View Full Version : Entry of Non-math/CS/stat/act.sci. into Actuarial Field
07-12-2004, 05:50 PM
I graduated about a year ago with an MS in physical chemistry and a 3.9 GPA. Currenlty I teach chemistry labs and classes at the college level. I have recently passed C1 and will attempt/pass C2 in November. Lately, as I have started to read actuarial forums, I have gathered that it may be very difficult to get entry level jobs in the actuarial field.
My question is: what is the probability that I will be able to obtain a job with 2 exams? I am aware of the difficulty of the tests since I have read many, many posts on this forum and other forums. I am prepared to do what it takes to attain an ASA or FSA.
Bottom Line: Is two exams, high GPA, but no actuarial experience and a science major enough at this point in time with so much competition?
Advice GREATLY apreciated especially from hiring managers and recruiters. Thank you all for any help.
Edit: Yes US citizen in California, would relocate
07-12-2004, 05:57 PM
All that is very nice, but are you a US citizen seeking employment in the US?
07-12-2004, 06:01 PM
Having passed 2 exams and being a citizen should be enough to find something. Your lack of statistical/mathematical degree might be a problem if you hadn't passed any exams, but passing those show that you can do the work. Entry-level work atleast.
07-12-2004, 06:03 PM
1 exam, quantitative background and citizenship puts the biscuit in the basket in many US regions.
07-12-2004, 06:22 PM
"biscuit in the basket" :lol:
Seriously, tho, your major doesn't really matter. You've passed an exam. Pick a place you want to live. Do a search on the SOA's membership directory (www.soa.org) based on that place, and send resumes to actuaries in that place.
Oh, and, you might want to look into P&C as well as Life/Health.
If you're in LA...pm me.
Dr T Non-Fan
07-12-2004, 08:38 PM
Pass an exam, and get back to us.
Oh, so, you have. Sorry, that's just a standard response built in to the system, er, wait, backspace (10), my brain. Second exam will put you ahead of many. Your unusual background might spark some curiosity among the recruiters. Yes, some others will simply throw it away, but snce you don't which ones will do what, just send your resume to everyone that you think you might want to work for.
Now can be a good time to send, since some companies will be reassigning their losers, er, wait, backspace (6), candidates, who have not passed exams according to the company study program, out of actuarial positions, thus opening up new positions as of last Friday.
07-12-2004, 11:22 PM
I'd be interested to hear more about your motivation for pursuing actuarial science, and down the road an interviewer may want to know also. Passing an exam is definitely a start in the right direction, but us actuaries always like to warn everyone to think twice before spending two or three thousand hours of your life taking exams. They aren't always quantitative; at some point lots of memorization and reading become necessary.
An actuary job is likely to pay much more over the long term than a teaching job. On the other hand, you get quite a bit more vacation time in a teaching position. Perhaps that is not as important to you. Or does a certain nature of the work appeal to you? Some actuaries try to build a better model and have a theoretical role. Or are you more practical, hands-on, into the financials? Are you interested in the potentially longer hours and higher pay that consulting might often or do you prefer 40 hrs at an insurance company. We can help you explore those questions, by the way. :wink:
Do you currently teach at a community college, college, or university? The higher you are up on that scale, the lower the pay differential from an actuary. I considered teaching math at a community college, but found an actuarial job first. I always envision community college teaching as the ideal early retirement, although by that time I'll have to reteach myself everything.
07-13-2004, 12:33 AM
Thank you all for your helpful replies. I know that similar questions have been covered before so I appreciate your kindness in responding to my particular question. (More responses are also welcome. :) )
As a response to anonymouse, your question is a quite valid one. The truth is that my knowledge of the day to day operations of an actuary is limited to what I have been able to glean from forums and other internet sources. As a chemistry major I enjoyed the thoretical and mathematical sides of my discipline but began to find later that I didn't feel compelled to do research . At that point I started to consider pursuing the actuarial profession since my math skills are quite strong.
As for teaching, you are right, it could be a wonderful job to do on the side after retirement (many professors I know continue to teach well into their supposed "retirements"). I enjoy it very much but for me right now it is a struggle of getting part time work here and there in labs at the university or as an adjunct instructor at community colleges. To jump into a full time teaching job without the part time experience would require a PhD and 4 more years of being poor. I dont want to be poor anymore.
So, in short, I don't really want to do research and I am frustrated by the part time nature of starting out as a CC instructor even though I enjoy teaching. Certainly the finacial rewards of the actuarial field entice me and I think I have what it takes. Also the tests don't bother me (yet :) ). I actually enjoy the studying. I know all of this won't fly for an interviewer so I am working on my interview response right now. (I just landed a phone interview late in the day today!)
That's my longwinded answer. Thanks for your encouragement anonymouse. I appreciate it a lot.
07-13-2004, 01:08 AM
I worked on a PhD for two years. 'Worked' is an exaggeration.
I'm glad I stuck it out and got my Master's, even though most of the knowledge gained during those two years of my life is down the tubes, except that I have been exposed to more math than most.
And you wont get rich teaching part-time at a community college. Or full-time for that matter, although it could certainly be a rewarding and satifying career.
Having been in your situation, I have high hopes for you in this profession. Having attained this much education is fine, because you will be expected to attain more through the exams. Unless you need a little more probability and stats exposure (which you can teach yourself easily enough) you certainly should have the background to start this career.
Let us know how it goes. And if you have any ??'s just ask.
07-13-2004, 08:26 AM
With two exams, and U.S. citizenship, you should be just fine. I've worked with Act Sci majors, math majors, economics majors, biology majors, and math education majors. Exams, and later, experience, equalize all. Two exams is very good for U.S. entry level.
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