Actuary Program

What is an actuary?

Actuaries are experts in managing and quantifying risk. Insurance companies hire actuaries to evaluate the likelihood of future events in order to price policies and manage claims. Large corporations hire actuaries to manage risk in areas such as pensions, health care, and retirement plans. Other employers of actuaries include health care providers and the government. To learn more about careers as an actuary, visit “Be An Actuary,” brought to you by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Why become an actuary?

Since 2009, CareerCast.com has been ranking jobs for overall desirability due to work environment, job outlook, pay, and other factors. In every single annual ranking, actuary has been in the top 10 jobs rated (of 200 jobs rated). It was in the top 5 seven of eight times, and it was the highest rated job in 2010, 2013, and 2015. A Money Magazine report lists it as #19 on the highest paying jobs in America list, with a median base salary above six figures.

How to become an actuary

Becoming an actuary is different than getting a job in other professions. The vast majority of the actuaries in the U.S. are members of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). These professional organizations administer a series of exams and other validations which lead to professional certifications known as Associateship and Fellowship in the respective societies. The path to Associateship (and eventually Fellowship) is complicated and continually changing but begins by taking a few exams while in college.  At Fisher, we have faculty members who are in touch with the current process and a curriculum that is designed to help you prepare for the first few exams on your path toward Associateship in either society.

Why choose Fisher to prepare for a career as an actuary?

Solid content preparation: Students in the actuarial program at Fisher pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in mathematics. As part of this major, students will be engaged in facets of statistics, computer programming, and economics as they prepare to begin the exam process and their careers. Many students also choose to pursue majors or minors in our School of Business particularly in finance, which gives them an extra edge in the world of insurance.

Liberal Arts core: Being an actuary is more than just crunching numbers. As with any job, the ability to communicate effectively, write well, work in teams, and having a broad knowledge base about the applications of the products of one’s company (in insurance and other fields) can turn an academically qualified individual into a leader in the workforce. Fisher’s Core Curriculum is the educational experience common to all of our undergraduates. It is the manifestation of the College's rich liberal arts tradition, and it was intentionally designed to provide you with the broad knowledge and diverse skills that employers require of today's job applicants.

Preparation for actuarial credentials: At Fisher, we offer courses designed to help students prepare for two exams to pursue certification through the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuary Society (see details below). We also offer all of the courses necessary to gain Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit by both SOA and CAS (again, see details below). These will help when students are looking for jobs.

Small class sizes: With a student to faculty ration of 11:1, students will have personal interactions with their professors from day one on campus. In other words, you will not be a number in a large class here, and your professors work to see that you will succeed.

Local opportunities: There is a moderate-sized network of actuaries in the Rochester area, especially in the health care industry. The faculty at Fisher are in constant contact with this network to keep our program relevant and current. There are also opportunities for internships and job shadowing.

Program Details

For full details, see the Undergraduate Catalog.

Actuarial Courses and direct outcomes in actuarial societies
Course(s) in programDirect outcome in actuarial societies
Mathematical Statistics I (MATH 301)* and
Actuarial Math (MATH 460)*
Background and targeted preparation for Exam P by the SOA, which is also used by CAS
Macroeconomics (ECON 106)* Half of the Economics Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for the SOA and CAS
Financial Mathematics (MATH 461)* Background for the Financial Math (FM) exam by the SOA, which is also used by CAS
Mathematical Statistics II (MATH 302)* Currently approved for the Applied Statistical Methods Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) by the SOA**
Regression Techniques (STAT 210)* and Probability Models (MATH 410)* Further study toward the societies’ new emphasis on predictive analytics as well as progress toward CAS exam S****, should the candidate decide to pursue credentials in the CAS.
Introduction to Corporate Finance (FINA 315) Currently Approved for Corporate Finance Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for the SOA and CAS***
Microeconomics (ECON 105) Half of the Economics Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for the SOA and CAS.  Students must pass both ECON 105 and ECON 106 with grades of B- or better to gain credit for the VEE.

*Required for the actuarial option in the B.S. in Mathematics

**The Applied Statistical Methods VEE of the SOA will be replaced in July 2018 by Mathematical Statistics. While we anticipate MATH 302 will also qualify for this new VEE subject area, we cannot be sure until the SOA calls for submissions to approve courses. Students who pass MATH 302 with a grade of B- or better before July 2018, even if they do not complete any other certifications as an actuary by that time, will be allowed to count it toward their VEE credit. The Applied Statistical Methods VEE no longer counts for credit in the CAS, as it has been replaced by an exam as of 2015.

***The Corporate Finance VEE will be changing in July 2019 to Accounting and Finance. Because Accounting is a prerequisite for our Corporate Finance course we anticipate that our course will qualify for the new VEE, but we will need to apply to the SOA once the application process opens. Any student passing FINA 315 with a grade of B- or better before July 2019 will gain credit for the VEE regardless of the outcome of the application process, even if they do not complete any other certifications as an actuary by that time.

****The CAS will replace Exam S with an exam titled Modern Actuarial Statistics I (MAS-I) in spring 2018.