Need Professional Help on What to do

Okay, that’s very good advice. I’ll try to pass the first exam before taking my next step.

Looks like exam P is the first exam. Go for that and see how it goes. The review classes will likely be helpful if you can afford them since you’re not at a college to teach it to you.

If you can manage it and think this field is for you, then maybe look into switching to a better school for it.

There isn’t any requirement that you attend an actuarial college to become an actuary. The requirement to become a credentialed actuary are passsing exams that you take through the SOA or cas.

The benefits of an actuarial college are

  • Access to courses that teach the material in the exams
  • Possible credit for exams, allowing you to skip some exams
  • Employer networking opportunities

You can attend teachers college, write exams while doing that, and then when you have sufficient exams passed, start applying for jobs. You could even write exams while working as a teacher and the switch careers. It’s not perfect, but absolutely doable. I’ve seen posts from lots of career switchers who were teachers.

And once you have your first actuarial job, a non actuarial degree should have about zero impact. At that point it’s just ‘has a degree’ as a checkbox for HR.


Okay it’s great to hear that other people have went down the same path as I am planning to go from teacher to actuary. Thank you for your help!

A few other random points:

First, I wouldn’t necessarily get my hopes up about the college-credit-in-lieu-of-exams path if you’re already in your second year of college. I also haven’t kept up with the details of the plan, but I thought it was still a year or two out from full implementation.

Second, be aware that in North America, the actuarial profession is a little fragmented. In addition to the Society of Actuaries, there is the Casualty Actuarial Society, which focuses on property-casualty insurance (think: homeowners, auto, liability…) and has its own set of exams. Unfortunately, actuarial students are pressured to make a decision about whether to go SOA or CAS fairly early in their careers. While there are rivalries and differences of opinion, the decision on which way to go usually boils down to personal interests and/or where you luck out in getting a first job.

Third, in addition to the guidance given above…if you’re thinking about becoming an actuary, start putting in the effort SOON to find an internship for next summer. Having a couple of summer internships under your belt will give you a leg up in finding a job after college…and it gives you a chance to test-drive the profession (it’s not for everyone). It’ll be a bit more of a challenge to find an internship outside a math/stats/actuarial science major / at a school without a good actuarial club/program…but not impossible.

yeah, I could easily be off on this point. Not sure if people who go to these schools could get the credit retroactive or not. I still think it’s in someone’s best interest just starting out to go to one of these schools. In my day, way too many years ago, the field was not as well known and there weren’t as many colleges that specifically had actuarial science majors, although there were some, and I think it was the beginning of the field being rated number one by some bullshit metrics, so it was starting to get well known. I regret not doing that path even back then. Now, it seems like most people going into the field will be from one of those schools though, and it’s even more important now than it was back then.

But then again, I’m old, and I don’t entirely know enough about specific young people getting into the field right now, but I’m thinking if I regret not going to a college that has an actuarial science type major back then, it’s going to be far worse now for outsiders.

Also, you do need to probably consider if you’re suited to this field, and suited to passing exams if you already started college at a school that doesn’t have an actuarial science degree before jumping ship. Not sure how difficult it really is to transfer schools though.

Also, consider if teaching is something that would make you happy, beyond it not being this huge money maker. It makes a fine amount of money to live. If you think you would enjoy teaching, I’d stay on that path. I live in NYC and NYC teachers do okay.

teachers salaries in nyc. this isn’t bad to me at all if it’s something you would enjoy. it starts with 2018. scroll down to 2021.

This is NYC though. It might not be as great at other cities and states.

Teachers Salary Schedule - 2018 to 2021.pdf (

also, you have to look at the entire pay package. i’m guessing they have better retirement benefits as a teacher in nyc compared to many actuarial jobs where pension plans are freezing, no retiree health, etc.

But also, not sure how you would even become a math teacher at a school that doesn’t have a math major though. It sounds like your school might not be suited to any of your career goals.

