You become an actuary by passing a series of professional examinations, and by developing your professional skills while working at an insurance company, consulting firm, or some other similar organization. A college degree is essential in order to pass the actuarial professional examinations. An actuarial major or a mathematics major are recommended, since passing the professional examinations requires a thorough understanding of mathematics. Also vital are: knowledge of finance, insurance and investments, excellent communication skills (especially the ability to communicate quantitative ideas to a non-mathematical audience), and a mastery of a computing and computer modeling.
Actuarial employment opportunities are typically available in the following types of organizations: health, life, property, and casualty insurance firms; actuarial and employee benefit consulting firms; health service organizations; insurance rating agencies; large industrial corporations; labor unions; federal government agencies; and state insurance departments.
The heart of the Actuarial Program at Illinois State University is the course work in mathematics that provides the background needed to complete a number of professional examinations. These mathematics courses are taught in high technology classrooms that contain up-to-date computer technology, projection devices, and appropriate software to assist instructors in computation as well as development of conceptual understanding.
- SOA Exam P/CAS Exam 1: Applied Probability Models (MAT 350), we also offer an online seminar (free to ISU students) for this exam, ISU students can register using this survey.
- SOA Exam FM/CAS Exam 2: Financial Mathematics (MAT 280), note that MAT 280 is approved for University Earned Credit for exam FM, and we also offer an online seminar (free to ISU students) for this exam, ISU students can register using this survey.
- SOA Exam FAM: Actuarial Models I and IV (MAT 380, MAT 384), note that MAT 380 is approved for University Earned Credit for exam FAM-L, while MAT 384 is approved for University Earned Credit for exam FAM-S, and together MAT 380, MAT 384 are approved for University Earned Credit for exam FAM.
- SOA Exam ALTAM: Actuarial Models II (MAT 381), note that MAT 381 is approved for University Earned Credit for exam ALTAM,
- SOA Exam ASTAM: Actuarial Models IV (MAT 384), but this coverage is only partial and we are working on an update of our curriculum,
- SOA Exam SRM: Regression and Time Series (MAT 353),Introduction to Statistical Learning (MAT 355), Statistical Learning and Data Mining (MAT 443), note that together MAT 353 and MAT 355 and MAT 443 are approved for University Earned Credit for exam SRM,
- SOA Exam PA: Predictive Analytics Competition,
- CAS Exam MAS I: Regression and Time Series (MAT 353),Introduction to Statistical Learning (MAT 355), Actuarial Models I (MAT 380),
- CAS Exam MAS II: Regression and Time Series (MAT 353), Introduction to Statistical Learning (MAT 355), Statistical Learning and Data Mining (MAT 443),
- VEE Economics: Principles of Microeconomics (ECO 101) and Principles of Macroeconomics (ECO 102),
- VEE Statistics: Mathematics 351, Statistics and Data Analysis,
- VEE Finance and Accounting: Financial Accounting (ACC 131), Intermediate Business Finance (FIL 341) and Investments (FIL 242).
Job Outlook, earnings
Surveys by the actuarial profession show the market to be excellent for job candidates. We recommend that students pass two actuarial professional exams and complete all VEE requirements in order to compete for good entry-level jobs. Internship experience, good communication skills, ability to use Microsoft Office software, some programming ability, and understanding of the insurance business will enhance employment prospects. Information for students seeking employment and internships is posted at the Web site of our Actuarial Program. Students can inquire about an insurance minor at the Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services of Illinois State University.
Our placement rate is currently almost exactly 100%. Current starting annual salary average is approximately $84,000.