How Do I Become an Actuarial Assistant?

Many jobs in the insurance and financial industries are extremely competitive and necessitate extensive education. To work as an actuarial assistant, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a math-related field, pass a series of qualifying exams administered an actuary trade association, and be familiar with statistical data modeling programs. If you have a master’s degree and relevant experience, you may be eligible for a higher salary for this position.

An actuarial assistant assists with the statistical models that underpin insurance and annuity products. Based on risk factors, the models determine the likelihood of a payout. Insurance companies use this method to determine whether or not it will be profitable to offer a particular type of insurance and, if so, how much they should charge in premiums to offset the risk of a payout. Actuarial assistants conduct research, assist in the completion of actuarial sections of financial reports, and work with statistics programs.

An assistant’s title in the business world usually denotes an entry-level position that requires very little specific experience. Office assistant, marketing assistant, and executive assistant are all positions that require few specific qualifications. In the case of an actuarial assistant position, this is not the case. Actuarial assistants are more closely related to legal, marketing, or accounting associates, and the job requirements are quite stringent.

A bachelor’s degree in actuarial sciences, math, finance, or statistics is required to work as an actuarial assistant. You must obtain subject-matter certifications in various subjects from an actuary trade association once you have a bachelor’s degree. Exams in probability, financial mathematics, models for life contingencies, and the construction and evaluation of actuarial models are typically required for actuarial assistant positions.

The trade association administers the exams and provides the necessary training. If you have a bachelor’s degree and have taken economics, corporate finance, or applied statistics in school, you may be able to test out of some courses. With the completion of some additional requirements, such as passing a professional responsibility course, this trade-specific coursework leads to certification as an associate of the trade association. Although certification is not required to work as an actuarial assistant, it can improve your chances of being hired.

The process of becoming an actuarial assistant is functionally similar to the process of becoming a stockbroker. Before you can get an entry-level job in the industry, you must demonstrate specific knowledge through testing in both positions. Proficiency with computerized statistical modeling programs is another important skill to have as an actuarial assistant. You may have been exposed to these programs in school, but if not, you can get training from software vendors or trade associations through continuing education classes.