Need Professional Help on What to do

Hello all, I’m hoping that I can gain some educated knowledge on what I should do with my future. I am currently a college student enrolled in “general education.” My preferred major would’ve been in mathematics but unfortunately that major is not available with the college that I am attending. Earlier in the year, I had the idea in my brain that I wanted to be a math teacher (hence why I chose the general education major), but since then my family has drilled it into my head that the money that a math teacher makes is very hard to live by and make a living off of. With that in mind, I have looked into other job opportunities available that have the potential of interesting me, and while I do have limited knowledge of the actuarial profession, it sounded like it was right up my alley. So my first question that I’d like to ask is, what exactly does the job of an actuary entail?

I would also like to know the specifics of the websites I have read that state that you need a bachelor’s degree in college in order to become an actuary, and while there are suggested majors that I have seen that lead to becoming an actuary, would a major in general education be sufficient enough to land me a job as an actuary? Also, I am currently involved in my first semester down this path of general education, so my plan is to give all of my time and effort to this semester and then study for the first actuarial exam all summer and hopefully pass the exam right at the end of the summer directly leading into my upcoming semester of college, is this a good plan to have? Or is it flawed?

I would love to hear any suggestions from people who have more knowledge on the topic than I do, and I’m sorry if I am asking this question on the wrong topic listing on this website.

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If you want to be a math teacher, you should ignore your family and become a math teacher. Sounds like you might need to go to a different college though. Don’t let your family dictate what you do with your life. You can make a fine living as a teacher.

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Yes I understand, thank you for the support. Ultimately if my interests stay on the path of becoming a math teacher, I will do that, but I asked just to keep my options open as to what next step I could take for my future. The idea of being able to not only make a “fine living”, but live comfortably with a well-paying job and building a family is very enticing to me.

well, if I was starting off right now to enter the field, I’d switch colleges to one that is considered a Center for actuarial excellence rather than get a general education major at a college that isn’t really associated with the field. I went to a no-name college and I don’t think that’s a great idea for entering this field. I entered the field decades ago. I don’t think it was a great idea back then either, but now I think it’s more important to go to the right college than it was then.

see this list -

Universities & Colleges with Actuarial Programs (UCAP) | SOA

The list is rather long, and I see even state schools on it (i.e. Binghamton)

I haven’t kept up with what’s going on with the SOA, but I think they might be changing things where you can get credit for exams by taking courses at these schools. So technically, you can major in anything as long as you pass exams, but going to the right school I think gives you a leg up on getting a job, and also can get you exams.

Okay thank you very much, so that brings up a question. The exams that you have to take in order to become an actuary have to be affiliated with the college that you’re going to? Is there no other way to take the exams required?

I wasn’t clear. I think with this new avenue, you can get credit for the exams by taking college courses if you get a certain grade in the course at one of these schools, and skip the exams entirely. The stand alone exams will still be available though. It’s just another method to getting credit for them. There is a long thread on here somewhere talking about this, and probably something about it on

here’s the thread where it’s discussed. it’s long, and i didn’t entirely follow it.

SOA – College Credit for Exams - Exams - Study Groups and Discussion / SOA General - GoActuary

Thanks for all your help!

“The UEC program allows very strong students to earn credit for certain SOA exams by meeting course and exam requirements at participating universities who qualify as [Centers of Actuarial Excellence]”. Does this mean that going to a college that don’t qualify as centers of actuarial excellence gives me no opportunity to become an actuary?

no. It means you have to sit for the exams to become an actuary if you don’t go to one of those schools. If you go to a UEC program, you can skip certain exams if you get a certain grade in the course that covers the exam subject at the school.

Oh wow! So basically, you would suggest that I change colleges and change majors, but how low are my chances of getting an actuary job on the path that I’m currently on? And where can I take these exams needed to become an actuary?

So sorry to bother you with all of the questions lol

I’m not sure what your chances are at the college you’re at. I’ll let someone else answer that. I’ve been in this field for too many years to really understand what the competition is like at entry level. It just seems that there is a lot of competition at entry level these days, more so than when I entered the field. Ideally if you know you want to be an actuary, and you’re just starting out now, I’d go to a college that would help to secure that path.

As for the exams, there is the SOA route for life, health, and pension actuaries, and the CAS route for property casualty actuaries. I think, but am not sure that the earlier prelims are the same for both, but regardless, most college kids would start off at the SOA route because you wouldn’t really know where you’re going to land, and most jobs are on the SOA side.

Here’s the SOA requirements

Exams & Requirements | SOA

There are also VEE (verified by educational experience) credits that you need to get, which are satisfied through college courses, but I think there are other ways to satisfy them, but I’m too old to really answer what they are. VEE wasn’t a thing when I started these exams, and when they became required I was grandfathered in based on the exams I had. For people who weren’t grandfathered in, there were ways to get VEE though that probably required some online method.

Sorry, I’m not that helpful with the specifics here since I haven’t taken exams in a while. Someone closer to the exam process might be more helpful. I also think there might be younger people on reddit who are closer to the exam process than here. The old actuarialoutpost had a lot of information, but that forum was wiped out last year sadly.

what year are you in college? are you too far in to consider changing schools?

oh, you sign up for the exams on

Technically I’m in year 2 in college but I’ve changed my major twice already because of not knowing what I want to do with my life. But thanks again for everything! I’ll certainly look into asking on reddit.

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I changed my major several times while in college. It’s hard to know what you want to do as a college kid. It definitely isn’t too late to switch colleges if you think you want to be an actuary.

Actually, in thinking about this more, if your college doesn’t even have any math type majors or something relevant to the actuarial field, I think it is in your best interest to switch colleges here. Otherwise, passing the exams will be all self study rendering college kind of a waste of time.

I passed the exams through a lot of self study, and review classes I took at the college of insurance for a few of them (now part of St Johns) even though I didn’t go to that school officially. But in doing it now, the easier route into this field is to go to the right college.

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Well the college that I’m currently going to does have an accounting major, would that be something that would help me with becoming an actuary?

Also, should I just finish off this semester and then switch majors? I am only one week into the semester so do you think switching majors is a good idea at the moment? Maybe this is a question I should be asking my academic advisor and not you lol.

if you’re going to be an accounting major, you should plan on becoming an accountant. I wouldn’t major in something that you’re not planning to pursue. Also, I guess I shouldn’t suggest you switch colleges if you don’t even know that you can handle the exams. You can try taking the first exam and see how it goes. It will involve all self-study though since you’re not at a college with actuarial classes. Actually, probably not entirely self-study. There are online review classes you can take with The infinite actuary and some others I think and there are review manuals. It isn’t free though.

I’m not sure that switching to an accounting major is a good idea anyway towards becoming an actuary. It’s if you want to become an accountant.

For all your study manual/review classes needs, I think you can find it here -

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