I would recommend that you earn exam credit “the old-fashioned way” (ie passing actual actuarial exams administered by the SOA) if you want to practice in the United States.

There is bound to be some prejudice by employers towards job candidates who got exam waivers through university credit. A number of credentialed actuaries, including me, will view the waivers with a great deal of skepticism. (ie: If you truly learned enough to pass the exams in your university class… prove it to me by actually passing the exam. If you didn’t pass the exam, maybe it’s because you couldn’t.)

That said, going to a school with an actuarial program will probably give you great preparation for passing the exams.

A couple things to add:

  1. I would make sure you take enough math so that you are having to think about what the math means. Simply being able to use formulas is not enough. Having calculus 3 is nice for multidimensional probability. But you don’t necessarily need math that is any more advanced than that (although there are certain actuarial jobs where you do, others do not.).

  2. Getting your first job can be hard, at least historically. Try to get an internship, as i think others mentioned.

For actuarial exams this is probably true although employers will probably look more favorably on a degree in math or statistics or Actuarial Science or something similar.

To be a math teacher, most states will require significantly more math than just multi-variable calculus.

If you have an engineering background, for example, where you can really apply calculus, then i don’t think you need to have taken linear algebra. That is what I meant.

Do you need to take beyond vector calculus for a math education degree? I’m not sure you do, although i’m sure you have to take more math classes than that. But that’s probably for another thread.

My state required Abstract Algebra, and the version of the National Teachers Exam that my state required tested it to a level where you’d have to have taken the class or spent extensive time studying. (But even if you passed the test, my particular state required both the test AND a passing grade in the course.) The requirements do differ by state though, and I only ever met the requirements in one. Once I got my initial teaching license in the state where I went to college, 36 other states offered reciprocity, and I’ve only ever been licensed in states that were part of the reciprocity agreement. So you could hypothetically shop around for the state with the easiest requirements, I guess.

I didn’t do that, but I do know that there exist other, easier, versions of the National Teachers Exam. I assume they exist because some states use them. But I’m not sure just how easy they are, nor what courses other states require. Or for that matter what might have changed since I got my first teaching license in 1997.

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Okay, I’m seeing a lot of suggestions to get involved with an internship as soon as possible. What is the best way to do this? How do I reach out? I’m assuming I need to pass an exam before getting an internship?

As a non-actuary, I’m going to give a little bit different advice then what most of the people will say here. If your school doesn’t offer a math degree and you want to stay there, do they offer data science or something similar?

My oldest is going to college next year and wants to study mathematics. Both of the schools she is interested in offer actuarial programs and data science programs for math majors. I’ve strongly recommended she pursue data science if she needs to choose between the two. A data science degree is going to provide you with way more opportunities then an actuarial career path. If I had everything to do over again, that is what I’d study (and assuming that they had the field over two decades ago). Nearly the same money (not quite but you’ll be very comfortable), no need to take the exams to prove yourself, and more industries looking to hire someone with your skillset.

Thank you for the advice! I’ll definitely consider trying to transfer schools after this semester is over.

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I think that’s wise, since it doesn’t sound like your goals of either being a math teacher or an actuary will be easy at the school you’re currently attending.

I’ve looked into when I can register for exams, and a lot of them say that their registration period times are closed. What are the times that these exams are open? Is there a good month to start studying for a class and then be ready for when the exams are open?

The first exams have sittings every couple months. A decent/optimistic pace to get through the exams is to pass one every 6 months, so the timing of the exam offerings doesn’t become much of a concern until later down the road.

Exam P (Probability) on CBT dates 11/12-11/23, with a registration deadline of October 12, 2021.
For CAS, I don’t see Exams 1 and 2 and 3F anywhere, but they are jointly(?) administered with/transferable from SOA, so the SOA site, I guess is used.

They’re not jointly administered anymore (thanks SOA!), but the CAS recognizes credit for passing the first few SOA exams.

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