How to pursue a career in Actuarial Science – All You Need to Know to Become an Actuary


Karl Pearson, the influential English Mathematician, once said, “Statistics is the grammar of Science”, while Edmund H. North, an American Academy Award winning Screenwriter, said, “I think there’s a difference between a gamble and a calculated risk”. These two gentlemen might have never met in their lives but they’ve clearly shed light on an interesting profession that has been developed since the 17th Century.

The profession we are talking here is – Actuarial Science, and if you are one of those looking to make a career in this field, you are reading the right article. Here, we list everything you need to know about Actuarial Science and how to go about in choosing it as a career.

What is Actuarial Science?

Actuarial Science is a branch of science that deals with the use of mathematics and statistical methods combined with economics and financial knowledge to asses risk in finance, insurance, and other industries.

This discipline involves the study of a number of interrelated subjects viz. mathematics, statistics, probability, economics, financial economics, finance, and computer programming.

What is the Eligibility Criteria?

This is one of the most common questions you might have while choosing this particular field. Although that you might have enquired about it and got vague answers from your neighbor’s long distant relative who knew a guy who once decided to pursue this as a career but never did it; worry not we simplify this for you. Here we list the eligibility criteria below.

  • The student should be a 10+2 (HSC) or equivalent pass-out with English as one of the subjects and secure a minimum of 85% in Mathematics or Statistics
  • A graduate or post-graduate student with more than 55% of marks in Mathematical Subjects

The following subjects constitute as Mathematical Subjects:

  • Mathematics or any of its branches
  • Statistics or any of its branches (such as Applied Statistics and Mathematical Statistics)
  • Econometrics
  • Computer Sciences

Candidates having the following degrees are also eligible:-

  • CA
  • CS
  • CWA
  • MBA (Finance)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics (PGDBA)
  • Fully qualified members of the following professional bodies
  • ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India)
  • IFAI (Certified Institute of Financial Analysts of India
  • ICWAI (The Institute of Cost and Works Accountant of India)
  • I.I.I. (Insurance Institute of India – with the passing subject being Mathematical Basis of Insurance and Statistics)
  • Student members of the below given Actuarial Bodies
  • Institute of Actuaries of Australia
  • Institute of Actuaries, UK
  • Faculty of Actuaries, UK
  • Society of Actuaries, USA (the student must be cleared in at least one subject)
  • Casualty Actuarial Society, USA (the student must be cleared in at least one subject)

What is the Process of Admission?

Step 1 – Clear the ACET Exam

So, once you fit the above given criteria, you must clear the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET) to become a member of IAI (Institute of Actuaries of India). The IAI conducts the ACET exam bi-yearly, once in June and once in December. The next ACET will be held on 2nd and 3rd December 2015. The registrations for the examination will begin from 14th August 2015. (For further details kindly visit www.actuariesindia.org)

Only after the student clears the ACET he/she is eligible to the Actuarial exams.

Step 2 – Further clear 4 Sets of Examinations

After passing the ACET, a student must then clear 15 subjects that are divided in 4 sets of examinations

viz. CT (Core Technical), CA (Core Application), ST (Specialist Technical), and SA (Specialist Application).

Which are the best Institutes / Universities/ Colleges?

You can opt for a diploma, graduation, or post-graduation course in Actuarial Science from some of the top institutes in India; which are

  • Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai)
  • Birla Institute of Management Technology (New Delhi)
  • Actuarial Institute of India (Mumbai)
  • Bishop Heber College (Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu)
  • Institute of Certified Risk and Insurance Managers (Hyderabad).

The course curriculum would vary with respect to the institutes.

What are the skills needed to ace Actural Science?

Graduating is one thing and making a career is completely another. In order to pursue a career in Actuarial Science one must have strong aptitude for Mathematics and Statistics.

Just getting securing 90% marks in Mathematics doesn’t necessarily mean you would excel as an Actuary. To be successful in this field, you must possess high degree of problem solving ability and a systematic approach.

What are my Career Opportunities?

There are ample opportunities in the market in government and private sectors in India. One can become a Licensed Insurance Surveyor, Development Officer, or a Zonal Manager, and can work in various areas such as pensions and employee benefits, reinsurance companies, and risk management consultancies.

Choosing Actuarial Science as a career, or for that matter, choosing any field as a career is the most important decisions of your life. It is best advised to choose the field keeping in mind your interests and by gathering information from people who have already taken up the profession.

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