October 4, 2012 1:56 am at 1:56 am #605046
I’m thinking about becoming an actuary, and I have several questions for people currently working in the actuarial field:
1. What are the hours? Is it possible to be an actuary part-time, and/or telecommute?
2. How do you balance work with raising a family? (from a woman’s perspective)
3. How long does it take to complete the exams? Is it necessary to complete all the exams, or is attaining ASA designtion (or even less) enough?
4. What is the salary like, from an entry-level actuary to one with several years experience?
5. What is the job market like? How easy is it to find an entry-level job?
That’s all I can think of for now. I’ll post more questions as I remember them.October 4, 2012 2:32 am at 2:32 am #898919
1. At the entry level, you can’t really work part time. Telecommuting depends on the company, but 99.9% of employers wouldn’t allow it at first. As for the hours, it depends on what kind of work you’re doing. If you’re consulting, it’s all about billable hours, and the hours will be long. If you work for an insurance or pension firm, it should be the standard 9 to 5.
2. As a man, I can’t answer this one.
3. Finishing the exams can take as long as you make it take. If you pass each one on the first attempt (highly unlikely!), you can be done in a few years. I know people who finished at 25-26 years old, and I know people who finished at 40. Be aware that you will need to spend hundreds of hours studying at home, which will interfere with family life.
Getting an ASA or ACAS (depending on what track you take) is ok for now, but might not be later on. The SOA and CAS are discussing getting rid of the Associate level.
4. Starting can be in the mid-50k range. Passing exams gets you raises (standard is usually about 2k per exam). With 5 years of experience and a number of exams passed, it’s not unusual to be making in the 70k area.
5. Entry level jobs are not easy to find. There are many candidates, and not many openings. It used to be that a degree and one exam passed would get you multiple job offers. Not anymore. You need 2 or 3 exams now.
There is a frum Jewish woman named Pauline Reimer who is probably the best actuarial recruiter out there. She has helped thousands of actuaries find jobs. You can find her info via Google. When you’re ready to look for a job, I highly recommend contacting her.October 4, 2012 2:53 am at 2:53 am #898920
Some more questions:
1. What are the advantages/disadvantages to becoming an EA vs. the traditional SOA/CAS path?
2. I know that you can’t work part-time/telecommute as an entry-level actuary, but what about once you have a few years of experience under your belt? Is it at all feasible eventually?October 4, 2012 5:36 am at 5:36 am #898921
what do degrees do u need to become an actuary? and about how many yrs of school?October 4, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm #898922
1. An EA is limited to doing pension work. The traditional SOA/CAS paths allow you many more opportunities for work.
2. It really depends on the company. I used to work for a company that allowed me to telecommute on Fridays and in bad weather. Some companies let, others don’t. Keep in mind that it’s never viewed as the optimal thing to be doing, so if the company ever has layoffs, the telecommuters will likely be some of the first to be let go.
i said so: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. I received credits for one year in yeshiva full time, then 3 more years of being in college and yeshiva.October 4, 2012 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #898923
Feif Un: Thanks for providing the info. Just to add on some more:
The SOA deals mainly with life/health fields. They’ll do life insurance, pensions, health insurance, and the like.
The CAS deals with Casualty fields. They’ll do stuff like homeowners, auto, small business, and other property/casualty stuff.
I went the same path as you – graduated from Touro College with a degree in Math. One year just in yeshiva first, then 3 more in Touro with part-time yeshiva.October 4, 2012 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #898924
so u dont need a masters to enter this feild?October 5, 2012 2:01 pm at 2:01 pm #898925
Let me put it to you this way – each exam is like the Bar. And there are at least 8 of them, depending on your track.
I am a working mother in the field, an ASA working on my FSA. If I could do it all over again, I would not choose this career. You are working full time, 9-5 plus commuting time. After the kids are in bed, time to hit the books until you crash. You’ll need to get used to not having any time for yourself, no time to relax or socialize. If your husband is in yeshiva, you will need to find someone to watch your kids every Sunday so you can study. And forget about cooking for shabbos, no time for that – better find a good takeout place nearby.
Not trying to scare anyone off here, just wanted to give you a picture of what life is like as a frum female actuary. I do highly recommend the field for men though.October 7, 2012 7:08 am at 7:08 am #898926
My opinion, the actuarial field is not at all for a frum woman.October 7, 2012 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #898927
Clearly no real actuaries have responded in this thread. The giveaway is that the phrases “actually” and “on the other hand” do not appear. In my significant experience dealing with and even managing actuaries, they are an overpaid relic of the insurance industry who become increasingly less important every year. The barrier to entry is too high for the need they fill and gives them an unjustifiably high sense of self importance.October 7, 2012 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm #898928
would it be practical for my brother? a 35 yr old lkwd kollel guy who is quite brightOctober 10, 2012 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #898929
to scor and hie-
do u guys really hold tht this job isnt for a woman?!
i am a girl and wnted to enter this feild cn u give some more info?
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