This article is aimed towards giving aspiring actuarial professionals in their early years’ an insight into the general entry requirements to become an actuary.
Becoming an actuary typically requires a combination of education in areas such as mathematics, statistics, economics, and actuarial science, amongst other degree subjects. Although formal education could be a pre-requisite, it is essential to display a variety of soft skills including problem-solving, critical thinking as well as a great passion for data and client partnership which is essential for many organisations.
In this article, I will be discussing in detail the standardised entry requirements as well as the application journey for both apprentices and graduates.
Entry requirements for aspiring actuarial apprentices
Many organisations that take on apprentices require candidates to meet a minimum requirement set by the U.K. government to be eligible. This threshold is currently set at a minimum of 300 UCAS points (BBB) at A levels whereas some typically require a pass in five GCSEs at grade (A-C) including grade B in Maths (or grade 6 if you have taken your GCSEs in 2017 or later).
These entry requirements differ amongst organisations and are usually the focal point for many employers during the initial stages of a candidate’s application. For instance, at WTW the requirement is to have Maths A-Level at grade A/B.
Furthermore, apprenticeship schemes range from Level 3 to Level 7 which equates to a diploma, degree, or master’s degree. Specifically, a Level 7 Actuary apprenticeship programme is equivalent to a master’s degree which is a beacon to begin your path to qualifying as an actuary.
Entry requirements for aspiring actuarial graduates
At the university level, employers typically require a minimum of 2:1 or above, ideally in a numerate subject such as mathematics, statistics, or economics.
As a graduate, you are not expected to have any form of prior work experience. However, it is imperative to demonstrate a strong commitment and willingness for an actuarial career coupled with evidence of sufficient soft skills including communication and analytical skills at application and interview stage.
Online assessment/interview stage
Typically, once selected for the next steps after meeting the minimum entry requirements, you will be expected to pass either a virtual or in-person assessment. There are various assessments such as cognitive, skills and behaviours aimed towards evaluating candidates’ competencies and skills. You can find some of these practice tests online here. – For some organisations, an assessment centre will usually be the final stage of the application process. Offers are made to successful candidates after this point.
The end goal for both aspiring actuarial candidates and prospective employers is for candidates to sit and pass their actuarial exams during or after completing their apprenticeship/graduate programme.
For this to be accomplished, you need to complete at least three years of practical experience and successfully pass the actuarial professional exams.
Find out more about the skills needed to become an actuary by reading the ‘Essential skills to become a successful Actuary’ article here.