would being a licensed CPA count for checking this “advanced professional” box?

Put another way, I doubt that you’re getting the designation w/o having completed a bachelor’s degree.

So it’s a signal that you’ve done more than just a four-year college degree.

I’m confused by your opening post as to why an SOA designation wouldn’t be what’s meant by “advanced professional designation”. Yeah, it isn’t a degree, but it is an “advanced professional designation”, so not sure why this would not be “yes” starting at the associate designation.

because they didn’t ask if I have an “advanced professional designation”. They asked if I had an “advanced professional degree”.

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ooooh, okay, the wording is confusing me. If it means specifically a degree then no, any designation from the SOA doesn’t count there.

looks like you edited the OP. yeah, I think I agree with you that it doesn’t count.

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Correct. Assume that I have a bachelor’s degree from a fully credentialed (and respected) college/university.

Right. I agree with that. However, I can’t tell if that’s good enough to be an “Advanced professional or academic degree”. :man_shrugging:

Yeah…my posts, just like the rest of my life, are a work in progress.

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For that purpose ASA would be an advanced credential imo.

If it was for say an immigration application or legal document maybe not.

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“Designation/certification” ~= ASA/ACAS
“Degree”, no.


An advanced professional degree is like a JD (lawyer) or MD (doctor) or DVM (veterinarian) or an MBA. Which differs from an advanced academic degree, such as a masters or PhD in statistics or history.

An actuarial designation is not a degree. This is very simple. The answer is no.

It would also be “no” for a person with a bachelor’s degree (but no masters or doctorate) and a CPA or CFA designation.

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That said, it’s kind of dumb wording. They should just use the words Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral followed by degree in whatever grouping they are interested in.

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I’ve always answered as if ASA=Masters, FSA=Doctorate (which is as taught by my early bosses) :slight_smile:

I don’t think that’s true in either amount of effort required or certainly in terms of answering the given question. A designation is very simply NOT a degree.

If you have any actuarial designation and no master’s or doctoral degree and you say you have an “advanced professional or academic degree” then you are lying. This is not even a gray area. Not even slightly.

It probably requires more intelligence to get an actuarial designation* than any degree, if that makes you feel any better. But intelligence <> degree either.

At least ASA/FSA/ACAS/FCAS without university credits anyway. I’ve heard some other countries are easier, but I don’t have enough first-hand knowledge to say for sure. And I’m pretty damn skeptical about whatever they’re calling the newest iteration of university credits, but that doesn’t count in my book.

Answering questions often requires consideration of the reason for the question, and the perspective of the questioner. Questions such as this are usually intended to elicit information as to whether the respondents have received professional or academic training beyond the bachelors level. FSA/ASA/ACAS/FCAS are significantly beyond a MA in underwater basketry from Podunk U.

Consulting actuary: “What do you want the answer to be?”


Some colleges with actuarial courses accept actuarial credentials the same as graduate degrees. Others require M.S/A. or Ph.D. to teach, which I think misses the mark. I taught college insurance courses with my FSA, which was regarded (and paid) the same as a PhD in math.