Industrial Engineering vs Actuarial Science

<p>I recently stumbled upon the Actuarial Science program. I have also loved math and decided to pursue an engineering degree because it is a respected degree and holds high value. I have thought about a degree in math, but I feel like this would limit job opportunities compared to engineering. Well, I just recently learned about the Actuary profession. I know it involves a lot of math, pays well, is stable, and has a very high job satisfaction. I go to Penn State and the Actuary program can be found under both the Smeal College of Business (very well respected) as an option to Risk Management, and The Eberly College of Science with options through both the Math and Statistics departments. It is my understanding that going through the Risk Management degree would be the wisest choice if I went the Actuary Science route. </p>

<p>In a perfect world I would continue to pursue my degree in engineering, and take the recommended actuary classes on the side. That way I would graduate with an engineering degree, while also passing one or two of the actuary exams. Although this would be very hard. The engineering course load is very heavy and does not allow that much room for electives. </p>

<p>I have zero knowledge on how difficult these exams are, and if I am talented enough to pass them, so any insight on the exams themselves would be appreciated. One thing I do know is that I learn much better in front of a professor, compared to teaching myself, which is why I want to complete as many exams as I can before I graduate. </p>

<p>I'm not asking for an answer, but rather insight and opinions from those who have been in my shoes. </p>

<p>I am enrolled in chemical engineering. The first two actuarial exams, probability and financial mathematics, are fairly straightforward and it should be easy to take the necessary courses (at my school, there is one course for each). As your school has an actuarial/risk management program, the department website will likely map the correspondence between courses and exams. The exams require a lot of time (even with related classes, I studied many hours for each independently), but the material is not terribly difficult for the first two. Study and do lots of practice problems. There are old/practice exams on the website of the exam provider.</p>

<p>I have not done them, but my understanding is that the later actuary exams are orders of magnitude more difficult than the first few. You will need to be able to self-study, because coursework may be insufficient.</p>

<p>The first two exams are relatively easy, with relatively being the key word. They will still be the most difficult exams you have ever taken. The 8 exams that follow will be like nothing you ever imagined. You will spend several hundred hours studying for each. This is not exaggeration. It’s like studying to pass the Bar Exam, then having to pass nine more. And make no mistake, you will fail some. All actuaries do, and these are some of the smartest people in the world. The tests are given twice a year, with the more advanced tests only once a year. It will take the best candidates at least 3-5 years to complete the series and become Fellows. It’s very common for some Fellows to take 10 or more years to finish. I know one that took 25 years. Check out to learn all about it.</p>

<p>Yes I have looked at some of the info on their website. It is my understanding that if you pass the first two, you are capable of getting a job as an actuarial assistant, then you have to continue to pass a subsequent test every year or so. </p>

<p>At my university there is a course titled probability theory (math414). If I take this course will I be prepared for the first test or will it require more preparation?</p>

<p>All the info I find makes it seem like a very hard field to pursue. I do not want to miss out on my 20s studying for actuarial exams, so maybe this is not the profession for me, but at the same time the coursework sounds very interesting. </p>



<p>That sums it up.</p>

<p>Yes it takes a lot of time to prep for the tests ( 400 hrs for each on average for 5-7 years avrg) but people who are nerdy for math, statistics, and finance will love it. It is worth the time because working as an actuary is not as hard as the tests. You sit in your cubicle or office and work with other math lovers to calculate risk. The profession pays about $100,000 and you get to do the things you love at ease. Maybe once a month you will get something complicated to work on, but actuaries find it fun and challenging. The job may be boring once you don’t have a lot to do, but you will have a life after work depending on how many tasks you need to get done. I am going to become an actuary once I get into college and the process. If you push yourself forward and have people that are going to study as well, you can get 2-3 tests done. Ok if you study hard, you wont have much of a awesome life in your 20s, but in your 30s you will dominate in your STABLE HIGH PAYING with LOVEY DOVEY MATH and FINANCE career! Work hard play hard. </p>