How to become an actuary

It takes around three to six years to qualify as an actuary, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Step 1 - Take an A-Level or a Higher in maths or an equivalent (an equivalent to A-Level is High School before university)

You'll definitely need this to become an actuary. But it is worth noting that whatever you eventually decide to do, taking maths will broaden your career options.

Step 2 - Get a good degree

For most actuarial employers, a 2.1 or better is essential (a 2.1 degree is equivalent to average 65%). Any subject is acceptable, but employers prefer candidates with numerate degrees such as actuarial science, maths, stats, economics, engineering, chemistry or physics.

We have links with universities with accreditation or exemption agreements. For more information on which universities we have links with, see the university courses with exemptions page.

For more details about entry requirements, see the Student membership page.

Step 3 - Find a trainee position

Join an actuarial firm and develop your skills while you qualify. Your careers adviser at university can help you.

Employers are looking for people who can demonstrate that they have abilities to pass exams as well as having soft skills such as communication and team working skills. An interview selection will differ from company to company, but normally involves one round with the HR which will test you soft skills and one round with the actuarial managers.

There is no age limit for joining the profession. If you're interested in changing from another career or profession, we usually recommend you undertake one or two of our examinations independently, to assess your skills. Your experience in your current career may be valuable to an actuarial firm, and you may wish to contact actuarial employers directly to discuss your potential.

Step 4 - Register as an actuarial student and gain your qualifications

To become an Associate or Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries you must pass our examinations, or be granted exemption from them, and also attain a satisfactory level of Personal and Professional Development. This usually takes between three and six years.

You complete the exams through self-study, with support from tutorials and resources from ActEd, which is an independent actuarial education company based in the UK.  Study materials can be purchased from ActEd.  Many employers offer support for study, some offering paid study leave during your training.

Our qualifications page shows you what exams you need in order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow of the IFoA. The Student Handbook is a helpful resource in outlining the route through the exams we recommend and other qualifying resources..

Step 5 - Enjoy a job anywhere in the world          

Throughout your actuarial career there are many different and exciting career paths, and once you're qualified, your skills can take you anywhere. Some actuaries specialise in technical research, while others may focus more on commercial activities. Most go on to be practising specialists in one of the traditional financial fields, with many becoming senior managers in insurance companies or firms of consultants.

Step 6 - Join the IFoA

We are also removing the educational entry criteria for Student membership of the IFoA. In order to ensure our profession is accessible to students with a wide range of educational and socio-economic backgrounds. Applicants will no longer be required to: * provide comprehensive school, university and post-graduate qualification details * pass either the CM1 or CS1 non-member examinations Recommended routes into Student membership For applicants without a Maths-based degree we still recommend taking the IFoA’s CS1 or CM1 exams( which can be sat as a non-member. This will ensure applicants understand the rigorous and demanding nature of the IFoA examinations before applying to join the IFoA as a Student. Students will still need complete practical work experience to qualify as an IFoA Associate or Fellow. CS1 and CM1 exam registration The online process will also be available to non-members registering for the CM1 or CS1 exams.

Transfer of Prior Learning

For applicants eligible for our Transfer of Prior Learning process(, please note that applicants must apply for any exemptions they already hold with other Actuarial Associations via our Transfer of Prior Learning process before they apply for Student membership of the IFoA. If you have any questions about the changes to our admissions criteria or our new online application process, please contact

Is there anyone I can talk to in the country in which I live?

The IFoA also has Career Ambassadors worldwide who can answer your questions with regards to local job opportunities and the job market, and anything else you wish to know about joining the IFoA.

If you have any questions specific to East Asia then contact:

  • IFoA Beijing Office (East Asia)


Tel: (8610) 6535 0248/0249

How do I obtain a permit to work in the UK?

If you are from outside then European Economic Area (EEA), you will need a work permit to work in the UK. Work permits are issued by the Borders and Immigration Agency, which is part of the Home Office.  Work permit applications can only be made by employers based in the UK who wish to employ people from outside the EEA.  Individuals are not allowed to make applications on their own behalf.

Will the IFoA’s qualifications enable me to work abroad?

The IFoA’s Fellowship qualifications are recognised globally: the qualifications and the skills you will learn in obtaining them will enable you to work anywhere in the world.

In addition, the IFoA has Mutual Recognition Agreements with overseas actuarial professional bodies, so once you have qualified; it is often easy to transfer to another professional body.


Member Services Team

+44 (0) 131 240 1325